From adding a calming ambiance to your bedroom to masking the smell of a particularly fragrant dinner, a good room spray can spruce up your space. A flame-free alternative to candles, room fresheners are ideal for those living somewhere that doesn’t allow candles (like a dorm, hotel, or office, for example) or those trying to keep their homes safe for pets or small children.
There are a ton of fireless deodorizers to choose from, spanning luxury home fragrances to more affordable drugstore options—making it a tricky category to sift through. To help you select the best room spray for your home, we tapped a cosmetic chemist and a fragrance expert for their recommendations and tried a few top-rated products for ourselves in our own homes. The result: This curated list of room sprays that actually work (and smell amazing). We considered ingredients (both synthetic and natural), how well the sprays tackle odors, and if the fragrance lingers after it’s been sprayed, before cross-referencing them with our expert-recommended picks to give you the best in show.
For a room spray to capture the top spot on this list, it needs to be innovative, effective, and smell good (obviously). This one-of-a-kind spray from Courteney Cox’s brand Homecourt checks off all three boxes and then some—even securing a spot in our own at-home odor-fighting regimes.
The aptly named Room Deodorant neutralizes odors (similar to how a regular deodorant does to your ’pits) while imparting sweet-smelling fine fragrances that don’t overpower your home, but rather make it feel cozier. Take your pick between Cece (a blend of cedarwood smoke, sweet cardamom, cinnamon, and white leather), Cipes Mint (an herby fragrance with a touch of sugar, citrus, and earthy woods), Neroli Leaf (a combo of crisp apple, neroli blossoms, basil leaves, and jasmine), or Steeped Rose (a floral scent highlighting roses: stems, thorns, and all)—no matter which one you choose, you can expect your space to smell fresh and inviting.
The ingredients are also just as great; we particularly love how easy they are to understand. The formula highlights zinc ricinoleate (a zinc salt that naturally traps and absorbs odor molecules), yeast ferment (cells that break down odor-causing bacteria), and charcoal to purify the air, sticking to the brand’s mission of using non-toxic ingredients that are safe for people and pets.
Since the black bottle is so minimalist and sleek, it can be hard to tell where the spray head is; so double check it’s not facing you before spraying. Once you’ve directed the nozzle towards the center of the room, spritz a few times—two or three is enough—to fill the room with freshness.
Price at time of publish: $45
Key Ingredients: Zinc ricinoleate, Yeast ferment, Charcoal, Fragrance | Fragrance: Cedarwood and cardamom, Herbs and citrus, Neroli and jasmine, Rose | Size: 3.4 oz.
We’re fans of Mrs. Meyer’s Clean Day cleaning supplies because of how well they work and good they smell, so it’s no wonder we like the room freshener, too. Drugstore air fresheners have a reputation for being harmful—and those claims aren’t totally off. Dollar store aerosol sprays aren’t great for humans or the environment1, so we’re thankful there’s a cost-effective alternative that doesn’t rely solely on yucky ingredients.
Between the garden party-inspired scents made with (mostly) essential oils and the fool-proof spray bottle top, it’s surprising that this formula costs only $6. The spray itself does a great job of masking not-so-nice smells around the home, whether it’s used in the kitchen, bathroom, bedroom, or even on days-old dirty laundry. The brand says that it can be used to freshen up fabrics, but we recommend patch testing first before spraying it all over your living room couch. We appreciate the design of the spray top, which is made from 30% post-consumer plastic and helps aim the formula outward (so you don’t accidentally spray yourself in the eye).
Each of the 11 room sprays on offer from Mrs. Meyer’s features a blend of essential oils and alcohol (a common ingredient in sprays like these), plus a proprietary fragrance that contains PEG’s and other ingredients we’re not too keen on. However, after checking to see if it’s been EWG Verified, we’re happy to report it’s been rated a B, meaning it has a low concern level and it “poses limited potential for hazards to your health or the environment.”
Price at time of publish: $6
Key Ingredients: Essential oils, Alcohol, Proprietary fragrance | Fragrance: Geranium, Basil, Honeysuckle, Lemon verbena, Lavender, Lilac, Daisy, Rose, Mum, Mint, Rainwater | Size: 8 oz.
Capture that luxe-smelling hotel vibe in your own home with this room spray from Diptyque. Admittedly, at $68 it is a splurge, but a totally justifiable one at that since it smells so good. The fragrance itself is fresh and fruity—thanks to notes of roses and black currant—yet leaves an air of mystery in its wake. We won’t blame you for spritzing it on everything you own; it invigorates dull spaces (from trampled-on living room rugs and stale hallways to mildew-ridden bathrooms and long hallways without any fresh air) and brings them back to life. It’s highly concentrated (a spray or two will do) and lingers in the air for hours. Trust us when we say this spray is just one of those things you didn’t know you needed until it’s in your hands.
While we’re obsessed with the fruity, cozy scent (so much so that we rated it as our favorite candle), it is quite powerful. Those that are super sensitive to fragrance or are looking for something on the subtle side might not love this one as much as we do. If you’re into strong scents, however, Baies will quickly become a mainstay in your home. Something to note: The brand did disclose the ingredients to us, and while they’re not super-duper clean (there are some added synthetic ingredients we don’t love), you can rest assured that spraying this in your home won’t cause any major issues.
Price at time of publish: $68
Key Ingredients: Proprietary fragrance, Alcohol, Clove oil | Fragrance: Rose and black currant | Size: 5 oz.
Brooklinen knows a thing or two about bedrooms—after all, the brand does specialize in super comfy bedding essentials. Available in two fragrances, Bright Idea (a calming yet clarifying blend of cardamom and fresh pepper) and Happy Hour (an anxiety-reducing combination of citrus, cedar, and rosemary), the room spray helps set the tone for wherever you’re at in your day, whether you just woke up or are winding down from a long day. We’re disappointed that you can’t spray this all over fabrics. We assumed Brooklinen’s spray would be safe for bedding, so without this nugget of knowledge, we would have sprayed it all over our sheets.
Price at time of publish: $30
Key Ingredients: Perfume, Deionized water, Flavor solubilizer | Fragrance: Cardamom, Citrusy cedar | Size: 3.39 oz.
One of their best-selling fragrances, Milk, is said to smell like you, but better—thanks to a mix of bergamot, white musk, and amber. It has a really special quality about it: The fragrance creates an all-encompassing softness that you’ll want to douse yourself with forever. Thankfully, the brand developed a room spray featuring the same smell so you can surround yourself with it as well. All you need is a couple spritzes to make your space feel as comforting and cozy as fresh laundry or a hug from a loved one.
We’re pretty pleased with the ingredient list, as it features the Milk fragrance and 23 organic extracts (like elderflower, green tea leaf, and clover) and doesn’t contain anything we feel iffy about. Our only complaint? We wish the bottle was bigger.
Price at time of publish: $40
Key Ingredients: Fragrance, Organic plant extracts, Alcohol | Fragrance: Bergamot, white musk and amber | Size: 3 oz.
For those in search of something a little less synthetic, allow us to introduce you to the Egyptian Petitgrain Room Spray from Fiele Fragrances. It’s handmade in small batches (so it doesn’t contain any preservatives) and contains a naturally-derived essential oil combo that’s calming and earthy. Spritz the citrus-y blend of petitgrain, grapefruit, bitter orange, cedarwood and patchouli in areas of your home that need a refresh or to create a soothing vibe; either way, you’ll enjoy how the woody scent mingles with your space and turns it into a comforting sanctuary. “I’m quite turned off by traditional room sprays—the idea of inhaling toxic chemicals in my home is just not for me,” says Jill Di Donato, an editor who notes she’s highly bothered by the scent of synthetic fragrance. “On the other hand, I’ve been a fan of essential oils since I was a teenager, and gravitate towards musky, earthy, woody scents. I love that Fiele Fragrances is made in small batches so it doesn’t have to rely on synthetic preservatives, plus this naturally derived herbal scent is invigorating and evocative.”
When it comes to odor-fighting, it’s not as powerful as some of the other options on this list due to the fact that the formula doesn’t contain any synthetic ingredients. It does, however, offer a zesty fragrance that can hide any unwanted smells and leave you feeling at ease.
Price at time of publish: $75
Key Ingredients: Alcohol, Fragrance, Essential oils | Fragrance: Woody citrus | Size: 3.38 oz.
To add a bit of candle-like ambiance to a space that isn’t equipped for an open flame, look to this hot-off-the-press collection of room sprays from Boy Smells. The brand is known for their genderful fragrances and candles, so it should come as no surprise that these room fresheners are unexpected, abundant, and sensual. Available in five of the brand’s best-selling scents—LES, Cameo, Cedar Stack, Hinoki Fantôme, and Ash, plus a limited-edition option, Slow Burn, in partnership with Kacey Musgraves—you’ll have a hard time picking just one. Once you settle on a winner, all you have to do is spritz the formula into the air four or five times and brace for an enhanced living-space experience.
Price at time of publish: $38
Key Ingredients: Alcohol, Perfume | Fragrance: Variety | Size: 5 oz.
When it comes to room sprays, few can beat Homecourt Room Deodorant. Between the minimalist packaging made with 100% post-consumer recycled plastic, four incredible fragrances, and a unique odor-masking ability, Courtney Cox’s brand completely nailed it. If you’re looking for a more budget-friendly option, Mrs. Meyer’s Clean Day Room Freshener is an excellent choice. The formula works well in all types of spaces—bathrooms, kitchens, and bedrooms, alike—and comes in a whole slew of garden-inspired scents.
What to Look for in a Room Spray
Here’s where room sprays get tricky—most air fresheners and room sprays aren’t regulated in the same way that perfumes and other fragrances are. In fact, the fragrance in room sprays are considered proprietary (meaning their ingredients are deemed a trade secret and don’t have to be disclosed). To really understand what you’re spraying throughout your home, you first need to be aware of what makes up the formula. According to perfumer Pia Long, “the ingredients in fragrances can be broadly divided into three camps: natural, nature identical (they exist in nature but can be made through chemical synthesis), and artificial materials that do not exist in nature.”
You can do your due diligence by checking product labels for commonly found synthetic ingredients like phthalates, formaldehyde, acetaldehyde, acetone, picric acid, and methyl vinyl ketone (which are linked to neurotoxicity and endocrine disruption in large amounts). Expert cosmetic chemist Julie Pefferman says that labels don’t have to disclose all of the ingredients, however, so looking on the label isn’t completely foolproof. To our knowledge, each of the room sprays on this list are safe for home use in small quantities. We find options that are loaded with natural ingredients like essential oils (the Fiele Fragrances Egyptian Petitgrain, for example) feel the greatest to be around.
The fragrance best for your space depends on the scenario and type of odor being masked, Long says. Citrusy fragrances work really well in the kitchen, as do green tea-type scents and fresh white florals, she explains. “Bathrooms can be made spa-like with bracing, almost medicinal-smelling herbal scents like rosemary, or the minty, slightly bitter (but also rosy) geranium leaf.” As for the bedroom, she explains, fragrances that lean towards amber, vanilla, musk or fresh linen can make the space feel calming, safe, and cozy. We think Mrs. Meyer’s Clean Day Room Freshener features a lovely assortment of fresh, herb-y options to choose from for both kitchen and bathroom, while the Brooklinen Room Spray is a great pick for the bedroom.
Size matters here. You’ll likely spritz your room spray multiple times in one use, so check out the size of the bottle before you buy. As a general rule of thumb, the bigger the bottle, the more use you’ll get out of it; the smaller the bottle, the shorter its lifespan.
How do room sprays eliminate odors?
When masking odor, Pefferman explains, room sprays’ aroma molecules travel from an area of greater concentration to an area of lesser concentration to simply cover up the bad odor for a short time.
Does it matter if you use a natural or non-natural room spray?
“Natural fragrance chemicals or essential oils aren’t typically laden with ingredients like phthalates, formaldehyde, acetaldehyde, acetone, picric acid, and methyl vinyl ketone,” Pefferman explains. “These chemicals have been linked with neurotoxicity and endocrine disruption, so it’s best to avoid those in larger amounts when you can.” Options loaded with essential oils like Fiele Fragrances Egyptian Petitgrain or DedCool Room + Linen Spray Milk are formulated without those ingredients, so you can spray as much as you’d like without worrying about indoor air pollution.
How do room sprays differ from perfumes?
According to Long, the main differences are that room sprays are less complex than perfumes and are not safe for the skin. Perfumes (or any other fragrance for the skin) unfolds elegantly over time, whereas a room spray is intended to provide a big, diffusive instant hit. Pefferman explains further that room sprays will typically have a higher amount of fragrance chemicals and solvents than body sprays and perfumes (including non-skin-safe chemicals that make the fragrance last longer or neutralize odors).