I've noticed that when gel air fresheners dry out there is still a fair amount of aroma in the now solidified block if you smell it close up. I assume that they work by carrying that aroma when the liquid in the gel evapourates. I tried adding warm water to a dried out one and whilst the water took on the colour, the block itself didn't seem to soften. Is there a way to reactivate a dried up air-freshener block?

Please note, this is a very specific question and I am not asking for alternative ways to make a room smell nice, like making pot pourri etc.

  • That's odd because most gel air fresheners I've seen work by sublimating from the gel solid directly into the air carrying the fragrance within it. They should not dry out, but disperse entirely. Perhaps including what product type/brand you are using might shed light on what they are using to carry the fragrance specifically. Commented Sep 24, 2015 at 18:25

3 Answers 3


This only happens to solvent based air fresheners, when the solvent evaporates. You want to add more solvent. If they used water as the solvent you are in luck as you can just add water, but This is rare as aromatic oils are more common. Unfortunately, the oils I know would work from a solvent perspective stink (MEK, acetone, etc.) and the oils that smell good smell strong but are of unknown effectiveness as solvent (olive, sesame, etc.) If you are open to experimenting candidate oils to try would be canola, baby oil, and light mineral oil. will probably work better warm.


I used canola oil because I did not want to oils smell overpowering the fragrance. It works. I think mineral oil would work best but didn't have any. Canola is in the in the kitchen.


I too had used water in the past. I have chopped up the dried up Air Wick product by putting them in an old blender or old food processor and the placing it back in the original container or a detergent cap. It always looks good for a few days but is only effective close up. I will try the Canola Oil.

  • Hi James, Welcome to Lifehacks.StackExchange. We hope you enjoy your stay. When you have sufficient reputation (50), you'll be able to comment to a question or answer. As it stands, your answer is more of a comment that with an edit containing more information could be a better answer.
    – Stan
    Commented Jul 26, 2018 at 22:14

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