Stop Wasting Your Air Freshener

Airwick air fresheners come with an amazing feature. They spray air freshener every once in a while no matter what. It is extremely wasteful and obviously a marketing plan to force you to buy more. There is a solution though. You can hack them, to turn them back in to a manual release like they used to be.  Two cuts and two soldered wires is all that is necessary.

yes, we know you could just buy an aerosol, but many of us just come home and find them in our bathrooms since someone else in the house bought it. If you’ve already got it, why not hack it? This is also a great project for teaching beginners how to improve hardware.

[thanks Asmor]

48 thoughts on “Stop Wasting Your Air Freshener

  1. It seems to me that the much better, slightly more complicated, and infinitely more useful hack would be to add a motion sensor (as can be found at you local home improvement or electronics store for a very modest fee, or I’m betting half of us just have laying around)

    Just sayin…

  2. Ahhh, it’s so very refreshing to not have to deal with an Instructables website.

    Real hackers write their own webpages like this.

    A better thing to do with the air fresheners is to add a microcontroller that only lets it operate during certain hours that people are home.

  3. How on earth was the original circuit so complex? All it was doing was spraying on a timer with a button override – considering this was a mass produced device and cost should have been vital, wouldn’t you as the designer make it absolutely minimal?

    as a side comment, what was the actuator for the spray? It sounds like a small electric valve could be useful for little projects and this might be just the place to get one.

  4. I also noted the airwick would dry out within 20 days on its lowest setting. So the way i defeated it was put it on a digital timer and set it to have it turned on around noon every day.

  5. Well if airwick could come up with a foul odor detector, they would have something. :) Of course the product hacked here, is designed not to last. All part of an economy based on consumption. While the possabilities are limited, it would be more interesting to see the circuit board re-purposed to perform another use. Hockaday or Instructables there is a contest possibility here, pleas do it.

  6. Depending on where you put it, it could really benefit from a light sensor that activates it after you switch the lights off (hint: bathroom). I smell (pun not intended) this as the perfect job for microcontroller and some very limited lines of code.

    1. That depends. I have separate toilette and bathroom. In the toilette I have natural light (window), that would disturb a simple light sensor. But anyway, if opening said window does not solve the problem a quick spray with a normal air freshener aerosol can (febreeze?) sure does. And in the bathroom (where the shower is) normally no air freshener is needed.

  7. Ok I know whats going on here but I belive I missed something… is it that you push the button pull the chain… just kidding but seriously.. do you push the button and then the circuit cycles once? Or will it spray for as long as the button is pressed. If it will cycle once then “Mythgarr” and “pov” are onto something. I think a cleverly placed Photo cell would do the trick. Now those two yellow wires, if you were to cut one of them in the middle and make two leads that use a photo cell to complete the circuit you would be in business… I would never buy one of these stupid things in the first place I think that they market to your wifey “all long with all the other gimiks wifey will waste money on each year…

  8. Motion activated (with a minumum time between sprays to prevent over-spraying) airwick type fresheners already exist, with an override button. And it seems a bit nuts to buy a fairly complex one and hack it back to the old type, which can still be bought for less?

    Not trying to be too negative, at least the write-up was good and there was enthusiasm! Better, but only just, than the “we added LEDs to our calculator” post lol.

  9. Or what about rigging up a foot switch? Because EVERYONE washes their hands, right?

    Or to add to the motion/light sensor, put it on a bit of a delay, I don’t want to get blasted sitting on the crapper…

    Or set it to receive tweets from twitter, lol.

  10. So if spraying every n minutes is wasteful, what would everyone think of it spraying when the light in say the bathroom is turned off? Going further why not require that the light be off for n minutes before spraying and re using the switch to select not to spray more than once with in x minutes. It’s kinda like that automatic kitty litter pan minus the robotic arm and all the nasty. How much additional logic would this require?

  11. I picked up one of these units before I saw this article the other day. Mine has a timer setting, the longest interval being 36 minutes. I wonder if there’s a way I can change it to once every 2 hours or something similar.

  12. I found a way, with the newer Freshmatic freshener, to make the unit light sensitive, using only a photoresistor and a 200kohm resistor as a voltage divider. There is a terminal on the switch that if you bring down to as close to ground as possible will disable the circuit. Bringing it to about 1.3 volts allows the circuit to continue normally. (I have yet to test anything besides the 36 minutes setting, and faster is too much IMHO) Using a simple voltage divider across one of the batteries makes this mod simple and easy, hardest part is mounting the sensor somewhere that makes sense. If one wanted, a potentiometer could be added to adjust sensitivity.

    1. I’m also looking for à mod to use only the motion sensor in THE newer units with à time delay to spray.
      I opend the unit and photographed it but have to little knowledge of electronics to pull this off.

  13. hi anyone know a way to use cheaper or smaller refils to work in this thing? can reuse plastic holder too was thinking about the small refils from the toilet “hand” sprayer is very similar but smaller

  14. I googled my way here, looking for this EXACT conversation. Good stuff! It seemed to me there must be a practical alternative use for the technology, and the “fuck you airwick” is great. BUT… Part of paying my way as a Mr. Mom (read ‘Cast aside Dot Commer) is to save /- 80% at the grocery. Regular newspaper coupons reduce the cost of these to near $0. With 8 indoor cats (suckers for an abandoned litter in the dead of winter) I have 6 of these things spraying in my hoise right now. Hell… I want the to spray like every 9 SECONDS!

  15. I would also be Interested how to hack the unit so it retains the motion sensor but kills the timer. Seems like the best deal to me. Only sprays when your in the room. I bought the unit thinking that’s what it did. Rip off merchants.

  16. Exactly MATT , I want this thing to spray once an hour or as you suggested even less , a couple of times a day would be nice. What is it with these minutes they have “installed” in this device ? Very peculiar – please someone hack the timer so we can get the minutes we want – Minimum 90 mins !

  17. Yes! Please! Someone (with much more circuitry knowledge than me) PLEASE figure out a way to override the timer settings and have just the motion sensor activate the spray, as others have requested. Would be MUCH appreciated!

  18. I’m pissed about that, I’m not home for more than 12 hours and the dam thing keeps spraying. I guess the cockroaches are enjoying the aroma.

    I just want to hack it for only the motion sensor, and bypass the timer.

  19. I had the same thoughts about the ethics of Air Wick Corporation. My hack was a simple on/off slide switch inserted into the battery red wire. The switch was mounted through the casing in the space above the battery compartment. Now you can turn it on and leave it puffing away at any of the pre set times. or via the “squirt now” button, and you just turn it off when you’re done. No messing with the batteries etc.

  20. I have the motion sensor and timer version, but my wife wanted a button as well because even the motion sensor was set so there was a certain amount of time between sprays. I ended up just using a button to short out the low side transistor on the motor, so that way it still has all its original functionality and has a button as well. If you want more info check out my blog where I’ll have pics and stuff in a couple of days

  21. You can still buy those manual spray jobbies at Lidl. Great hack anyway. I would like a hack that lets me use cheaper refills in the Air Wick device. I have squeezed one into the plastic cage, but for some reason, no squirts!

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