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DIY: Adapt AirWick FreshMatic to accept cheap aerosol spraycans

December 19th, 2008 Leave a comment Go to comments

My wife loves the automatic AirWick FreshMatic aerosol scented spray dispensers. However the refill cans are expensive once the cheap starter kit runs out. The refill cans run about $6.50 here in WA state and are almost never on sale. Regular aerosol scented spraycans however can sometimes go as cheap as $0.50 at stores around here.

So with a little Do-It-Yourself ingenuity, it is easy to make the cheap cans work inside the AirWick FreshMatic automatic dispensers.

AirWick FreshMatic

Here you can see the older model FreshMatic in the middle, with one of the original AirWick cans that came with the starter kit empty on the right. On the left a $0.50 regular can bought at Wal-Mart.

The tools required for this DIY job are as follows:

 02tools  03drill  04rubberbandtape

A cutting tool to clear away the excess plastic, drill bit size 5/32 and a needle nose plier. We will also need a corded or cordless drill as well as 3 small rubber bands and some clear packaging tape.

So let’s begin and from here on out you can click the little pitures to view a larger version for more detail if needed.


05detachsprayer06drillsprayerRemove the spray tip from the empty AirWick aerosol can.

Before proceeding, please confirm that the plastic tip needs modifications to begin with. I used a Glade aerosol can and they have a plastic tip on their cans that is 5/32nd of an inch thick. It might be possible to find an aerosol can that doesn’t need any modifications, or needs a different sized drill bit. Since the Glade cans are always the cheapest at stores in our areas, I decided to go with their dimensions.

Simply drill the bit into the plastic tip for exactly 3/16th of an inch. Use some colored tape as shown on the picture to guide you otherwise. If you would drill too deep, then the plastic tip will not be able to press down to release scented air from the aerosol can.


After you are satisfied, press the plastic top down hard onto the regular aerosol can till you hear a click that confirms it snapped down securely. This will release a spray of scented air, so be sure to direct the nozzle away from your face. 

07attachsprayer  08openfreshmatic

The result will be as shown in the above picture, after which you can discard the plastic cap. Moving on to the automatic dispenser, open it, and pull the top off by appling pressure outwards at the plastic hinges.

09cuttingfreshmatic  10finishedcutting

Now it is time to use your cutting tool to carve out the shape that will allow the much taller cans to fit in these dispensers. Be sure to leave the little sides intact, as the next detailed picture will show, you need to make little notches on each side. This will hold the rubber bands in place.

11rubberbandnotch  12attachcan

I’m sure many other ways are possible to get the same results, but this was easiest way I could think off. The motorised part that pushes the sprayer tip down automatically is very strong, but 3 rubber bands offered enough pressure to make it work. It might not show totally in the picture, but the rubber bands loop completly around the bottom of the aerosol can, so 6 strings in total make contact.

After assembling my own version and turning it on, the motor pushed down, and the force made the can shoot forward. These cheap cans are a lot thinner, so they have more room to move around. Some clear packaging tape solved that problem, and just to be sure I also applied some of the tape around the rubber bands to make sure those would not come undone either.


Turn the timer on, wait 30 seconds as the first “puff” starts within that timeframe and then re-apply the cap back on. The easiest way is to put the top back on and then pull out the plastic hinge sides and it will snap into place.


And there you have it.

Instead of a $6.50 refill can, the automatic dispenser now works on a $0.50 can at only a small sacrifice in visual appeal. Hope this will help anybody else save a little money in these tough economic times. Once the can is empty, simply reverse the last few steps, cutting the packaging tape, removing the spraying tip and re-apply it to a new can.

Happy Saving…

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