Making Scents!

I am such a fanatic when it comes to air/room fresheners and candles.  In my home alone, I have about twelve air fresheners plugged in, along with candles placed about in various rooms and a can of air fresheners stored in the linen closet, laundry room, loft/library, guest room, and lower-level family room aka the man cave.  In my car, I have two plug ins–the one that you clip onto the vents.  So you get the picture, right?  So what scent are they, you wonder?  Why, vanilla would be number one on my list, or course; then followed by anything that seem like I just baked something sweet in the oven.  I also like the smell of winter, spring and fall fragrances–depending on the season for them.  Now that we have that established, by now you should know what I am going to talk about next.  Room Fresheners… 

Well, thanks to a combination of wonderful ideas I’ve perused online, I’ve decided to tackle this fun project for myself!  I started by gathering a few things I already had at home, starting with the great outdoors.  I am lucky enough to have gathered some homegrown rosemary, lavender, candleberry branches and a few rustic twigs that fell from the oak trees that surround our backyard.

Inside the home, I had a few neat ingredients readily available, such as grapefruit, pomegranates, lemons and some limes.  From my pantry I took out bay leaves, whole cloves, ground ginger, nutmeg, allspice, cinnamon sticks, almond extract, mint extract and of course, vanilla extract.  With plenty to get going, I was well underway to making some beautiful, practical and most important, naturally made room fresheners!


  • Citrus, sliced — lemons, oranges, limes (may use peel only, if preferred)
  • Herbs — rosemary, thyme, & bay leaves
  • Spices– whole cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, allspice (optional), anise (optional); may substitute ground/powdered spices
  • Ginger (fresh or powdered)
  • Extracts–vanilla, almond, mint
  • Pine twigs (or other fragrant twigs)


  1. Use a pint (2 cup) jar, container, or pot to combine scent waters. Add ingredients to container, cover with water, and choose from these options:
    ~simmer on stove top, topping off with more water as it evaporates
    ~add heated mixture to a slow cooker, fondue pot, or something similar that will keep mixture heated.
  2. Preheat waters to a boil (in microwave or on stove top). As water evaporates, always top it off with HOT water to keep the temperature as high as possible. Higher heat = more fragrance.

FRAGRANT COMBINATIONSHere are some of the ones I did…

  • Lemon, Rosemary & Vanilla:  3 sprigs of fresh rosemary, 2 lemons, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract.
  • Lime, Thyme, Mint & Vanilla:   3 limes, 3-4 sprigs fresh thyme, 1/2 teaspoon mint extract, 1 teaspoon vanilla.
  • Lavender, Mint & Vanilla:  5-6 sprigs lavender, 2 sprigs fresh mint, 1 teaspoon vanilla.
  • Acorn Twigs, Bay Leaves, & Whole Cloves, Cinnamon Sticks, Candleberry Branch & Vanilla:  Handful of acorn twigs , 4 bay leaves, 1 tablespoon whole cloves, 1 teaspoon vanilla.
  • Pomegranate, Cinnamon Sticks, Bay Leaves & Vanilla: 4 slices pomegranate, 2-3 cinnamon sticks, 4 bay leaves, 1 teaspoon vanilla.


Scented waters may be refrigerated between uses. Reuse for 2-3 days, or as long as they still have a pleasant fragrance.


  • In the fridge:  Uncooked jars of scented waters will keep in the fridge for 1 to 2 weeks, so you can make these ahead to have on hand. Add all of the ingredients, including the water, to the jars before refrigerating them, otherwise they will not last as long.
  • Freeze them:  You can freeze them with or without water added.  They can be frozen for a month or longer.  Make sure you use freezer-safe jars (Not all mason jars are freezer-safe.)

Scenting methods**

  • Stove top:  The best way to get the most powerful scent that will spread to more rooms the fastest.  Simply combine the ingredients in a pot on the stove, bring them to a boil, and then lower the heat to a simmer–just be sure to keep a close eye on the water level.  They will immediately begin to scent your kitchen and spread to other rooms.  (For a stronger scent, simply double or triple the recipe in a larger pot on the stove.)
  • Uncovered Mini Slow CookerIf you’re concerned about accidentally letting it run dry, you can put a lamp timer on it so that it automatically shuts off at the desired time.  (For a stronger scent, simply double or triple the recipe in a larger, full-size slow cooker and set it on high.)
  • Fondue Pot:  If you have a fondue pot, then you have a portable scent station. Set it up in any room you’d like to scent.  Like the slow cooker, this is a low-level of heat and releases a very subtle scent–enough for a small room. Get the scent mixture boiling hot before adding it to the fondue pot.  It makes it smell wonderful when you walk through our front door. And, it looks pretty.
  • Mug Warmer:  It only keeps it warm, it doesn’t actually heat it up. So again, be sure to heat the mixture before adding it the bowl. Or microwave a jar and set it right on top of the mug warmer. This low heat puts off a soft, subtle scent that is suitable for a small area like a bathroom.
  • Candle WarmerThese work just like the mug warmers. Candle warmers come with a little bowl on top for melting scented candle pellets. Instead, you can add some heated scented water. Or, remove the bowl and set a jar or other bowl on top.
  • Tea Pot Warmer:  These only last as long as the tea lights burn, but they can get hotter than the mug and candle warmers, thus releasing more scent. (Just be sure to keep an eye on it and not to leave candles unattended.)


Add more hot water as needed:  As the water evaporates from any of these warming bowls or jars, top it off with additional HOT water. It needs to be hot when it’s added so that it doesn’t cool down the temperature of the scented water.  Higher heat = more fragrance.

Gift them:  These make a fun, unique hostess gift. Take one along to a party as a gift for your host that can be simmered and enjoyed the next day.

Reuse each mixture 2-3 times:  After these have been heated and simmered for a while, the water becomes cloudy, and some of the ingredients lose their vibrant color.  Although they don’t look as pretty, they still smell good. Usually, you can reheat and simmer these again 2-3 times. Jar them up and refrigerate them between uses. Open the jar and give it the sniff test–if it still smells good, reheat and reuse it. Add more water as needed.  You can save, use and reuse a number of fragrant ingredients, such as leftover ginger, orange peels, juiced lemons and limes, leftover herbs, expired juices, and expired spices.  These scents don’t need to be expensive!–gcc

**Source partially adapted from The Yummy Life online.