The Old-School Way To Keep Your Home Smelling Fresh

Does your home have a funk that just won't go away? Instead of burning candles or spraying air fresheners, try this old-school method of making your home smell fresh. Hint: it involves potpourri. The first is making a homemade dried potpourri, and the second is putting a potpourri steamer pot on your stove for the smell to spread around the house. These natural methods of freshening the scent of a home can last longer than modern-day air fresheners and are inexpensive. In addition, you can use ingredients you already have in your home, and it's a plus if you have a garden from which you can take cuttings.

But what is potpourri? Potpourri is a mixture of dried flowers, herbs, spices, and oils, according to LivingHours. Dried potpourri is typically held in a bowl that is placed in any room to improve the overall scent. It can last for over two years by occasionally adding a couple of drops of scented oil to the bowl. A potpourri steamer pot works similarly to dried potpourri but uses fresh fruits. Instead of being left in a bowl, the ingredients are simmered in a pot on the stove for hours. Even after the stove is turned off, the scent will stay (via Gathering Dreams). Simmer pots last for as long as you add more water and keep them simmering.

Homemade dried potpourri

To make homemade potpourri, you will need your choice of dried flowers, spices, and/or herbs. You can either follow a recipe for which flowers, spices, or herbs to include or make up your own combination. First Day of Home recommends using roses, lavender, jasmine, violets, or sage. For dried fruits, they recommend using dried orange slices or apple slices, and for spices, they recommend cinnamon sticks or cloves.

You will always need two ingredients to make a good dried potpourri: orris root powder and any scented or essential oil. The first step in making potpourri is drying your own flowers if you choose not to purchase some already dried. Next, add your combination of flowers, spices, and herbs to a paper bag, then add 5 to 10 drops of oil and mix it. Adding 1 to 2 tablespoons of orris root powder is an important step — the powder is what will adhere the scent to the dry ingredients so it can last a long time. Once that is mixed in, leave the potpourri to sit overnight. You can store it in a bowl, mason jar, or sachet bag the next day and place it anywhere in your home.

Potpourri steamer pot

Potpourri steamer pots can be easier to make than dried potpourri because you don't need any special powders or oils. Instead, you are adding ingredients to a pot of water, which will distribute the fresh smell around your house once it's simmering. With steamer pots, you will use fresh flowers or fruits instead of dried ones.

Again, you can create your own recipe catered to your preferred scents. If you are looking to follow a recipe, a simple one is by Gathering Dreams. Their lemon rosemary recipe includes 2 sliced lemons, a bunch of rosemary, and 1 tablespoon of vanilla extract. If you prefer a holiday scent, use 2 sliced oranges, 2 cinnamon sticks, and a couple of cloves.

When you have your fruits, herbs, and spices, add them to a pot filled with water. Put the pot on the stove on low heat and wait for it to simmer. Once the water is simmering, you are all set. You can leave the pot simmering for hours, but be sure to add more water when you notice it getting low. You can even use the same pot of ingredients for multiple days.