Clear As Mud

How to Make Your House Smell Good Without Candles: 10 Clever Hacks

June 23, 2022 by Julia Weaver

Everyone wants a home that smells good. There’s just something about a clean, fresh-smelling home that is warm, inviting, and luxurious – and it makes you never want to leave. Fragrances can also trigger happy memories, boost your mood, and affect your sense of calm. But, more and more people are concerned about the impact that chemical fragrances have on our health. Luckily, you can easily scent your home and skip the harsh chemicals. 

Here are 10 ways to make your house smell good without candles, so whether you’re living in San Diego, CA or renting an apartment in Philadelphia, PA, you can have a space that smells amazing.

Turn your home into a personalized spa with essential oils

There are many ways to integrate these natural botanicals into daily life to create the “Ahh” in aromatherapy. One of my favorite way to make a house smell good without candles is to create your own cleaners with essential oils, such as citrus and tea tree, blend an air mist with invigorating peppermint and lemon or use meditative vetiver and lavender in a diffuser and enjoy the aromatic benefits. – Wyndmere Naturals, providing high quality essential oils 

Hang a eucalyptus branch in your shower

Your bathroom is a great place to make your home or apartment smell amazing. Hang a eucalyptus branch in your shower; the aroma will relieve stress and anxiety and make your bathroom smell like a spa. It’s a great way to make your home smell good without candles. I purchase mine from Trader Joe’s, but you’ll want to call ahead to make sure they have some available. – Danielle Skeaton, founder of Tidy Up With Dani sharing her pursuit of simple home and living. 

Make your own linen spray

If you want your bedroom to smell dreamy, make linen spray. Lavender, grapefruit, and sage are elegant, fresh, and calming mix. Try it to create a calming environment in your home office, bedroom, or anywhere you want. – Marché Bleuet, a health store in Quebec, CA

Look for healthy fragrances

Fragrances sometimes have unhealthy chemicals, so it’s essential to do your due diligence when buying home freshening and room fragrance products to keep your indoor air quality at safe levels. If you’re looking to make your home smell clean and fresh, the best option is to vacuum all fabrics, couches, and fabric window coverings after sprinkling with baking soda. You can also make a stovetop potpourri or use an essential oil diffuser.  – Megan Mikkelson, Detox by Design, non-toxic lifestyle blogger

Find a freshening spray

Nellie’s Fresh Mist is an essential oil spray designed to naturally freshen rooms, linens, fabrics, pillows, and more, made with only two ingredients: 100% pure essential oils and water. Freshen open spaces with Lemongrass Fresh Mist, or add a spritz of Eucalyptus to your shower for invigorating steam. Fresh Mist Lavender is dreamy on towels and linens as they come out of the dryer. And don’t forget to add a light misting of Lavender on your pillow at bedtime for a great night’s sleep. – Nellie’s Clean, producing planet-friendly, simple, and honest products for your whole home.

Stick to no scent for laundry

As a laundry appliance designer for over two decades, I’ve learned by experience that the best scent is no scent. Many cleaning products and laundry additives are loaded with chemicals to make them smell good. Nobody wants that, right? Here are a handful of laundry tips:

  1. Run away from “scent booster” beads. They are expensive and reduce the washing machine’s life because of the gooey residue they leave behind. 
  2. Use one tablespoon of white vinegar instead of a liquid fabric softener. The clothes leave the washer with a faint vinegar smell, but once they dry, they’ll smell like heaven. You can also use one cup of white vinegar for every half gallon of water to clean the floors.
  3. Dryer sheets leave a waxy residue in the dryer’s internal components and cause deadly fires. Instead, use ordinary tennis balls. They last virtually forever and are reusable, saving money and protecting the environment. – Thomas A. Banton-Ortega, Product Design Director at The Laundry Alternative Inc., provides durable, compact, portable lightweight washing machines in Leland, NC

Make your own air freshener

We always want our house to smell good yet not overwhelmingly scented in a way that fragrances the entire neighborhood. While most people use disinfecting room sprays or strongly scented candles, you can make your home smell fresh with three things: a cup of salt, a glass container (vases or decorative jars are best), and a scent you enjoy. Pour the salt into your glass jar, add 3-6 drops of scent, and place in an area of the room that gets air movement. Refresh or change it up once a week. This is one of our favorite ways to make the home smell good without candles. Not sure what scents to pick? Try sweet scents like vanilla or cotton candy to smell clean. Want something a little more energetic? Citruses are always a boost to the spirit. Prefer something for the inner foodie? You will love spicy scents like gingerbread or caramel. Rather have a floral? Change traditional florals like jasmine, gardenia, or lilac by blending some refreshing green notes like aloe or green tea. – Majestic Mountain Sage, providing soaps, cosmetics, essential oils, and more

Create a sense of joy and calmness

No other sense invokes as much emotion as our sense of smell. It immediately connects us with memories and experiences and can instantly create a sense of well-being. When used correctly, essential oils not only make our homes smell amazing but can also offer therapeutic benefits. During the summer, it is especially nice to use a diffuser with oils to smell refreshing and offer calming and uplifting properties. A favorite (and economical) blend for this time of year to use in a diffuser (which is safe to use around children and pets) is three drops of Lavender, five drops of Lemon, and four drops of Grapefruit. Adjust the number of drops depending on your diffuser and the room size. As a general rule of thumb, we recommend that you diffuse for approximately 15 to 20 minutes, turn the diffuser off for one hour and repeat the cycle as desired. Of course, always diffuse in a well-ventilated area. This simple recipe will make your home smell good without candles and create a beautifully scented home while providing an overall sense of joy and calmness. – Sharon Mayberry, Certified Clinical Aromatherapist at Rock Rose Apothecary

Use essential oils

Diffusing essential oils is my favorite way to fill my space with a great smell while simultaneously creating the desired environment or mood I’m looking for. Pure essential oils are non-toxic, smell great and provide incredible health benefits. Heading into summer, I’m all about the bright, citrusy smell. Some great summer scents include Lemongrass – Smells amazing with its herbaceous aroma that can heighten awareness and promote a positive outlook. Madagascar Vanilla – fill your home with comforting magic. Citrus Bloom – a perfect blend combining the brightness of citrus peels layered with freshly cut florals. Tangerine- refreshing, happy aroma. Wild Orange – uplifting and energizing aroma. doTERRA’s Adaptiv, i.e., Calming Blend – not necessarily summery, but one that every household should have for life’s more stressful moments. Adaptiv helps improve sustained attention while easing the body and mind. – Clear as Mud, Lifestyle Blogger

Lavender can induce relaxation, tranquility, and comfort

Whether you’re trying to induce relaxation, tranquility, or establish comfort in a new nesting space, Lavender will always hold authority as a top pick for your olfactory needs. One of the many ways to transcend your space with Lavender is using Organza Sachets in inconspicuous spaces throughout your home to create a soft and ambient scent that glides with you and your guests as they move about your residence. For an even more substantial impact, one may only need to add a few drops of essential oil of their choosing. For example, Lavender and Neroli are one of my favorite summer combinations to make a home smell good without candles. Their scent is soothing yet bright and invigorates excitement. – Lavender Hill Farm located in Boyne City, MI


Noah has cooked in a variety of kitchens and has studied many different cuisines, but his favorite meals to prepare are the ones that make his guests smile. Be it Thai, Italian, Caribbean or Latin, there is always a fun surprise waiting for you at meal time. Noah welcomes special requests and guests in his kitchen! Just stop by and say hi.

Yocheved Sidof is a social entrepreneur, psycho-mystical depth work facilitator, writer, educator, speaker, and activist. After a decade as a filmmaker and photographer, she founded Lamplighters Yeshivah, a grassroots, internationally acclaimed, progressive Chassidic Montessori school. Yocheved builds communities with healing at the center. Most recently, she founded Ohm’ek, an intentional collective focusing on meditation, embodied mysticism, and micro-retreats.

A lifelong learner, she’s completed extensive training in adaptive leadership, therapeutic coaching, and systemic change. She is currently in a two-year intensive training with Thomas Hubl, studying psycho-somatic-mystical models of healing personal, collective, and ancestral trauma. She also writes, consults, works 1:1 with clients, facilitates group transformational work, and regularly teaches Jewish spiritual studies.

Yocheved sits on boards supporting innovations in mental health awareness and self-transformation. She has studied Jewish mysticism and meditation extensively, including with Rav Katz since 2018, completing Elevation Teacher Training and sitting on his advisory board for over a year.

Yocheved, her husband, and five children live in Crown Heights, Brooklyn. Come say “Hi!” if you’re in the neighborhood.