Natural Air Freshener

Stovetop Air Freshener - pot with water, cinnamon sticks, star anise, rosemary, and dried orange slices

Have you ever tried making a stovetop air freshener (also called a simmer pot)? In lieu of candles, diffusers, and plug-in-anything, this fast and safe method works so much better. Not to mention I’m having fun playing around with various “recipes” each time we do it!

Stovetop Air Freshener

Traditional candles are often made of petroleum-based paraffin wax and then filled with synthetic fragrances (one of the world’s top allergens). Even when they aren’t burning, they can release phthalates and carcinogens into the air.

I’ve long had a hard time with candles. Regardless of the science, I find that most scented candles make my throat hurt, my eyes water, or my brain hurt. Because of that (and because my husband is picky – though differently than I), we’re particular about what we light in our home.

But then….sometimes my husband wants to have bacon or I make homemade stock in the crockpot for hours on end and the aromas in our house aren’t pleasant. So we need something…

I’ve heard here and there about homemade stovetop air fresheners, but I hadn’t tried them until a few years ago. 

Stovetop Air Freshener - pot with water, cinnamon sticks, star anise, rosemary, and dried orange slices

What are Natural Air Fresheners?

Stovetop air fresheners are the simmering of herbs, fruits, spices, etc. in water! It sounds a little too plain and simple to work, but let me just tell you how fast and effective this method is.

Within minutes, you can start to smell the aroma and we haven’t had any lingering bacon scent in months because of this little trick!

Dried Lemon Slices in Bowl

Best ingredients for Stovetop Air Fresheners?

We’re just beginning to experiment with ingredients, but our favorites so far include citrus, a cinnamon stick, and star anise (conveniently all part of my natural winter home decor too). 

If you only pick one item, I’d do the cinnamon stick. And, no, it doesn’t matter how old your cinnamon sticks are; they’ll still give off some good fragrance.

Other items we’ve tried are sprigs of rosemary and thyme as well as whole cloves. I’ve used fresh citrus slices and dried citrus (see this quick video for how to dry citrus in your oven). They both work well.

I tried eucalyptus leaves and lavender flowers recently. The eucalyptus was a rather pungent scent and you could only smell the lavender up close, so I’m still going to experiment with that one.

And if we’re being totally honest here, which I always try for, I’ve recently thrown in mandarin peels from C’s breakfast and apple cores – it all worked just fine!

Stovetop Air Freshener

How long do you leave Simmer Pots on?

So. This is an interesting one. First, you can leave your pot simmering as long as you wish (just remember to turn it off when you leave the house). You’ll need to keep an eye on the water level. Just keep adding more water as needed to keep the ingredients afloat.

The best part about this is that you can reuse the same batch for a few days. Recently I’ve been simmering this small pan in the morning during breakfast and then again in the afternoon (more for aromatherapy). Then I relight it again for breakfast the next day, and so on! 

I really love that the stovetop air freshener method doesn’t require another gadget on my counter or something to clean. It’s also completely natural and I can make whatever scent I want!

Stovetop Air Freshener - pot with cinnamon sticks, star anise, rosemary, and dried orange slices

A collection of ingredients also make s lovely, sustainable gift. Wrap in an upcycled jar or reusable bag. You can even add a homemade gift tag with a relevant quote. These lavender quotes are a good place to start!

Want candles? Try beeswax candles or beeswax melts. You can read up here on how to use wax melts safely and which ones to pick!

Beautiful Display of Dried and Fresh Herbs and Spices

More Sustainable Home Posts…

Stovetop Air Freshener
Print Recipe
5 from 4 votes


Safely and quickly fill your home with beautiful scents to remove bad cooking smells or for aromatherapy with these Stovetop NATURAL homemade Air Freshener ingredients ideas. Just a few minutes before your sense are happily fulfilled!
Prep Time5 minutes
Cook Time10 minutes
Course: home
Cuisine: American
Keyword: home, natural, sustainable
Servings: 1
Calories: 13kcal
Author: Luci Petlack


Spiced Citrus Blend

  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1-2 star anise
  • 1 citrus slice dried or fresh


  • 1+ sprig of rosemary
  • 1+ sprig of thyme
  • 1+ sprig of lavender
  • 1+ sprig of mint
  • 1+ fresh ginger slice
  • 1+ whole cloves
  • 1+ peppercorns
  • 1+ apple slices


  • Add desired ingredients to a small pot. Cover with water
  • Bring to simmer over low heat. Let freshen until finished.
  • Check occasionally to see if you need more water – don't want the ingredient/pan to burn.
  • Don't forget to turn off the stove when leaving.


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Calories: 13kcal | Carbohydrates: 4g | Protein: 0.4g | Fat: 0.2g | Saturated Fat: 0.02g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.04g | Monounsaturated Fat: 0.1g | Sodium: 1mg | Potassium: 36mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 0.1g | Vitamin A: 64IU | Vitamin C: 2mg | Calcium: 46mg | Iron: 1mg

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