Boil These Spices to Make Your House Smell Good

You probably have the ingredients in your pantry.

Ingredients for fresh simmer pot
Photo: Jennifer Causey

The holiday season means lots of things, namely food, celebrations, and the arrival of guests. We bet you’ve tidied up the living room and prepped the guest bathroom—but have you thought about how your home may smell? Let’s face it, sometimes you may be nose blind. Add in pets and pungent holiday recipes, and your house might not smell as inviting as you'd like for visitors.

What can be done to remedy this besides using an air freshener? Enter the simmer pot. It’s simply a pot of warming water with herbs, extracts, and other good-smelling additions that work quickly to create a naturally better-smelling home. Think of it as a DIY scented candle but with fresher ingredients, a further reach, and more staying power.

Even better, you likely already have many of the key ingredients and can quickly pop them on the stove before guests arrive. We like the fresh simmer pot recipe below because it combines zippy citrus, fragrant rosemary, and a touch of vanilla for a warm and clean-smelling scent that will fill the whole house in eight minutes. Now, if only the vacuum would run itself.


Place 2 cups water in a 1-quart pot, boil, then add:

  • 1 lemon, cut into thin slices
  • 3 sprigs rosemary
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon orange zest

Reduce to a simmer and add more water to the pot as needed.

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