When I’m cleaning, I often think of the lesson I learned from a green-thinking friend: Clean has no smell. While I appreciate the sentiment and its accuracy, I also can’t help but ignore it. Clean may have no smell, but that does not mean that I can’t still enjoy good home fragrance.

Maybe it’s just the home I grew up in, but I feel nostalgia with certain scents. Researchers say that the sense of smell is the strongest tie to memories, and I believe it.


Scents of cinnamon, pumpkin and vanilla take me back to cooler weather in the fall and wintertime, while scents of citrus take me to warm-weather summers.

Taking a trip to the fragrance store can be overwhelming. Not only are these stores often crowded, but they are also filled with so many competing scents that they often give me a headache. Plus, if the fragrances are not too expensive, they are often too strong and contain too many harsh ingredients. The solution: Make it yourself.

With fall just around the corner, here are some fragrance combinations to ring in the season: cinnamon, cloves and orange slices; apple slices and cinnamon sticks; pumpkin pie spice, vanilla and apple slices; and sage, rosemary and thyme. Play around with ingredients and different amounts of each until you find what you like. The possibilities are limitless. You can use food and spices around the house, or use high-quality essential oils or even fresh or dried flowers.


There are a few different methods you can use to emit the fragrance throughout your home. One is to simmer on the stove or in a slow cooker. Simply take the ingredients of your choice and put them in the pot. Cover with water and simmer uncovered over low heat. Another option is to use an empty, clean candle jar. Fill it with ingredients as you would for the stove or slow cooker, but place it atop a candle warmer instead. Whether on the stove, slow cooker or candle warmer, fill with water throughout the day as it evaporates, and do not leave unattended.

Creating a room spray is another option. You will need an empty spray bottle, water, alcohol, like high-proof vodka or rubbing alcohol, and some high-grade essential oils. You can play around with the amounts for each, but aim for about equal parts water and alcohol and, depending on the size of your bottle, 20 to 40 drops of essential oils in your preferred combinations. Again, the combinations and amounts of ingredients will vary depending on your personal preferences. Play around until you find combinations that work well for you.

Have a comment or question for Joanne? Email thefixisin@gmail.com.