Old House Smell

Every time we’ve visited the new farmhouse, I’ve noticed a distinct old house smell about it…sort of like a damp basement.  I actually have an odd affinity to damp basement smell.  Alas, I know not everybody does.  Until we find the musty culprit and extinguish it, I’m going to have to cover it up somehow. 

Essential oils are one of my things.  They make me happy, and I like to experiment mixing them.   The process makes me feel all smart and chemist like. 

Today I made a home fragrance spritzer using a large assortment of oils.  It’s always interesting to me that each oil individually has a very powerful (and not always pleasant) scent, but blend them together, and the result can be clean, light and fresh.  

And that’s exactly what this spritzer conveys… clean, light, fresh.  I can’t wait to introduce it to the farmhouse (this week!).  It’s great on skin too… I’ve been using my children as testers.  Everyone smells delightful.  Here’s the recipe:



Essential Oils:
10 drops lavender
10 drops peppermint
10 drops orange
15 drops ylang-ylang
15 drops bergamot
15 drops rosemary

1 Tablespoon Vodka

1/2 cup distilled water


Step 1:
measure and pour vodka into glass spray bottle (I got this bottle at Whole Foods for about $3.00)


Step 2: drop in the essential oils


Step 3: cap the bottle and shake vigorously to combine


Step 4: measure and pour in the distilled water

Step 5: cap the bottle again, shake, and let sit for a few days, shaking periodically to infuse the oils


Step 6: spritz away


  1. Where do you find a glass spray bottle? I've never seen them. So cool...

  2. I see that I'm going to have to make the drive to Whole food son my day off. I've wanted a glass spray bottle forever :)

  3. HAve you moved into the house? When will we see more pictures? What are the future projects you are going to do? PLEASE....give us more information about this move. I know you are one busy woman....just know that we really do care about you and this new adventure. Keep in touch some more.


  4. Our basement gets damp once in awhile and Home Depot has a spongy sort of thing that absorbs moisture...I can't remember the name of it!! The essential oils sound wonderful! I can throw out the Frebreeze!


  5. We are all so excited to make this move with you. Please take us along for every detail. Have you started packing? Has the new door been installed and repaired/painted? Have you sold your beautiful home? So many questions. We all feel like we are part of the family and want to come along. :)
    xoxo Dianne

  6. I totally know what you are talking about - old house+damp basement+summer humidity=my smelly house.

    Thanks so much for the recipe, going to have to try it out!

  7. That sounds wonderful. I already own 2or 3 of these oils. You didn't drink the rest of the vodka, did you?;>) xo Diana

  8. Oh, this looks wonderful! I am definitely going to try it out. Thanks for the recipe!


  9. Thanks for sharing the recipe! I was surprised by the vodka, didn't know it was used for fragrances.

  10. What a great idea..Thanks for the recipe..Can't wait to see what ya do in your home..Have a great week..

  11. Praying for a smooth transition.


  12. I used to never mind a musty house odor until the media began to scare us about molds and the dangers to your health from molds. I don't know if you have mold problems there but here on the west coast we do...with old houses especially. So, be careful...maybe have that smell checked and make sure it is not mold.

  13. I love this idea! I always wondered how to dillute the oils-- I am going to make a linen spray!

  14. I'm going to let you in on a little secret! Cut a white onion in half and that musty odor will be absorped in no time! It must be a white onion! Use only one, it really, really works. I read it in Real Simple magazine about seven years ago and I still use my trusty onion every spring and it totally zaps out the musty odor.

  15. this is so exciting!! love a farmhouse renovation;)!! we have two de-humidifiers that we use when we start to get that smell (after lots of rain) - works like a charm! (I will have to try that onion though- love a good remedy!)

    lots of luck!

  16. This is great! I'm curious what purpose the Vodka plays? I think I know why you used the vinegar, but if you feel like clarifying that too, I wouldn't mind. :)

  17. I have been fighting "old house musty smell" for years. It's always worse in the spring and summer than in fall and winter. I just assumed that when houses were over 50 years old, they started to smell that way. Thanks for the great tips found here.


  18. Hopping all over blog world today now that the kiddos are back in school (miss them!) and saw this recipe. I love essential oils, too! But I have to say, I got a good giggle over the Vodka!

    Happy Friday!

  19. I am so happy i found this i'm a firm believer that air freshner makes us sick.

  20. Thank you! Just finished making my essential oils spray and love it!

  21. That idea is ridiculous. That is mold lady and it is very harmful to you an f your family. Call mold people find the source, remove it and clean up the rest of your home. If toxic it can cause cancer.


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