Here's How To Turn Your Oven Into An Air Freshener

Everyone prefers to be greeted by the smell of something delicious when entering the kitchen, rather than being bombarded by a less-than-fresh odor. For your own happiness and for the sake of guests, making an effort to mask heavy leftover cooking smells (garlic or fish, anyone?) can help ensure your home's scent is inviting and pleasant. This tip is a winner if you're looking to make a big impression on a potential home buyer, and it's also perfect for creating a serenely pleasant-smelling house at the end of a stressful day. All it takes is your oven and a few simple choices to achieve an odor-free, yummy-scented abode in under half an hour. 

Temporarily convert your oven into an air freshener even when you don't have the time or desire to make a batch of homemade chocolate chip cookies. Harnessing the power of your oven to boost your kitchen's fragrance couldn't be easier: All you have to do is warm up some baking extracts, herbs, or spices. To use this simple technique, preheat your oven to 300 degrees Fahrenheit. While waiting for your oven to come to temp, grab an oven-safe dish and fill it with water (a small ceramic casserole dish or baking ramekin works well). Next, grab the extract, spice, herb, or edible fragrant flower of your choice and add it to the dish. Then, simply pop it in the oven to let it simmer.

How to set the mood with scents

Perfect for the cool fall and winter months, this hot tip lets you tailor the vibe for whatever your mood. A couple of tablespoons of vanilla extract and some cinnamon sticks in a baking dish of water create a warm and cozy atmosphere. Looking for a clean scent? Try adding fresh citrus slices or rinds. Want a homey ambiance? Apple or pumpkin spice extracts do the trick. And some people swear by the combination of vanilla extract, fresh rosemary, and lemon slices in an oven or stovetop water bath to make your home smell like Williams Sonoma. If you need something soothing, try dried lavender flowers or rose water. 

Whatever you choose, it only takes about 20 minutes, after which you can turn your oven off and let the residual heat fill the space with scent. Make sure the room is well-ventilated and don't overdo it, keeping in mind those who may have allergies or sensitivities to certain scents. It should feel welcoming and inviting, not overpowering.

And if all of this still sounds like too much effort, just do as Seinfeld recommends and "look to the cookie." Buying a roll of premade cookie dough is still an inexpensive way to turn your oven into a tasty air freshener, making your house smell delicious for you and your guests, sans the hassle — and you'll have dessert, to boot.