Thomas J. Story

Freshen up any room with this DIY spray that harnesses the quintessential scent of spring

Thad Orr  – May 7, 2019

When roses are in bloom come spring, their petals can be turned into an antibacterial spray for freshening up rooms and closets. “Spraying a little rose water on sheets and towels is a luxurious way to welcome guests to your home,” says Stefani Bittner, owner of San Francisco Bay Area’s Homestead Design Collective and co-author of Harvest: Unexpected Projects Using 47 Extraordinary Garden Plants (Ten Speed Press; $22). She also turns the rose-water spray into facial toner by mixing it with witch hazel.

PREP TIME: 20 minutes for dried petals, 30 minutes for fresh petals

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 cup fresh organic rose petals* (or organic dried petals)
  • 2 cups filtered water (just enough to cover the petals)
  • 4 oz. witch hazel (optional; for facial toner)

SUPPLIES:

  • Double boiler, nonreactive
  • Wooden spoon
  • Fine-mesh strainer or cheesecloth
  • Funnel
  • Mason jar
  • Glass spray bottle

INSTRUCTIONS:

1. Harvest. Pick roses in the morning before the heat of the day wilts the flowers. Select flowers that are just opening—not flowers that are already open or spent. Immediately place the harvested stems in cool water and keep them out of direct sunlight. Clean the petals with tap water.

2. Simmer. Heat water in the bottom pot of a double boiler until it comes to a gentle simmer. Add the rose petals and just enough water to cover them to the top pot. Cover and simmer water and petals until the petals lose all their color. You don’t want a hard boil here, just a very gentle simmer. Simmer for 15 to 20 minutes for fresh petals (dried petals take 7 to 10 minutes).

3. Strain. Once the petals are done simmering, remove from heat and allow the water to cool completely. Strain rose water into a clean mason jar, using a funnel if necessary, and using a wooden spoon to press the petals into the strainer to remove all the moisture. Store, tightly covered, in the refrigerator. It will keep for 1 month. To use, pour into a small spray bottle as needed.

* Be sure to use organic rose petals­ (petals from flowers that were never sprayed or treated with pesticides). You’ll want the spray—or facial toner—to be organic.