How to Extract Essential Oils & Scents From Flowers

There is nothing quite like the fragrance of flowers in full bloom on a quiet summer evening. Cutting fresh flowers for the home brings the scent inside for a while, but it soon fades, leaving you with nothing but memories. With a few inexpensive supplies and a little time, you can preserve the fragrance of summer flowers by extracting their scent with oils to use as perfume or to scent your home throughout the year.

Wet roses with dew
credit: Jupiterimages/Goodshoot/Getty Images
Gather your blossoms early in the morning for the most intense fragrance.

Step 1

Pick flowers early in the morning when the oils are at their peak. Blooms that are just beginning to open contain the most fragrance. Avoid flowers that are in full bloom, as their scent has begun to fade.

Step 2

Remove the petals from the flower and place in a zippered food storage bag. Seal the bag, then tap it lightly with a wooden mallet to bruise the petals and release the fragrance oils.

Step 3

Place the petals in a glass jar and cover with oil. Olive oil is an inexpensive oil that works well as a carrier oil. Sweet almond oil is a bit more expensive, but adds a pleasing, distinctive fragrance of its own. Shake the jar to distribute the oil.

Step 4

Set the container on a sunny windowsill and allow the flower petals to soak in the oil for 24 hours. Shake gently and strain through a double layer of cheesecloth. Discard the old petals.

Step 5

Prepare new petals, following steps 1 and 2, and cover with the oil you've already used. Allow the petals to steep for 24 hours. Repeat the process, using the same oil, for 3 days or until the fragrance reaches the desired strength.

Step 6

Store your fragrant oil in a glass bottle in a cool dry place. Use in potpourri or crafts, or wear as a perfume.

Nannette Richford

Nannette Richford is an avid gardener, teacher and nature enthusiast with more than four years' experience in online writing. Richford holds a Bachelor of Science in secondary education from the University of Maine Orono and certifications in teaching 7-12 English, K-8 General Elementary and Birth to age 5.