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Rain Essential Oil {Petrichor Essential Oil}

This rain essential oil recipe will teach you to make 6 different essential oil blends that smell similar to rain. You’ll also learn how to use your rain blend for aromatherapy, home scents, and skin care.

rain essential oil

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DIY rain essential oil blend

Last year, I shared a fresh linen essential oil recipe, which you seem to love so much that I decided to follow up with a few more fun essential oil recipes. And first up is rain essential oil, a blend that attempts to capture that clean earthy smell of rainfall.

An essential oil that smells like rain? Sounds bizarre, I know. However, rain has become a sought-after candle fragrance in recent years with dedicated Reddit threads. And you’ll find quite a few rain fragrance oils on the market.

These fragrances are usually synthetically made, but you can also create a natural rain scent with essential oils!

This post contains a detailed guide full of tips and tricks to help you recreate the scent of rain with essential oils. We’ll talk about various aromatics, and you’ll learn 6 different rain essential oil blends.

I also want to briefly reflect on the cultural significance of the rain smell since it’s so much more than just a trendy lifestyle scent.

Still, if you just want the blends, click here to go to the recipe card or tap the jump-to-recipe button at the very top of the page.

petrichor essential oil

What does rain smell like?

Did you ever notice that distinct odor in the air during and after rain showers? The pleasant aroma infusing the air when rain falls on parched ground is called petrichor, the smell of rain. This scent oscillates between fresh, earthy, and musky tones.

Petrichor

The term “petrichor” was first coined by Australian researchers. It comes from the Greek words “petra” (meaning stone) and “ichor” (which refers to the golden fluid that flows like blood in the veins of Greek gods).

Petrichor describes a naturally occurring phenomenon: During dry periods, plants release oils, which accumulate on the soil and ground. When raindrops hit the ground, these soil-dwelling oils are released and distributed into the atmosphere.

The cultural relevance of rain smell

The smell of rain is beloved by many cultures around the world. Living in a country where rain is a frequent occurrence, I can only imagine what it must feel like to experience the first raindrops after a long period of drought and dryness.

In his poem Come Rainfall, Nigerian poet Oke Iroegbu express his joy about a fresh rainshower and describes petrichor as the scent of caked clay coming alive:

Come rainfall! Come, dear friend!

Send this town scuttling for safety,

Let the first rain, fill pots with murky water

Let children dance away to your rhythm

Bring the scent of caked clay alive!

Let it wake the water-lovers and frogs.

Be sure to read the remainder of this beautiful poem and explore more of Oke Iroegbu’s work, such as Waiting For The Rain and Hear The Clouds.

rain scent essential oil

Is there a rain essential oil?

Surprisingly yes! There is an Indian oil extract that features a petrichor-like rain scent called mitti attar. The oil is made by hydro-distilling aromatic compounds from dried soil and binding them in sandalwood oil.

I’m uncertain if mitti attar would technically qualify as an essential oil since it’s made from soil, not plant materials. The extraction method is similar to the way essential oils are distilled.

What is mitti attar?

Essential oil distillation and perfumery have a long tradition in India, spanning back hundreds of years. The people of Kanauji have developed an incredible technique to distill the scent of rain from parched, baked clay.

They employ ancient distillation techniques and distill the aromatics from dried disks of soil that are then bound in sandalwood oil. This aroma oil is called mitti attar, the earth’s perfume.

In a beautiful essay written in The Atlantic, Cynthia Barnett recounts her experience traveling to Kanauji and seeing the production of mitti attar firsthand. She describes the scent as “warm, organic, mineral-rich.”

Mitti attar is probably the most authentic rain-scented oil right out of the bottle. You can buy it in specialty stores and find it on Etsy and Amazon. It’s also a popular ingredient in perfumes and roll-on products.

Other essential oils that smell like rain

The following essential oils don’t smell like rain on their own. But when combined, they can contribute to a rain scent.

  • Vetiver
  • Ho wood
  • Oakmoss
  • Clary sage
  • Carrot seed
  • Bergamot
  • Eucalyptus
  • Frankincense
  • Sandalwood
  • Woodsy oils such as cedar, fir, and pine

At the end of the post, I discuss 2 more rain-smelling aroma oils (ambrette seed extract and creosote oil). You won’t need these oils for my blends. I just find them fascinating and couldn’t resist sharing them with you.

rain essential oil recipe

Rain essential oil blends

The smell of rain is influenced by the surroundings and has so many factettes. Light spring rain on a countryside meadow smells differently from a downpour in the city on a hot summer day.

Luckily, we can create a variety of different rain scents. Most of my blends use mitti attar as the primary scent giver and have other oils to fine-tune the scent profile.

Think of my blends as a blueprint rather than rigid recipes. So, feel free to play with the ratios and make oil swaps 

#1 Simple rain blend

This recipe smells like a damp forest on a summer morning. It’s a beautiful diffuser blend and creates a soothing atmosphere.

This blend doesn’t contain mitti attar or any other specialty oils. While it’s not the most authentic rain essential oil, I wanted a simple blend with easy-to-find and accessible ingredients.

#2 Sweet spring rain

This garden-fresh raindrop scent combines light floral notes with the aroma of wet grass and petrichor, thanks to mitti attar.

#3 Energizing summer rain

This rain blend is inspired by a summer storm and offers an invigorating scent laced with citrus and green notes. You’ll need mitti attar, vetiver, grapefruit, and lemon to create this clean and bright scent.

#4 Woodsy autumn rain

Damp earth and fallen leaves are the inspiration behind this autumnal rain essential oil. The blend of woody base notes, oakmoss, and a touch of cedar lead to calming, masculine scent.

#5 Eucalyptus grove rain

You must have memorized the incredible smell if you ever walked through a eucalyptus grove on a misty day. The tiniest water droplets soak the air in a symphony of fresh, green aromas.

#6 Seaside rain

This scent takes you on a walk along the coastline after a rainfall. It emulates the smell of hazy raindrops + seawater and blends mitti attar with valerian and cedarwood.

  • 22 drops mitti attar
  • 10 drops valerian
  • 3 drops cedarwood

When I diffuse this blend, I like to add a teaspoon of sea salt to the water tank of my diffuser. The salt is diffused into the air and creates a true-to-life ocean rain scent.

#7 Petrichor diffuser blend (bonus)

When researching, I also found a petrichor essential oil blend from Essential Oil Diffuser Recipes. This blend consists of davana, cypress, fir needle, and frankincense.

I love the addition of davana, which provides the blend with a summery floral note. Hop on over to their site for the exact quantities!

Where to buy oils?

Mitti attar is available on Etsy, and this UK-based perfume shop sells it as well.

You will find the other oils for these rain blends at Mountain Rose Herbs. They offer a range of truly unique oils of excellent quality that are difficult to find elsewhere. Definitely check them out if you’re seeking rare oils!

That being said, feel free to use oils from your favorite manufacturer. Just keep in mind that the scent profiles vary from brand to brand, and that will affect the end result.

rain essential oil blend

How to make rain essential oil

Only a few simple steps are needed to make rain scent essential oil. Once you have decided on a blend and have gathered your oils, mixing the blend barely takes more than 5 minutes.

  1. Prep bottle. Carefully lift the dropper cap from a 5 ml amber glass essential oil bottle. Each recipe makes only a few drops, but you can easily reduce or double the amounts if desired.
  2. Add oils. Using a small funnel, transfer the essential oils into the bottle.
  3. Close bottle. Attach the dropper cap and close the bottle tightly.
  4. Combine. Gently swivel the bottle to combine the ingredients. Optionally apply the printable label to mark your bottle.
  5. Rest. If possible, let the blend rest for 1 to 2 days before use. The oils need time to blend together, and the fragrance profile will change a little during this time.

Packaging tips & printable label

Essential oils react sensitive to sunlight and will begin to decompose if exposed to UV light for extended periods. Amber glass filters out sunlight and protects the oils from decomposition.

I recommend 5 ml or 10 ml essential oil bottles for this rain essential oil recipe. To customize, I painted my bottle with several layers of blue acrylic paint and applied a printable label.

rain scented essential oil

How to use rain essential oil

If you’re wondering how to use your DIY rain essential oil, then look no further. From aromatherapy to skin care, here are a few ideas that you can try with this essential oil recipe.

Aromatherapy diffuser

Nothing is better than walking into a wonderfully smelling room, and my rain essential oil blend makes everything feel fresh. Diffusers are a convenient way to release scents and create a calming atmosphere.

Simply load your diffuser’s tank with water, add 5 to 8 drops rain blend, and adjust the settings to your liking. Then sit back, relax, and soak in the aromatherapy benefits.

My rain fragrance blends are relatively lightly scented. If you prefer a strong smell, consider a nebulizer. They mist pure oils and are unbeatable at filling a room with scent.

Home fragrance

DIY candles and homemade wax melts are another way to enjoy rain essential oil and freshen any room in your home.

To make a rain candle, melt 8 oz / 225 g soy wax over a low flame. Once melted, stir 140 to 240 drops / 7 to 12 g / 0.24 – 0.42 oz essential oils into the wax. Pour the scented wax into a heat-safe candle container outfitted with a cotton wick. Cure for 1 to 2 days and light on a heat-proof surface. Check out my other candle tutorials for more tips.

To make rain scented wax melts, heat melt 8 oz / 225 g soy wax until melted. Add 240 drops / 12 g / 0.42 oz essential oil blend and pour into a silicone mold and let solidify. Melt the wax melts in a wax burner. You can find in-depth instructions in my wax melts tutorial.

Bath & body products

These rain essential oil blends are lovely for fragrance skincare and bath products, such as soap, bath bombs, perfume, body mist, lotion, creams, and body butter.

To ensure the blend remains within safe levels, use the oils at a 2% to 3% concentration. You also want to perform a patch test to check for sensitivities before introducing new oils to your skincare routine.

Cold-pressed citrus essential oils (such as lemon, lime, grapefruit, and bergamot) are phototoxic. They can cause a reaction if applied to the skin and exposed to the sun. Instead, reach for steam-distilled versions of these oils, which are considered non-phototoxic.

rain essential oil

Storage & shelf life

As I’ve mentioned before, essential oils react sensitively to heat and sunlight. UV rays disrupt the volatile scent molecules and lessen the quality of your oils.

To protect your rain essential oil recipe from these influences, store your blend in an amber glass bottle in a dark, cool place that isn’t exposed to sunlight (e.g., a cupboard or drawer.)

More spring essential oil blends

Essential oils are an excellent way to express your creativity! They allow you to create scents for any mood and occasion. I’ve gathered up some more of my favorite essential oil recipes to celebrate springtime. You don’t want to miss out on these!

rain fragrance oil
rain essential oil

Rain Essential Oil Recipe

Yield: 1 blend
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 5 minutes

This rain essential oil recipe will teach you to make 6 different essential oil blends that smell similar to rain. You’ll also learn how to use your rain blend for aromatherapy, home scents, and skin care.

Ingredients

#1 Simple Rain Blend

  • 12 drops vetiver essential oil
  • 7 drops ho wood essential oil
  • 4 drops bergamot essential oil
  • 1 drop cedarwood essential oil

#2 Sweet Spring Rain

  • 22 drops mitti attar
  • 12 drops valerian essential oil
  • 5 drops palmarosa essential oil
  • 3 drops litsea cubea essential oil
  • 1 drop tagetes essential oil (optional)

#3 Energizing Summer Rain

  • 18 drops mitti attar
  • 10 drops vetiver essential oil
  • 6 drops grapefruit essential oil
  • 3 drops lemon essential oil

#4 Woodsy Autumn Rain

  • 20 drops mitti attar
  • 8 drops white sage essential oil
  • 5 drops oakmoss absolute
  • 2 drops cedarwood essential oil

#5 Eucalyptus Grove Rain

  • 15 drops ho wood essential oil
  • 7 drops eucalyptus essential oil
  • 3 drops cotinus essential oil (can sub for niaouli)

#6 Seaside Rain

  • 22 drops mitti attar
  • 10 drops valerian essential oil
  • 3 drops cedarwood essential oil

Instructions

    Prep bottle. Carefully lift the dropper cap from a 5 ml amber glass essential oil bottle. Each recipe makes only a few drops, but you can easily reduce or double the amounts if desired.
    Add oils. Using a small funnel, transfer the essential oils into the bottle.
    Close bottle. Attach the dropper cap and close the bottle tightly.
    Combine. Gently swivel the bottle to combine the ingredients. Optionally apply the printable label to mark your bottle.
    Rest. If possible, let the blend rest for 1 to 2 days before use. The oils need time to blend together, and the fragrance profile will change a little during this time.

More aromatics that smell like rain

Before signing off, I want to mention 2 more aromatics that capture the smell of rain, ambrette seed extract and creosote-infused oil. There’s no need to buy these oils, but I find them incredibly fascinating and hope you do too!

Ambrette seed CO2 extract

Ambrette seed extract is extruded from the seeds of the hibiscus plant. The aromatic oil possesses an intricate scent profile, rich, musky, sweet, and slightly floral. While mitti attar features mineral notes, ambrette seed CO2 mimics the plant-like qualities of petrichor.

The oil is also referred to as botanical musk and is primarily used in natural perfumery. It’s pretty pricey but would make a lovely addition to any rain essential oil blend.

Creosote-infused oil (chaparral oil)

The last oil I want to mention is creosote oil. And no, I don’t mean tar oil, but an oil infused with the leaves of the creosote bush (aka greasewood or chaparral plant).

The creosote bush grows in the desert regions of southwestern US (Arizona) and Mexico. The shrub infuses the dessert with a beautiful smell when the rain comes.

Creosote-infused oil isn’t an essential oil and is not suitable for blending. Still, it’s a fantastic option to fragrance body products with an authentic dessert smell.

Mountain Rose Herbs offers dried chaparral leaves that you can use to infuse your own creosote oil. You’ll also find creosote-infused oils on Etsy.

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