Patchouli oil stinking up my Airbnb

Argh. We state somewhere in our description that we are a fragrance free Airbnb, because some guests are sensitive to smells. Well, last night a woman checked in late and she left fairly early this morning. The guest room and bathroom absolutely reek of patchouli oil. She must have drenched herself in it. We have a guest arriving in two hours, and I have tried everything to get rid of that smell. The windows have been open, fans have been going, I even turned on the air purifier. I looked online and it was suggested that I put a rag with vanilla on it in the room because the vanilla will soak up the odor. I really doubt it but I did it.

I apologize to everyone I knew in the 1960s because I was wearing patchouli oil a lot. Little did I know I would come to despise it.

Just venting here, but if you have any suggestions, I’d be glad to hear them.

How about placing opened baking soda boxes around the room to absorb the smell. If you have rugs, sprinkle baking soda on the rug, let sit for a few hours then vacuum.

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I’ve no helpful advice I’m afraid but I still love patchouli!


I don’t mind patchouli, but it was never my scent, even back in the hippie 60s. I preferred ambergris or sandlewood, which aren’t generally nearly as cloying.

Vinegar set out in bowls is supposed to be good for absorbing odors.

And I’d just casually tell the next guest, “Sorry about any detectable patchouli smell- the guest who just checked out obviously completely ignored my “no fragrances” rule- I’m so annoyed. I worked for hours to air the place out, and wash everything down, but it might still be noticeable. At least it’s a natural, not artificial chemical scent.”

I think that acknowledging a possible issue that you had no control over and worked responsibly to mitigate, and might be more upset about than the guests might be, can ward off guest complaints. Your incoming guests might even like the smell of patchouli. :wink:

I don’t have a no-fragrance rule, but don’t use any heavily scented products, fabric softeners, dryer sheets, etc. One guest had a whole raft of essential oils she used, and her room and bathroom smelled quite strongly of them. It was a pleasant smell to me, but might not have been to the next guest, but as I don’t take same day bookings, it wasn’t an issue. Opening all the windows and turning on the fans for a day worked to dispel the odor.

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Ozone generator?

This site has other suggestions:

– You can get rid of the smell from patchouli by soaking a rag in vanilla extract and placing it in the room. [I guess this didn’t work for you.]
– Buy an empty spray bottle. Fill it up with pure white vinegar. Add up to 10 drops of essential oils such as lemon or eucalyptus. . . .
– Sprinkle some Borax on your carpet. Let it sit for at least 30 minutes.

I appreciate the advice I am getting. Tomorrow I will be putting out baking soda and vinegar and keeping the fans going. I also took the advice of the person who suggested I fess up to the current guest. I told him I had been upset to find that she used a ton of patchouli oil and the room smelled of it and then I’ve been trying all day to get rid of the smell. He told me it was no problem and that his grandmother’s house always smelled of patchouli so it brings back. Lovely memories! Lucky me.


I hate that smell too.

Awesome. Best outcome imaginable.
I have a friend who has never smoked cigarettes in her life but doesn’t care if people smoke in her house, which is really unusual. Her parents both smoked and she had a happy childhood- she says she likes the smell of cigarettes because it’s associated with positive memories for her.

I wonder if an ozone machine would work? I smuggled one into California through an intermediary in a neighboring state because Amazon would not ship it to me, lol. I have only used it once and it worked well on pet odors.


The problem here, if I recall correctly, is that this is a shared home not a separate space. So unless they can vacate the home to run it and wait for it to clear before returning or letting guests check in, it’s not a workable option. And to me it would always be a last resort for getting rid of odors.

My parents didn’t smoke but the smell has positive and happy childhood memories for me too - of being on holiday. :slight_smile:

I don’t know if any of the alternatives do as good a job as an ozone machine, but there are many other types of air purifiers that aren’t dangerous to use.