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Japanese incense for scenting your home

It’s nice to have something on hand you can rely on to eliminate odors and smell wonderful. Many room sprays, plugin scents, and candles don’t really work for me.

The scents are too overpowering, or they don’t eliminate the bad smells and just end up competing with them. But Japanese incense is different.

Two bundles of Japanese incense tied in ribbons

Japanese incense

I used to use traditional Indian-style incense as an air freshener. The scents were just what I wanted – natural plant, flower and herb scents. But sometimes the smoke bothered me. Which was too bad, since the smoke helped to eliminate bad odors.

Then I discovered Japanese incense, which is less smoky than Indian. Like Indian-style incense, the scents are very nature-oriented, and they come off as refreshing. Japanese incense burns very clean.

I’ve recommended it to a few friends with fragrance sensitivities and they’ve had no problems using it. It produces just enough smoke to eliminate odors and leaves a light, fresh scent behind.

White Plum by Nippon Kodo is one of my very favorites. It’s a very clean scent, very delicate. It lingers for several hours, which is also nice. I’ve bought so many boxes of this over the years.

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How to Use

Pro-Tip: I often break these in half for small spaces like bathrooms, or for when I don’t need a lot of scent. Half a stick will release a lot of scent, so try it and you can double the value of the incense.

You can buy an incense holder (and many brands come with one in the box). But I prefer to put some sand (or ash, or baking soda which is awesome for its fire-smothering properties) in a votive candle holder.

I push the stick into the sand so it’s standing straight up. Next, I hold the flame from a match or lighter against the top end of the incense stick and leave it there until the whole end has turned orange.

If you accidentally take the flame away too soon and the incense is in danger of going out, blowing gently at the lit area will give it some fuel so it catches and burns down to the sand base. That’s all!

For safety’s sake, even though this stuff is pretty safe when used properly, don’t light a stick and leave your home. Always do this when you’re around to notice if something goes wrong.

Small children and pets: the lit end of a stick of incense is very hot. This may seem obvious to you, but it might not to a curious little kid or pet. Be sure to keep your burning incense out of their reach, or supervise them carefully while it’s burning. (It doesn’t take long, especially if you follow my next tip.)

As mentioned above, you don’t always need a whole stick. If you’re just trying to eliminate an odor that’s gotten into your home, a half stick or even one-third will usually do the trick.

Sometimes I break off about an inch, maybe an inch and a half, from a stick and use that. On the rare occasions when that doesn’t do the trick, I break off another inch or so, and burn that, too.

This will make a single box of Japanese incense last you for a ridiculously long time. One box can last me as many as three years.