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Farmers Almanac
The 2014 Farmers Almanac
Farmers' Almanac

Homemade Air Freshener Can Freshen up the Holidays

Homemade Air Freshener Can Freshen up the Holidays

Before you put away your holiday gifts in the hall closet, take a deep breath in there. Does the closet smell musty? If so, you may want to spruce it up with a pomander ball — a natural home air freshener made from a citrus fruit.

Oranges, lemons, limes or kumquats can be studded with aromatic spices and hung in closets or pantries to add a fresh fragrance. They also repel moths. And they’re an easy-to-make gift.

To craft your own pomander ball, you’ll need these supplies:

  • A thin-skinned orange or other citrus fruit — this serves as the ball form and adds a sweet fragrance.
  • Whole cloves — these stud the orange and ward off moths.
  • A small nail or darning needle — for pricking holes in the orange.
  • A blend of ground spices – 2 t. ground nutmeg, 2 t. ground cinnamon and 2 t. orris root powder (a necessary fixative, it’s available where craft supplies are sold). Mix these together in a bowl.
  • A paper bag
  • A ribbon
  • Several pins


  1. Roll the orange (or other citrus fruit) on a counter-top or in your hands to soften the skin. This will help the cloves penetrate the surface.
  2. Pierce holes in the orange with a darning needle or small nail.
  3. Insert whole cloves into the skin of the orange in a desired pattern. Leave about 1/8” between cloves to allow for shrinkage as the orange dries.
  4. Roll the studded fruit in the bowl containing the ground spice blend until the surface of the orange is completely coated. (The remaining powder blend can be saved and reused.)
  5. Transfer the fruit pomander to a paper bag. Place it in a dark, dry place for three weeks. The orange will shrink slightly and harden once it’s dried.
  6. To hang the pomander, make a loop of decorative ribbon and affix it to the ball with pins.
  7. Hang the ball in a closet or pantry.
  8. The pomander will last and last. To freshen the scent, lightly brush with an aromatic oil such as orange and cloves.

If you notice a hole in the upper left-hand corner of your Farmers' Almanac, don't return it to the store! That hole isn't a defect; it's a part of history. Starting with the first edition of the Farmers' Almanac in 1818, readers used to nail holes into the corners to hang it up in their homes, barns, and outhouses (to provide both reading material and toilet paper). In 1910, the Almanac's publishers began pre-drilling holes in the corners to make it even easier for readers to keep all of that invaluable information (and paper) handy.