cloves in orange
Sarah Biren
Sarah Biren
December 4, 2020 ·  4 min read

Woman put cloves in oranges, house smells awesome

No one wants to enter a house and face a bad smell. In a Facebook post, one woman suggests sticking cloves into oranges to counter this issue, and everyone loved it. Her home smells like citrus and spice heaven.  

Kimmi Charlton from Manitoba, Canada, has been putting cloves into orange for about a decade, and she’s not stopping any time soon. 

“I saw someone do this on TV about 10 years ago and I thought that I would try it,” she said. 

The aromatic effects of this simple craft were instantaneous and she recommends other people try it. “It really makes a room smell so pretty and natural smelling!” 

The History of Putting Cloves in Oranges 

These “cloves in oranges” scented balls are actually called pomanders, and they’ve been used since ancient times. They were also worn as jewelry in the Middle Ages to ward away bad smells. They were also believed to prevent infections.  

“Medieval herbalists used pomanders — mixtures of fragrant, dried herbs in cloth bags or perforated boxes — to ward off illness or bring strength and good fortune,” says the Old Farmer’s Almanac. [1] 

These pieces were often decorated with gems. In the 16th century, the orange was divided into segments to be combined with other spices. People also shaped them into skulls, dice, and books, as more personalized decorations. [2] 

Pomanders fell out of fashion in the 18th century when vinaigrettes (little metal containers containing a sponged soaked with a pleasant aroma) became popular. [3] Nowadays, pomanders have come back, but they are less expensive and intricate. All a person needs is oranges and dried cloves to enjoy the aroma.  

Read: A juice company dumped orange peels in a national park. Here’s what it looks like now.

Cloves in Oranges for the Holidays 

Pomanders become more popular around December when people begin to crave the nostalgic smell of spice.  

“I really loved the beautiful smell that reminded me of Christmas,” said Charlton. “It reminded me of how we got oranges in the toe of our Christmas Stocking!” 

Charlton posted a picture of two pomanders on the Facebook page, The Arctic Kitchen: Recipes of the North, with the caption: Something different!  I make one every year.  This year I made 2.  Twice as Nice. Cloves poked into Mandarin Oranges!  House smells so good 😍 

Image Credit: Kimmi Charlton | Facebook

People loved her post and it garnered hundreds of shares and comments. Many people recalled their childhood holiday traditions or decided to begin a new one this year. 

“This was a Christmas tradition when I was growing up. I’d completely forgotten about this, thanks for the reminder,” said one commenter. “I might just make one! I remember my thumbs hurting from the pokey tops on the cloves.” 

Charlton responded to the positive comments with, “I am glad that I can bring back some good memories with a simple idea like an orange with a spice attached to it! Or create some new memories!” 

“I really loved reading responses about how it made people feel!” Charlton said to CBC later. [4] 

How to Make a Orange and Clove Pomander 

“Pomander” comes from the French phrase pomme d’ambre, which translates as “apple of amber”.  This refers to the round shape of the fruits as well as the added smell. Here’s how to make your own: 

Step 1: Select a firm orange and stick whole dried cloves into it. 

Step 2: That’s it!

They are so simple to make but you could ease the process by piercing the orange with a toothpick before placing the clove in. This could be especially helpful for children doing this craft. 

You could also artfully stud the cloves in different shapes or patterns. Note that the scent will come after the orange dries somewhat. But if you prefer a stronger fragrance, place the cloves in oranges until the entire rind is covered. Then roll the oranges in a spice mix, like cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, or ground cloves, and leave the oranges in the mix for a week, turning them over once every day. They will produce a heavenly smell after that. Plus the cinnamon could help the oranges stay fresh for longer.

If you’d like to hang the oranges as a decoration or ornament, place a wire through the fruit. Knot the bottom and design a loop at the top so it could be hung wherever you please. Pomanders stay fresh for about six weeks. 

If you’re placing cloves in oranges specially for the holidays, dress up the pomanders with red ribbons. You could hang them on the tree, or create a centerpiece of them for the table. Their fragrance will make the whole house smell bright and festive, and they are so easy to make! [1] 

  1. Catherine Boeckmann. “How to Make Pomander Balls.” The Old Farmer’s Almanac. October 23, 2020 
  1. “Pomander.” Britannica.  
  1. “Vinaigrette.” Britannica
  1. Jay Legere. “Manitoba woman put cloves in oranges, house smells awesome.” CBC. November 29, 2020