How to Make Rose Water

How to make rose water for perfumes cooking and skin care

Rose water is not only beautifully fragrant but extremely versatile. It has an extensive range of uses including facial toner, hair perfume, cooling mist, and linen freshener. Rose petals are edible and rosewater has a place in the culinary world as well.

Rose water can be used to replace some or all of the water in things like soap, hair rinse, and hair detangling spray. As a side note, it will have little impact on the final color of your soap and will definitely not turn it pink.

Simmering vs. Distilling

There are two relatively easy ways to make rosewater at home. The easiest and quickest way is by simmering rose petals (dried or fresh) in water. The result is a fragrant, rose-colored water. This method is suited best for recipes and uses that will not sit around very long as it has a limited shelf life.

The distilling method technically makes a hydrosol. It is also quite easy to make, albeit slightly more time-consuming, and rose hydrosol is clear and much more shelf stable.

Choosing Rose Petals

There are over a hundred different varieties of roses. If you are lucky enough to have roses growing in your garden you can use them to make rosewater. If you will be picking your own roses, do so in the early morning when the blossoms are the most fragrant. You can also purchase roses but they should be from an organic source. It is important to use pesticide-free rose petals so your finished rosewater is not full of chemicals.

It’s possible to use dried petals. I like these. They are from the Damask Rose and are very fragrant, as well as edible.

Another option is to use lavender flowers. Follow the directions below for the dried petals and use the lavender water in place of the rosewater in the following recipes.

Uses For Rosewater

There are so many ways to use rosewater. Here are some of my favorites.

Perfumed Sprays

One thing many people miss after they have made the switch to healthy options in beauty care is the scented aspect of commercial products. Often times those artificial fragrances are the selling point for perfumes, soaps, and shampoos, but they are also one of the more dangerous ingredients used in these products.

Rosewater makes a wonderful base for making substitutes for perfumed sprays. Natural shampoo, for example, leaves your hair clean and protects the natural balance of oils in your scalp, but doesn’t leave a lasting perfumed scent. You can make a simple hair perfume to add a touch of a floral scent to your hair. You can also just dab rosewater on your wrists and neck for a light hint of perfume.

Hair Perfume: Mix 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract with essential oils in a 4 oz glass spray bottle and fill to the top with rosewater. Spritz on your hair as it is drying and style as usual. This is also great for second (or third) day hair. Spritz a bit on to freshen up. Store in the refrigerator. My current favorite combination is:

  • 3 drops Patchouli
  • 4 drops Ylang Ylang
  • 3 drops Rosemary
  • 4 drops Cedarwood
  • 5 drops Lavender
  • 4 drops Grapefruit
  • 4 drops Bergamot

Linen Freshener: Make a linen freshener by putting rosewater in a spray bottle. You can also add a couple drops of rose or lavender essential oil. Mist on your sheets before going to bed in the evening.

Skin Care

Another excellent use for rosewater is in your skin care routine. Rosewater helps balance the skin’s PH, reduces redness and irritation, tightens pores, and helps cool and soothe hot skin.

  • Facial Toner: Store rosewater in a dark colored glass bottle. Add a drop or 2 of lavender or rose essential oil and apply to your face with a cotton ball after you shower or wash your face.
  • Cooling Mist: Store rosewater in a dark colored bottle with a fine mist spray top. You can keep it in your purse for on-the-go use or keep it in the refrigerator for extra cooling. Mist on face to cool skin and freshen up.
  • Sunburn Relief: Mix equal parts rosewater and apple cider vinegar in a spray bottle and spray onto sunburned skin for relief.

Mood Improvement

Rosewater is also a wonderful mood enhancer. You can mist it on yourself in the same way you use the cooling spray and breathe in the scent to lift your mood. For a calming bath, add 1-2 cups to your bath water.

Culinary Uses

  • In Tea: Add rosewater to taste to your herbal tea.
  • Flavor Yogurt: Start with a teaspoon of rosewater for 1 cup of yogurt and add more to taste.
  • Lemonade: Add a splash to your lemonade for a complex flavor enhancer.

How to Make Rose Water

There are two different ways to make rose water, either by simmering or distillation.

Option 1: Simmering Method

Supplies:

  • dried rose petals (or fresh from an organic, pesticide-free source)
  • water
  • saucepan with lid
  • nut bag or several thicknesses of cheesecloth
  • dark bottle for storage (spray nozzle optional)

Directions:

  1. Measure 1/4 cup of dried rose petals into your saucepan. Use 1/2 to 3/4 cup if you are using fresh petals.
  2. Pour 1 1/2 cups water into your saucepan.
  3. Cover and bring to a boil.
  4. Reduce temperature to the lowest setting that still allows the water to simmer.
  5. Simmer until the color of the rose petals has faded. Mine became almost colorless. This only took about 5-10 minutes.
  6. Leave the lid on and cool completely.
  7. Pour water and petals through the nut bag or cheesecloth into a dark, clean bottle. You can use a funnel or strain into a measuring bowl with a pour spout and then pour into your dark bottle.
  8. Store in the refrigerator for several weeks or on the counter for up to one week.

Option 2: Distillation Method

Supplies:

  • dried rose petals (or fresh from an organic, pesticide-free source)
  • water
  • ice
  • large stock pot with lid
  • clean brick (a real brick, from a house)
  • metal bowl or heat-safe glass bowl
  • dark bottle for storage (spray nozzle optional)

Directions:

  1. Place a clean brick down in the center of your large stock pot. I used an 8 quart stock pot and an average sized brick.
  2. Put the metal bowl or heat-safe glass bowl on top of the brick.
  3. Measure about 1 1/2 cups of dried rose petals into the stock pot. Put them down around the brick making sure not to get any into the bowl. Use 3-5 cups if you are using fresh petals and gently press them down so they are around the brick and under the metal bowl.
  4. Pour water into the pot over the petals until it comes almost to the top of the brick.
  5. Invert the lid and cover the stock pot. This will allow the steam to collect and drip down to the center of the lid and eventually drip into the bowl.
  6. Put ice on the top of the lid to encourage the steam to condense and subsequently drop into the bowl. You can put it directly on the lid and suck the water off with a turkey baster as the ice melts or you can put the ice in a ziplock bag so it is easy to pull off and replace. You want to keep in as much steam as possible because the steam is actually your rosewater.
  7. Bring the water to a boil and then reduce to the lowest heat possible that still allows the water to simmer.
  8. Replace the ice as it melts and simmer for at least 30 minutes.
  9. Remove from heat and let cool completely.
  10. Very carefully lift the lid so that none of your melted ice water falls into the pot.
  11. Carefully pour the rosewater that has collected in the bowl into your dark bottle.
  12. This will last much longer at room temperature (up to 6 months, although it doesn’t stick around that long in my house) but you could always store it in the refrigerator to be sure it keeps well.
  13. I had some water left in the bottom of the pot when I was done. I strained out the petals and used this in a batch of soap. It didn’t have as strong of a smell but I couldn’t stand the thought of throwing it out.

Make your own natural rose water for skin care - perfume- culinary uses

Have you ever made rose water? What is our favorite way to use it?

Learn how to make rose water is a fragrant natural ingredient for beauty recipes like perfume, soap and hair products and for cooking and cleaning.

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Reader Comments

  1. Any suggestions besides a brick? I’d like to make today without trying to locate a single brick. Thank you 🙂

    • I also wanted to know this.

      What is the purpose of the brick anyways?

      • To keep the bowl inside the large pot from touching the bottom, boiling or getting liquid from the pot into it so you get a clear distillation. In other words, it is just there as a way to raise up the bowl.

    • Could you place another smaller bowl upside down in the pan and then place the collection bowl on top of that? I DON’T know if the conduction of the bowl will be a problem though….just an idea!

      • I tried this using a pyrex bowl upside down on the bottom with another bowl on top. As my water simmered the bowl keeping moving around on the bottom of the pan. I had the heat as low as it would go on my simmering eye. After about an hour or so (I waited until the water was gone from the petals) I opened my pot to discover that I only collect about 1/2 cup in my distilled bowl but had about 2 or 3 cups of beautiful pink water UNDER the upside down pyrex bowl! I’m not for sure how concentrated the distilled water is since most of the goodness went underneath the bottom bowl. Just FYI if you decide to try something other than a brick.

    • I didnt like the idea of using a brick. Its going to be steaming right along with everything else, and honestly I dont know how bricks are made. There could be some nasty manufacturing chemical we arent privy to.
      I use a ceramic ramikan or a heavy duty glass bowl and make sure they say microwave and dishwasher safe so you know they can take the heat . I dont think she stressed this part (or I missed it) Definitely use DISTILLED water not spring or purified and NEVER tap…
      I must warn you though.. Its super addicting! I started with Roses and then I did blood orange, cucumber/key lime, meyer lemon, lavender… And the list goes on.. And they are really good for gifts.. Hope this helped !

      • Thank you for such a detailed answer. I was wondering how to work the recipe without a brick!

    • Hi I read that you could use an upside down bowl. Then put your right side up bowl on top of this. Hope this helps.

  2. Excellent timing, you couldn’t have done better if you had tried.

    I was just looking at 100x Washed Rosewater Ghee thinking ‘that ought to be easy enough to make’ (I have this real good sense of humor?). I might just try it though if I can capture some petals before they go too brown this summer.

    I have fond memories of my grandmother teaching me how to make rose water as a child (maybe 4 or 6 years old). Infusion rather than distillation though. Ahh, happy days!

    • Linda. How did grandmother make the infused oil? Thanks! ~Linda S

      • Hi Linda
        I wouldn’t get too excited, it was just a simple sun infusion – probably something the girls had done a lot of during the war to add a bit of glamour to otherwise dour lives. Also, I guess, something she judged safe for a 4/5/6 year old kid and her pal from across the street to be trusted with.
        We were each given a jam jar and instructed to collect up the prettiest smelling rose petals we could find into the jars until they were full. Once filled we topped the jar up with what should probably have been distilled or filtered water but in reality was just plain old Brighton tap water. We then screwed the lid on and gave the whole lot a jolly good shake. The jar was then placed on the sunniest windowsill we could find for at least a day before straining.
        As I recall it, I think I was more impressed with Nan teaching me something else and competing for the ‘smelliest’ petal with my friend than I was with the lightly scented results 🙂

  3. I put organic rose buds in a glass container, cover it with witch hazel and let sit for about 7 days, then i strain out the petals and pour the witch hazel into a dark glass contain. I use it as a toner on my face which is incredible. I always feel bad about throwing the leftover buds away, next time I will add them to soap…never thought of doing that before. Thank you Katie!!

    • Yvonne,
      I love this idea. How long is the shelf life for your method? I love witch hazel, and have been looking for a good toner.
      Thanks!!

  4. About how long is the distilled version shelf stable?

  5. Can we use roses of various colors or is there any significance in using pink/red roses??

  6. Favorite way to use rose water…

    Wow, this is a tricky one!

    Definitely in desserts!

    Rose petal jam! (great in yogurt) or with a mild sweet farmer cheese like Anari
    rose water and mastic “icecream”
    rose water with pistachios- in a blender till creamy! (makes a delish spread)
    rose water with blanched almonds- also blend until creamy! (stuff this in dates!)
    Homemade marzipan– with lots of rosewater!!

    Adding it to any baked dessert is also wonderul- in the baking mix or sprinkled ontop of the finnished cake. or just use one of the above pastes to frost a cake.
    Or add more nuts to create a nutty /rosewater base for a raw chocolate dessert recipe…

    but definitely rose petal tea is the best!
    Orange water is also lovely…

    oh dear, I think I better stop here!

    Cheers!

    • You missed Turkish Delight 😉

  7. Hi Katie,
    I have really enjoyed your blog, website, emails and social media posts (whew!). I have such a strong desire to be a “Wellness Mama” and provide a healthy and safe environment for my family to thrive in. I work full time (thankfully it is from home) have a one year old and a husband and I am completely fascinated by you and how you manage everything you do! That brings me to my question…if this isn’t too personal…would you ever consider doing an article on a day in your life, or better yet a week in your life? I look at your website and get completely overwhelmed with all the stuff I want to be doing for my family and am not because I am overwhelmed and don’t know where to start. I am beyond curious about when and how you incorporate everything that you write about into your life on top of working, being a mother and wife. I would LOVE to see what your schedule looks like and how you manage to get all the home-made cleaning supplies, beauty products, meals and supplements into a day! I would print that out so I could have a starting point to go from. Anyway, if you decide not to do that, just know that what you do and the information that you pass on is appreciated! Thank you!

      • This is PERFECT thank you so much!!

      • I too was wondering the same. I’m sixty one my oldest is fouty one. I justvtook on fostering a two year old and I m amazed I manage to bath. What is it all you young women accomplish so much. Your so amazing. But then I remember in the seventies we made our own yoghurt and I was the local herb and massage therapist. Humm I guess natural has come back into style. I’m just a heck of a lot older. I think I’ll go back to being a drug counselor, its easier. Thank you for sharing you’re knowledge and carrying the torch.

  8. I had no idea making rosewater was so easy. I’ve been buying it from my health food store for a crazy price for way too long. Awesome!

  9. I’ve made rose hydrosol before. It really is so easy. I’ve added it to muffins.

  10. Oh man. I can’t wait to try this!

  11. Would colored roses be ok, would they dye fabric?

  12. I’m wondering if I can use this method to make jasmine water. My star jasmine is covered with intoxicating blossoms right now.

  13. Can you distill orange blossom water the same way?

  14. Where do you get your essential oils?
    Do you have a recommendation for a pure Canadian source? I prefer not to use a multi level marketing source if possible ?

      • Thank you for that,
        I trust mountain rose herbs too, And have ordered from them in the past I am Canadian, so I was hoping for a source on this side of the border. Our dollar is worthless in your country ? thank you so much for all the work you put into your articles! You have a good heart. Your research is thorough and your recipes are clean. I’ve enjoyed your writing for 2 or 3 years, I have to say I have not been disappointed
        Keep it up!

    • I am from Canada as well. A lot of people love NDA, but I’ve never tried them, so I can’t say. I use a few from Candora, which so far I have found to be good, and they are very quick with shipping and very friendly!

  15. Is there a substitute for the brick? I live in Florida where most homes are concrete block construction. Concrete blocks are a little too large, though!

  16. I have never made rose water but I buy rose water all the time. I grew up in Lebanon and rose water is used for many things such as in tea, in dessert, on rashes, in water and in coffee.
    when I add it to the smoothies, it reminds me of sweet desserts I used to eat growing up.

    Thank you Katie from bringing so many memories with this topic.

  17. Will a steam juicer work? Seems just like the steamy way….

  18. Does anyone know if I feed my roses a systemic made by Beyer, if the pedals would be safe to use for rose water

    • Not safe! “Systemic” means everything in it will enter the cellular system of the plant, including the petals -that is why bugs who eat the plant and petals die. If you want to go natural with your body you should think about going natural in your garden too.

  19. Hello looking fora a home remedy non toxic pet friendly air freshner made to put in spray bottle
    thanks

  20. I own a distiller. Can I throw some rose pedals in it and distill it that way?

  21. Thanks for this article! Just got a slight sunburn yesterday (yay!) and I’m going to try this!

  22. You mentioned you could use the rose water in your natural shampoo. How do you do that? How much do you add? etc… Thanks so much!

    • Oops. I reread it and saw I had misunderstood. You mentioned making a hair perfume with it. My mistake!!

  23. Hi, I collected very fragrant rose petals that are treated only once in the very beginning of the season (on the ground only). I hope they are still good for making my rose water/oil. Do you think they would be ok?

    • Treated with what? I wouldn’t use anything treated with chemicals. Organic standards require a 3-year waiting period before soils are can be deemed organic.

  24. Oh boy, I just made this Rose Water with my Pink Roses Petal and also made the Hair Perfume and it smells too much like Patchouli. My husband hates Patchouli but I thought it would just smell like that. What can I do?

    Thanks so much,

    Yoli

  25. Hey there! Can you use rose water & glycerin (or witch hazel) as an alternate deodorant? I’m still trying to figure this deodorant thing out w/o using baking soda, corn starch, or clays…

  26. Hi I use rosewater or other homemade waters with stronger sents, lemongrass ect. I wait till it drys then powder myself with diatomaceious earth which is very light. Glycerin is fine in moderatation can get sticky.

  27. An excellent recipe for preparing Rose Water along with ways to use Rose Water.

    I tried this out and the Rose Water turned out perfect. I use a combination of Rose Water and Witch Hazel as astringent to curb acne outbreak, so this recipe was handy.

    Lily

  28. Hi! I was wondering can I use rosewater in the first trimester of a pregnancy? I’m having a hard time finding a scent that’s safe to use. Thank you so much!

  29. Hello, I was introduced to rosewater a bit ago by a friend. She buys a bottle of rosewater from the store and uses it as a facial moisturizer. I may go ahead and try using this recipe to make my own, but I am also curious if there is a product that you recommend if I am to purchase rosewater. I see that the brand Heritage Store is a popular one. I have located the Heritage Store rosewater within the store and on Amazon. Do you find this product to be of good quality? Also, what would you say is the main difference between rosewater and rosewater with glycerin?

  30. I just mad rose water with red roses and the water turned a very dark almost purplish red color. Vey Beautiful! I added some to my home made shower gel made with soap flakes and it turned a very undesirable shade of green! Any suggestions as to why or what went wrong? Thanks!

  31. A real quick suggestion for anyone who can’t find or doesn’t want to use the brick. I like to use one of those stainless steel veggie steamers when making hydrosols. It opens up like a flower and fits many pot sizes. The bowl collecting your hydrosol won’t move around and is raised out of the water.

    • I’m so happy to read this. I didn’t want to use the brick. I’ll have to go dig out that steamer basket, because of course we never use it but just can’t seem to throw it away. Now it has a purpose!
      Are you able to set it up so the bowl doesn’t touch the water?

  32. Hello Wellness Mama,
    Can the achieved floral water later be used to make lotions, etc that are capable of being preserved after the final product is done?

  33. About how much rose water does this end up making? I am planning on using the distilling method, and I am out of dark bottles but not sure what size I should buy for storing this. Thanks!

  34. If I wanted to make a rose water glycerin toner what should my measurements be? I don’t want it to be too sticky and so many people say different measurements. Thank you!

  35. Hi I made rose water with light pink roses and the rose water turned green what happened

  36. I really like the vegetable steamer idea if making the hydrsol . If you make it the simmering way (with the shorter shelf life), once it is cool, you pour into ice cube trays. Once frozen store in an air tight freezer bag in the freezer. Simply take a cube or two as you need, thaw and pour into your dark mister bottle and store in the fridge. I love misting it on after my oil cleanse….I follow with a mist of rosehip seed oil . My face loves this routine. I also think making a lavender mist would be awesome to spritz on body before bed…

  37. Hello! When the rose water cools down ,can i put it into ice cubes for longer lasting? THANK U