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Make Scented Towels for Your Guests – 2 Easy-to-Follow DIY Recipes

Scented Towels - Refreshing oshibori
Elevate The Experience with Scented Oshibori Moist Towels

Scented Towels – A “Square of Care”

Show you Care with SCENTED towels. Offering your guest a hot or cold refreshing towel is a simple but meaningful touch of hospitality. Here are two easy ‘recipes’ to “Elevate The Experience’ for your visitors.

1. Purchase a Pre-mixed Solution

There are a few companies that supply easy-to-use mixes to make scented towels for your guests. The one we use at Ohana Towels is TROPICAL TOWEL SCENTS. Another is Hoy’s Towel Scent. For both, the basic steps are the same:

  1. Fill a tub with water.
  2. Add scented solution (water/solution ratio per instructions on bottle)
  3. Add towels to soak
  4. Wring out towels to remove excess moisture
  5. Roll and put in ziplock bags
  6. Place in refrigerator or hot cabi (towel warmer) for approx. 1 hour
  7. Serve

2. Start from Scratch (Use an Essential Oil)

The beauty of this option is that you can be as creative as you dare on the scent you choose. Aromatherapy stores often have ‘samplers’ to test so be brave and experiment to discover what you like. They can even be mixed. Perhaps your property has a signature scent, or you have a particular favorite. (Note – there may be some complexities that occur using ‘wider than basic’ scents (stickiness, ability for the oil to remain in solution, etc. That would need to be tested).

To DIY scented oshibori towels, it requires only three things (in this ratio). The Recipe:

    • 3.75mL Essential Oil (~75 drops or ~ 0.75tsp.)

    • 3.75mL Polysorbate 20 (~75 drops or ~ 0.75tsp.)

    • 1 Gallon (Distilled) water

This is a ratio of 0.002%; 7.5ml of solution (Essential Oil + Polysorbate 20) to 1 gallon of water (distilled). It is a ratio of 1:1 ratio of essential oil: Polysorbate 20 (3.75ml each for 7.5ml).


  • Mix Essential Oil and Emulsifier
  • Add the water and mix well.
  • (Continue with the same instructions as Option #1 above)

Note – Polysorbate-20 is a commonly-used organic emulsifier used in cosmetics and various solutions. Also, there are a few different EMULSIFIERS, including Polysorbate-80 or Sulfated Castor Oil, which may require a slightly different ratio). I have found Polysorbate-20 to be reasonably priced and with good effectiveness (per multiple info written by users online)

Alternative Ratios

When we were recently experimenting with one resort’s signature scent, we initially tried 5ml of solution to water, but found it to be a little bit weak vs the 7.5ml to 1 gallon. Of course entirely flexible, and would vary with the particular oil used (Lavender vs. Citrus, Mango, Eucalyptus, etc) and the quality of the essential oil used (or type, e.g. multiple ‘flavors’ of lavender).


I would suggest keeping the towels in a sealed container/bag within the refrigerator/ice box or hot cabi. The scent might gradually fade over time, and also infuse into other things.


Note – Pre-packaged towels also add an organic preservative to the solution, for the purpose of preventing bacteria/yeast growth in the sealed towels. If you are making up the towels as needed, I think your should be alright without. You could certainly make up much less than a gallon of solution at a time, too, although it can keep for a few days, to be sure.

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