What is Masking Fragrance?

Aya Pauli

A masking fragrance is a strong scent that temporarily covers unpleasant odors. Though masking scents cover the smell, they do nothing to destroy foul odors. As soon as the masking fragrance wears off, the foul odor will return. Depending on the strength of the product, a masking scent can last anywhere from a few minutes to a few days. Most masking fragrances last four to six hours.

Floral scents are popular masking fragrances


Masking fragrances use essential and/or scented oils to create a strong scent that helps cover other odors. Expensive essential oils are natural, plant-derived scents. Cheap scented oils are synthetic, chemical-derived scents. Scented oils are the preferred ingredient over essential oils because they are cheaper and provide a wide array of scents. Essential oils only replicate scents found in natural oils, such as rose and cedar. Scented oils can provide natural and artificial scents, such as toasted marshmallow and sea breeze.


Masking fragrances are popular for home and personal use. A masking fragrance helps cover the garbage smell in a kitchen, dirty laundry smell in a bedroom, foul smells in the bathroom and even pet-related odors in the carpet or furnishings. It can make an old car or an old doll smell new. A masking fragrance can also help cover up personal odors, such as sweaty feet and armpits.

There are numerous masking fragrance scents available, however, the most popular essential oil masking fragrances include vanilla, rose, jasmine, cedar, sandalwood and lavender. Popular scented oil masking fragrances include fresh linen, strawberry, apple pie, pine, musk, rain, citrus and spring flowers.


Almost every fragrant product on the market is a masking fragrance. Most candles, incense, scented sprays, deodorants, perfumes, potpourris and oil diffusers are meant to cover up smells, not destroy them. The only fragrances that work for more than masking purposes are special odor-eating or eliminating products, such as air-sanitizing and odor-neutralizing garbage bags.


Steer clear of masking fragrances if you, or anyone in your family, has problems with headaches, sinuses, asthma or allergies. Though reactions vary from person to person, the strong scents can irritate each of these problems. Never use a masking fragrance on fabric or carpet unless the product directs you to do so. Most masking fragrances are heavy with oil, which can stain fabrics and carpet.