How to make a Flower Water

by Monica Wilde
11 February 2014

It is not complicated to make scented flower waters, such as rose water, especially with Valentine's Day and then Mother's Day coming up. Little bottles of homemade rosewater tied with a ribbon bow make the most thoughtful little presents. They make gentle cleansers and toners, lovely linen sprays, fragrant non-toxic room sprays, and can be added to your face cream to enhance it. There are two main ways to make these at home very simply without possessing a still!

The recipe above is the quick method. You boil together equal quantities of flower petals and water, measured by volume. Gently steam until the petals lose their colour. Then put into a bottle or jar with screw-top lid. Keep in a refrigerator. 

For a stronger scent, I recommend double steaming as follows:


Examples of flowers to use, with links to those we stock here at Napiers:

  • Rose petals
  • Witch hazel leaves
  • Calendula petals
  • Chamomile heads
  • Geranium petals
  • Yarrow flowering tops

Do make sure your petals or leaves are free from insecticides and other chemical sprays.

  1. Get a large pan with a heavy base or a double boiler.
  2. Fill up to half-full with flower petals.
  3. Just cover the petals with filtered or bottled water, or rainwater.
  4. Simmer on a very gentle heat for 15-30 minutes with the lid on.
  5. Switch off and put aside to cool.
  6. When cool, pour the contents through a strainer. Squeeze petals to get all the water out.
  7. Now put new fresh petals into the pan until half-full again.
  8. Cover with the same water you have strained off from before.
  9. Simmer on a very gentle heat for a further 15-30 minutes.
  10. Switch off and put aside to cool.
  11. Strain and squeeze again.
  12. Now filter the water through coffee paper filters to remove any small bits.

Put into sterilised bottles. This will last up to 2 weeks in the fridge.

Please note: the exact time of steaming - whether 15 minutes or 30 minutes - depends on the delicacy of the petals.


You can add 5% vodka as a preservative if you want your rosewater to last a bit longer. Try to get the strongest vodka you can as alcohol prevents bacteria from thriving. Or, if you have dry skin, use vegetable glycerine instead. It is not as strong a preservative but it does help to lengthen shelf life.


You can put this into bottles with a spray top to use as a skin freshener, body spray or facial toner. A few ml of vegetable glycerine with stop the water just dripping off your skin and help it lightly cling to your skin without feeling greasy.

You can mix this into any creams that you make instead of adding water.

An equal part of vegetable glycerin and rose water, shaken together vigorously, make the most excellent hand lotion.

Some flower waters (e.g. rosewater) can also be used in cooking, cake making or in sweet making (e.g. Turkish Delight)