Smelling Incense When None Is Burning [What Does It Mean?]

Smelling incense when none is burning could be caused by previous incense smells absorbed by objects in the room. Some people also take it as a spiritual sign. In some cases, it can be a sign of a health problem. 

Why Do I Smell Incense When None Is Burning?

Why Do I Smell Incense When None Is Burning

Here are some likely reasons why you are experiencing this. 

1. There’s Still Incense Smell In Your Home

If you have burned incense in your home in the last few days or a couple of weeks, there could still be incense smell trapped in the house. 

Smells easily permeate objects like furniture, rugs, and upholstery and are later re-released. The released incense smell will usually be very mild and a guest may not even smell it. 

But because you are familiar with the smell of incense, it’s easy to pick it up. 

Over time, the smell of incense will fade away until it’s completely gone, until you burn incense again. 

How to Quickly Get Rid of Incense Smell

If you don’t want to wait until the smell goes away on its own, try using a deodorizer. Baking soda is a good and safe deodorizer. 

Sprinkle it on furniture, the carpet and other surfaces where the smell of incense seems to be strongest. Let it sit for a few hours or overnight then vacuum it up. It’ll absorb the incense smell and other odors. 

You can also place small bags of charcoal round your home to absorb odors or buy an air purifier. 

2. Nervous or Neurological Health Problem 

A more worrying cause of smelling incense when there’s none burning is possible nervous or neurological damage. 

You could have phantosmia or parosmia.

Phantosmia is when you are experiencing phantom smells. It’s like an olfactory hallucination. You are smelling something that’s not there. 

Parosmia is when you experience distorted smells. The smell of other things like food or flowers is distorted and you instead experience a different kind of smell like that of incense burning. 

Phantosmia and parosmia can be caused by damage to sensory nerves that give you a sense of smell. It can also be an indication of a neurological problem in your brain like stroke, epilepsy, or depression.

If you are absolutely sure there’s no actual incense burning in or near your home and you haven’t recently burnt incense in your home, talk to your doctor for a diagnosis. 

You may also experience other, usually unpleasant smells like smoke, burning rubber, or mold. 

3. It’s Coming From Another Source 

Another possible cause of smelling incense when there’s isn’t any burning is that there’s something else producing an incense-like smell. 

There are many chemicals and objects that can produce the same aromatic scents that incense does. 

For example, you or a member of the family may have started using a new cologne or deodorant. Maybe the new air freshener smells a bit too much like some incense sticks you’ve burned before. 

Your air conditioner can also produce a sweet or aromatic smell. This can happen if it’s new (goes away after a few hours) or if there’s a refrigerant leak. 

There can also be herbs or oils in your home that have close to the same scent as incense. For example, rosemary produces the same earthy aromatic smell as frankincense.

Ask your family members or a guest if they can also smell something in the air. If they do, see if you can find where it’s coming from.

Does The Smell of Incense Have Spiritual Meaning?

Does The Smell of Incense Have Spiritual Meaning

Burning incense holds important meaning in the Catholic Church. The smoke and smell of incense is a sign of prayers going up to heaven. They can also indicate God’s presence and holiness. 

However, there is nothing in the Bible to indicate that a random smell of incense out of the blue has any spiritual meaning. 

But God talks to believers in different ways, so it’s possible that God is reminding you of his love and grace. Maybe it’s an encouragement when you are feeling down and anxious. 

We recommend talking to your local priest for guidance and prayer. 

If the smell persists for a prolonged period, it’s a good idea to try and track down where it might be coming from or see your doctor to find out if you have a health problem. 

Other Possible Causes 

  • Your neighbor is burning incense and the smell has drifted over to your home. 
  • There’s a church near your home where incense is regularly burned. It doesn’t have to be a Catholic Church. Many religions and denominations have taken on the practice of burning incense. 
  • You or someone else in your home has carried the smell from church or somewhere where incense was being burned. The smell can cling onto clothes and other objects. 
  • If you have incense at home, make sure it is stored properly in a cool and dry place. For example, if resin incense is exposed to high temperatures it can start producing an aroma. 

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