11 Reasons Your Incense Smells Like Smoke, and What to Do About It

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Author: MiaTran
Last Modified: 9/3/2022 9:22:00 PM

Incense is made from plant materials - usually wood, bark, leaves, or roots - which are slowly burned to release their fragrance. The smoke from the burning incense carries the scent of the botanical material into the air, giving us that characteristic incense smell. It is often used to create a relaxing or spiritual atmosphere.

However, many people find that their incense smells more like smoke than anything else. So why does this happen? There are actually a few different reasons for that.

In this post, we'll explain why your incense smells like smoke and how to fix the problem. We'll also discuss some of the benefits of using incense and offer suggestions for enjoying it safely.

Products recommended in the post contain affiliate links. We may receive a commission when you buy something through our posts. See our full disclosures here.


11 Reasons Your Incense Smells Like Smoke


1. What does incense smell like?

Incense is a type of fragrance that is often burned in ceremonies or used to scent the air. The term can refer to both the material that is burned and the scent itself. Incense is made from different materials, including resin, wood, bark, and spices. It can be used to represent different things depending on the culture, such as offering prayers to a deity or purifying an area. In modern times, incense is often used as a way to relax and calm the mind.

The smell of incense can be difficult to describe, it depends on the ingredients that make it up. It can have many different smells, but it is typically spicy, aromatic, and slightly sweet. Some people also find it to be woodsy or earthy.

You can learn more about this topic in our article: What is incense?


What does incense smell like?


2. Why does my incense smell like smoke?

There are many different types of incense, each with its own unique smell. However, all incense produces smoke when lit, no matter what the scent. The smoke is created by the burning of the incense stick or cone, and it's this smoke that gives incense its distinctive aroma.

Some people find the smell of smoke unpleasant, while others find it relaxing and calming. Here are some of the top reasons that your incense sticks smell like smoke.

2.1. Depending on your incense origin

If your incense sticks smell of smoke, it is likely because of their origin. Incense from different countries can have different characteristics, and those from Japan usually burn clean with less smoke. Other origins, such as India, China, and Tibet, might produce more smoke when burned.

2.2. Your incense was made with poor-quality ingredients

One possibility is that your incense was made with poor-quality ingredients. Some inexpensive incenses use chemicals and other artificial ingredients that can produce a smoky smell when they burn.

You should avoid incense dips, whose ingredients are charcoal, sawdust, and flavorings that are glued to the bamboo stick. Besides, you should also not use popular brands of incense, which are produced from synthetic fragrances without natural botanical flavors such as Hem, Gonesh, Satya Sai Baba, and Wild Berry.


Your incense was made with poor-quality ingredients


2.3. Depends on the type of incense and how you burn it

There are different types of incense, each with its own unique smell. Some produce more smoke than others, while others have a stronger scent.

Whether your incense smells like smoke or not depends on the type of incense you're using and how you're burning it. For example, cones will produce more smoke than sticks, and resin incense will produce less smoke when burned with charcoal or an electric burner.

So if your incense doesn't smell quite right, try experimenting with different types and methods of burning to see what works best for you. You may be surprised at the difference a small change can make!

2.4. Contains too much fuel

If you've ever burned incense, you know that it can produce a lot of smoke. But why does this happen?

Well, incense is made up of three main components: the aromatics, the binder, and the fuel. The aromatics are what give the incense its scent, while the binder helps to hold everything together. And finally, the fuel is what actually burns and produces the smoke.

So, when you light an incense stick, it's the fuel that's burning - not the aromatics. That's why your incense smells like smoke even though it's made up of aromatic materials.

2.5. The core of the incense stick is too big

If your incense smells like smoke, it is most likely due to the core being too large. The core of the incense stick is usually made of bamboo or wood. When burning, this core will burn with the incense stick. If the core is too large, your incense will sound like a bonfire and produce more smoke. Low-smoke incense sticks often have a very small core or no core. This helps to reduce the amount of smoke generated and to create the most authentic fragrance.


The core of the incense stick is too big


2.6. Incense is damp or molds due to improper storage

The incense that is damp, moldy, or has spilled oils on its surface can all produce large amounts of smoke along with an unpleasant odor. If this is the case, you'll need to throw it away and get new incense.

To prevent this from happening, store your incense in a zip bag or sealed container in a cool place away from sunlight and high temperatures. By taking these simple steps, you can ensure that your incense will smell great every time you burn it.

You can also refer to the article: Instructions for preserving incense to learn more details.

2.7. Storage time is too long

If you've been using incense for a while, you might have noticed that the quality of the sticks has decreased over time. This is because the natural fragrance of the incense fades with age. When this happens, your incense will start to smell like smoke.

If you want to keep your incense smelling fresh, it's important to store it properly. Incense should be stored in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight. It's also a good idea to keep it in an airtight container so that the fragrance doesn't escape.

With proper care, your incense should retain its scent for a long time. Enjoy the fresh fragrance of your favorite incense sticks by storing them properly and using them.


Storage time is too long


2.8. The incense is burning too slowly

One possibility is that the incense is burning too slowly. When this happens, the woody materials in the incense can start to break down and release their fumes more quickly, resulting in a smokier smell.

To prevent this from happening, you should not burn incense in sealed containers. They will often prevent air from reaching the incense stick and produce more smoke and a burning smell. You should also open a window or create a flow of fresh air during incense burning.

2.9. Your incense burner is dirty

One potential reason your incense smells like smoke is that your incense burner is dirty causing the incense to burn improperly. Make sure to clean your incense burner periodically to enjoy the best fragrance experience.

Read more: How to clean backflow incense burner

2.10. You may be using too much incense

When you use too much incense in the same burn, it can create an excess of smoke and smells. This is because there isn't enough oxygen available to properly combust the incense. To avoid this, only use the recommended amount of incense by the manufacturer. By doing so, you'll create a cleaner, more pleasant burning experience.

You should also use incense in moderation to take full advantage of the benefits and minimize the harms that burning incense brings!

2.11. Due to each person's feelings

And the last reason to be considered may be the perception of each person. The problem may lie in your perception of each person's reaction - some people find fragrant smells unpleasant while others enjoy them greatly!

A lot goes into this decision including personal preferences like scent memories triggers, cultural background expectations, etc., but ultimately no two individuals perceive things alike - even if they share a similar taste, lifestyle-or mood.


Your incense burner is dirty


3. Does all incense smell like smoke?

There is no one answer to this question, as incense can come in a variety of different scents. However, many people tend to associate the smell of incense with smoke, due to the fact that it is often burned in smoky environments. Whether or not all incense smells like smoke depends on the type of incense that is being used, and the individual's preferences. Some people enjoy the smoky scent of burning incense, while others find it overpowering or unpleasant. Ultimately, it is up to each person to decide what they think about the smell of incense.

Below is a list of some types of incense that are said to produce a lot of smoke when burned:

  • Incense brands from India such as Hem, Satya Sai Baba, or Gonesh.
  • Types of incense ropes from Tibet like Lamatar1 or Padma Craft
  • Some types of dip incense such as WILDBERRY.
  • Most smudge sticks like white sage, blue sage, mugwort sage.
  • Incense sticks are made from original wood such as palo santo, balsam fir.


Does all incense smell like smoke?


4. How to make incense not smell like smoke?

In case you still want to use your existing incense sticks, There are a few things you can do to make your incense not smell like smoke.

4.1. Check to see if your incense sticks are damp

The first and easiest way is to check if they are damp or moldy. If they are, you should throw them away. If it's just damp, you should let it dry. You should note that they should not be exposed to the sun, just let them dry on their own in a cool, airy place.

4.2. Store your incense properly

When enjoying the aroma of incense, it's important to make sure that the sticks do not deteriorate during storage. Here are a few tips on how to make incense not smell like smoke:

  • Store your incense in a zip bag or plastic box to avoid losing the fragrance.
  • Keep them in a cool place and out of direct sunlight.
  • Only buy a moderate amount of incense. Paintings bought too much, not used all also reduce their fragrance.


Store your incense properly


4.3. Use a charcoal disk

A charcoal disk is made out of carbon and can be found at most stores that sell incense. To use it, light the edge of the disk with a lighter and let it burn for about 30 seconds. Then, blow out the flame and place the disk in your incense holder. The smoke from the incense will go up through the disk and will not smell like smoke.

4.4. Use an electric incense burner

You can use an electric incense burner instead of using a traditional burning incense stick. Electric incense burners don't produce any smoke, so the scent of your incense will be much more subtle. This will eliminate any smoke from the equation. Make sure to use high-quality incense sticks that are made for electric burners, as lower-quality ones may still produce some smoke. You can find electric incense burners at most craft stores or online.

Below are instructions for using an electric incense burner.

4.5. Try using a different type of incense

There are many different types of incense, and each one produces a different smell. Some incenses produce more smoke than others. Sandalwood and jasmine are two examples of incense that don't produce a lot of smoke.

4.6. Use a different type of incense burner

You can also try using a different type of incense burner. Some burners produce more smoke than others. If you're using an incense cone, try using an incense holder or ash catcher. This will help to keep the smoke from filling up your room.

4.7. Make your own incense

Finally, you can try making your own incense. There are many different recipes for incense online. You can find one that uses ingredients that don't produce a lot of smoke. Or, you can make your own blend of incense by combining different types of spices and herbs.Another thing you can do is get an incense holder. This will help hold the stick in place and direct the smoke up instead of outwards.

Read more: How to make incense cone


Make your own incense


5. Incense that doesn't smell like smoke?

There's no need to put up with smoky incense if you don't want to. There are plenty of options available that will allow you to enjoy the wonderful aroma of incense without any smoke.

Charcoal-based incense sticks are a great option for those who want to enjoy the benefits of incense without the smoke. Japanese brands such as Nippon Kodo and Baieido are well-known for their high-quality charcoal incense sticks.

Incense resins are another smokeless option that can be used with an electric incense burner. These resins come in a variety of scents and can be burned without producing any smoke.

So, if you're looking for a smoke-free way to enjoy the wonderful scent of incense, there's no need to look any further. These are just a few of the many options available to you.

Besides, you can also read the article below to choose for yourself the most suitable product.

>>> Review top 11 best incense sticks

>>> Top 11 best smelling backflow incense cones


Incense that doesnt smell like smoke?



While we can’t identify the precise reason why your incense smells like smoke, we hope that our list of potential causes provides some useful insights.

We want to know what you think- have you experienced any of these issues with your own incense burning? Do you have any tips to share on how to fix them? Let us know in the comments below. And, if you're looking for some new and delicious incense scents to try, head over to our shop- we've got something for everyone!

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About MiaTran

I'm Tran Mai Anh (MiaTran) and welcome to natural scents.net. I am a yoga instructor and nutritionist. I have a passion for finding the right scents for different purposes like yoga, meditation, and spirituality. Hope my articles will be useful to you. Find out more about me.