Discovering Petrichor: Why Do We Like the Scent of Rain?

tiny air bubbles

What is your favourite scent?

Freshly baked cookies or coffee would most likely be one of the first things that come to mind.

But the sweet, earthy smell of rain would also be at the top of that list.

In fact, we humans enjoy the smell of rain so much that we have even discovered a method to bottle it!

Makers of living fragrances, perfumes, essential oils, soaps, and other scented goods have created rain-scented products for us to enjoy the aroma of rain anytime we want.

Stepping outside after a downpour and taking in the beautiful scent of recently fallen rain is much better than the version in a bottle because nothing quite beats the original source.

But during heat waves (like now!), we can easily get fragrances to recreate the scent of rain around the house and office.

Want to know more about why humans are so attracted to petrichor? Keep reading!

What Is Petrichor?

Rain has a distinct scent that is produced due to biological, chemical, and timing factors.

The rain itself does not produce the scent that so many of us have grown to love. Instead, the enchantment takes place when rains kiss the arid Earth.

In fact, petrichor is the result of rainwater dispersing underground organic compounds along with the aroma of plant oils and ozone, a molecule formed from the interaction of electrical discharges with oxygen molecules (lightning in this case).

Plants exude oils during dry seasons. These oils subsequently build up in the dry soil and rocks around the plants.

One such substance is geosmin, made by soil-dwelling bacteria known as actinomycetes. Geosmin is often present in large amounts in the majority of healthy soils.

So when it rains, the oily molecules interact with other components to produce the familiar fragrance, giving off that earthy scent we associate with rainy weather.

This is why this scent seems to be stronger when it rains after a spell of dry weather.

Although it is constantly present, you cannot smell it when it is dry since it is released into the air by precipitation.

greek mythology refers
extremely sensitive to earth's perfume

When the Earth seems to sigh with pleasure after rain falls, we may automatically take in a deeper breath and savour the fragrances in return. This smell is known as petrichor.

The word petrichor is derived from the Greek words petra, meaning stone or rock, and ichor, referring to the golden fluid that ran through the veins of the gods, according to Greek mythology.

The word “petrichor” was first used by Australian scientists Isabel Joy Bear and Richard Grenfell Thomas in 1964 in The Nature of Argillaceous Odour.

The scientific article, published in the journal Nature, noted that cattle responded strongly to this smell of the first rain after dry periods, following the fragrance to seek water.

Why Are Human So Attracted To Rain?

There are various theories as to why humans are so attracted to the smell of fresh rain, though all of them have to do with its ultimate association to rain itself.

Some theories propose that after a rainstorm, many of us experience a form of mass synesthesia or overlapping of synaptic reactions.

It can be noted that the combination of the smell of petrichor and the peaceful sound of raindrops provides a strong sense of relief in our brains.

compound called geosmin

Change In Environment

earthy flavor after rain shower

First off, people who experience anxiety and sadness tend to benefit from rain.

Although rain is in no way a cure for anxiety or depression, it does help to alleviate temporary symptoms due to human’s innate biophilia.

This is because the smell of gentle rain helps change someone’s environment, especially if they are out of touch with nature.

The rain can be seen as bringing nature to you. Exposure to nature for those who experience mental illness has been proven to improve their well-being significantly in the short term.

Nature and the rain brings about an aura of peace and calm.

The human race was initially very close to nature, so sometimes, many of us need just some love from Mother Nature.

Improves Sleep

There are claims that petrichor and the sound of raindrops have a favourable effect on sleep and memory issues.

It is said that it reduces overthinking and helps you disengage from negative feelings and thoughts when trying to sleep.

So if you see yourself experiencing insomnia, you might want to invest in some petrichor-scented products!

For example, you can easily do so with our miniature greenscape diffuser.

flower petals

Relief From Heat

For Singapore in particular, our weather usually consists of a scorching sun and heat waves, so rain offers many of us relief from the blazing sunlight.

When we smell petrichor, it signals our bodies that we won’t experience sunburn or heat-related issues anytime soon, so we can relax at the moment.

So there you have it— we like the smell of petrichor because of everything associated with it. It helps you sleep better, enables you to calm down, and so much more!

porous surface aerosols

Experience The Relaxing Scent Of Petrichor With GreenTurf!

With GreenTurf, you don’t need to open your window and wait for the rain to enjoy the enchanting scent of petrichor.

Our product, Green A.R.T., is an artificial floral plant steeped in a custom blend of pure essential oils that mimic Petrichor. It’s great for any space and doesn’t require any maintenance!

It also looks as real as any live plant, but without the smell of fertilisers or pesticides.

You’ll experience only the refreshing, soothing scent of petrichor that instantly turns your space into a comfort zone.

petrichor smells perfume
Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on whatsapp
Share on email