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  1. #1

    Default DIY steam distillation using a plastic vegetable steamer

    Hello all,

    Very new to the fragrance world! I'm an artist interested in incorporating scent in my work. Lurking this forum for advice on getting started has been both exciting & a little overwhelming.

    Right now, I'm making a candle that is scented with a mixture of aroma-chemicals and homemade extracted fragrances. I would like to extract the scent of my own body. I started building a pretty inexpensive, basic setup for steam extracting fragrance from my clothes: I bought an electric vegetable steamer and drilled a hole in the lid to connect to a glass condenser tube. I just now realized that getting a plastic steamer might be unsafe. Do I need to worry about chemicals leeching into the steam or am I overthinking it?

    If anyone else has worked on a project like this (extracting human scent through steam distillation), would love to also hear your advice!

  2. #2
    Basenotes Junkie
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    Default Re: DIY steam distillation using a plastic vegetable steamer

    Dude! I hope this a joke :-)
    If it isn’t, you might start reading up on
    1) steam distillation- which can take hours , and at fairly high temperatures 180-200 degrees
    2) the amount of materials you need to actually get a workable amount of aroma naturals- depending upon material- sometimes 100s# for a few ounces
    3) what do believe is in your clothes? There is laundry detergent, all kinds of other smells from day to day life- all kinds of things would also be in eau de man

    So you could search the forum- there was a fairly recent posting on getting the “male” smell I believe you are looking for- and there is a much better chance of actually succeeding, through the use of aroma chemicals-

  3. #3

    Default Re: DIY steam distillation using a plastic vegetable steamer

    Not a joke!

    I've done a good amount of reading about steam distillation, so I know it requires a lot of raw material & time to get a good amount of fragrance out of it. I'm more interested in the idea of including a material that comes from me vs. what it actually ends up smelling like. I've been working on making a fragrance blend with aroma-chemicals that is the bulk of my "human" scent (did read through a bunch of the threads here that you mention!). I'll be happy if I'm able to get 5ml out of my distilled scent.

  4. #4

    Default Re: DIY steam distillation using a plastic vegetable steamer

    This cannot be done. There are even books & movies about this topic. Read "Perfume: The Story of A Murderer" by Patrick Suskind. It doesn't end well for any of the perfumers involved!


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  5. #5

    Default Re: DIY steam distillation using a plastic vegetable steamer

    OMG.

  6. #6

    Default Re: DIY steam distillation using a plastic vegetable steamer

    I'll pretend you're serious.

    Steam distillation wouldn't be the technique to use here. A solvent extraction would be much more successful. Put something fragrance free fabric in your armpits and elsewhere if you like and wear it till saturated. Then extract with hexane or ether. Evaporate the hexane or ether and you might be left with something.

  7. #7

    Default Re: DIY steam distillation using a plastic vegetable steamer

    The idea of making a candle infused with one's own body scent I do have to put into a "special" category. Not sure what to call the category: perhaps, "What next?"

    Anyway, yes, solvent extraction would be by far the better suited but the idea may be expected to fail for candle application, due to candles requiring relatively high concentrations of aromamaterials and the amount collected is likely to be more on the order of micrograms.

    Probably for the best for all concerned.

  8. #8

    Default Re: DIY steam distillation using a plastic vegetable steamer

    This made me giggle lol why your own body smell? I imagine you smell divine if you want to mimic the human body smell then maybe just use some musks and civet artificial?

  9. #9

    Default Re: DIY steam distillation using a plastic vegetable steamer

    Quote Originally Posted by Perfume Paul View Post
    I'll pretend you're serious.

    Steam distillation wouldn't be the technique to use here. A solvent extraction would be much more successful. Put something fragrance free fabric in your armpits and elsewhere if you like and wear it till saturated. Then extract with hexane or ether. Evaporate the hexane or ether and you might be left with something.
    Was thinking the same thing. I do wonder if co2 would do better. What do you say ?

    Sent from my SM-G965F using Tapatalk
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  10. #10

    Default Re: DIY steam distillation using a plastic vegetable steamer

    Quote Originally Posted by lubbert_das View Post
    Hello all,

    Very new to the fragrance world! I'm an artist interested in incorporating scent in my work. Lurking this forum for advice on getting started has been both exciting & a little overwhelming.

    Right now, I'm making a candle that is scented with a mixture of aroma-chemicals and homemade extracted fragrances. I would like to extract the scent of my own body. I started building a pretty inexpensive, basic setup for steam extracting fragrance from my clothes: I bought an electric vegetable steamer and drilled a hole in the lid to connect to a glass condenser tube. I just now realized that getting a plastic steamer might be unsafe. Do I need to worry about chemicals leeching into the steam or am I overthinking it?

    If anyone else has worked on a project like this (extracting human scent through steam distillation), would love to also hear your advice!
    Just play the devil's advocate.... why not your spearm? It does actually have more chances to get a smell out the the extraction


    Sent from my SM-G965F using Tapatalk
    Currently wearing: Y by Yves Saint Laurent

  11. #11

    Default Re: DIY steam distillation using a plastic vegetable steamer

    Thanks for the replies, everyone. A little surprised that experimental, art applications of fragrance are met with such surprise here lol. Just to reiterate: I'm more interested in getting a very, very small amount of organic material as the idea behind the work is more about the concept of adding something from my body vs getting it to actually smell like me. The work is asking (rhetorically) what is the smell of chronic pain. I'm creating the bulk of the fragrance for the candle by blending a "pain" accord that is bodily, sweet, metallic, and peppery-sharp (currently using maritima, cumin, pink peppercorn, honey fragrance oil, pyralone, Perfumers Apprentice's dry salt accord, PEPA, milk lactone, and animalid). The only way the viewer will realize that there are fragrance elements derived directly from the body is through reading the material list.

    I'll look into solvent extraction.

  12. #12

    Default Re: DIY steam distillation using a plastic vegetable steamer

    If you don't care abt obtaining any actual detectable scent & the goal is purely conceptual, what do you think abt instead of extracting undetectable amounts of volatiles from your clothes, you rub each bottle under your armpit? In fact, thinking a little more, there are cloth sticky labels for the bottle or cloth ribbons that I've seen wrapped around bottle caps. You could rub something like this under your armpit & it might even actually convey a hint of scent?

    Anyway, this is an interesting idea & incorporating the bodily into a piece of art is of course a long tradition.

  13. #13

    Default Re: DIY steam distillation using a plastic vegetable steamer

    Use musks and civet ffs

  14. #14
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    Default Re: DIY steam distillation using a plastic vegetable steamer

    Jean-Baptiste Grenouille would cover the skin with lard, let it sit for a while, collect the fat it and extract it with alcohol. He was partial to young virgins but I see no problem in applying the procedure to oneself. Auto-enfleurage, if you will.

    Steam distillation won't work.

  15. #15
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    Default Re: DIY steam distillation using a plastic vegetable steamer

    This person makes fragrances as such:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2y_7sGaHNHM
    Comments are similar there as it is here.
    Jude Rutledge




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