Scent memory is a real thing, and certain smells just bring you back to particular points in time. For instance, every time I catch a whiff of crayons, I’m transported back to my elementary school classrooms. But that’s just the beginning of the aromatic tapestry that made up homeroom classes in the 1990s. With a topnote of artificially flavored candy and a base note of school supplies, there are all kinds of smells every '90s kid remembers from homeroom.
And the '90s were a big era for smells. Lots of schools supplies, from stickers to markers, were infused with fruity or woodsy scents. (For some reason this made them way cooler than the regular variety). And the unique trends of perfumes and other cosmetics dominated as well. It was a big decade for freesia, for some reason.
Beyond that, there were the general classroom smells — such as pencil dust and rubber cement — that will likely bring anyone back to the homeroom days. And the school library: ah! That was its own musty heaven. If you spent the '90s in a classroom, chances are these scents will be intensely familiar to you. Because markers that smelled like fruit punch were all that.
1. Contraband Bubble Tape
Bubble gum was perhaps the most forbidden object in any homeroom, but someone always managed to sneak in a little bit to gnaw on during class. It smelled extra-delicious when you knew you couldn't have it.
2. Scented Markers
A box of Mr. Sketch made color time far more interesting. You and your friends would take deep drags on the lemon one before coloring your hearts out. But the licorice one: blergh.
3. Scratch 'N Sniff Stickers
You probably got them on your paper when you did a good job on a spelling test. That fake grape scent was always strangely appealing.
4. Freesia Body Spray
Legit perfume was probably still a few years off, but that didn't stop your classmates (and maybe you) from overindulging in body spray. For whatever reason, freesia was everywhere in 1990s scents.
5. Cap Erasers
Erasers have their own distinctive scent that will bring you back to homeroom every time. They smell like rubber mixed with the stress of timed multiplication tests.
6. Library Books
School library books see a lot of traffic, and most of them have to hang around the library after years of hard use. But that slightly musty paper scent was (and still is) intoxicating.
Elmer's glue has its own unique scent that is 100 percent reminiscent of homeroom. Runner up: rubber cement.
There's at least an 80 percent chance your teacher wore Sunflowers by Elizabeth Arden. The fruity floral scent is straight outta 1993.
9. Fruity Lip Balm
Lip Smackers and Naturistics dominated the homeroom set. They were beloved and carefully guarded against school officials who banned all cosmetics.
10. Pencil Shavings
Okay, so this is a scent familiar to kids from many generations, but what brings you back to homeroom faster than the memory of this smell? It was woodsy and strangely pleasant.
11. Crayola Magic Scents Crayons
The original smell of crayons is magic in itself, but these Magic Scent crayons — with smells like campfire or pine — were amazing. The eucalyptus was pretty on-point.