Essential oils can add a lot to your home, however, you need to use them with caution. Remember, essential oils are extremely potent, so you want to treat them with respect. I highly recommend you research different brands of essential oils and choose a company that adheres to strict quality standards. Just because a bottle of oil says it is “pure” or “therapeutic”, does not mean it’s high quality, as evidenced by this video. (You can read more about essential oil terminology here.)
There are several ways you can use essential oils, so let’s go through them one at a time:
Diffusion is the release of essential oil into the air through the use of a diffuser. Add the recommended amount of tap water to your diffuser and then add several drops of essential oil. I typically use 5-8 drops of oil total. Looking for oils that blend well together? Check out the following posts:
- Holiday Diffuser Blends (Perfect for fall and winter)
- Spring Diffuser Blends (Perfect for spring and summer)
Another option is to apply essential oils to your skin. When doing so, you should dilute the essential oil with a carrier oil, such as fractionated coconut oil or olive oil (see dilution rates below). There are several reasons to dilute essential oils. 1.) Diluting the oil means less waste. One drop of essential oil is very strong and goes a long way. By adding it to carrier oil, you can get more out of that oil. 2.) Some oils are “hot”, meaning they can create a burning sensation. Diluting the oil decreases that sensation. 3.) Diluting decreases the likelihood of developing sensitization to an essential oil. Sensitization is, basically, an allergic reaction to the oil. This tends to happen after use of the oil for a long period of time. While certain oils are more likely to cause sensitization, it can happen with any oil. Once sensitization has occurred, you can no longer use the oil, nor any oil containing the chemical component to which you are having a reaction. I know some will tell you that you can apply essential oils “neat”, meaning without a carrier oil, but I, personally, would never recommend it.
When using oils topically, always test on a small area of skin first and make sure there is no reaction. If you experience any reaction, please seek medical advice. I know some say this means you’re “detoxing”, but after dealing with food allergies in our home, don’t risk it. If you are having a negative reaction, see a medical professional and stop using the oil. If you are pregnant, nursing, or have any medical condition(s) always discuss the use of essential oils with a medical professional. Please also be aware that some oils are not suitable for young children. If you have done your research, and feel comfortable applying essential oils on your child(ren), please realize they need the oil to be diluted beyond that of an adult. Essential oils should never be placed in the eyes, nose, ears, or on mucus membranes. While researching “injury reports” with essential oil usage, application of undiluted oils, as well as oral administration, accounted for almost all negative reactions.
Recommended Dilution Rates
For use as an adult, the recommended dilution rate is 2-3 drops of essential oil per teaspoon (5 ml) of carrier oil. If you are using the essential oil on a daily basis, the recommendation is 1 drop per teaspoon. If you are using the oil short-term, for a specific purpose, the recommendation is 4-5 drops of oil per teaspoon. For a chart of dilution rates for adults and children, click here.
This is a highly debated use of essential oils. Some state that internal use of essential oils is beneficial, while others deem it harmful. Please do your research before making that decision for yourself. Remember, essential oils are highly potent, and can have side effects. There are some essential oils that should never be used internally. If a bottle of essential oil is labeled for internal use, please follow the guidelines. This is a case where less is more. Again, please find a company that has strong safety standards in place for their oils. While researching essential oil reports, I looked into some of the cases in which essential oil consumption resulted in a fatality. All those I found were administered in very large doses (4-30 ml).