In recent years essential oils have exploded in popularity as more and more people realize how beneficial they can be. They can be used for everything from treating medical conditions to simply improving the way your home smells, and countless uses in between.
The most common way to use essential oils is with a diffuser that automatically fills the room with the smell of the oil. This is a very efficient, easy way to use oils for aromatherapy, but it's not the only way to use essential oils. In fact, depending on what you want to use the essential oils for, it's not always the best way to use them, either.
There are many times when aromatherapy just isn't the best way to make use of your essential oils. In fact, there are lots of uses for essential oils that have nothing to do with applying them to your body, since essential oils have uses in all areas of the home.
The list below covers many of the different ways on how to use essential oils without a diffuser, although it's by no means an exhaustive list.
Adding a few drops of essential oils to your favorite massage oil can really elevate the experience. You can add something soothing like lavender or eucalyptus for an incredibly relaxing massage. Or, you could go in the opposite direction and choose an invigorating, energizing scent like peppermint or ginger for a refreshing experience.
Of course, you don't have to use an oil with any particular benefit in mind. You may just want to add a nice scent to your massage oil. If that's the case, lemon is popular, but just about any oil will work wonders.
Whichever essential oil you choose, be careful when adding it to your massage oil. Essential oils are highly concentrated and can easily irritate your skin if they are not diluted enough.
Start by adding just a couple of drops to your massage oil, and only increase the amount by a drop or two at a time if you feel that you need more.
2. Body Wash
For a long time, essential oils were the standard method of adding scent to soaps or anything else that needed to be scented. These aromas are often manufactured in labs now, but if you take a look at the ingredient labels on all-natural soap, shampoos, body washes, and more, you'll still see essential oils listed.
You can just as easily make your own body wash, using essential oils to customize not only the scent but the health benefits. If you add essential oils to your body wash you'll be simultaneously enjoying a topical application and aromatherapy, as you'll absorb some of the oils directly into your skin and the hot water from the shower will carry some of it into the air just like a diffuser.
Dilute you essential oils with a carrier oil like jojoba oil, which is easily absorbed by the skin and works as a natural moisturizer. Then add your oil mixture to a bottle of pure, unscented castile soap.
Storebought toothpaste can have a shockingly long ingredient list, and not all of those ingredients are things you want in your mouth. Making your own toothpaste is easy, economical, and healthy.
Essential oils can do a lot more than just adding scent to the toothpaste: many of them have powerful antibacterial properties that can improve your oral health and prevent bad breath.
Clove oil is also popular and has a long history of use in oral health applications. An easy and simple homemade toothpaste can be made by adding a few drops of your oil to a jar of virgin coconut oil (which has its own antimicrobial qualities, along with plenty of other health benefits), and adding baking soda to really make sure your teeth get clean.
Much like making homemade body wash, homemade shampoo based on essential oils can be a great way to improve your daily hygiene ritual. This is especially true if you suffer from dandruff or a dry, itchy scalp. Traditional shampoos meant for treating these conditions are full of harsh chemicals, but essential oils can treat them gently and naturally.
Tea tree oil is especially effective at treating dandruff, and it's the most popular choice for shampoo. The process and recipe is almost exactly like that used for body wash: combine your essential oils with a carrier oil like jojoba oil or fractionated coconut oil, and add that to pure castile soap. The main difference is that, with shampoo, you want to add some additional oil- olive oil or even just plain vegetable oil- to add some additional moisture to your hair.
To make a homemade conditioner based on essential oils, you start with the same first step as shampoo and body wash. Tea tree oil is a great choice here as well, especially if you're already using it in your shampoo so that the scents will match.
Add a few drops of your essential oil to jojoba oil, and consider other add-ins like aloe vera gel or coconut oil. Don't use castile soap with your conditioner, as you aren't trying to clean your hair anymore, but just to soften and moisturize it.
6. Topical application to treat joint aches and inflammation
After diffusers, topical applications of essential oils are the next most common way to use them. Especially if you're trying to treat a rash, an aching joint, or muscle cramps, topical applications can be extremely effective.
The most important thing to remember when applying essential oils directly to your skin is that you must dilute them first. Pure essential oils can irritate the skin and make you very uncomfortable.
Fractionated coconut oil, often labeled MCT oil, is an excellent carrier oil that has a neutral scent which won't interfere with the scent of your essential oil, and it's gentle on skin. You can also use vegetable oil or olive oil.
The exact amount of essential oil to add to the carrier oil is up to you, and depends on your personal preference. It's best to start small, with just a few drops, and increase the concentration later if needed.
7. Roll on
This is another method of applying the oils topically. Roll on bottles can be found online easily enough, and some companies sell their oils already blended with a carrier oil and packaged in a roll on bottle like this one.
Roll-on oils have the advantage of being extremely easy to apply. Applying oils topically usually lacks precision, since you're usually pouring the oil into your hands and rubbing it on. The roll on controls the flow of oil, helping you to apply a small amount in a thin layer with a lot of precision. Buying ready-made roll on oils also has the advantage of giving you an oil that's already been properly diluted and is ready to use.
8. Beard Oil
If you have a beard, making your own beard oil is a great way to use essential oils without a diffuser. Beard oil can be expensive- often costing $30 or more for a 1-ounce bottle. Most bearded men can attest to the value of a good beard oil, but making it yourself can save you a lot of money without sacrificing any of the benefits.
Beard oil can be as simple as adding essential oils to jojoba oil and calling it a day. You can add other carrier oils if you want- argan oil and MCT oil are common, as is olive you. You really don't need any other ingredients for a good beard oil.
9. Hair oil
It's not as common as beard oil, but hair oil is essentially the same thing, and serves the same purpose. It functions as an all-natural, leave-in conditioner that can add shine and softness to your hair, while also giving you a little bit of mild control.
10. Dish Soap
Making your own dish soap is a great way to make use of essential oils. In addition to letting you customize the scent of your dish soap, the antimicrobial properties of many essential oils help to improve the cleanliness of your dishes.
In order to be effective, dish soap needs to be made with detergents. Detergents cut through grease, which true soaps cannot do. There are all-natural detergents on the market, and they're easy to find. Just be sure to read the label carefully, these are often sold as concentrates and need to be diluted with water before use.
To add essential oils to your homemade dish soap, dilute the detergent appropriately and then add a few drops of your preferred essential oil. There's no need to use a carrier oil here.
11. Mopping floors
Many people don't realize that most of the products marketed as floor cleaners for mopping do little more than make your floors smell nice. In most cases, mopping is only done to remove dirt and grime from the floor, and on floors that can be mopped water is usually sufficient to get that done.
Adding essential oils to your mop water can actually do a lot more than just making it smell nice. Since essential oils have antibacterial, antifungal, and antimicrobial qualities, they can actually do a more thorough job of cleaning your floors than many of the products made for mopping.
Simply choose your preferred oil, and add it to the mop bucket along with the water. The amount of oil you use is up to you, but you will likely want to use more essential oil here than you would normally use in other applications.
In addition to thoroughly cleaning your floors, you'll get some mild aromatherapy out of this use because you'll enjoy the scent of the oil in every room that you mopped.
12. Countertop Cleaner
Homemade all purpose cleaners are popular, since they can be easily mad with cheap, common household ingredients and many people are alarmed by the harsh chemicals present in store bought cleaners.
The only problem is that the most common- and most effect- ingredient in these homemade cleaners is vinegar. Vinegar is perfectly safe and extremely effective, but most people don't want their house to smell like vinegar.
Adding a few drops of essential oil to the bottle of cleaner can dramatically improve the smell. For a homemade cleaner that will clean effectively without smelling too strongly of vinegar, mix 3/4 cup of hydrogen peroxide with 1/2 cup of vinegar, 2 cups of water and 30 drops of essential oils. That can be 30 drops of one oil, or you can add different oils, such as 10 drops each of three different oils.
13. Insect repellent
Insect repellent is an essential product in the summer months to keep disease-carrying bugs like mosquitoes and ticks away. You don't want to risk getting bitten, since that can expose you to horrible illnesses like lyme disease and West Nile virus, but most insect repellents are full of synthetic, potentially dangerous ingredients that may be harmful to you and to the environment.
Fortunately, essential oils make excellent insect repellents. Use a combination of rubbing alcohol and water as a base, and then add lemon, eucalyptus, rosemary, lavender, or clove oil, or a combination of any and all of those. These oils are repel insects effectively and naturally, with no health risk to you at all.
14. Treating bug bites
Because many essential oils have soothing, anti-inflammatory properties, they can be very useful for relieving itchy bug bites. Lavender is a popular choice for this use, as are tea tree and peppermint.
Bug bite relief is a great example of a use for essential oils where a diffuser is not a good way to experience the benefits of the oil. Treating bug bites with essential oils really requires topical application of the oil.
To do this properly, add a few drops of the oil or oils you want to use to a carrier oil. A roll-on bottle is an ideal applicator for bug bites but you can also simply pour the oil into your hand and apply it that way.
You should feel immediate relief, and can reapply the oil as often as needed.
You may think this is redundant, since we already mentioned body wash, but body wash and soap are two very different things. In general, body wash includes soap as an ingredient, but also includes other ingredients to function as moisturizers and conditioners.
High-quality soaps will usually include ingredients which moisturize the skin, but those ingredients are included for their cleaning ability more than their moisturizing ability.
For true soaps, often called castile soaps, you can choose to make a liquid or bar soap. It's usually easier to make a liquid soap at home. To make the soap, you'll be blending olive oil and coconut oil with a solution of potassium hydroxide (use sodium hydroxide if you want a bar soap) mixed with water to make a lye solution.
Then add the essential oils you want- in this case, you're mostly choosing the oil based on the scent you want. Once that's all blended, you can use as-is or dilute with water.
16. Homemade scented candles
Scented candles can be an excellent tool for aromatherapy, and many of them are scented with essential oils. One reason why diffusers have increased in popularity is that candles made with paraffin wax have been linked to carcinogens and allergies.
An easy way around this without buying a diffuser is to buy or make candles with a soy-based wax. You can then scent them with whatever essential oils you'd like to use.
The advantage of this approach is that you can make the entire room smell great and you're still getting to use aromatherapy, which is one of the most effective ways to use essential oils.
17. Homemade laundry detergent
Powdered laundry detergent is very easy to make at home, and it can save you a ton of money. The easiest way to do it is to start with a bar of castile soap. This are easy to find in stores and usually very cheap, although as we've just seen you can make your own castile soap at home quite easily.
Once you have your bar of castile soap, you'll want to grate it or run it through a food processor to break it down into very small pieces. Then mix these with 14 ounces of borax and 14 ounces of washing soda, and you're done. You now have a powdered laundry detergent that's much gentler and safer than commercial detergents, and just as effective.
You have two options for adding the essential oils here. If you're making the castile soap yourself, the easiest way is to add the essential oils of your choice to the soap. If you're buying the castile soap, just sprinkle some of the oil on the finished powdered detergent and then stir or shake to make sure it gets distributed evenly.
18. Topical aromatherapy
If you've ever used a product like Vick's Vaporub, then you've already experienced topical aromatherapy. Vick's contains menthol, which is the active ingredient in peppermint oil.
When you apply Vick's to your chest and lie down, you're inhaling large amounts of menthol vapors. Menthol has a soothing, cooling, anti-inflammatory effect that opens up the nasal passages and creates a cooling sensation.
You can achieve something similar with many essential oils. For instance, you can apply peppermint oil to your upper lip, just below your nose, for a powerful dose of aromatherapy. You can also mix any essential oil with virgin coconut oil and apply to your chest.
Just don't apply an essential oil directly to your skin without first diluting it, or you could experience some discomfort.
19. All natural cologne
Essential oils smell great, so why not use them as an all-natural cologne or perfume? This could be as simple as mixing up your favorite oil with MCT oil and putting into a small spray bottle. You could also create a solid cologne by mixing your essential oil with coconut oil, beeswax, or a mixture of the two.
You could also try and create a more traditional cologne using high-proof alcohol as the carrier, but you may find that your skin is a little sensitive to the alcohol.
20. Add to a pot of boiling water
If you want aromatherapy, but don't have a diffuser and don't want to bother with candles, there's a very simple solution. Fill a pot with water and bring it to a boil, then add several drops of your desired essential oil.
The pot will function just like a diffuser by generating steam that carries the essential oil all throughout the room. The downside is that it won't be a slow, controlled diffusion, but you'll save money by not buying a diffuser.
21. Add a few drops to a hot shower or bath
Another great way to enjoy aromatherapy without a candle or a diffuser is in the shower. Once the water gets hot, add a few drops of your preferred oil to the shower floor and the steam will be perfumed with your essential oil.
You can also add the oil to a bathtub before a hot bath and get the same effect. With a bath you'll also get some topical application, since the oil and water will be in direct contact with your skin.
You can pour a few drops into the empty tub before turning on the water or wait until the tub is full of hot water and add them then. If you use bath salts, you can also add a few drops of your favorite essential oils to the salt for an aroma boost.
22. Cotton Ball
Yet another way to jury-rig aromatherapy, you can soak a cotton ball in your favorite essential oil and then place it in front of a fan or an air conditioning vent. The air moving over the cotton ball will carry the scent throughout the room just like a diffuser would. This may be a better method than using a pot of boiling water, since you'll end up with slightly more control over the diffusion.
23. Air Freshener
Instead of buying aerosol air fresheners, add your essential oils and a carrier oil to a spray bottle and spray the room. You'll get the same freshening effect as with commercial air fresheners, but with aromatherapeutic benefits added on.
24. Sprinkle on sheets, pillowcases
One of the best ways to use lavender oil is to sprinkle a little of it on your sheets or pillowcase before going to sleep. This way you'll feel the soothing, relaxing effects of lavender at the perfect time- just as you're trying to fall asleep. Don't worry- the oil won't stain anything, especially since you only need a few drops.
25. Add to wool dryer balls
If you've switched to wool dryer balls as a replacement for dryer sheets, go ahead and add some essential oils to them. Many people find that they miss the scent of their old dryer sheets, but adding essential oils to the dryer ball will help with that.
26. Soak terracotta pendants in oil
This is an unconventional way to get your aromatherapy in, but it definitely works. Buy an inexpensive terracotta pendant and soak it in your favorite essential oil. You can then wear the pendant all day, and it will slowly release the oil, providing aromatherapy all day long.
27. Open the bottle, take a deep breath
This is the easiest option, and it's one we often use ourselves. Just crack open the bottle and take a deep breath! It's not as good of an aromatherapy option as other methods that provide longer exposure to the oil, but it's great for getting in a strong, quick dose when you really need it.
Tips for using essential oils
No matter which application you try, there are some basic tips you should always follow when using essential oils.
First, anytime the oil is going to come into direct contact with your skin you absolutely must dilute it. All essential oils are powerful skin irritants in their pure form, and adding them directly to your skin will be uncomfortable.
It's also a good idea to dilute them because good essential oils are not cheap, and they are very potent. You never need to use large amounts of undiluted oil, and when you dilute them properly they are very effective and very economical.
You should always feel free to blend multiple oils together. The only potential issue is that sometimes you might mix two oils whose scents clash with each other. Mixing multiple oils isn't just ok, it's actually encouraged since different oils have different benefits, and a blend of oils will maximize the benefit to you.
Always seek out oils that are bottled without any additional ingredients, and that are extracted using the best methods. For the vast majority of essential oils, steam distillation is the best extraction method.
This is a very gentle process that pulls the delicate essential oils from the plant without degrading them, and without using any kind of solvent. Other oils, like lemon oil, are extract via cold pressing, which means the lemon peel is squeezed to expel the oil.
There are some oils that have to be extracted using solvents, but cold pressing and steam distillation are the preferred extraction methods for the vast majority of them. This brand uses the best extraction methods and never bottles their oils with additional ingredients or fillers.
Often, these oils will cost more per bottle than other oils extracted using harsher methods or bottled with fillers. Remember, though, that you're getting a more pure and potent oil, so it's actually more bang for your buck. You'll also find that the best oils, made with the best extraction methods, are more beneficial than cheaper products, and so they're well worth the money.
Do Essential Oils Really Work?
The short answer is that it's complicated.
The long answer is that most essential oils really do offer the benefits that they claim, but little research has been conducted so far. The research that has been done has focused heavily on oils like lavender and frankincense, which have long histories of use. That research has supported almost every claim made about the benefits of those oils, especially lavender.
While most of the health claims made about essential oils are not yet backed up by research, that doesn't mean they aren't true. Anecdotal evidence, while not popular with the scientific community, never comes from nowhere. People have used essential oils and experienced the benefits firsthand.
So, yes, essential oils really can do most of the things that people claim they do.
Essential oils are packed with benefits. They can relieve inflammation, reduce anxiety and stress, prevent bacterial growth, freshen up a room, and much more. They can do all of this without introducing harsh or dangerous chemicals into your home or body, too.
Everybody should be using essential oils, but without a diffuser many people feel that they can't. That's understandable, but as we've just shown you, there are plenty of ways to use essential oils without a diffuser. The exact method you want to use will depend on what you want to do with them, but essential oils have applications in every area of the home and it's in your best interest to make use of them.
However you use, there's no doubt that finding new ways to use essential oils is going to improve your life in some way, so don't let the lack of a diffuser hold you back. Order your essential oils today and start reaping the benefits.