Fun Ideas For Using Essential Oils
All right, we are finally to the lesson where we get to talk about fun things to actually DO with essential oils instead of just all the sometimes boring educational stuff! There are so many ways to use essential oils that it would be impossible to list them all here, so I am just going to share some of the more basic fun ideas that don’t take a lot of mixing or complicated recipes. If these are too ordinary for you, have no fear! You can get as complicated and fancy as you like. But these ideas are some I use on a daily basis, and that you can start using right away, even if this is the first time you’ve ever used essential oils. Okay, so let’s get started!
This is one I use ALL the time. And I mean that quite literally. Rarely a load of laundry goes by that doesn’t have essential oils in it. Our well water leaves clothes with an almost sour smell, even if I take them out of the washer immediately after the cycle is done. To remedy this problem, I add either tea tree oil or orange oil to my washer. Simply add 10-15 drops of either essential oil to the washer at the beginning of the cycle when you add your soap. You can either place it in with the soap if you have a front-loading washing machine, or just drip it right onto the water if you have a top load machine. You don’t have to worry about tea tree or orange staining your clothes, because as we discussed in a previous lesson, essential oils are not actually “oil,” so they will not leave oil marks on your clothes. Also, tea tree does not leave your clothes smelling anything like tea tree. It just leaves them smelling fresh. This works great for smelly spit-up baby clothes, dirty work clothes, etc. If you get a really stinky load, you can just put in a few more drops of the oil. Too much isn’t going to hurt anything!
Removing Stains From Clothes
This one is close to the idea above, but I felt it deserved a category all of it’s own. How many of you have bought a new shirt, or pair of slacks, only to accidentally drip some almond oil down your shirt trying to massage a dry patch on your arm. Or maybe you get grease spatters from cooking bacon in the morning all over your favorite blouse. ESSENTIAL OILS TO THE RESCUE!! Essential oils are AMAZING at removing oil stains from clothing. Eucalyptus is my oil of choice, and the one I always grab first. Just drop the straight essential oil right onto the oil stain and let it set a minute or two before throwing it in the wash. If you have multiple spots, just drop a drop over each oil stain, and 9 times out of 10 VWHALA! No more ugly oil spot! I always suggest letting the garment air dry, instead of placing it in the dryer after the was cycle is done, in case you missed any oil drops the first round. After it’s dry, it’s easy to spot if you got them all out, or if if you missed any. Just repeat if you find more hidden stains, and if not your all done! Eucalyptus isn’t the only oil that can be helpful with stains, lemon, orange, and tea tree among others can do great as well. I’ve even had essential oils take out oil stains when I didn’t realize I even had an oil stain and I already ran the garment through a full wash and drying. And that’s something that makes me so happy, cause usually an oil stain that has been run through the dryer is a death sentence for a garment.
The citrus oils work wonderful for either washing dishes by hand, or in the dishwasher. For washing dishes by hand, just put 10 or more drops of the citrus oil of your choice and scrub away. The citrus oil leaves your hands smelling great, and acts as an extra disinfectant and degreaser, as well as turning out extra-clean shiny dishes. For use in a dishwasher, just add 10 or more drops of the citrus oil of your choice to the dishwasher, either just on the door before you close it, or in with the dish soap. This helps your glasses come out with less water spots, helps degrease, and can help reduce residue.
Add the essential oil of your choice, or a combination of oils, to an empty spray bottle, fill with water or witch hazel, vodka or a mixture of the three, and spritz the room you wish to freshen or deodorize. This can be used in the bathroom, or other living areas. Ideas for fragrance combinations are: orange-vanilla, lavender-vanilla, lime-tangerine, lavender-ylang ylang, peppermint-vanilla, or whatever other combinations you enjoy smelling. Just remember, as with any room freshener don’t spray it with babies in the room with you, as we spray up high, and it can all float down and land on a crawling baby which could cause some eye or nose irritation depending on the oils you are using in your spray! Just remove your little one from the room, and spray, and then they can come right back in once the spray has settled!
If you want to have a little something special waiting for you to soothe your senses when you crawl into bed, add a few drops of essential oil to the sheets before making the bed. Remember, as long as your essential oils are pure and not diluted in a carrier oil, they will not leave oil stains on your sheets, so don’t be afraid to try this, but do make sure you aren’t using a diluted blend. Then at night when you crawl into bed, a fresh wonderful aroma will be waiting for you. As with the room fragrance, just use whatever scents you find relaxing and enjoyable. Lavender is a great one because it is very relaxing and is widely used for insomnia, so if you have sleep troubles, give it a try!
Vacuum Cleaner Fragrance
This is one I use often, especially down at my store. I add a few drops of an essential oil (usually my preference is citrus, or in the winter something a bit more spicy), either to the vacuum cleaner bag; or if you have a vacuum that does not use a bag, to the air filter; or to the water, if you have a rainbow vacuum. Then when you vacuum the house, the fragrance gets spread around, and leaves the house smelling fresh and clean.
I mentioned above that lavender is wonderful for insomnia and other sleep disturbances. If you struggle with being able to sleep, or with staying asleep, try putting a drop or two of lavender with a little carrier oil on the nape of your neck, or on your wrist, just a few minutes before bed time. Many people find this very helpful for insomnia, as well as just helping you relax. Another great oil for insomnia is ylang ylang, and can be used in much the same way. You could even mix a little lavender and ylang ylang, and some carrier oil of your choice and keep it in a little bottle next to your bed for nights when sleep is hard to come by. Or you could put a drop of lavender and or ylang ylang into a diffuser and diffuse it for an hour or so before you plan to go to bed to help your body relax.
To some it may seem a bit obvious, but making massage oil is often overlooked, and is another great way to start using your essential oils. Just add whatever essential oils, or combination of essential oils you enjoy to the carrier oil of your choice, and store it in a bottle that you can just grab whenever you are feeling in need of some massage oil. You can combine oils for different effects from you massage oil. Here are a few ideas of combinations you might enjoy trying for massage oils:
Relaxing: lavender, ylang ylang, sandalwood.
Energizing: tangerine, grapefruit, bergamot and eucalyptus.
Muscle Tension: peppermint, ylang ylang, lavender, juniper, ginger.
Sensual: ylang ylang, sandalwood, rose, jasmine.
Baby Massage: lavender, sandalwood, myrrh, chamomile.
Bee stings can be really painful, depending on the type of bee or wasp you get stung by, and can cause even more distress in children. There are several essential oils that can help relieve the pain of a sting very quickly. Lavender is the standard go-to oil for stings, and works very quickly. It can be used alone or mixed with peppermint, chamomile, blue tansy, or others for some added relief.
A quick recipe for stings that you can keep in a small bottle is 10 drops lavender, 10 drops chamomile, 2 drops peppermint. For added relief, dab the sting with apple cider vinegar, which helps to neutralize the poison, and then dab on the essential oil. I typically use a strong dilution for stings, on adults I generally put this mixture on straight. Of often if you don’t have a mixture, pure lavender works wonders as well! For kiddo’s, I will grab the apple cider vinegar and dab some on first, then follow with lavender, or a 50/50 dilution of the lavender, chamomile, peppermint mixture. Remember, it doesn’t take much, just a dab on a Q-tip, but it makes a world of difference!
For those of you who have purchased my muscle ease pain and vapor sticks, they work WONDERS on bee stings as well, just dab a little directly onto the sting. If no relief comes in a few minutes, re-apply.
For a bug repellent that will send those pesky creatures scurrying in the opposite direction, take an 8 oz spray bottle (or adjust recipe for another size), fill it half full with distilled water, add 1 tsp vegetable glycerine (optional, but it helps suspend the essential oil, and helps prevent dry skin), then fill almost to the top with witch hazel, and add your essential oils in the following amounts: 25 drops citronella, 10 drops rosemary, 10 drops eucalyptus, 5 drops clove, 5 drops lavender, 3 drops cinnamon. Shake before using. Spray liberally on clothes, or not so liberally on skin as desired. Avoid contact with eyes.
I have tried all types of natural remedies for migraines. Essential oils, herbs, cleanses, vitamins… you name it, and this is the ONLY thing I have found that really helps me, so I thought I’d share. I’ve never seen this recommended or used anywhere else. I just did it out of desperation for some relief one day, and was pleasantly surprised with the results. Most essential oil books or blogs will recommend dabbing peppermint oil on your temples or the back of your neck for relief from a migraine, but this was never strong enough, or in the right place to ease mine. And applying it to the temples is so close to the eyes that often burning and discomfort came along with that, and no one needs added misery in the midst of a migraine!
So here is what I do: Get into a hot shower, as hot as you can stand. Run your head under the hot water, then put shampoo in your palm, and add 5 or so drops of peppermint oil to the shampoo. Soap your head up with shampoo, and just let it sit for a few minutes. This will spread the peppermint around your scalp, in the shampoo and let it do it’s magic. After a few minutes, rinse the shampoo out with hot water, don’t bee too thorough, you are really trying to heat up your scalp again more than actually rinse your hair. Then soap your hair up a second time, (this time without adding more peppermint,) letting it sit a minute or two, then rinse in hot water again. The combination of the peppermint and the hot water opens up the capillaries in your head, (which is what some migraine meds do) while the steamy peppermint you are inhaling in the shower also helps relieve the pain. Sometimes I sit in the bottom of the hot shower for a few extra minutes, and sometimes I just get out. This helps SO MUCH! It’s also great to try when you have a head cold. Before trying this you need to make sure you do not have any reactions to peppermint, by putting a tiny dab on the inside of your wrist and leaving it for a few hours. If no itching or irritation occurs you should be good to go. This is quite a strong mixture, and should not be made a habit, but when choosing between narcotics or migraine meds it is a wonderful alternative. I have recommended it many times with great success to a number of migraines sufferers. Start with 5 drops of peppermint and then if that is not effective work your way up to a few more, once you know your scalp tolerates it well.
Another added benefit is the peppermint increases the circulation in your scalp and helps your hair be healthier! Before I started doing this, I had VERY dry hair, and had to apply large amounts of conditioner for my hair to be manageable. Now that I do this every 2-3 weeks when I get a migraine, and my scalp has balanced out, and I only use conditioner maybe once a month! And my hair is happy and healthy, with a lot less split ends!
Ear Ache Oil
Earaches are miserable whether you are 1 or 101. For an earache remedy that will stop that pesky pain, usually in minutes, mix up a bottle of the following ear oil to keep handy: For young children, an infused oil made with the whole dried herbs placed in an oil and steeped is suggested, rather than essential oils. Lavender buds, clove buds, chamomile flowers, frankincense powder etc., can be used, and still have a great effect. In fact, even for adults the infused oil is great, and I recommend everyone make some to have on hand. But if you find yourself in a bind, without the time to infuse oils for a few weeks, this recipe has saved me and my kiddo many a sleepless night.
1 TBSP olive oil or another heavy carrier oil
6 drops clove oil
2 drops tea tree oil
3 drops frankincense
3 drops lavender
Fill up ear canal with the ear oil and let it sit for 1-10 minutes until the pain subsides. For a child, just leave it in the ear as long as the squirmy little one will allow. If the pain does not stop, either add a few more drops of clove oil to the mixture and repeat, or just repeat using the same mixture. For children, you can use the essential oils above, but need to add 2 more TBSP of carrier oil to this mixture. If the diluted mixture does not cause any discomfort, but doesn’t seem to kick the pain for your kiddo, you can work your way up to a stronger mixture by adding a few more drops of lavender or frankincense.
There are a lot of ear oils out there on the market, and I have tried many, but none have enough herbal oils in them to actually numb the pain. They may soothe the inflammation in the ear, but they don’t actually numb it. And I don’t know about you, but I want the pain to STOP when I have an ear infection, or when my kiddo has one. I know putting oil in the ear is a controversial topic. Some advocate NEVER putting any kind of oil, carrier or essential into the ear, while others swear by sweet ear oil, and other ear oil remedies. My stance on oil in the ear from many doctors and natural practitioners I have talked to is that placing an oil in the ear for an acute situation for a short period of time is very unlikely to cause problems. The issue comes when parents use an oil like this to TREAT an ear infection. Please realize this is NOT for treating the actual infection, this oil is to sooth and help pain. This is NOT a substitute for medical intervention for an ear infection. If your child has swimmers ear, or a random ear ache, this can help greatly. For treating an ear infection I don’t recommend putting oil in the ear canal, but applying essential oils externally, or using internal herbal remedies. However, putting oil in the actual ear canal itself is the only way to soothe the pain. I think you will be amazed at the results! If your child does have an ear infection, as your doctor if an herbal ear oil such as is mentioned above is ok to use in combination with the antibiotics, or other directions your doctor has given you. More times than not, doctors are just fine with a garlic oil, or ear oil being used in the ear for pain, in combination with other medications to treat the infection.
For more details on the dilution percentages, and information on this ear oil visit:
Sometimes we forget that essential can take the place of chemical flavorings in our kitchen. Remember, using an essential oil as a flavoring is not the same as ingesting essential oils drops at a time for your health. GRAS (Generally Regarded As Safe) essential oils can be safely used as flavorings in cooking. Remember a little goes A LONG way! One drop of essential oil is equal to a tsp of a flavoring extract. Here are a couple of my favorite ways to use essential oils in cooking:
Adding a drop or two peppermint oil to butter cream frosting and using it to ice a chocolate cake or brownies for a delicious peppermint patty cake!
This one may sound a little weird, but it is seriously one of my absolute ALL TIME favorites. Slice up several large apples into bite size chunks, add about 2 cups of vanilla organic yogurt, and add about 1- 3 TBSP of powdered sugar (or whatever sweetener you prefer. I use a coffee grinder to grind up some xylitol to a powdery consistency and use that, then add 1-2 drops of mandarin (red mandarin is my favorite but regular is great too) and stir the mixture very well. Now all that is left is to enjoy! It tastes like fresh apple chucks in creamy orange sickle yogurt. And before you knock it, my husband thought I was NUTS the first time I made it, but finally agreed to try some and he LOVED it, as has everyone else that has tried it! I always suggest adding less sugar and tasting first, because you can always add more. The mandarin oil makes it taste MUCH sweeter than just apples and vanilla yogurt, so you may find you don’t even need the sugar at all!
You can use a drop or two of lemon oil in lemon cupcakes instead of lemon flavoring, and the list goes on and on. Just remember to only use GRAS safe oils in your cooking. Some herbs that are great to use whole in cooking shouldn’t be used in their essential oil form. But many of them can make great and healthy additions to your cooking, instead of chemical extracts.
Essential Oils Internally
Generally speaking I recommend you really knowing what you are doing, or going on the recommendation of a qualified aromatherapist, who has done a full evaluation of your medical history, medications you are taking, etc., and accessed your specific situation before taking essential oils internally for illness. There are a few situations that using an essential oil internally can seem to be very helpful with every day ailments. Heartburn is one of those ailments. More than likely you have read somewhere that putting a drop of peppermint oil in a glass of water and drinking it is great for heartburn. This is a partial truth, as peppermint oil can be of some temporary help by relieving symptoms in some situations, but when used continuously it can cause severe irritation of the throat, esophagus and intestines, and actually end up causing MORE symptoms of heartburn in the long run such as pain, burning, irritation, etc. Because oil floats on water, and does not actually mix, the concentrated oil is till coming into direct contact with your delicate mucous membranes. So while it may provide some immediate relief and most likely downing a glass of peppermint water a few times won’t hurt you, here is a better, safer alternative: In my opinion, the fresh or dried whole herb does much better for dealing with heart burn. Drinking Peppermint tea, taking peppermint tincture, or a glycerite can also be very helpful for heart burn. Another alternative that can work wonders is to take one drop of peppermint oil and one drop of ginger, in a little carrier oil and rub it over your stomach and esophagus. If you absolutely insist on trying it internally, place one drop of 2 drops of peppermint oil into 1 TBSP of olive oil, and then put a small amount of this diluted mixture in an empty gel cap that you can purchase from the health food store and take the peppermint oil that way. The olive oil will help prevent further irritation, and can help soothe and ease your heart burn as well. Remember, if you are on medications PLEASE talk to your doctor before using essential oils, especially internally. Many people are afraid to bring up natural remedies to their doctors, but generally doctors are quite fine with supplements, herbs etc. But bear in mind, they may or may not know about a medication interaction that you don’t, so do your own research as well, because many doctors view herbs as folklore that won’t help, or hurt, and they might not be aware of how powerful essential oils are, and how they could interact with other medications, or affect other systems of your body. Asking your pharmacist about any drug interactions with essential oils that you use can be very helpful, as many of them have direct access to a database with practically every drug and every essential oil and herb known to man that will indicate any possible negative reactions. Not all pharmacists will be able to provide you with that information, but many will, and have access to far more information on drug and herbal interactions than your doctor does. Also, if you experience frequent heartburn, please don’t just try to mask it, either with a traditional over the counter medication, or a natural remedy. See a doctor as this could be a sign of a much more serious illness. I am all for self treatment, and taking control of your own health, but we need to do so equipped with all the information we need to make a wise decision. Shooting in the dark trying to use herbal remedies to relieve a symptom of which you do not know the origin is foolish, and dangerous. Get proper testing done, figure out what the problem is, and then it is your choice whether you choose a more traditional western medicine approach, or if you wish to use a more natural, holistic approach. We are all free to make our own choices, but lets be sure we have the facts before we start trying to cover up symptoms with natural remedies when those symptoms could be warning signs of a more serious underlying disease.
And the list of fun ways to use essential oils could go on and on, but hopefully this gives you some great ideas for how to start using essential oils, even if you don’t have much time to learn about them, or make elaborate recipes. And I also hope this gives you the confidence to start using them, and not just leave them sitting on the shelf!
That’s it for today’s lesson! You have one more bonus lesson left, which you received the link to today as well, and then our journey through this class is over! Thank you all for joining me on this quick little look into the world of essential oils. I wish you all well on your journeys and hope you continue to learn and expand your knowledge of these amazing oils that nature has blessed us with.
Hope you have a blessed day!
Essential Oils Education