Saturday, September 10, 2005

Make Your Own Aromatherapy Sprays (Aromatherapy/Essential Oil Recipe)

A wonderful way to incorporate aromatherapy in your life is to use an aromatherapy spray. Sprays have a multitude of uses. Some of my favorite uses include: air freshener, a light body perfume/cologne spray, a spray to lightly scent the hair (hair holds scent really well), to freshen up clothes, a bacteria buster/antiseptic spray (great to use when you're sick or for the trashcan), a body deodorant or odor remover, an insect repellent or spray for insect bites, or for those times you just need to take a moment to breathe slowly, relax, and destress! The possibilities are endless; the only difference between all these sprays is the concentration and kinds of essential oils you use.

Sprays are really easy to make:

For every 1 ounce (2 Tablespoons) of spray:

1 teaspoon of vodka or witch hazel extract
3 to 12 drops of essential oils (about 3 drops makes a 0.5% concentration, and about 12 drops makes a 2% concentration)
5 teaspoons of distilled or spring water

Add the essential oils first, then the alcohol, then the spring/distilled water. Shake gently before each use.

Shelf life is a couple weeks.  For a longer shelf life (for up to a few months), omit the water, and use 6 teaspoons of vodka.  Note: for some uses (like skin uses) you might not want to use that much vodka, and might want to follow the original recipe, or just reduce the water and increase the vodka a little.

Notes:

For general air fresheners, I recommend using a lower concentration, unless the area you are spraying in is really stinky! The reason I recommend 0.5% concentration or less is that some essential oils are solvents or can discolor fabrics etc. Mainly these are the citrus oils (I never understood why some companies put citrus essential oils into their laundry detergent formulas, since they are mild solvents and can affect the dyes). Vanilla (Vanilla planifolia) absolute, oleoresin, or CO2 extract is heavenly. My sister loves grapefruit (Citrus paradisi) and lime (Citrus aurantifolia) essential oils!

Body and hair sprays: you can use up to a 2% concentration unless your skin is very sensitive. Good essential oil suggestions are lavender (Lavendula officinalis aka L. vera aka L. angustifolia), rose (Rosa damascena, R. rugosa, R. centifolia, R. alba), ylang ylang (Cananga odorata, available in different fractionations), or your favorite!  Be mindful that some essential oils, like angelica root (Angelica archangelica) and some (and not all) of the citrus essential oils are mildly phototoxic (make your skin more sensitive to the sun).  You can read about phototoxicity in this post and also in this post.  If you choose to use the phototoxic essential oils, just spray your hair and clothes.

For clothes: Atlas cedarwood (Cedrus atlantica) and lavender would be good choices for clothes. They used to scent clothes in the Middle Ages with both of these herbs to keep them fresh smelling and also to repel insects. Use a low concentration of essential oils.   Don't use angelica root, since it can attract insects.

To kill bacteria: 2% is fine, but if you must, you can go up to 5% (30 drops of essential oils per ounce) but mind where you are spraying (fabrics or materials)! In aromatherapy, less is best; and a 2% concentration is strong enough to kill bacteria.  Most essential oils are antibacterial, but some are antiseptic, and some even are anti-viral. Lavender and tea-tree (Melaleuca alternifolia) are wonderful since they are all of these.

For body deodorant, use a 2% concentration, and also use more alcohol. Use up to 50% vodka/witch hazel to distilled/spring water. Lavender, clary sage (Salvia sclarea), the citrus essential oils, and tea tree are good choices.

General odors (trash can etc): see general air spray uses.

Insect repellent: a 2% concentration is good. Spray on your clothes, hair, and skin, careful not to get in the eyes. Good insect repellents are lavender (though flower scents can attract bees), lemongrass (Cymbopogon citratus), atlas cedarwood, patchouli (Pogostemon cablin), and lemon eucalyptus (Eucalyptus citriodora).

To apply on insect bites: lavender, blue aka german chamomile (Matricaria chamomilla) or roman chamomile (Arthemis nobilis) , and tea tree essential oils. 2% concentration.

Relax: Many essential oils are great for relaxing! Try lavender, rose geranium (Pelargonium graveolens), any of the citrus oils, rose, jasmine (Jasminum grandiflorum, J. sambac, and J. auriculatum), or whatever you like! Up to 2%.

For facial sprays, I would use a 1/2% concentration.  There are many great essential oils you can use for the facial skin like lavender, rose, neroli (Citrus aurantium), jasmine, ylang ylang, and more!


Note: it's better if your spray bottle is made of glass (some essential oils eventually eat through plastic). Colored glass is best (essential oils degrade in sunlight). But if you decide to use a plastic spray bottle, just check it from time to time for leaks.

If making sprays for children, use 1/2% concentration, and research well before use.  Many essential oils are not suitable for babies and young kids.

Edited March 5, 2014: minor revisions and to add a little more information.  Added links to some of my other essential oil posts. 

12 comments:

Piper said...

I have been making my own spray before but this info is really awesome, really awesome, kudos

Solarkat said...

Thanks!

Solarkat

plempa said...

Very informative. I have one question. If you are making a spray out of 3-4 different oils, does that mean altogether you should only put up to 15 or up to 15 of each? It would go in a 4oz bottle.

The oils are Lavender, Tea Tree, Eucalyptus and Peppermint

Solarkat said...

Hi Plempa

Use up to 15 drops total. I suggest maybe 3 to 4 drops of each essential oil you are using.

Cheers,
Solarkat

ang said...

Great ideas, really useful! How long would the spray last before it goes off?

Solarkat said...

Hi Ang

Probably a few months (if you make it with alcohol).

Cheers,
Li

bella said...

Lavender essential oil and vanilla oils (although the latter was listed under Foods And Medications) are also photosensitizing, according to a list presented by the OHIO STATE BOARD OF COSMETOLOGY (which I found as a link on Tan Spa's website).

Solarkat said...

Hi Bella

Thanks for posting :)

Some sources list lavender as non-phototoxic and some say it is slightly phototoxic.

There is also a lot of mis-information in aromatherapy as well as information from organizations, so when you come across sources you really have to look at the criteria for their information studies. Some questions to think about: which plant species? (there are several species of lavender that are used in aromatherapy), how was the product extracted (infused herbal oil, extract, CO2, essential oils or absolute; different extraction methods yield different chemical compositions), at what concentration were the essential oils used when testing for phototoxicity (In aromatherapy essential oils are used at very low concentrations and not at full strength so something that may be phototoxic at full strength may not be at the typical 1% that is used in aromatherapy), how phototoxic is it (very slight that it is basically not a problem, moderate, or severe, and what do they mean by 'slight' 'moderate' and 'severe'?), what were their methods in their studies? etc.

I haven't previously heard of vanilla being phototoxic, but in my personal experience I have used both lavender and vanilla extensively in skin care (at the correct concentrations) and have never gotten sunburn or damage from it, but I am sure to dilute it well and I always use a number of ingredients that protects against the sun, and I don't stay out in the sun too long or go to tanning salons. Both lavender and vanilla have been used in many cosmetic products, and I personally think that essential oils like bergamot and expressed (not distilled) lemon are huge concerns, and that lavender and vanilla are not a problem. Some people may disagree with me.

Cheers,
Li

Anonymous said...

Hi! Does anyone have a recipe for an antibacterial spray or sanitizer? I'm planning to make 500ml of that. thanks

carissa

Solarkat said...

Hi Carissa

I am very sorry, somehow I missed your post many months ago (not as much time to post because of my thesis and starting a business, and the amount of spam I get in the comments) so you probably won't see this.

But for people who may read this later, there are many essential oils you can use (as mentioned in the post) like lavender and tea tree which are effective antiseptic essential oils. I'd add some natural grain or grape alcohol too (at least 15-20%) since alcohol is an effective antiseptic (and what most of those gels and sprays on the market are made out of).

Cheers,
Li

Katrin said...

Hi Solarkat,

I have a bit of a long, involved question that I will try to keep as short as possible...

I have been doing some research on aromatherapy and mold.

Specifically, I have wooden chests for clothing storage that have a recurrent mold/mildew issue.

Online I came across a recipe for an oil blend to diffuse called "thieves blend". It seems to have worked wonders for mildew prone interiors. It's equal parts eucalyptus, cinnamon, cloves, rosemary, and lemon.

My plan has been to make a spray using these oils in a 2% concentration in half water and half denatured alcohol and to spray it on the unfinished wooden interiors of my chest of drawers. I would do this after washing them with TSP, rinsing with clear water and letting them dry thoroughly.

I just read your blog and see that lemon oil is not recommended for clothing.

I plan on spraying the drawers and letting them air out afterward so the oils would be completely dry on the wood before there is any clothing inside.

Do you think this plan could be problematic for the clothing that will be stored in these drawers in the future?

I really appreciate any feedback you may have,
Katrin

Solarkat said...

Hi Katrin

Thanks for posting :)

A couple points.

I am not sure what TSP is.

All of those essential oils kill a wide range of bacteria and/or fungi, but please note that different herbs kill different germs or molds, so hopefully they will kill the mildew that is in your chests (most likely they will kill some or most of it, but just mentioning that it may or may not kill all of it, depending on what kind it is). I'd add some tea tree or manuka to that blend too.

Alcohol may dry out wood, so do a patch test on a little corner. Or it may be better to make an oil based product, woods love oils. Try jojoba oil or better yet walnut oil. Or better yet, use vinegar. the 4 thieves blend was originally made with vinegar during the plague in the middle ages or so legend says. Vinegar is good for wood too and helps kill germs/mold too, but again do a patch test.

Lemon is good for wood by the way. Once you clean it, it shouldn't affect your clothes.

HTH

Cheers,
Li