Even if you’re a complete newbie when it comes to essential oils, you’ve probably already wondered about how people are using them. Or maybe you own a few essential oils yourself, and you already know a few good ways to use them. Either way, there are a lot of amazing applications for essential oils that are worth knowing about! Even those who consider themselves to be experts in essential oils are still discovering new applications regularly, so there’s plenty to learn at any level. :-)
Today I want to share 10 of the most surprising and practical uses for essential oils. I hope that this list will help open your eyes to just how useful it can be to keep a few essential oils around the house. But before we get to that list, I thought it might be helpful to cover a few of the basics of essential oils as a helpful refresher. :-)
What Are Essential Oils Used For?
The more appropriate question might be: “What aren’t essential oils used for?” People have been using plants to treat, heal, and promote wellness for centuries. Modern essential oils are used in much the same way as they have been throughout history! Today, essential oils are made by collecting the “essence” of a plant and distilling it to a more pure and concentrated state. Essential oils contain the scent compounds of the original plant, as well as any beneficial or therapeutic properties that plant possesses.
I’ve featured essential oils in many of my blog posts over the past several years. You’ll see essential oils included in my Sleep Salve, my cooling spray for hot flashes, my toilet deodorizing spray, and in so many other ideas and projects. To prove just how useful these oils can be, here are 10 of the best ways to use them!
1. Fix Smelly Shoes
Use essential oils to help eliminate the smell from stinky shoes! Just put a drop or two of your favorite essential oil on a couple of cotton balls, then put one into each of the shoes. Tea Tree oil would make a great choice here because of its antibacterial benefits, but something more standard like lavender oil would work well too!
2. Get Rid Of Pests
You can help deter spiders, mice, and other pests from coming into your home with the help of peppermint essential oil. Fill a small spray bottle with water and add 10-15 drops of peppermint oil to it. Give the bottle a shake, then spray it around and cracks or gaps where pests may be getting in. You can also put a drop of peppermint oil onto a cotton ball and leave it around areas where you’ve seen pests before.
Use peppermint oil or lemongrass oil to help keep flies out of your house during the summer time. Just add a few drops of either oil to your diffuser, and run the diffuser near the doors to your house.
3. Cure A Headache
Use a bit of peppermint oil to help kick a stubborn headache. Just dab a small amount of the oil onto your temples and neck, and enjoy the cool tingling sensation while your headache disappears! (If you have sensitive skin, dilute the peppermint oil with a carrier oil before applying it to your skin.)
Another way to soothe a headache is to wash your hair with a few drops of birch essential oil. Just add a few drops of birch oil to a quarter-sized amount of shampoo, and work the mixture into your scalp. Let the shampoo sit in your hair for a minute or two, then continue washing and conditioning as usual.
4. Make Your Home Smell Great
The next time you change the air filter in your HVAC system, add a few drops of your favorite essential oil to the new filter before installing it. The air will flow through the filter, and carry the scent of the oil throughout the house!
You can also use essential oils while vacuuming to make your house smell nice. Just add a drop of lemon oil or peppermint oil to a cotton ball, the put the cotton ball in your vacuum’s bag or dust cup. The air flow will spread the scent around, so you can vacuum and make your house smell great at the same time.
To eliminate the fishy smell that tends to linger after you’ve cooked fish, diffuse a few drops of lemon oil in your diffuser. Your kitchen will smell lemon-y fresh in no time!
5. Remove Permanent Marker Stains
A lot of permanent marker marks and stains can be cleaned up with the help of lemon essential oil. Just add a couple of drops to the ink and rub at it with a clean cloth or sponge. And make sure to give it some elbow grease!
6. Add Flavor To Food & Drink
Use ground cinnamon plus a few drops of cinnamon oil in your favorite recipe for homemade cinnamon rolls. Use 3-5 drops of cinnamon oil in the dough, because the flavor will mellow out during the baking process. Or you could add a drop of cinnamon oil to your frosting!
Spice up your glass of water by adding a drop of your favorite citrus oil! The oil will rise to the top of the glass, so just drink your water with a straw so that you can stir it up every so often. Or you could use a jar or water bottle and just give it a shake!
Make a quick veggie dip by stirring a drop of dill oil and lemon oil into some plain yogurt.
Make your morning cup of coffee even more invigorating by adding a drop of peppermint oil!
7. Promote Healthy Hair
For people with dandruff and other scalp issues, Tea Tree essential oil can work wonders! Add a drop of Tea Tree oil to a quarter-sized amount of shampoo and massage it into your scalp to help reduce flakes and support hair health. This works well for beards, too!
8. Protect Your Feet
Fight foot fungus by doing a foot soak with Tea Tree essential oil. Add a few drops of Tea Tree oil to a bucket or foot bath full of warm water. Then soak your feet in the water for 20-30 minutes, and repeat twice a week as necessary.
Help protect your fingernails and toenails from fungus and discoloration with Tea Tree oil! Just add a drop or two of Tea Tree oil to a cotton ball, and wipe it over your clean nails before painting them.
9. Reduce Skin Inflammation
Lavender essential oil is your skin’s best friend when it comes to soothing irritation. Add a drop or two of lavender oil to a small amount of your favorite carrier oil, then rub the mixture onto mild rashes, itchy spots, mild sunburns, and other skin issues to help reduce redness and support healing.
Tea Tree essential oil is great for treating sore or inflamed earlobes that are irritated by earrings. Just drop a drop of Tea Tree oil right onto your irritated earlobes for instant relief, and to help prevent irritation in the future.
10. Add To Health & Beauty Products
You can use essential oils in the place of fresh or dried herbs in your favorite homemade health and beauty products. For instance, one of my favorite homemade salves (my Gardener’s Salve) calls for dried lavender flowers, dried chamomile flowers, and dry rose hips. You could easily substitute those out and use lavender oil, chamomile oil, and rose oil instead! (As a rule of thumb, I would recommend using 1 drop of essential oil per teaspoon of herbs in a recipe.)