Top 8 Essential Oils for Home Use
Guest post by Nina Nelson
There are some crazes I steer as far away from as possible. Beanie Baby collections? Nah. Mullets? Shudder. Any comeback of ’90s fashion? No thanks. But essential oils? I’m shouting from the rooftops how much I love them. (OK, so mostly I’m just casually talking about them from my little corner of the web – I am an introvert, after all).
Why am I so in love with essential oils?
First, they’re a natural alternative to so many synthetic options. Derived from plants, essential oils are distilled from roots, leaves, stems and flowers. These natural aromatic compounds have a myriad of properties, from healing to cooking to cleaning.
Second, they’re multi-purpose. As a minimalist who lives in a 275-square-foot school bus, I appreciate that the tiny shelf I’ve dedicated to my essential oil collection is all the space I need to keep my family healthy, clean our tiny space and make it smell amazing.
Third, they’re easy to use. Sure, I still use a handful of herbs on a regular basis, but my EOs are my first line of defense because they work so quickly and I simply need to open the bottle to use them.
How do you use essential oils?
So how do you use essential oils?
Open the bottle, hold it to your nose and inhale deeply a few times. That’s an easy way to use essential oils and one that will help if you’re feeling nauseated, dealing with stress or need to feel energized.
According to the Mayo Clinic, aromatherapy is thought to work by stimulating smell receptors in the nose, which then send messages through the nervous system to the limbic system — the part of the brain that controls emotions.
You can also place a few drops of essential oils in a diffuser (I recommend the Greenair Spa Vapor Mist) and turn it on to uplift moods and purify the air.
Got some irritated skin? Dilute 2 to 3 drops of lavender essential oil in a tablespoon of coconut oil and rub it in. Or use tea tree oil. Dealing with athlete’s foot? Make an athlete’s foot blend to attack the offending fungus.
Essential oils are typically used topically when you’ve got skin irritation or pain or anything else that would benefit from applying a soothing/cooling/analgesic essential oil.
Dilute in a bit of carrier oil for easier application and absorption (the above ratio works well unless you’re using them with kids – then do 1 drop in a tablespoon of carrier oil). You can also apply essential oils to the bottoms of the feet. The skin there isn’t as sensitive as the rest of your body but the oils still absorb quickly.
Top 8 Essential Oils to Keep in Your Home
There are lots of essential oils available out there. And I’m the first to admit that I have several. But if you’re new to essential oils or you just want to keep it really simple (high-five, friend), consider these eight essential oils a must-have in your home:
Widely known as the calming oil, lavender essential oil use is pretty mainstream. And for good reason. Lavender essential oil is great for soothing you when you’re stressed, calming down crazy kiddos and helping you ease into peaceful sleep. But did you also know it’s great for burns? And that it soothes irritated skin? It even takes the sting out of bug bites and makes for some great head/neck tension relief.
Ways to Use …
- Add 5 to 8 drops (depending on your preference) to 2 oz. of water in a mini spray bottle and spritz on pillows and linens before bed.
- Mix 2 drops each lavender and frankincense in 1 tablespoon coconut oil and apply to temples to take away head/neck tension and relieve stress.
- Apply neat (undiluted) to fresh cuts, scrapes and wounds to speed healing and kill bacteria.
- Add 5 drops to a homemade cleaner for antibacterial properties.
- Diffuse 5 drops in your house to promote peace and calm.
- Add 2 to 3 drops to one cup of epsom salts and stir into a hot bath for extra relaxation.
Eucalyptus essential oil is antimicrobial and makes a wonderful addition to any homemade cleaning recipe. It’s also used as an expectorant and can be diffused in the air for respiratory issues.
Ways to Use …
- Add 10 drops of eucalyptus essential oil, 2 tablespoons of liquid castile soap and hot water to the mop bucket to clean your floor.
- Add 2 to 3 drops eucalyptus to 1 tablespoon coconut oil and rub into your chest when you have a cold.
- Add 5 drops to your diffuser to clean and freshen the air.
- Add 5 drops each of eucalyptus and tea tree oil to a 16 oz. glass spray bottle full of water and spray down your shower after each use to inhibit mold growth.
- Mix 3 to 4 drops into your pet’s shampoo to keep away fleas.
Lemon is the ultimate degunkifier. Not only will it get the gunk off of your dishes and surfaces, but if you’ve got a congested chest or gunky throat, it will take care of that as well.
Ways to Use …
- Add 1 drop to 1 teaspoon of honey to soothe a dry or sore throat.
- Diffuse 5 drops in a room to kill nasty odors and to lift your mood.
- Apply 1 to 2 drops neat to remove sticky residue (either from your hands or surfaces).
- Use 3 to 5 drops neat to remove gum from fabric (or hair).
- Mix 5 drops with 4 oz. unscented liquid dish soap for extra grease-cutting action.
Apply topically with caution if you’re putting it on skin that will be exposed to the sun – it may cause sensitivity.
Peppermint can be used to help relieve nausea, increase energy and ease headaches.
Ways to Use …
- Apply 1 drop to temples and forehead to relieve pain. Don’t get it in your eyes. Trust me.
- Add 5 to 7 drops to a 16 oz. glass spray bottle of water and use as a cooling spritz when it’s hot out.
- Inhale deeply from the bottle to relieve nausea.
- Apply 1 to 2 drops to the bottoms of feet to reduce fevers.
- Add 5 to 7 drops to a 16 oz. glass spray bottle full of water and spray around molding to keep pests out.
- Combine lavender and peppermint to make this super simple balm.
Don’t get it in your eyes!
Yes, frankincense is a pricier oil, but there’s a reason for the saying, “If in doubt, use frankincense.” I use it regularly to relieve stress and deal with any headaches that might pop up. It also gets added to my baths with lavender and epsom salts for a super relaxing experience.
Ways to Use …
- Apply 1 drop to minor cuts to speed healing and relieve discomfort.
- Apply 1 drop to bug bites and stings for immediate discomfort and itch relief.
- Apply to temples with lavender to relieve stress and head/neck tension.
- Apply 1 drop to the temples or bottoms of the feet daily for immune system support.
- Apply 1 to 2 drops neat to scars on a daily basis to reduce their appearance.
- Massage 2 drops mixed with 1 tablespoon coconut oil to soothe painful muscles and joints.
6. Tea Tree
Tea tree essential oil is a must in any home. Its germ-destroying, purifying properties make it a powerful addition to homemade cleaners. And its skin-soothing properties work wonders on rashes and owies.
Ways to Use …
- Apply 1 to 2 drops neat around the base of the ear to treat ear infections naturally. (This is the only reason I’ll use it on my kids, otherwise I keep it out of their reach – make sure they do not ingest it.)
- Apply 1 drop neat on skin rashes to stop itching.
- Add 1 to 2 drops to your homemade shampoo and hair rinse.
- Add 5 drops to cleaning spray recipes to help kill germs.
- Apply 2 to 3 drops diluted in 1 tablespoon coconut oil to toes and feet twice a day to stop athlete’s foot.
While oregano essential oil makes few appearances in our home, it’s still a must-have. Oregano has powerful antibacterial properties, and, while it will leave you smelling like pizza, it’s great at helping your body fight illness.
Ways to Use …
- Dilute 2 drops in 1 tablespoon coconut oil and rub onto toenails plagued with stubborn fungus twice a day until its gone.
- Dilute 2 drops in 1 tablespoon coconut oil and dab on skin tags to remove them.
- Apply 1 to 2 drops, diluted, to the bottoms of the feet when you’re fighting bacterial germs, unwanted pathogens (every 4 to 6 hours).
- Add 1 to 2 drops to homemade cleaners for potent germ-killing properties,
Avoid during pregnancy and always dilute before using.
8. Wild Orange
While you’d probably want to use wild orange for its amazing smell alone (I know I do), you’ll be pleased to find that it’s got a lot of great properties. It’s antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, sedative (seriously!) and used for digestive upset.
Ways to Use …
- Mix 1 drop with 1 tablespoon coconut oil and rub onto an infant’s upset tummy for relief (a stronger mix can also be used on adults).
- Massage 2 to 3 drops mixed with 1 tablespoon coconut oil onto the chest at the onset of environmental threats, runny nose, cough.
- Diffuse 3 drops wild orange and 2 drops lavender for a soothing effect (and amazing smell).
- Diffuse 5 drops in any room to kill bacteria.
- Mix 3 drops wild orange, 3 drops peppermint and 20 drops liquid carrier oil in a roller bottle. and rub on the back of the neck for help with focus.
If applying to skin, wait at least 6 hours before sun exposure as it can cause photosensitivity.
Phew! Even though that was just eight essential oils, you’ve still got over 40 ways to use them. And that’s not even all you can use them for! But it’s plenty to help you get started so you can start enjoying the benefits of essential oils.
Want to learn more about how to use essential oils in your home? From today until August 1st, Nina is offering her ebook, DIY Natural Remedies, at 30% off!
Do you use essential oils? What are your favorites?
Nina Nelson writes at Shalom Mama and loves helping families simplify natural living, especially with essential oils. Click here to find out more about where to find high-quality essential oils plus get a free essential oil user guide.
The topic of using EOs is NOT UP FOR DEBATE. It is incorrect, and anyone who tells you to use them internally and is not a certified aromatherapist, is selling you something. They just lost all their credibility with me and I did not even finish reading the rest of your article because obviously you are selling something and don’t know what you are talking about, and are believing the propaganda that your MLM is feeding you.
I wish people would stop being sheeple and research themselves how harmful taking EOs can be for you. Imagine the long term damage to your liver, your esophagus and your stomach, due to your fancy MLM telling you it is ok because theirs are “pure” — sure, peppermint plants are pure but one drop is equivalent to 75 cups of tea!! I want to hear you say to someone that it is ok to drink 75 cups of tea when they have a stomach ache.
If you wouldn’t do that, then there is no way you should have someone take a single drop of essential oil. Seriously. No joke.
Oil of Thieves. Fabulous during cold season, both topically applied or diffused. Plus it will make you or your home smell like gingerbread cookies!
For good quality oils, I would recommend Young Living Essential Oils, highly regarded for therapeutic grade oils.
Oh, and from personal experience, I do second the cautions regarding citrus oils! They will certainly expedite a sunburn… in whatever funky pattern you apply the oil.
What a super helpful post! Will definitely share this via social media. And Happy Birthday, sweet friend! Hope you’re having a super blessed birthday week! xo
I’d have to point out that Wild Orange is NOT Citrus Sinensis; Sweet Orange is. I’ve been warned not to use any EOs in which the common name does not match the Latin name. While I have no problem with MLMs, promotionals for financial gain, or even necessarily doTERRA itself, I am very concerned about the way in which the representatives are taught to be so liberal with their uses of oils and the fact that I do not think that all of their oils are as labeled. However, I do appreciate that Nina does go a step further than many doTERRA representatives by recommending dilution instead of neat application, and she seems to be more informed than some others I have met. I feel, however, as Rebecca pointed out earlier in the comments, that even more caution needs to be given.
I’m with Rebecca on this one. I quit reading the moment it was mentioned to put the EO in water to drink. EOs are lipid soluble, not water soluble…….. and using them internally without a good education is simply extremely risky.
I am not disagreeing with those who say that taking EOs internally should not be done unless under the direction and care of a doctor or certified aromatherapist or similar qualified expert. However, I am unable to find anything in this post where the author advocated taking EOs internally. She makes a reference to EOs used in cooking, but it’s not at all clear that she meant that she uses them in her own cooking in her own kitchen, or if she is merely stating that EOs are used to flavor foods by food producers. So, I don’t understand how the subject of internal use of EOs even came up. Is it because this blogger advocates doing so elsewhere on her blog? (I’ve only looked at this one single blogpost.)
I also don’t understand why folks are saying that they stopped reading the moment she said to put EOs in water to drink. Nowhere in the post does it say that, and I read it three times to makes sure. The only reference to taking an EO internally was the lemon oil and that was adding it to honey. I just don’t understand why Rebecca, Julie, and Terri are jumping all over this post because they seem to be referring to things that aren’t even mentioned. I also do not see any mention of doTerra in this post. Maybe you three follow the guest contributor’s own blog and have a beef with other things on her personal blog.
Whoa! Contention over anything…and people can be so offended! I THANK YOU for this article and find it to be a great resource! As a long term user of EOs, I find that you do not include any dangerous recommendations in your article and even include warnings where appropriate. So what if you sell DoTerra? I’m sure that it’s a wonderful company, as is Young Living or Eden’s Garden. Blessings to you as you make some extra income for your family and provide them your best!
I am searching for Nantucket Briar essential oil for the home previously made by Crabtree and Evelyn. Can you match it or point me in the right direction?
Essential oils became a big part of my life! Especially lavender oil, it helps me with sleep, head and neck tension, stomach issues or motion sickness, is calming, supports skin health and more.