How to Dilute Essential Oils with Water: A Detailed Guide

It’s easy to assume that since essential oils are natural, they’re safe for our bodies. In reality, they are very volatile substances that need to be used with care.

Derived from some of the strongest plants in the world, essential oils smell fantastic but should also be diluted before used for any purpose. This is why diffusers require you to diffuse the oils with water, as simply diffusing the oils could negate the healthy advantages of the essential oils. If you’ve been wondering how to dilute essential oils with water so that you achieve the highest scent power possible, this guide is designed to help.

Things to Know

Before you start using essential oils on your body or around your home, there are a couple of important things to take note of to make sure that you’re safely diluting the oils.

1. Read the Label

First and foremost, it’s important for you to read the label on the back of your essential oil. In most cases, manufacturers will let you know about the recommended level of dilution depending on the type of essential oil you are using, and it may vary from one company to another. It’s always best to rely on advice from the company, as they have scientifically tested what works best with their essential oils.

2. Spot Tests Are Necessary

No matter if you intend on applying the essential oils to your skin or if you want to use them as a fabric freshener, it’s important that you conduct a spot or patch test. Even if you don’t have sensitive skin, you could have allergies to items that you’ve never been exposed to before. This also applies to upholstery and other types of furniture, as some essential oils can and will stain.

Always choose an inconspicuous area when testing furniture and spot test on either your arm or leg when you plan to do the topical application.

3. Consult a Doctor Before Use

If you’re pregnant or suffering from different medical conditions, it’s important that you first talk to your doctor to determine if essential oils are safe to use. Little do most people know that some essential oils can be harmful to pregnant women and other medical concerns, which is why you should always seek professional assistance.

4. Only Use Essential Oils for Topical Application

As a rule of thumb that most people know, you should never ingest essential oils or use them in your eyes. Not only would that be irresponsible, but it is also incredibly dangerous and can lead to death in many instances.

The Easy-to-Follow Dilution Guide

As mentioned, it’s recommended that you follow the instructions on the label of the essential oil you are using above any other resource. However, if there aren’t any instructions on the bottle, you can always use this very easy-to-follow dilution guide.

1. Personal Care (Face, Hair, Body, Etc.)

  • 6-18 drops of essential oil + 1 ounce of water = 1-3% dilution

2. Home Care (Air Freshener, Furniture Freshener, etc.)

  • Up to 18 drops of essential oil + 1 ounce of water = 3% dilution

As you can see, when it comes to freshening the air in your home or your furniture, you won’t have to worry as much about dilution as you would with your skin. At the end of the day, the more water you add to the mixture, the more diluted it will become.

How to Dilute Essential Oils in Diffusers

In most cases, when you purchase a diffuser, it will give you thorough instructions on the recommended amount of oil that you should put into the water reservoir. However, some do not. You may also want to take a look at the bottle of your oils, as it might give you an indication of the recommended amount.

There is a general rule of thumb when asking how to dilute essential oils with water in diffusers, which is very simple to follow, similar to creating a skin-safe and furniture-safe concoction.

  • 100ml = Five drops
  • 200ml = 10 drops
  • 300ml = 12 drops
  • 400ml+ = Up to 20 drops

Over time, the more often you use your diffuser, the easier it will be to find the perfect mixture of oil and water. Some individuals prefer to add more essential oils if they’re trying to purify a larger space.

Others might find that too much oil can lead to headaches and general discomfort. As long as you are diluting the oils with water, you have complete control over the scent level your home will experience.

Other Ways to Dilute Essential Oils

1. Using Carrier Oils

If you’ve done some research into the world of essential oils and diluting them, you’ve undoubtedly heard of another popular method of dilution using carrier oils.

Carrier oils are essentially a fancy way of describing oils made out of vegetables. They help to carry the oils onto your body without any damaging effects. Though these oils are not recommended for use in diffusers, they are incredibly useful for creating the perfect blend of essential oils for your skin.

A couple of examples of carrier oils include:

  • Avocado oil
  • Kernel oil
  • Coconut oil
  • Cranberry seed oil
  • Grapeseed oil
  • Jojoba
  • Hemp seed oil
  • Peanut oil

2. Using Emulsifiers

Have you ever tried to thoroughly combine your essential oils with water only to realize that the oil is pooling on top? This is because oil and water are very different in their composition and will never be able to mix unless you use an emulsifier!

Similar to carrier oils, emulsifiers give you the ability to thoroughly mix the oils and the water together so that the scent lasts longer when used in your diffuser. As mentioned, you will not be able to use an emulsifier and essential oil alone in your diffuser, they must still be mixed with water.

Several popular examples of emulsifiers include:

  • Aloe vera gel
  • Baking soda
  • Apple cider vinegar
  • Witch hazel
  • Rubbing alcohol

Final Thoughts

Learning how to dilute essential oils with water is the first step to knowing how to use them to the best of their abilities. Although these oils are renowned for their healing properties, using them on their own can be damaging to your skin and your furniture. As such, you will need to make sure they are diluted either by using water, carrier oil, or a combination of both.

4 thoughts on “How to Dilute Essential Oils with Water: A Detailed Guide”

  1. Hi,

    Thanks for your guide about the essential oils dilution in water.

    I have one question. Can we use the 2% dilution in water for a hair loss lotion?


    • Hello Daniel

      Thanks for dropping by the FreshandBreezy website ?

      There are many studies that show essential oils such as rosemary, bergamont and peppermint can promote hair growth however it is recommended that they should be added to a carrier oil such as olive, coconut or jojoba for dilution.

      They can be added to water for dilution but only if mixed with an emulsifier such as diatomaceous earth, aloe vera gel and castile soap first.

      Hope this helps!

  2. I recently bought FRESH SKIN LAVENDER OIL could you please give me some information on what to do so as i can use it to deter flying insects from biting me thank you in advance


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