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12 Simple and Practical Uses for Essential Oils

There’s something so satisfying about bringing the vibrant aroma of plants into our homes. Maybe we feel more connected to nature, or maybe we simply enjoy when everything smells fresh and new, or maybe it’s both. Either way, essential oils bring the freshness of the outdoors in and make us smile.

Aromatherapy has been used in so many cultures since ancient times. The Egyptians, the Greeks, Babylonians, and people of China and India found all kinds of uses for perfumed plant parts, including purifying the air, enhancing religious rituals, infusing massage oils, making medicine, and even preserving the dead.

Modern research has shown that the benefits of essential oils do exist, and their popularity has really taken off. Besides helping us to improve our mood and to relax, using essential oils instead of traditional fragranced products also helps reduce our exposure to chemicals that harm our health and the environment.

Using a diffuser is now the most common way to spread the pleasant-smelling extracts at home. The tiny aromatic particles are dispersed either through heat, vibrations, or evaporation. But this isn’t the only way to enjoy these therapeutic scents. You can also put them to work in your house in many other ways. If you’re new to essential oils or if you’ve run out of ideas on how to use them, check out this list of a dozen ways to get your aromatherapy on.

1. Keeping your skin clear

Many experts swear by a variety of essential oils that can help keep your skin clear of excess oil, bacteria, and acne. These include tea tree, rosemary, clary sage, frankincense, lemon, lemongrass, chamomile, lime, and lavender. The antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties help to clean out the pores and reduce irritation. You can add these to a carrier oil like almond oil, avocado oil or olive oil and apply right to your skin.

2. Laundry

Just add a few drops of your favorite essential oil to the wash before it starts or add some drops to a dryer ball and toss it in the dryer. Your clothes or linens will smell amazing and will be chemical free.

3. Eliminate odors in the trash can

Got a stinky trash bin? Who doesn’t!? Add your favorite essential oils to a cotton ball or something similar and drop it into the bottom of the bin. No more cringing when you open the lid!

4. Cleaning the house

Make your home smell terrific every time you clean by using essential oils. Clean everything from floors to countertops to toilet bowls to windows, and more. It’s so easy to make your own cleaners with simple recipes using oils that disinfect, deodorize, and degrease.

5. Bug spray

No need to spray toxic chemicals on your skin to keep those pesky bugs away. You can mix essential oils like citronella, eucalyptus, lavender, and thyme. And you can create different bug sprays for different bugs. Most of them need to be diluted with water and/or witch hazel or alcohol before applying to your skin.

6. Freshen shoes

Stinky shoes (and feet) are a part of life. Freshen up your shoes using an essential oil spray made with distilled water, witch hazel and a scent like lavender, eucalyptus, peppermint, or tea tree. You can also use essential oils mixed with a carrier oil to rub on your feet to reduce the source of the odor.

7. Add to your bath

Combining essential oils and a carrier oil with your bath water can help you relax, soothe your skin, clear your sinuses, and boost your mood. Adding peppermint, eucalyptus, or lavender to an Epsom salt bath also helps relieve sore muscles.

8. Sinuses

Congested sinuses can benefit from a little essential oil love in the form of steam inhalation. Boil a pot of water and add a few drops of eucalyptus, peppermint, oregano, or a blend of oils. Put a towel over your head and hover over it, breathing in the scented steam. This will help open up your nasal passages for easier breathing.

9. Clean wounds

Tea tree oil has strong antimicrobial properties and is used for cleansing wounds and preventing bacterial infection. It must be diluted first with water or a carrier oil to use it on your skin, however. Dab onto your scrapes and cuts with a cotton pad to promote healing.

10. Remove gum and dissolve gunk

Word has it that lemon essential oil can be used to remove things like gum, wax, glue, or permanent marker. Never worry about gum in the hair again!

11. Hair growth

Rosemary essential oil has been shown in research to stimulate hair growth, and one study even found that it was as effective than minoxidil. You can use it directly on your scalp by mixing with a carrier oil and massaging it in. Or you can add a few drops to one of your hair care products.

12. Bathroom spray

For bathroom odors, keep a spray bottle full of a solution of water, witch hazel or rubbing alcohol, and an essential oil you like (or a blend of a few) near the toilet. Spray it into the bowl as needed. Citrus scents and outdoorsy smells work best.


That should keep you busy for a while. Keep in mind that a little goes a long way when it comes to essential oils. You probably only need a few drops in many cases. Even though they’re natural, essential oils can still be irritating for some people. You should always test them out first. Plus, you’ll want to look for brands that use sustainable sources for their oils to help protect the environment. May you never run out of uses for these versatile extracts again. 

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