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How To Dilute Essential Oils With Water?

Essential oils are a cornerstone of aromatherapy. To enjoy their scents and benefits, it is crucial to use them correctly. In this article, we will answer how you dilute essential oils with water and why it is necessary. 

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Diluting essential oils with water is great for creating a safe use for your oil while keeping their same scent. To dilute essential oils with water, you will need to create a 2% solution. Once you have your 2% solution, you need to add an emulsifier or solubilizer. 

You now have the basics of diluting essential oils with water. Keep reading as we explain the details of creating your 2% solution and answer what you can use as an emulsifier or solubilizer. Without further ado, let's get into it!

Fragrant orange essential oil, How To Dilute Essential Oils With Water?

Why Do I Need To Dilute Essential Oils?

Essential oils are highly concentrated oils coming from various plants. Due to their concentration, dilution is necessary to avoid reactions such as burns, inflammation, and even poisoning in some cases. 

These reactions can happen from both topical application and scents coming from diffusers. Furthermore, undiluted essential oils coming from a diffuser may cause lung or throat irritation. 

In some cases, essential oils are diluted with a carrier oil such as jojoba or avocado oil. Water is often used for dilution when it comes to making cosmetics, adding aromatherapy to your bath, and use in diffusers. 

A small vail of essential oil on the table

How To Mix Essential Oils With Water For Diffusers

Utilizing essential oils for aroma therapy has many benefits. You can use these scents to reduce stress, increase your focus, give yourself an energy boost, and more. Furthermore, these oils give your home a welcoming smell. 

While essential oils are becoming more popular, it is important to recognize their required handling. Proper care and dilution will allow you to safely use and enjoy the many benefits of these oils. 

Each essential oil diffuser and the oils themselves can have their specific recommendations for use and dilution. Prior to making your dilution, review the directions for your diffuser and oils.

We are going to talk about the general rule of thumb for diluting oils with water. 

A humidifier in the living room

How Many Drops Of Essential Oils Are Needed Per Ounce Of Water?

The general rule is to create a 2% solution when diluting your essential oils with water. This means you should be using 10-12 drops of oil per ounce of water. If you are particularly sensitive to scents, you can always use a smaller amount of oil. 

Additionally, you don't want to go beyond the 10-12 drops per ounce of water. This can result in the types of irritations we mentioned above. 

Pouring droplets of essential oil to a small vail

On top of getting the water-to-oil ratio correct, you will need to add an emulsifier or solubilizer to your solution. Without one of these agents, your oil and water will not properly mix. 

Without these additives, your oil will be left creating a film on top of your water, with no dilution happening. 

Emulsifiers And Solubilizers

In their original forms, water and oil do not mix or dilute each other. However, adding an emulsifier or solubilizer will break down and bind your substances to get the desired dilution. 

A solubilizer increases the solubility of a substance. Using one with your essential oils works by binding your water and oil together, stopping separation. Examples of solubilizers include polysorbates and propanediol. 

You can find solubilizer here on Amazon.

Emulsifiers work by breaking down the large oil molecules, allowing them to mix in better with your water. Additionally, emulsifiers help keep your essential oils in suspension. 

Examples of emulsifiers that work great with essential oil dilutions include glycerine, soaps such as liquid castile soap, and rubbing alcohol. Look for emulsifiers that contain no scent so as to not change the aroma of your essential oils. 

You can find unscented pure castle soap here on Amazon.

Both emulsifiers and solubilizers are to be added to your essential oils before mixing in with water. In general, you will need one drop of either your emulsifier or solubilizer per every one to three drops of essential oil. 

Mix your oil and binding product together, then mix in your water. Keep to the rule of one ounce of water per 10-12 drops of essential oils. With all ingredients mixed, they are ready to go into your diffuser. 

Read more: What Are The Best Wood Oil Diffusers? [A Complete Guide]

Can You Mix Essential Oils With Tap Water?

The instructions that come with your diffuser will specify what water the unit requires. Some diffusers may call for distilled or filtered water. However, many diffusers work well with tap water. 

Using tap water for your unit does have its benefits. For example, tap water contains natural minerals that help the water diffuse into vapor better than distilled water. Additionally, tap water is the least expensive and most accessible source of water. 

A faucet left on

Diffusers that require distilled or filtered water may do so to limit the buildup of mineral deposits. Less buildup means shorter cleaning times and prolonged life for your diffuser. 

Furthermore, distilled water is the purest source of water you can use. This water source will cost you more but can be a good choice for those with sensitive lungs. 

Prior to adding any water or oil mixtures to your diffuser, always check the included informational packet for guidelines. 

Can I Mix Essential Oils With Water In A Humidifier?

The answer really depends on which type of humidifier you are using. Essential oils should never be added to an evaporative humidifier. These humidifiers use a wicking filter. This system will fail if any foreign materials, such as essential oils, try to pass through. 

Ultrasonic humidifiers do not include this wicking system. These systems use a nebulizer that breaks down water particles with ultrasonic speed, creating a mist. Some ultrasonic humidifiers are specifically built to add essential oils. 

See this ultrasonic humidifier with an essential oil diffuser here on Amazon.

However, if your unit does not specify this purpose, you should not add essential oils directly to the unit's tank. 

Steam humidifiers can be compatible with essential oils. Steam humidifiers have a heating element that boils the water, releasing a mist into the air. Your steam humidifier may have come with a special cup for adding essential oils to the water. 

Never add essential oils to a humidifier before checking the unit's directions. If you want both a humidifier and essential oil diffuser in one, research units specifically listed as oil safe. 

Which Essential Oils Should Not Be Mixed?

Humidifier and other relaxing equipments on a table

There are many essential oil combinations that are great, and there is a handful that aren't so great and can even be harmful. Certain scents mixed together can cause skin and lung irritation, unpleasant odors, and stomach cramps. 

For example, peppermint and thyme mixed are likely to cause an upset stomach. Additionally, peppermint and rosemary blends are not advisable for pregnant women. 

Other essential oils that should not be mixed include the following:

  • Peppermint and basil
  • Peppermint and lemon
  • Grapefruit and lemon
  • Peppermint and ylang-ylang

Before creating your own blend for your diffuser, do your research to find which blends will give you the results you are looking for. There are over 90 essential oils available and more beneficial combinations than you can count. 

Essential Oil Safety Tips

Dilution is a top safety recommendation for essential oil use, but there is more to look out for when it comes to safe handling. It all starts with buying your oils. Always look for quality essential oils from reputable manufacturers. 

Furthermore, check that your essential oils do not contain additives. Oils with more ingredients are more likely to cause an allergic reaction.

Another tip is to discard old oils. In general, essential oils should not be kept for more than three years. If you notice any change in the texture, scent, or color of your oil, it is time to throw it away. 

Lastly, you should properly store your essential oils. Oils should be stored away from pets and children at all times. 

In Summary

Fragrant orange essential oil

Dilution of essential oils is necessary for safe use. Proper dilution will leave you with a 2% solution that you can use in your essential oil diffuser. We hope you found this article insightful when utilizing this type of aroma therapy. 

Are you looking for more ways to add a welcoming scent to your home? Take a look at this post: 6 Best Plug-In Natural-Scented Air Fresheners For Your Home