25 Uses For Essential Oils

Written by contributor Krissa Jeldy of More Than Mundane.

For the last year and a half I’ve been diving head first into the world of essential oils. I am by no means an expert, but as I’ve been integrating essential oils into my daily life I have learned a lot about how versatile they are and have had fun trying them out in a wide variety of ways.

Quality essential oils can be a bit pricey and I’ve had friends who are interested in using essential oils but seem a little unsure about where to begin. There are a handful of essential oils that I use most often and that I would recommend as basics if you’re just getting started.

The Basics

Lemon, Peppermint, Lavender, Melaleuca (Tea Tree) and Eucalyptus are some of the essential oils that I use most.

Essential oils can be used aromatically, topically, or taken internally. However, especially for topical and internal use, it’s important to make sure you are using high quality, pure essential oils. Many of the essential oils on the market are produced solely for their aromatic quality and so are not of high enough quality to be used on your skin or in your body.

Always make sure you do your research before using essential oils as they are extremely powerful and some are not recommended in certain circumstances (such as while pregnant).

A little goes a long way and they keep for a long time. Most uses require only a few drops of essential oil. Store essential oils in a cool, dark place and they will keep for years.

If you’re wondering how to use essential oils, I’ve compiled a list of some of the ways you can use them, but this is only a start!

Personal/Body Care Uses

  • Sugar Scrub. To make a sugar scrub, mix 1 cup sugar with 1/4-1/2 cup carrier oil (Sweet Almond Oil, Grapeseed Oil, Olive Oil, etc.) and add 8-10 drops of the essential oil of your choice. Try my favorite Lemon Lime Sugar Scrub.
  • Salt Scrub. Same concept as a sugar scrub, except using salt. I love using eucalyptus and peppermint.
  • Body Oils. Mix 1 cup carrier oil with 30-60 drops essential oil. Use as a moisturizer after a shower or add to a bath. Try one of these recipes from Crunchy Betty.
  • Body Butter. Make your own body butter and scent it using your favorite essential oils. Or for especially dry patches, try this Simple Lavender Salve.
  • Lip Balm. Use essential oil to scent your homemade lip balm. Try one of these 3 Simple Homemade Lip Balms.
  • Deodorant. Try this deodorant using Melaleuca (tea tree) and lavender essential oils. {Melaleuca, Lavender}
  • Toothpaste. You can make your own toothpaste using coconut oil, baking soda, and peppermint essential oil. You can also add stevia to sweeten it, as in this recipe.
  • Mouthwash. In November, Nicole shared how to make your own mouthwash using peppermint essential oil.
  • Blemish Remover. Put a drop of Melaleuca (tea tree) oil on a blemish and watch it disappear.
  • Oil pulling. If you read Stephanie’s article on oil pulling a few weeks ago, she mentioned adding essential oils while oil pulling. I also like using a few drops of essential oil in water to swish with if I don’t have time to oil pull for 20 minutes. {Oregano, Clove, Peppermint}

Around the House Uses

  • Linen Spray/Room Spray. Fill a small glass spray bottle with distilled water and add essential oil until the mixture reaches the potency desired. I find that 25-30 drops in a 4 oz. bottle is a good amount. I like using Lavender for a linen spray to promote relaxation. Or try one of these recipes.
  • Air Freshener. Fill a jar about 1/2 full of baking soda along with 10-15 drops of your favorite essential oil. Using a hammer and nail, poke holes in the lid and place somewhere your air needs freshening. {Lavender, Lemon}
  • Cleaning/Disinfecting. Add several drops of your favorite essential oil to 1 part water and 1 part white vinegar for an all purpose cleaner.
  • Floor Cleaner. If you’re looking for a simple and fresh citrus floor cleaner, try this one using only water, castile soap, and essential oils. {Sweet orange, lemon}
  • Laundry. If you make your own laundry detergent, you can add essential oil to scent it or you can add 3-5 drops of essential oil to your detergent before each load.
  • Removing Stickers (replacement for Goo-Be-Gone). Use several drops of lemon essential oil or other citrus based oil to remove sticker gunk, such as when you want to get a label off of a jar.
  •  Clean your mattress. Add several drops of essential oil to a cup of baking soda and sprinkle over mattress. Leave for an hour and then vacuum up.

Home Remedies/First Aid Uses

  • DIY Vapo-Rub. To make your own Vapo-Rub, just add an essential oil such as eucalyptus to a carrier oil and rub on chest, back and the bottoms of feet to relieve congestion and coughing. Try this recipe.
  • First Aid for Cuts and Scrapes. Combine Lavender or Melaleuca (tea tree) oil with a carrier oil and apply to cuts and scrapes. {Lavender, Melaleuca}
  • Insect/Bug Bites (Itching). Add 2-3 drops lavender essential oil to 1 TBSP carrier oil and apply to location.
  • Cold Sores and Canker Sores. Dilute Melaleuca (tea tree) essential oil and apply 1-2 drops directly to cold sore.
  • Sunburn. Fill a 4 oz. glass spray bottle with distilled water and add 10 drops lavender essential oil. Spray on burnt area to relieve pain and promote healing.
  • Headaches. Apply 1-2 drops of peppermint essential oil to temples, forehead, and back of neck. Dilute with carrier oil for sensitive skin.

Photo by ASCOM Prefeitura de Votuporanga

For Babies and Kids

*Important Note: Since essential oils are very strong and extremely powerful, use caution when using them on infants and children. For more specifics, read Essential Oils for Babies.

  • Aromatherapy Playdough. If you make your own playdough, add just a few drops of essential oil at the end of the process and mix well. {Lemon, Lavender, Lime, Grapefruit}
  • Massage Oil. Giving baby a massage before bedtime can be a great way to ensure a good night’s rest for everyone. Try this Massage Oil for Baby.


Do you use essential oils? What are some of your favorite uses for them?

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  1. Essential oils are so much more cost efficient for scenting a bath or using as an inhalant for colds. You need so little and the smell is so intense.

  2. Great post, Krissa. As you know, I love essential oils! I’ve never tried doterra, and think I must get my hands on some of their oils one of these days.

    My favorite part of using essential oils is how simple it is to make remedies and cleaners with them (as you’ve shown here). It’s so quick and easy to whip up something that actually works and smells great, too!

  3. Thanks so much for this. It is really helpful to have it all in one place!

  4. I love this post. This is a great resource. Many of these things I use but it’s wonderful to see a few new ones.

  5. Thanks for such a great resource, Krissa! I’m going to note down in my journal many of these so I have them on-hand to try.

  6. Very useful list! I just bought eucalyptus and peppermint from Mountain Rose Herbs and am looking forward to trying a few of these suggestions. It looks like I should get some tea tree as well!

    • Yes, I just used tea tree oil the other night on a painful canker sore and it really helped to lessen the pain and it seemed to heal it up so much more quickly than normal.

  7. To be honest I’ve never bought essential oils, and whenever I received it as a gift I never knew what to do with them other than the typical “light a candle under them” technique. Thanks for the list—now I know what to do next time!

    • They really are such a good tool to have on hand and so much fun too! I hope you get a chance to try some of these. Let me know if you need more ideas or have any questions.

  8. I LOVED this article so much I bookmarked it, told my husband about it and made my own cleaner. I am especially fascinated by the medicinal uses…but I want to make sure I have “the good stuff” before I venture out there (Oh, and have my baby first too! haha). But after April I’ll explore that as well. Thanks for the post and the inspiration. 🙂

    • Hi Lana,
      I’m so glad you enjoyed the article. Definitely make sure you have quality oils when you start to use them internally. The ones I have include nutritional labels on the bottles with instructions for internal use. I’m happy to answer any questions if you ever have any. Let me know if you try any of these ideas, I’d love to hear what you think!

  9. I love essential oils, especially lemon and citrus scents!!! They’re wonderful in homemade cleaning recipes, too. Have a great weekend. Love and hugs from the ocean shores of California, Heather 🙂

  10. hellewwww,, i have used peppermint oil for quite some time now. i use to work very hard a server in a really busy restaurant in panama city beach. i would get so flppin hot and sweat so much it was awful. i discovered that about 6 drops of peppermint oil in a cold bottle of water was amazing. i culd feel a difference in my body temperature almost immediatly after drinking a few big gulps. it even kept the water in the bottle colder than a bottle of water without the peppermimt oil in it, just sitting on the counter…… hope this helps somebody <3

  11. I keep reading about doTerra’s graded safe enough for internal and dietery use. Have you tried consuming the oils yourself?

    • Yes, I use doTERRA oils internally. Mainly lemon, which I use every day in my water. But I use other oils as needed internally as well. Let me know if you have any other questions!

  12. I use doTERRA and I have really liked it. I have found that some things are better internally if you get those little empty capsules (I got mine at a local health store). Just one drop of peppermint is all it takes to cure pregnancy heart burn…You can also just put the peppermint in water, but it is pretty strong and you can feel it tingle a while. I also like lemon in my water. We use lavender for all sorts of things, but Melaleuca (used for a lot!), OnGuard (immunity boost- I rub it diluted on my kids feet), Digestzen (great for nausea- I rub one drop diluted on my girls tummy) and Wild Orange (diffused in the air to lift our spirits) are my current favorites.

    • I put the oils in capsules too when I take them internally. On Guard and Digestzen are great! I also use Breathe a lot when my kids are sick…I dilute with a carrier oil and rub it on their feet and chests and it really helps cut down on the coughing. I’d say lemon, lavender, and On Guard are the ones I go through the quickest in our home!

  13. We just had Emily from doTERRA do a presentation for us. She said to put 1 drop of On Guard in 32 oz of Water in a spray bottle and use it as a disinfectant. It will kill any virus for up to 14 days!! I have also gargled with Melaleuca for a sore throat it take it away IMMEDIATELY!! I wouldn’t use anything other than doTERRA oils just because they are the PUREST out there!!

    • I have just been doing a little research on essential oil companies and am wondering why DoTerra as opposed to Young Living Essential Oils? From what I see on the websites and from what I have heard from different people, it seems to me that Young Living is much higher in quality?? Maybe I am wrong but I would like opinions on the 2 companies!

  14. LOVE this post! Thanks for sharing all of your great ideas. I personally will vouch for Melaleuca oil for just about anything…it’s a fantastic disinfectant, deodorizer, and so much more. My mom used toothpaste with a little melaleuca oil in it and REVERSED her gum disease…I kid you not. I used it straight on my son when he got burned, and the redness and pain was completely gone in 10 minutes. As for ingesting, I’ve used the lemon from doTERRA and I’ve put the lime in my yogurt…YUM!

  15. Thank you for sharing. I love my doTerra oils and would like to use them more. This post is a great jumping off post for me.

  16. I like your post… but please be careful. Don’t use even medicinal-grade oils internally unless you have the dosis information from a professional aromatherapist. Only a few oils can be taken internally and more than a few would be harmful this way. Also, for topical use, work within guidelines from a reputable source and if you have very sensitive skin it would be best to dilute into a good carrier oil like virgin olive oil or sweet almond oil. Absolute Essential NZ has been my one-stop essential oil shop for years.

  17. Hello! Great post…
    Just wanted to add a website for essential oils, recipes, and great ideas;

    you can purchase kits and essential oils and they are of very high pure quality.
    thanks for sharing!

  18. Hey can you get these oils like at walmart?. We live in a little town so if its not a doller General, Dollar Tree, or Walmart your going to have to drive a good while then to find it lol

    • You could order them online from doTERRA or Mountain Rose Herbs. If you’re wanting to use them internally or on your skin or in Home Remedies you want to make sure you get a good brand, and I’m not sure that any of the places you mentioned would have a decent brand.

  19. Pandey Gaurav says:

    brief and nice sort of knoeledge about uses

  20. I use essential oils in the soaps I make for my shop. I make deodorants with the Tea Tree Oil and Lavender Oil. I’ve also started making body butter bars and whipped body butter with essential or fragrance oils. Now I’ll be branching out a bit more. I feel like I’ve stumbled on the mother lode here. Thank you for sharing your information.

  21. Such a detailed post with very useful information. I love my essential oils. iherb is a great website to buy organic essentials for people like me living in regional areas. Check out the website and see for yourself. They have a range of healthy food as well. You can use the code DKS451 to get $10 off your first purchase on the ‘iherb’ website. They ship internationally at ver low prices.

  22. Probably my two favorite oils are peppermint and lavender. Rubbing a drop or two of lavender on my kids feet just before they go to sleep helps a lot and a drop of peppermint in my mouth helps me get rid of a sore throat or cold.

  23. I also love cooking with the oils. I cook with olive oil and basil, oregano, lime, and lemon to name a few. The oils have also helped with preventing getting sick.

  24. Dimitris says:

    hi, what do you think about hemp essential oils?? Can I use it everywhere?? Which is us the best essential oil ?? Please I want to learn more about hemp essential oil…

  25. Spark Natural is a good company also! good prices, not MLM company, low shipping price. I use them & doTerra both!!
    Love your information btw!

  26. Beverley Cassidy says:

    Is there an essential oil remedy to treat fleas in cats and dogs?

  27. there are so many great uses of aromatherapy oils as you read in this article thanks for sharing such great information.

  28. What a great post ! I have never heard of doTerra, I am a LeReve consultant and we have the most amazing Pure Essential Oils in our Aromatherapy Range. I use A drop or two of Pure Sandlewood Oil on the back of my tongue for a sore throat, it works every time. My daughter swears by it too. She hated it at first but now every time she has a sore throat she says “mum can I have the Sandlewood Oil please, my throat hurts”. 🙂

  29. Hi I am just getting started with using EO and love the few things I’ve learned to do. This might be a dumb question but what is carrier oil?

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