7 Everyday Easy Uses for Essential Oils.

Via Brenda Davidge
on Nov 19, 2015
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I started using essential oils (a liquid that is generally distilled, usually by steam, from the leaves, stems, flowers, bark, roots, or other elements of a plant) as a cleaning alternative to harsh chemicals in my home but soon realized their incredible benefits.

Initially I knew very little about essential oils. I was hesitant at first, as all my mind could conjure up were images of patchouli wearing hippies in San Francisco.

But after some research I found out that they are actually a really natural substitute to most products. As it turns out essential oils have been used for thousands of years in food preparation and in beauty and health products.

The oils are carefully distilled from a plant source and thus are truly gifts of nature. There are several brands of essential oils out there so be sure to look carefully into the product itself, as the FDA is not required to regulate essential oils and not all of them are 100% actual essential oil.

Personally, I like to use Young Living since they have their own farms and are really committed to quality. There are many uses for essential oils and a quick search online will help you find what you need in no time.

Once I saw how well they worked as substitutes for cleaning products around the house, I was hooked and ready to try them out in other ways. Check out my top favorite uses for essential oils.

To wind down.

After long day of work, school, or basically anything, winding down is number one on my list of things I want to do, but usually number 25 on the list of things I actually get to do. That’s where essential oils come in.

Right after I walk through the door, I put a few drops of lavender, chamomile, and vanilla in a diffuser and let it do its thing. As I start to get dinner ready or laundry or any other number of things that are part of my second shift, the house fills with a calming aroma and I actually start feeling like I’m able to unwind. Even my kids and dogs start to settle, plus the house smells like I’ve been baking cookies. Can’t go wrong there!

To get rid of pet smells and “accidents.”

It’s no secret essential oils smell good. And they are good at making rooms smell great. But they are even handier when you have pets. We have two dogs, one of which has an incontinence issue. She’s on meds to help her but every now and then she has an accident. And if there’s one thing that no one likes it’s cleaning up animal pee on your sofa.

Essential oils to the rescue! Mix a little bit over ½ a cup of hydrogen peroxide, one teaspoon of white vinegar, one teaspoon of baking soda, and ½ a teaspoon of orange essential oil. Shake it all up in a bottle and spray the affected area. Allow it to dry and then vacuum up the excess powder. Repeat if needed.

When this scenario happens on the carpets, I do the following: six to nine drops of lemon essential oil with one cup of baking soda. Mix well and sprinkle on affected area. Leave it for three hours or more and vacuum it up. I love doing that one whether or not I have a mess to clean up, since it makes my home smell like lemon bars.

To decongest.

I have terrible allergies and have gotten to the point that I no longer want to be popping decongestants. Enter essential oils! Rather than taking a pill I make a little mix of one part eucalyptus oil, tea tree oil, and peppermint. I keep it a little in a container and take it out whenever I need it. I put some drops in my hands, cup them to my nose and inhale all the goodness. Alternatively you can also use this same mix in a steam using one drop of each in a steaming bowl of hot water. Drape a towel over your head and breathe in. Try breathing in for about five minutes, taking breaks as needed.

To open up airways before physical activity.

I’m an active person—roller derby, rock climbing, running—but every now and then I’m just not feeling it. I know keeping myself active is important to staying healthy both physically and mentally, but I have days when just getting out of bed is a chore. Bring on those essential oil cheerleaders. Using equal parts eucalyptus, peppermint, tea tree and lemon oils, I mix it up and breathe. This mix not only gives me the zing I need to get going but the spring in my step to actually start doing by helping clear my airways.

To deter lice and nits.

If you have kids you are guaranteed to have, at minimum, five cases of lice outbreaks in your lifetime. There are several non-toxic ways to get rid of them and I’m all for that or paying someone to do it. But a surefire preventative, if an outbreak happens around your kids or to keep them off once you’ve gotten rid of them, is peppermint. I don’t know what lice have against smelling like candy canes but apparently they hate it.

Tea Tree oil works the best but some children don’t like the smell of that as much, so I make a little concoction that meets somewhere in the middle. Using equal parts peppermint and tea tree oil, I add a few drops of lavender, and one drop of eucalyptus with two ounces rubbing alcohol and two ounces water. I mix them in a spray bottle and apply to their hair before they go off to school and when they get back. Works like a charm.

As bug repellent.

I don’t know what it is about my genetic make up but mosquitos love me. I’m that person who gets bit on 90 percent of her body while everyone else maybe gets one bite. Life was unfair until I found out mosquitos, much like most insects, do not like peppermint! Bad for them, good for me. I was skeptical at first but after two nights of unbearable California heat and having to sleep with my windows open, I gave it a try. I poured some drops of peppermint oil in my diffuser and put some on my wrists and went to bed. The next morning I awoke with no new bites! I still had the old ones to contend with, but no new ones.

As a muscle soak.

After a day of long distance running my legs and the rest of me are ready to melt into a bathtub. And that’s exactly what we do. I pour in about two cups of Epsom salt with 10 drops of lavender, and five drops of eucalyptus. The lavender calms and relaxes me, the rosemary helps the muscles and joints, and the eucalyptus helps my respiratory system. It’s the perfect way to unwind while helping my body recover.

These are just a few of the ways I’ve used essential oils. Aside from being incredibly medicinal; they’re fairly inexpensive, and so very versatile. What started off as something I needed turned in to something I actually really liked and something that was good for me and my family.

So give them a try and share your favorite essential oil recipes below!



Relephant mindful, eco product from Elephant’s Mindful Market:

Lavender Oil by Sivana $12.95


Relephant Favorite: 

Make your own Essential Oil First Aid Kit.


Author: Brenda Davidge

Editor: Travis May

Image: Flickr/Andrew Gustar


About Brenda Davidge

Brenda Davidge wants to live a world where her sofa doesn’t smell of dog pee and people chew with their mouths closed. She is a Los Angeles native with too many opinions and very pretty hair. A sociologist, a feminista, a photographer, a dreamer, an anomaly, a habitual observer and an intuitive listener, a traveler and an even more passionate explorer. When she isn’t busy making lists, she’s climbing rocks, kicking ass in roller derby and training for the next marathon. Brenda enjoys music festivals and mentoring college freshmen & womyn, but not always at the same time. Follow her existential crisis adventures on Instagram.


19 Responses to “7 Everyday Easy Uses for Essential Oils.”

  1. Melanie says:

    Good article on uses for essential oils, but the author spelled baking soda, “backing” soda in the article. Don’t know who proofreads these articles before they’re published!

  2. Tyler says:

    Hi, great article, thank you!

    I believe there’s a typo on baking soda, and I’m not sure how many drops of Rosemary to add for the bath? It’s not written in the article.

    Thank you!

  3. Carole says:

    Hydro peroxide is toxic to humans and animals this isn't something to clean with or to mix with these type of oils,I was never taught to use this mixture as an aromatherapist I'd say its not to be used .

  4. Maria says:

    I use the baking soda and essential oil trick on our carpets and furniture ALL the time. SUCH a great deodorizer! Our favorite blend is spearmint and eucalyptus.

  5. grumpygranny says:

    Get any book about essential oils and aromatherpy by Valerie Worwood. I swear by her books. Have healed scars, soothed skin burned by radiation treatments, calmed upset tummies, etc. She goes into the chemistry, etc. Very informative and helpful.

  6. deborahpavek says:

    How much rosemary oil in the bath? Rosemary isn't even mentioned until the third sentence, it came as quite a surprise. Is there no editor or even anyone to proofread these articles prior to posting?

  7. elephantjournal says:

    Hi there – if you have questions or comments for the editor, please direct specific inquiries to [email protected]. ~ Ed.

  8. brenda says:

    Good catch. Typo all fixed.

  9. Brenda says:

    Hi glad you liked the article. With regards to the Rosemary, I like to add about 5 drops.

  10. Brenda says:

    Hydrogen peroxide, the household grade of 3-6%, is commonly used for disinfecting or sterilization and often a staple in most medicine cabinets. It kills microorganisms by oxidizing them making it an excellent stain remover. With that in mind, I use that mix strictly on the sofa CUSHIONS- after taking off sofa covers and washing them separately, as hydrogen peroxide can stain some fabrics. Washing sofa cushions can be a laborious task requiring hand washing/soaking – trust me I've tried – and usually only possibly in the summer when I can leave the cushions out in the hot California sun to dry. So in lieu of that, spraying this mix on the cushions and washing the sofa covers works well for me.

  11. Brenda says:

    I love it too! Spearmint and eucalyptus sounds yummy. I'll have to try that next!

  12. Brenda says:

    Great book suggestion! Essential oils are seriously the best!

  13. Brenda says:

    Sorry for any confusion. With regards to the Rosemary, I like to add about 5 drops.

  14. Tara says:

    Are you using vanilla essential oil in your diffuser with the lavender and chamomile combo or vanilla extract? If using vanilla oil, where would I purchase it?

  15. Brenda says:

    Great question. It is my understanding that there is no such thing as pure 100% vanilla essential oil. The nature of the vanilla bean does not allow for the distillation process which produces essential oils. It is still possible to extract scents from the vanilla bean, but it’s not considered an essential oil. With that said there are “Vanilla Essential" oils out there but they are usually part vanilla and part carrier oil like jojoba. Those are fine to use and it's what I use. I wouldn't recommend using vanilla extract – at least the kind you would use for cooking – since alot of them contain alcohol.

  16. hyattsandra says:

    I love this article. I was not aware that we could use essential oils to deter lice and nits. Another website that I use for essential oils is: WeHeartEssentialOils

  17. Shubham says:

    I would like to put more light on the use of essential oil, Using essential oil containing mouthwash is a new approach to treat bad breath or Halitosis. Essential oils have been found extremely useful in treating halitosis.

    They are best because they have anti-bacterial properties that kills the germs of mouth and stops building the dental plaque which later causes tooth decay and other problems to breath also. Essential oil mouthwash contains eugenol,thymol,phynol ,eucalypto and menthol that are good for healthy oral hygiene.

  18. Lykid says:

    The thing is this is such a nice detail on these amazing essential oils and their uses. These are now such an important part of our daily lives. You have given so much details. These are really useful things.

  19. Tony says:

    For a decongestant, I use peppermint oil, but I put a few drops in my hands, rub them together, then take several deep inhalations holding each breath for about 15 seconds. Works like a charm!!