I’ve often written about the importance of diluting essential oils properly.
You know, putting some drops of essential oils into another substance, so they aren’t as concentrated, and so you can minimize the risk of skin sensitization or allergic reactions.
There’s a short list of things you can use to dilute essential oils.
But there’s a seemingly inexhaustible list of things that you cannot use to dilute essential oils. And yet, you won’t go long when researching essential oils before somebody recommends one of the following for dilution:
Vinegar is between 80%-95% water (practically no capacity for diluting essential oils).
The rest of what’s in vinegar (acetic acid) can dilute substances such as essential oils, but there’s just not enough of it to do a proper job.
Essential oils don’t dilute in water by definition (essential oils are what separates on top of the water during the steam distillation or expression process).
A very small quantity of some essential oil compounds will dilute in water, but it’s not something to count on.
The same goes for things that are almost entirely water, such as tea, juice, sparkling lemonade, or a virgin mojito.
#3 A lot of hot water
Water won’t dilute essential oils, and that doesn’t change if you use a lot of water, or if you make it steaming hot.
If you want to use essential oils in the bathtub, don’t rely on the gallons of water that are in there to protect you from getting a skin reaction.
#4 Epsom salts
Epsom salts are magnesium sulfate, and water mixed with magnesium sulfate they will do absolutely nothing to dilute essential oils.
I’m not really sure where this myth came from, but I see it popping up frequently around the Internet.
#5 Aloe vera gel and jelly
Aloe vera gel, the pure stuff that comes from the plant, is mostly water, and you know water won’t cut it.
Aloe vera jelly, the thicker commercial product that has other chemicals added in, can be used as a carrier for some uses, but it still won’t dilute essential oils.
#6 Cheap vodka from the corner liquor store
Ethanol, or pure alcohol, will dilute essential oils. However, vodka, cheap or expensive, is only about 40% alcohol, with the rest being water.
And much like vinegar, there’s not enough of the essential-oil-diluting stuff in vodka (or other drinking spirits) to do a good job diluting essential oils.
At bottom, honey is water with a lot of sugar in it. it’s not a suitable solvent for essential oils.
Now, a couple of these substances, such as aloe vera jelly and honey, might make an ok carrier for essential oils in certain situations.
That’s because they are rather thick, and if you mix in the oils with a lot of fervor, they won’t separate from the carrier very quickly. But at a chemical level, neither of these substances will actually dilute the oils.
As for the rest, enjoy your hot bath, your cool glass of water, or your shot of tequila — but don’t count on them to dilute essential oils.