Essential Oils: Storage, Safety and Other Uses

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Essential oils are oils derived from plants through steam distillation. I use essential oils in many things I make for several reasons. Not only do they have a wonderful all-natural smell, but they are known for their medicinal and therapeutic properties.

How to Store Essential Oils

Essential Oils are considered volatile, meaning they will quickly lose their scent and therapeutic properties if they are exposed to air, sunlight, or extreme temperatures. There are a few things you can do to keep your essential oils stored correctly.

  1. Store essential oils in dark glass bottles. Sunlight can cause essential oils to deteriorate and lose their smell. Dark glass such as amber and cobalt keep out harmful light and keep the oils safe.
  2. Store essential oils in a cool dark place. Essential oils need to be stored where the temperature is stable. A shelf or drawer is a good place to keep them cool and away from sunlight. Also, consider buying a wooden essential oil storage box.
  3. Avoid bottles with a rubber stopper or cap. Essential oils can cause the rubber to deteriorate and ruin the essential oils. Instead look for a bottle with a built-in dropper.

Essential Oil Safety Precautions

Essential oils are essentially safe to use, although there are a few simple safety precautions to take when using them.

  1. Do not use essential oils undiluted on skin. This can cause skin irritation. Instead add a few drops of essential oil to a carrier oil, such as coconut oil, sweet almond oil, or jojoba oil.
  2. Some essential oils may cause sensitivity, irritation, or and allergic reaction in some individuals. Try a small patch test on a small area of skin before using.
  3. Watch out for essential oils that are phototoxic, or sun sensitive.

Carrier Oils and Other Uses

Carrier oils are often used to dilute essential oils especially when applied to skin. There are many different types of carrier oils. Although carrier oils have different properties, which carrier oil you choose is up to you.

Some Carrier Oils:

  • Coconut Oil
  • Jojoba Oil
  • Sweet Almond Oil
  • Avocado Oil
  • Apricot Kernel Oil
  • Sunflower Oil
  • Grapeseed Oil
  • Rosehip Oil

Essential oils have many uses, such as making household products, health and beauty products, and aromatherapy. They work great in a diffuser because their wonderful scent and for other therapeutic properties.

Zipper Pulls

If you’ve ever broken the pull tab on a zipper you have probably been faced with finding a way to replace it. Although paperclips and safety pins work for a little while, they are not a permanent fix. That is why I came up with a better solution.

These zipper pulls are easy to make in just a few minutes. All you need is grosgrain ribbon and a lobster claw clasp with a ring attached. I chose grosgrain ribbon because it is known to be durable, and it is available in many colors. The size of the ribbon I used is 3/8 inch. There are different sizes of ribbon. Just keep in mind that you will need to thread the ribbon through the ring in the clasp.

The lobster claw clasp is easy to use and comes with a ring already attached for the ribbon. There are many sizes of lobster claw clasps. This one measures just over 1 inch and is sturdy enough to use for a zipper. Larger clasps can be too bulky, and smaller clasps are too dainty and could break. I have included three different ways to make a zipper pull using the same methods.

What you need:

  • grosgrain ribbon
  • lobster claw clasp with ring attached
  • scissors
  • measuring tape or ruler

Instructions:

  1. First, measure and cut 5 inches or more of ribbon. Keep in mind that shorter ribbon is harder to work with.
  2. Fold the ribbon in half equally and thread it through the ring.

3. Pull the ends of the ribbon through the loop made by folding the ribbon in half.

4. Continue to pull the ends through until it forms a tight knot.

You’re done!

One other way to tie the ribbon is to make a simple loop. Start by measuring about 8 inches or more of ribbon. Pull the ribbon through the loop. While keeping the ends together, tie them in a loose knot. Gently slide the knot towards the end of the ribbon and tighten the knot.

Lastly, and probably the easiest way to make a zipper pull is to use either of the two methods I have mentioned above and tie the ribbon directly to the zipper.

Flower Pens

Flower pens add a decorative accent to your desktop and are fun and easy to make. For this project, you can choose any kind of artificial flower that you like. You will also need ballpoint pens. I chose Bic Cristal Xtra Bold because they are bright and colorful, although any ballpoint pen will do.

You will need:

  • artificial flowers
  • ballpoint pens
  • green masking tape or floral tape
  • sturdy scissors

Instructions:

  1. Start by measuring the length of the pen.
  2. Cut the stem of the flower about half the length of the pen. If you can’t cut all the way through the stem, bend the stem several times until it snaps.

3. Next, cut several inches of tape. Wrap the tape around the top of the pen one time.

4. Then place the stem against the pen and begin to wrap the tape downward. Make sure to wrap it tightly and spiral down the pen as you go.

5. Continue to wrap the tape down the pen. When you run out of tape, cut several inches again and start where you left off.

6. Wrap the tape to the end of the pen, leaving some room for the cap.

You’re done!

DIY baking soda air fresheners with essential oils

These DIY baking soda and essential oil air fresheners are an easy way to freshen the air without using a spray. Baking soda absorbs odors while the essential oils give off a pleasant scent.

You can use any essential oils you like. I used a combination of lemon, tea tree, and eucalyptus essential oils for a deodorizing effect.

Deodorizing Essential Oil Blend

  • 8 drops tea tree essential oil
  • 16 drops lemon essential oil
  • 12 drops eucalyptus essential oil

For this recipe, you will need a 4 oz. mason jar and mason jar inserts. I found these decorative galvanized metal inserts on Amazon.

Ingredients:

  • 4 oz. mason jar
  • mason jar inserts
  • 1/2 cup baking soda
  • essential oils

Instructions:

  1. Measure 1/2 cup baking soda into a bowl.
  2. Add 30 – 40 drops of your choice of essential oils.
  3. Mix well.
  • 4. Scoop the baking soda mixture into the mason jar.
  • 5. Place the lid back on the jar with the insert. You’re done!

How to Re-pot a House Plant

Taking care of house plants can be more than just making sure they have enough water and sunlight. Eventually, house plants grow and they will need to be re-potted into a larger planter.

Before you start re-potting, you will need to figure out what size planter you will need. If necessary, measure the planter you already have, and choose one that is just a few inches larger. Make sure there is a hole in the bottom for drainage. You will also need a saucer to place under the planter to catch any water.

Next, you will need potting soil. I chose a mix that is specifically for indoor plants. For this project, you might want to lay down some old newspaper or something else you have on hand to catch the potting soil and help with clean-up.

What you will need: potting soil, planter, saucer for planter

Instructions:

  • Start by gently removing the plant from the planter. An easy way to do this is to lightly squeeze or shake the plant to loosen it from the planter. Then, grab the plant at the very base with your fingers and gently pull it from the container. Try to keep the soil and roots together.
  • Next, place the plant in the new planter to figure out how much soil you will need to fill the bottom. If the top of the plant soil is about 4 inches from the top of the new planter, I will need about 4 inches of soil in the bottom of the pot.
  • Remove the plant and fill the bottom of the pot with soil. Make sure to pack the soil down lightly as you go.
  • Place the plant back into the planter.
  • Fill the space surrounding the plant with more potting soil, making sure the pack the soil down as you go.
  • Fill the pot to the top with soil, leaving about 1/2 to 1 inch for watering. Then, thoroughly water the plant.
  • You’re finished! Place the planter in the saucer and find a spot near a window where it will get sunlight.

DIY Essential Oil Room Spray

Essential oils have countless uses around the home. Not only are they used for their therapeutic properties such as relieving stress, relaxing, and uplifting, they are deodorizing and smell great!

This is an easy recipe for making your own room spray using essential oils. I used both lavender and vanilla essential oils because it is one of my favorite combinations. There are many essential oils to choose from. Orange and cinnamon are a great combination if you like fall spice. I also like orange and mint to freshen a room.

Some essential oils are know to be energizing and uplifting, such as; lemon, sweet orange, peppermint, and lemongrass. Other essential oils are relaxing, such as; lavender, clary sage, vetiver and ylang ylang. And some are refreshing, such as; spearmint, lemon and pine. There are also many essential oil blend recipes to choose from on Pinterest.

For this recipe, I use a 2 oz. cobalt glass spray bottle. Amber glass is also a good choice when using essential oils. The colored glass helps protect essential oils from outside elements such as sunlight so the oils last longer.

Ingredients:

  • 2 oz. spray bottle
  • 1/4 cup distilled water
  • 1/4 cup witch hazel
  • 30 -40 drops essential oil

Instructions:

  1. Add 1/4 cup distilled water and 1/4 cup witch hazel to the spray bottle.
  2. Add 30 – 40 drops of essential oils.
  3. Replace cap and and shake bottle.
  4. Label the bottle (optional).

DIY Garbage Can Deodorizers

If you’re looking for a way to keep your home smelling a little fresher, these DIY garbage can deodorizers might do the trick! They are easy to make and take just a few household ingredients. Just toss one into the garbage can to keep odors away.

For this recipe, I used lemon essential oil, although you can use whatever essential oil you’d like. I also used silicone baking cups, but you can use disposable baking cups as well.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups baking soda
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 3 – 5 drops essential oil (each)
  • baking cups

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Mix 2 cups baking soda and 1/2 cup water in a bowl.
  3. Spoon 1 -2 Tbsp. each into the baking cups.
  4. Bake the deodorizers for 20 min. on a baking sheet.
  5. Once they are done baking, add 3 – 5 drops essential oil to each baking cup.
  6. Allow the deodorizers to cool and remove them from the baking cups.

DIY Hand Sanitizer Spray with Essential Oils

In an earlier post, DIY Hand Sanitizer, I made hand sanitizer in a plastic squeeze bottle with just three ingredients. Since then, I have found a way to make a hand sanitizer spray with essential oils. This recipe is a little more complex and uses a few more ingredients. I used orange essential oil, but which essential oil you use is up to you. Please see the earlier post, DIY Hand Sanitizer on April 11, 2020 for a list of essential oils and their properties. This recipe also calls for a carrier oil. I used sweet almond oil, although you can also use fractionated coconut oil or jojoba oil.

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 tsp. Carrier Oil: fractionated coconut oil, sweet almond oil, or jojoba oil
  • 2 – 3 drops vitamin E
  • 10 – 15 drops essential oil
  • 1/2 tsp. vegetable glycerine
  • 2 tsp. Aloe vera gel
  • Isopropyl alcohol 90%+
  • 2 oz. spray bottle

Instructions:

  1. Add 1/2 tsp. carrier oil, 2 – 3 drops vitamin E, 10 – 15 drops essential oil, and 1/2 tsp. vegetable glycerine to the spray bottle.
  2. Next, add 2 tsp. aloe vera gel. This can be a little tricky. If you’re using a funnel, you might want to scoop the aloe vera into the bottle instead.
  3. Fill the rest of the bottle with isopropyl rubbing alcohol 90%+.

Finally, place the spray pump back on the bottle and give it a good shake to mix all of the ingredients. If you’d like, label the bottle with a sticker.

Easy ways to celebrate Earth Day at home

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Earth Day is a day that is dedicated to raising awareness and appreciation of the earth and its environment. This April 22nd, 2020, is the 50th anniversary of Earth Day. Earth Day first began in 1970 as a day to educate people about environmental issues.

Earth Day can be celebrated many different ways. Here are just a few simple ways to take part in Earth Day at home.

  1. Re-use plastic bags: Save plastic grocery bags instead of throwing them out. They can be re-used for an endless number of reasons, including small trash bags and lunch bags.
  2. Use re-usable tote bags: In addition to re-using plastic grocery bags, using a re-usable tote cuts down on waste that goes to the landfill.
  3. Spread awareness about Earth Day: Let people know about environmental issues that are important to you. Share with others on social media what you are doing for Earth Day.
  4. Use eco-friendly household products: There are more and more products available at the grocery store that are eco-friendly. Recycled paper products, including paper towels and toilet paper, and household cleaners that are sold in recycled plastic bottles and refill containers are just a few.
  5. Stop using disposable plastics: While it might not always be practical to avoid using plastics, every little bit helps! Re-usable plastic or metal straws, re-usable water bottles, and travel mugs cut down on waste.
  6. Recycle at home: Dedicate and area in your house or garage to organize things to be recycled. Look to see if your city provides pick-up for recycling or if there is a drop-off location. Plastic bottles and cans can be returned to the grocery store.
  7. Look for ways to volunteer: Schools, parks or your local community might offer ways to participate in Earth Day, or just to help the environment any day.
  8. Plant a tree: Not only do trees create clean air and filter pollution, they are a symbol of Earth and the environment.
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