Did you know that peppermint doubles as an ant repellent? Or sage can help soothe sore muscles? Essential oils offer more than just pleasing scents – read on to discover 10 ways you use these substances to their full potential:
1. Bath: Add a few drops to your bath or make your own bath salts by combining Epsom salt, baking soda, sea salt, carrier oil and the essential oil of your choice.
2. Soap/lotion: Add a few drops of your favorite oil to homemade or unscented commercial soaps, cleansers, masks, lotions and more for an invigorating or relaxing scent.
3. Air freshener/potpourri: Banish bad smells the natural way by using an essential oil made specifically for a diffuser. Or, grab a bottle of essential oil and add a few drops to your trash cans, cabinets and any other place where unpleasant smells may linger. Make your own room spray by adding 80 drops to 4 ounces of distilled water, or create your own potpourri by combining essential oil and dried flowers.
4. Massage: Essential oils can be added to a carrier oil and used for aromatherapy massage. Certain scents, including lavender and chamomile, can be especially helpful for soothing occasional stress, tension and muscle aches.
5. Steam: Add 5-7 drops of your favorite soothing oil to a humidifier or a bowl of hot water and inhale the steam to open your airways and relax your body.
6. Natural perfume: Forget chemically created scents and suffocating perfumes. Simply dab a small amount of diluted essential oil on your wrists for a naturally scent-sational perfume. Or dilute 50 drops of oil in 4 ounces of water for a refreshing body spray.
7. Pest control: Certain scents, including peppermint, spearmint, citronella, lemongrass and sage can drive away pesky insects. Make your own bug spray with essential oil and water, or simply smear a line of oil in doorways to keep bugs from coming in.
8. Laundry: Add a refreshing natural scent to your next load of laundry by including a few drops of essential oil in the washing machine, or dabbing some on a cloth and tossing it in the dryer.
9. Cleaning: When it comes to cleaning, diluted essential oils can be an effective alternative to harsh, toxic chemicals. Pleasantly scented oils such as lemon, grapefruit, tea tree, lemongrass, rosemary and eucalyptus contain germ-fighting properties to keep countertops clean. You can also use diluted essential oil for dishes, floors, mirrors and more.
10. Compress: For minor aches, pains, cramps and bruises, try a warm compress enhanced with essential oils. Simply dip a cloth into a bowl of warm water along with a few drops of essential oil (peppermint, marjoram, rosemary, sage and chamomile are great for sore or aching muscles) and apply to the area.