How to Use Essential Oils

Essential oils are a powerful tool for wellness. They have many benefits, including the ability to help with chronic illnesses like arthritis and asthma. However, they can be hard to use if you don't know the basics! Read on for tips that will make your life easier in regards to essential oil usage.

Collage of herbs and essential oils with a caption reading "How to Use Essential Oils for a Healthier Life".

How to Use Essential Oils

Essential oils are primarily used in 1 of 3 ways: inhalation, absorption, or ingestion. Due to safety concerns, we won't cover ingestion here. I highly discourage anyone from ingesting essential oils without being under the care of a trained aromatherapist. You can locate an aromatherapist through the National Association for Holistic Aromatherapy’s online database.

Inhaling Essential Oils

Using a Household Diffuser

A household diffuser is one of the most common ways to use essential oils. Simply pick the oil/s you want to diffuse, fill your diffuser with water, add a few drops of your oil, and enjoy. Typically, you want to use 4 to 5 drops of essential oil per 100 mL of water. My favourite diffuser is 200 mL so I normally add 8 to 10 drops of oil.

Relaxation Blend
  • 4 drops Lavender
  • 3 drops Roman Chamomile
  • 2 drops Peppermint
Energizing Blend
  • 3 drops Lemon (or Jade Lemon)
  • 3 drops Rosemary
  • 2 drops Peppermint
Focus Blend
  • 3 drops Lemon
  • 3 drops Patchouli
  • 3 drops Rosemary

In a Humidifier

Some people use essential oils in humidifiers. Please check your manual (yes, you should read and file those) to see if yours recommends it. You NEVER want to use essential oils in a warm humidifier, as heat breaks down the oils. Only use in permitted cool air humidifiers. When in doubt, stick with the diffuser or another method of inhalation.

Steam Method

This method is my favourite when I feel a cold coming on. I simply turn on the hot water on the sink, fill the sink up a bit, plug it, and add a couple of drops of EO. Eucalyptus, Rosemary, Frankincense, and Cypress are a few of my favourites for congestion. I put a towel over my head & lean over the steamy water, breathing in the oil.


This one is super easy! Apply a couple of drops of essential oil to a tissue or a paper towel. Hold near your face and breathe in.

More Aromatherapy Methods

You can also use a diffuser necklace, make a room spray, a DIY car diffuser, and more! Or just sniff the bottle!

More Aromatherapy Tools

Looking for something outside the standard household diffuser? Check out these fun ways to diffuse essential oils!

Using Essential Oils Topically

There are many ways you can use essential oils. If using them topically, it's important to mix the oil with a carrier first before applying so they don't burn your skin when applied undiluted. To apply, simply rub on the desired area and enjoy their calming aroma!

Essential oils can be applied to various parts of the body. The bottom of the feet is a common location to apply essential oils because the skin is not as sensitive, feet have large pores that allow for quick absorption, and there are no sebaceous glands to slow absorption.

Applying oils in a carrier oil

This is the most common way to quickly apply essential oils to the skin. Simply dilute the oil you want to use in a carrier oil before applying. I recommend doing a patch test with new oils – apply a few drops of diluted oil on your forearm & cover for 24 hours. Different oils need to be diluted to different levels for application. For hot oils, you should dilute to 0.5% (1 drop per 10 ml of carrier oil). For most oils, 2% dilution is the max you should use (4 drops per 10 ml of carrier oil).

Homemade Products

I use essential oils in a lot of homemade products around our house. From my salves and muscle rub to mold & mildew removal cleaner and sugar scrubs. Essential oils are very versatile and there is an oil for almost every purpose!

For more ways to use essential oils, check out this list of over 100 ways to use essential oils around the house we put together!

Shop My Essential Oil Supplies

Love oils as much as I do? Check out these tools to keep them organized & create homemade products with them!

Wall storage rack for essential oils.Carrying case for essential oils.4 diffuser necklaces laying on a table.3 mini diffusers on a desk in front of a plant.
Salve containers in a pyramid with loose containers in front.15 cobalt blue spray bottles on a white background.24 roller bottles, mix of cobalt blue and amber, on a white background.Collection of amber essential oil bottles, dropper lids, and two silver funnels on a white background.

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