The safe way to add essential oils to your bath using only natural ingredients

One of the most common uses for essential oils is to add them to your bath. For the kids evening bath, popping in something that's soothing and relaxing that will help them sleep is a great idea, but there's a right way and a wrong way to do it. Chances are, you're doing it the wrong way and you don't know it.

The Wrong Way (and why it's wrong)

The advice to simply pop a few drops of essential oils in to your bath and hop right in is the WRONG WAY. Simple chemistry tells us that oil and water don't mix. Essential oils should always be diluted in a carrier oil before putting them on your skin. The same applies to a bath. By adding them to a warm bath, they're going to sit on top of the water and there's a reasonable chance that those undiluted essential oils sitting on top of the bath water are going to end up on the skin of whoever is in the bath. If it's a child, skin irritation is a real possibility. If your child blows bubbles and swallows bath water, the risk of them consuming the oils is very real.

I also found information online suggesting that you can also use milk, epsom salts and alcohol safely. After reading this article from the Tisserand Institute, which is one of my go-to sources for unbias and well researched quality safety information, I found out none of these are suitable either. While the essential oils mix with them just fine, once they hit your bath, they can dissolve and the oil is left behind again in an undiluted state. The essential oils cannot bond well enough with neither milk nor Epsom salts or alcohol to stay bonded in a warm bath.

If you want to see physical proof of this, take a look at this article about solubility of essential oils. Essential oils don't mix with 80 proof vodka. They don't mix with water either, nor witch hazel or white distilled vinegar. They do mix with FCO (which is fractionated coconut oil), isopropyl alcohol (which smells horrible and you can buy it from Bunnings and you do not want that in your bath) and everclear which is a US brand of virtually pure alcohol. Again, it smells, do you want it in your bath?

This doesn't mean you should stop putting essential oils in the bath, it just means you need to ensure to disperse them through the water correctly.


The Right Way

It is important that you have chosen an essential oil that is suitable for use in this manner. Not all essential oils are suitable for use in a bath. Once you have a safe oil to use in the bath, before putting essential oils in the bath, they need to be mixed with something to emulsify them so they won't instantly dissolve when it hits the water. Since oil and water don't mix, you need to use something the essential oils WILL mix with. Here are your best options.

• Vegetable Oil

Any carrier oil you use to mix essential oils with to put on your skin will be suitable to mix with for a bath too. Whether it's coconut oil, jojoba oil or even some olive oil from the kitchen, it will now be safe to place this combo in to your bath. You still have the 'oil and water don't mix' issue and you're likely to have a little slick of oil still on top of the water, but it's a safe oil slick and you will still get the aromatic benefits without the skin irritation.

The Tisserand website suggests anywhere between 5 to 20 drops in 1 tablespoon for one bath. This, of course, will vary on the size of your bath, the essential oil you choose and your own personal preference. Experiment until you find the right thing.

• Fractionated Coconut Oil

Fractionated Coconut Oil has been slightly modified so it doesn't go solid when it cools below 25°C. The lauric acid is removed and used elsewhere as a natural preservative and what's left behind stays liquid regardless of the temperature. This is what we used to make up roller balls with essential oils so the balls don't ever clog and you can use it in your bath too. The only one we currently sell comes from doTERRA. I am looking for a more budget friendly bulk option we can retail.

• Foaming Body Wash / Shampoo Products

Whether it's bubble bath, liquid body wash or even shampoo, all these are suitable to add essential oils to, theoretically. The Tisserand website suggest that you only add the essential oils at the time you're using them and not make up and store large batches. Why? Depending on the product, the original emulsion and preservatives may be put off balance with the addition of essential oils. We suggest using the unscented Dr Bronner's as the only difference between the unscented version and all their scented versions is essential oils and because of this, we know that the emulsion and natural preservatives can tolerate essential oils.


Essential Oils Shopping Guide

Don't already have some essential oils that you love? We sell a comprehensive range of single essential oils, blends, gift packs, aroma diffusers and carrier oils and roller balls for safe application. Single oils are priced from just $10 per bottle.


References
https://www.aromahead.com/blog/2014/11/24/3-ways-use-essential-oils-bath/
http://tisserandinstitute.org/safety/bath-safety/
https://www.petrichorapothecary.com/single-post/2017/02/16/Solubility-of-essential-oils-in-liquidsmyths-and-truths

 

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