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How to Use Aromatherapy

How to Make Aromatherapy Preparations for the Home

Here are some aromatherapy preparations that will keep your home smelling sweet.


The most refined, but expensive, way to scent a room is with an aromatic diffuser. Diffusers are small electrical units that pump unheated fragrance into the room. Unheated scent is more pure than heated scent. There is quite a variety of diffusers available; they cost from approximately $60 to $120, depending upon capacity and style. Directions will come with the diffuser when you buy it.

Generally, you place a few drops of essential oil in a hand-blown glass container and turn on a small compressor that’s connected with a piece of tubing. The glass unit disperses a fine mist of microparticles mixed with the stream of air produced by the pump. By increasing the surface area of the scent molecules, it becomes extremely effective at disinfecting and energizing the atmosphere. Another advantage to the diffuser is that the vapor of essential oil can be directed into the nose or throat. It can also be used in a sick room for 10 to 15 minutes every hour to clear airborne bacteria that may spread infection.

Do not use thick oils such as vetiver, sandalwood, vanilla, myrrh, or benzoin in the diffuser, as they don’t evaporate easily. However, these oils can be diluted with thinner oils such as the citruses, eucalyptus, and rosemary or mixed with alcohol. Don’t let a diffuser sit with essential oil in it without occasionally turning it on because the oils will eventually oxidize and thicken.

Sometimes expressed citrus oils contain a bit of sediment that may clog your diffuser. To clean or unclog it, soak the glass unit in alcohol, and depending on the model, unplug the opening with a pin or toothpick. Then rinse the unit, and let it air dry.

Light Bulb Ring

Ceramic or metal rings designed to be placed directly on light bulbs are available at many stores. Place 2-3 drops on the ring while it’s cold, and be sure not to touch it again until it cools down after turning off the light. You can also place a couple drops of essential oil directly on the bulb, although the oil doesn’t last as long.


Few things grace a room more than an attractive container of dried flowers, herbs, woods, and spices, freshening a room with its gentle and perhaps seasonal background aroma. Modern potpourris owe most of their fragrance to essential oils added to dried herbs. The basic recipe is 1/2 teaspoon essential oil to 2 cups dried herbs.

Since some essential oils have the unique property of becoming better with age, these can be used as fixatives. They will preserve the fragrance, making it last long after it would otherwise dissipate. The potpourri also smells better with the addition of such oils as patchouli, sandalwood, benzoin, clary sage, balsam of Peru, balsam of tolu, vetiver, and orris root, used either as the chopped herb or in the form of an essential oil.

The most popular potpourri fixative is orris root. It has a light, violetlike fragrance that blends with any scent, and it is not over-powering. Although a few people are allergic to orris, it is still the all-time favorite. Its essential oil is so rare that orris is added in its chopped form.

  • 1 cup mixed herbs, dried
  • 1 tablespoon orris root, chopped
  • 1/4 teaspoon essential oil

(twice the amount for simmering potpourri)

Use any combination of attractive flowers, leaves, bark, wood shavings, or cones for the dried plant material. Add the orris root and essential oils and stir. Keep the mixture in a closed container for several days so the scent can be absorbed by the plant material. This potpourri will stay fragrant for many months. When it gets faint, revive it with a few more drops of essential oil.

Potpourri Cooker

Simmering potpourri cookers have basins containing water and a potpourri mix which are suspended over and heated by a candle or electricity. When the water heats up, it releases the essential oil molecules into the air. Since only a small amount of potpourri is used, at least two or even three times the amount of essential oil is required.

Although you’ll find potpourri mixes for all rooms and all seasons, you don’t even need the potpourri. You can simply put a few drops of essential oil in water in the basin. When the water heats up, the molecules of essential oils float into the air.

Room Spray

Instantly change the energy in a room, cleanse the air, or get rid of unpleasant odors by using an aromatherapeutic room spray. The formula below is a multipurpose room disinfectant. It can be sprayed in a sick room or used on the kitchen counter. You can also change the oils to create a spray that will make the room fragrant or that will impact the emotions. One mom, for instance, sprays her children’s bedrooms every evening with a soothing chamomile and ylang ylang mix that helps relax them for sleep.

  • 4 drops eucalyptus (or tea tree)
  • 3 drops lavender
  • 2 drops bergamot
  • 2 drops thyme
  • 1 drop peppermint
  • 2 ounces water

Add the essential oils to the water. Keep in a spritzer bottle (sold in most drug stores and some cosmetic stores). Be sure to shake the bottle very well right before using to help distribute the essential oils in the water. Otherwise, they tend to float on the surface.


Sachets freshen clothing and keep moths and other insects away.

  • 20 drops cedarwood
  • 8 drops lavender
  • 8 drops patchouli or sage
  • 1 dozen cotton balls

Combine essential oils and place about 3 drops on each cotton ball. Store in a closed container for a couple days. Place with clothes, using them instead of commercial moth balls (about six for an average sized box or suitcase). To make more attractive balls, tie a small fabric square around the cotton ball.

Scented Candle

Impregnated with essential oils, candles release the scent as they burn, creating whatever mood you want. You can make an aromatherapy candle from a purchased unscented candle by adding several drops of essential oil to the candle’s wick. Wait 24 hours, until the wick absorbs the oil, before using the candle. You can make scented candles from scratch by adding oil to the melted wax or by saturating the wick just before pouring the candle. The wick method uses less oil, but many people like the scent of the candle.

  • 1 votive candle
  • 20 drops citronella

Using a glass dropper, drop the oil on the candle’s wick. Wait 24 hours before using. This particular candle is especially good for repelling bugs.

Vacuum Cleaner

Drop 2 to 4 drops of essential oil directly into the bag. Not only does the oil disinfect the dirt, but it will brighten your day. Try lemon eucalyptus -- it is highly antiseptic, and the lemon gives people a feeling of cleanliness. In addition, its stimulating properties will help you get that housework done.

Washing Machine/Dryer

Put 1 or 2 drops on a cloth tossed into the dryer. Or add a few drops of citrus or lavender directly in the wash water to both scent and disinfect clothes. Of course, most laundry detergents are already heavily scented, so you don’t want to overdo it.

In our final section, we will look at some precautions you should take when using aromatherapy.

To learn more about Aromatherapy and other alternative medicines, see:

  • Aromatherapy: Here you will learn about aromatherapy, how it works, what part essential oils play, and how to use aromatherapy.
  • How Essential Oils Work: In this article, you will learn how essential oils are produced, the difference between essential oils, and how to buy and store essential oils.
  • How to Treat Common Conditions With Aromatherapy: Aromatherapy can be used to treat a number of conditions, from asthma to depression to skin problems. Here you will learn how to treat some common medical problems with aromatherapy.
  • Home Remedies: We have gathered over a hundred safe, time-tested home remedies for treating a wide variety of medical complaints yourself.
  • Herbal Remedies: Herbal remedies and aromatherapy can be very similar, and they stem from similar historic roots. On this page, you will find all of our herb profiles and instructions for treating medical problems with herbal remedies.
This information is solely for informational purposes. IT IS NOT INTENDED TO PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. Neither the Editors of Consumer Guide (R), Publications International, Ltd., the author nor publisher take responsibility for any possible consequences from any treatment, procedure, exercise, dietary modification, action or application of medication which results from reading or following the information contained in this information. The publication of this information does not constitute the practice of medicine, and this information does not replace the advice of your physician or other health care provider. Before undertaking any course of treatment, the reader must seek the advice of their physician or other health care provider.