How to Dilute Essential Oils for the Bath

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Safely dilute essential oils for the bath

Add essential oils to the bath sounds like a good idea. I mean, who doesn't want a lovely scented soak in the tub?

The problem is, essential oils are powerful substances. They are highly concentrated and very few of them can be used “neat” (undiluted). (Just read my story about shivering for an hour after using too much Wintergreen).

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It stands to reason that one might think adding essential oils to an entire tub of water would dilute them just fine; however, oil and water don’t mix, so the result is undiluted essential oils floating on the top of the water and touching the skin.

It’s important to dilute essential oils when using them in the bath (for safety and effectiveness).

How to safely dilute oils for the bath

There are a few options when it comes to diluting essential oils for the bath. First, be sure you are using an essential oil that's safe for the skin. It's also a good idea to perform a patch test to make sure the essential oil is safe for you (everyone is different and because one oil produces no reaction is most people, doesn't mean it won't cause one in you).

How to perform a patch test:

Dilute one drop of essential oil in ½ teaspoon of carrier oil (olive oil is a good option). Apply this to your inner elbow or forearm. Wait 24 hours. If no irritation occurs, it should be safe to use in your skin care products.

Here are a few options for diluting essential oils for use in the bath tub:

  • mix 5-10 drops of skin safe essential oil to a tablespoon of carrier oil (such as coconut oil or sweet almond oil)
  • mix 5-10 drops of skin safe essential oil with 1 cup full-fat milk
  • mix 5-10 drops of skin safe essential oil with 1 cup salt and 1 tablespoon of carrier oil (this is a simple way to make moisturizing bath salts, but don't store them in glass containers if making bath salts with baking soda)

If using strong floral oils, you will want to use less, maybe only one or two drops, as the scent can become overpowering.

Need some bath ideas?


How to safely dilute essential oils for the bath

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  1. I just wanted to vouch for the importance of during EOs in the bath. Very early on in my EO journey I made the mistake of putting maybe 4 or 5 drops of peppermint oil into my bathtub, thinking the sheer amount of water would make it safe. Yeah, no. Within minutes of getting in, my skin was burning. I jumped out, rinsed off in the shower, but I had HUGE red patches all over my body. In addition, it was years before I could use peppermint oil without a major skin reaction, even properly diluted.

    1. Thank you so much for sharing your story, Rebecca! I appreciate it. It’s important to get the word out about this risk. I’m sorry you had to experience that.