Making Essential Oils: The Basics

We’ve all heard about essential oils by now. The industry is booming, after years of accepting whatever chemical-ridden products manufacturers throw at us, Americans are now looking for all-natural answers to their health and beauty concerns.

To ensure the most natural essential oils possible, one way is to make them for yourself at home. There are two popular methods that don’t require an oil distillation kit, and that should be a good starting point for those looking to get more involved in the process of making essential oils. They are extraction by alcohol and extraction by oil.

For alcohol extraction, vodka or undenatured ethyl alcohol should be used, while non-virgin olive oil is best for oil extractions. These processes are largely the same and should cover the basics for the extraction of any essential oil.

The Homemade Extraction Method

1. Pour the oil or alcohol over the ingredients

Make sure to use a non-metallic pot or crockpot. Metal pots won’t work.
Make sure the liquid completely covers whatever botanicals you’re using.

2. Wait 24-48 Hours
Consider using a cheesecloth to cover the mixture, or anything else that allows the mixture to breathe without complete stagnation.

3. Strain and Press

Strain the mixture with a grated strainer. Press the botanicals into the strainer while catching whatever residual oils remain.

4. Adding More Botanicals

From here the essential oil process is technically complete, but chances are that you’re going to want to repeat steps 1-3 multiple times until you reach the level of potency desired.

With each renewal of the process, you’ll be using the mixture that you’ve already created to cover up the botanicals that you’ll be adding. However, you should add however much alcohol or oil you need in order to keep the fresh botanicals completely covered.

5. Storing Properly

After you’ve got the potency where you’d like it, the next and final step is storing your essential oils. For oil-based essential oils, you’ll simply need to pour the oil into a sealed glass container and store it in a cool, dark place.

For alcohol-based essential oils, the process is just a little longer. In order to get all the alcohol out of the oil, you’ll need to freeze the mixture. The oils and alcohol will separate since the alcohol is unable to freeze or congeal. From there you just need to scrape out the congealed oils, put them in a sealed, glass container, and store it in a cool, dark place.

Things to Remember

Essential oils come with risks — There are many documented benefits to essential oils, but you should be careful in making or using essential oils for the first time. If not used correctly, essential oils can cause extreme skin irritation, second and third-degree burns when coupled with the sun, and toxic levels of the oil’s active ingredient.

Essential oils are not necessarily safe for women who are pregnant or nursing, certain pets, or people with certain serious medical conditions.
You should always consult a doctor or qualified professional before using essential oils for medical purposes.

The Next Step

If you’ve already mastered the at-home basics and methods like these, then your next step in the essential oils world may be getting into the business. In order to make market-quality essential oils, a more scientific method than the one you see here will be necessary. Luckily, at Ypsilanti Oil Company, we have the essential oil kits and knowledge to get you started. Call today for a consultation!