By Diane Berry #102219
Question: I’ve been hearing a lot about essential oils. I would like to try a few but don’t know where to start. Do you have any advice?
“There are many ways to combine these basic oils to make useful personal care and household products…”
It is common knowledge that essential oils promote relaxation, and the pleasant scent can improve your everyday enjoyment of life. Another advantage is that essential oils can be as effective as commercial cleaning and household products, but much gentler and less toxic to you and the environment. Conveniently for RVers, these oils are packaged in small bottles that are easy to carry with you.
When purchasing essential oils, it is important to select a reputable company. There are many different types and brands of oils on the market, so you’ll want to make sure you are buying a high-quality product at a reasonable cost.
Some essential oil manufacturers operate in a multilevel marketing manner. Although these companies generally provide high-quality, therapeutic-grade oils, there are many layers of sellers to pay, so the cost is typically more expensive.
The two companies I prefer that provide high-quality, therapeutic-grade oils without the higher, multilevel pricing are Plant Therapy and Rocky Mountain Oils. You can purchase products from both companies on Amazon. No matter which brand you choose, make sure you are buying a pure, therapeutic-grade oil, especially if you intend to consume the oils internally. Before ingesting essential oils, it’s important to talk to your physician to be certain it will not have any harmful effects.
Most often, manufacturers will certify that a product is “100 percent pure oil.” As an example, if you are purchasing lemon oil, it could be 25 percent pure lemon oil, while the other 75 percent is pure carrier oils, such as olive or almond. They can also include unidentified solvents, which could trigger an immune response. Make sure the product you’re buying contains 100 percent of the oil you wish to purchase.
Starting out, it can be confusing to know which oils to use and for what purpose. There are five essential oils that are the basis of any collection. It is wise to learn how to use them and expand from there to other oil combinations. I suggest you begin with these five basic oils and experiment with their uses:
Mental Alertness: Peppermint
Peppermint essential oil provides a cooling sensation, and it has a calming effect on the body. This pleasant-smelling oil can be helpful in maintaining mental alertness such as after a long day of driving. If you are using therapeutic-grade oil, it can be taken internally and combined with other complimentary oils, such as spearmint, wild orange and wintergreen. In addition, using peppermint oil in and around your RV can repel mosquitos, spiders and other pests.
Calming and Relaxation: Lavender
Lavender has long been used to enhance relaxation. You may remember grandma putting a drop of lavender on pillows to improve sleep. It is still excellent for relaxation, and it can help you wind down after a stressful day on the road. In addition, it can be combined with a carrier oil and rubbed on bruises, cuts, burns or rashes. Many people use this oil to soften dogs’ paws.
Health Purposes: Eucalyptus
Eucalyptus oil is well-known for its health benefits. This is an effective oil to use for colds or chest congestion. It can be combined with a carrier oil and rubbed on the chest, similar to Vicks VapoRub. It can also help to soothe tired and sore muscles from sitting in an RV for extended periods of time.
Preventing Infections/Fleas: Tea Tree
Tea tree oil, with its powerful antiseptic properties, has commonly been used to treat wounds. It has antifungal properties as well and is generally applied to the skin for infections such as acne, fungal infections of the nail and Athlete’s Foot. It can also be used for blemishes, cuts and scrapes and as a natural deodorant.
Tea tree oil can also be beneficial for your hair and scalp. It soothes dry flaking skin, removes dandruff and can even be used for the treatment of lice. To make tea tree oil shampoo, mix several drops of tea tree oil with aloe vera gel, coconut milk and other essential oils such as lavender oil.
Lemon essential oil is typically cold-pressed from lemon rinds. It has a strong, purifying citrus scent that is revitalizing and uplifting. As with peppermint oil, simply taking a sniff or putting a drop under your nose when feeling tired can help you feel more alert.
A high-quality lemon oil can be taken internally. It can also be used to enhance the flavor of foods and water and may be beneficial for the skin. It can also be used in a diffuser, along with peppermint and lavender oils, to relieve allergy symptoms. In addition, combining lemon oil and water in an easy-to-use spray bottle can keep spiders and other pests out of the RV. A combination of lemon and eucalyptus oils can repel mosquitoes and deer ticks while walking or camping in the woods.
To use as an air freshener, or for odor control in the confined space of an RV, add pleasant-smelling oils to a diffuser.
There are many ways to combine these basic oils to make useful personal care and household products at a cost far lower than chemical-based products on the market. The following are a few recipes for combining oils that create products to care for you and for your RV:
Diffuse on the Go
The ZAQ Tour Essential Oil Litemist Aromatherapy Travel Car Diffuser fits in your vehicle’s cup holder. The ultrasonic technology transforms the interior of your car, kitchen or living room into a tranquil space. Its unique design prevents tipping while your vehicle is in motion, and the car adapter, included in the box, ensures you can always use it on the go.
Sunburn: For minor sunburn relief, add a few drops of peppermint oil to a spray bottle filled with water and spray the affected area.
Mouthwash: One drop of peppermint oil and one drop of lemon oil added to a small glass of water can be used as a daily mouthwash. To make a larger quantity, add 20 to 25 drops of each oil to a 32-ounce jar of water.
Revitalize: To revitalize your mind after long hours behind the wheel, rub your hands with one drop each of peppermint, lemon and eucalyptus oils. Rubbing this combination on the temples will clear your head.
Purify the Air: To purify the air and remove germs and viruses that can contaminate your RV, mix equal parts of vodka and water in a spray bottle, then add 20 drops of tea tree, lavender and eucalyptus oils. This is especially helpful if one of your travel companions is sick.
To freshen the air, add a few drops of lemon oil to a spray bottle of water. Add tea tree, eucalyptus, lavender and peppermint oils to achieve the scent you prefer.
Allergies: For allergy relief, place one drop of peppermint oil and one drop of lemon oil in your hands, rub them together and inhale. This can also clear sinuses and relieve a headache. You can also use lemon oil, peppermint and lavender in a diffuser for this purpose.
Clean and Disinfect: To clean your toilet, shower and countertops, fill a spray bottle with water and add a few drops of tea tree oil. This mixture can replace a commercial cleaner; however, it may take a few extra scrubs to achieve the same result. If you prefer, lemon oil, eucalyptus and/or lavender can be added.
For general cleaning, fill a spray bottle with water and add a few drops of peppermint oil, lemon oil and eucalyptus oil.
Leather Cleaner: Mix 1/4 cup vinegar, 1/4 cup olive oil and 10 drops lemon (or orange) essential oil. Try a test area, then let dry for 20 minutes. Check for discoloration before continuing.
Furniture Polish: Adding a few drops of olive and lemon oils to a spray bottle of water can be used to clean, shine and protect wood. These oils blend together well and will not damage real wood.
Most oils can serve multiple purposes, so you can start with one or two oils and modify the recipe as you prefer. For example, mixtures used for general cleaning of your RV can contain lemon, peppermint or eucalyptus oil, or a combination thereof. If you prefer one scent of oil over another, use only the scents you find most appealing. However, when you are looking to disinfect a surface, you will need to use tea tree oil.
Begin by experimenting and incorporating a few oils into your RV life. Once you are comfortable, add more oils and experiment with various recipes until you find your favorite combinations. You’ll find these oils safe, effective, easy to store and can be more effective than commercial products. And, best of all, they can smell lovely, too.