Woman's hand holding a teeny, tiny brown bottle labeled "oil".
A little goes a loooooooong way!

Hello and welcome to The Essential Guide to Essential Oils. I’m your host, Mama Trish, and I have been using essential oils for quite some time now. And last year when a hurricane was coming through Gainesville I had a bit of an epiphany. We thought we may have to evacuate, so I started to put together a “Bug Out Bag.” (Or, more accurately, a “Bug Out Pile”, because I am decidedly less organized when when I’m freaking out.) 

“What can’t I live without, that will also fit in the trunk?”

I walked from room to room and grabbed the things I couldn’t live without: irreplaceable instruments, irreplaceable books, a few notebooks, important papers, some family heirlooms. Oh, and my essential oil collection. If I was going to have to live out of my car, then I was damn sure gonna have my first aid (and smell-goods) arsenal!

That was the first time I realized just how important essential oils were to my life. All the signs were there. (I mean, they’re called “essential” for a reason, duh!) What follows is an incomplete rundown of all the cool stuff I use them for, and how they enrich my life on a daily basis. So here is The Essential Guide to Essential Oils, Mama Trish style!

Sunshine Lemon Thyme Cleaner!

Two brown glass bottles with black plastic sprayers, one labeled "bathroom cleaner" and one labeled "kitchen cleaner." (Guess they couldn't come up with a cool name like "Sunshine Lemon Thyme"...)
What thyme is it? Sunshine Lemon Thyme!

I use this stuff everywhere! (On its own, or with baking soda or a magic eraser.) It’s non-toxic, though it tastes terrible! (Don’t ask…) It smells great, and it works like a charm.

“It smells good in here!” (Not something most dog owners hear often.)

Take a spray bottle and fill it halfway with white vinegar, the other half with filtered water, then add 20-30 drops of Lemon oil, and about 10 drops of Thyme oil. Shake before use, and spray away*. I have a friend that works in a lab with big bads like E-coli, Pseudomonas, and MRSA, and it turns out a spritz of this killed them all. (Seriously, I take this with me every time I go to see someone in the hospital. I spray down all the doors, handles, light switches, rails, remotes… anywhere anyone puts their grubby little hands. My loved ones ain’t dying from some stupid secondary infection!)

* Did another (invountary) experiment: I made lentils with the lid on. It boiled over and spit lentils all over the stove. Am not proud of myself, but I was a little depressed at the time, so I ignored it… for 4 days. By the time I had the wherewithal to deal with it, it was solid concrete. I sprayed it with Sunshine Lemon Thyme, left it for 5 minutes, came back with my hammer and chisel, and it just wiped up! No scrubbing, no swearing, no nuthin’. SLT is the bomb!

Essential Oils & The Hot Bath

A divine deep clawfoot bathtub, with a shelf across it for resting your book, or your glass of wine
My dream adult bath.

I have tight muscles, so I have to actively address that. For instance, along with massage and yoga, I take regular hot baths. And in my hot baths, I use essential oils. If I need to relax, I’ll add a couple drops of Lavender. Need a pick me up? Rosemary and Peppermint. Feeling a little spazzy and un-grounded? Patchouli and Sandalwood. There are literally as many remedies as there are maladies. Do your research, experiment, and find what works for you.

WARNING: Essential oils are strong! Never use undiluted, always use in a carrier oil, or you will burn yourself (like I did once using rosemary oil in a face mask. OUCH!) Use with care!

Tow-headed kid in a pink tiled bath being fed a piece of watermelon. Heaven!
This kid is living the dream

Smellgoods!

That is what I call all things used to make you, your home, your car, your dog, etc, smell good! A few drops of Sandalwood, a drop of Patchouli, and a drop or two of Bergamot, (the citrus oil they put in Earl Grey tea), and a carrier oil (like almond, avocado, coconut, hemp, olive, or sunflower oil) makes a wonderful perfume! Just put a few drops on your wrists and rub together. Your body heat will make you emanate smellgood! 

Diffuse

I have a little oil and wax diffuser, so I have started putting Australian Lemon Tea Tree oil in. It smells fresh and clean, and you get the disinfecting properties that all Tea Tree oils have. Wonderful for sick rooms!

Awesome Vac Hack!

I fold up a piece of paper towel and put it in the filter section of my vacuum with some Peppermint oil on it. My vacuum used to smell like dog, but I like it much better now, because now it smells like candy! (I can even add a drop of Fir oil to the Peppermint for the holidays, because trees and candy canes, y’all!) And bonus: every time I vacuum, I freshen the air!

WARNING: Make sure that it’s not on the side of the filter where it’ll get sucked into the works and wreck your vac – or worse – start a fire! Safety first, people.

Garbage. Trash. Refuse.

City dumpster piled high
Eau de Garbage, by Chanel

Garbage has a way of stinking up the joint, so when I change out the bags, I put a folded paper towel in the bottom of the cans, (kitchen and baths), and sprinkle a drop or two of Peppermint and Lemon Tea Tree oil. Now my trash smells fresh, and since bugs do not like anything in the mint family, we never have ants. (And speaking of bugs, a cotton ball with a drop or two of peppermint on it makes ‘em give it a wide berth.)

WARNING: These oils are potent. Don’t get them directly on wood, stone, plastic, etc… because they may melt, burn, or otherwise muck up the finish. (Save metal caps from glass drink bottles, set the cotton ball in that and stick under sinks, in closets, and under beds).

Smelly Car?

If the kids, dogs, gym bag, or forgotten food has made your car stinky, you can make your car smell yummy again with essential oils. Get a metal tea ball, put a few drops of oil on a cotton ball, pop it in the tea ball, and hang from the rear view. (I’m partial to Peppermint, but you can use whatever smell you like best!) 

Mouthwash

I hate artificial flavors and sweeteners and such, (despise…abhor, even), as a result, I have to make my own mouthwash. In a recycled 4 oz. glass bottle, (wash ‘em and save ‘em, they come in handy!), I put 2/3 vodka, 1/3 water. Then I add 2-3 drops of Manuka Tea Tree oil and 10 drops of Peppermint. Shake well before each use. And you don’t need a whole dixie cup full. (Big Mouthwash just tells you that to sell you more mouthwash.) A tablespoon is plenty! 

Essential Oils for First Aid

White metal first aid tin on a white background
With essential oils and duct tape I can fix damn near anything!

I use a lot of essential oil for booboos and owies. I put a drop of Manuka Tea Tree oil in my neti pot with salt and a little raw honey when I’m coming down with a cold or flu. (NOT regular Tea Tree oil! That stuff is way too strong!) I blend Manuka (or Kanuka) Tea Tree oil with coconut oil and use on cuts and scratches. A drop of lavender in coconut oil massaged in the ear and behind & beneath it (where the eustachian tube is) always makes my earaches better. (A moist heat heating pad – like the buckwheat or rice ones – really helps, too.) Peppermint massaged at the temples and base of the skull helps with my migraines. And when I make salves I’m sure to add a few drops of lavender and Manuka Tea Tree as it cools (so the heat doesn’t destroy/evaporate the healing properties.)

Get some!

So that, my friends, is The Essential Guide to Essential Oils. And here’s a starter list for the beginner. Remember to buy organic. (I buy these because my local grocer carries them, but you can find other brands online as well.) You don’t want chemicals in your air, on your counters, and on your person. Kinda defeats the purpose. (I’ve included links for the Lemon Tea Tree and Manuka & Kanuka Tea Tree, as they are a bit more uncommon.)

Lemon
Thyme
Lavender
Peppermint
Lemon Tea Tree
Manuka or Kanuka Tea Tree

I hope that using essential oils empowers you the way it has empowed me. They are powerful tools for healing, and they also clean, and kill germs, and smell divine! Use them in good health. Lemme know what you do with them. I’m always looking for more good ideas…

DISCLAIMER: With essential oils, as with everything in Life, on this webpage, and everywhere online, BE CAREFUL! If you have breathing sensitivities or skin issues or allergies, test them out (in small amounts and well-diluted) to make sure you’re not going to react to them. 

I don’t know if anyone’s told you this, but you smell good.

Signed, Mama Trish