How to Make Your Own Essential Oils At Home

how to make essential oils

Essential oils are having a media moment right now, but we’ve been using them forever.

With the media attention, we’re seeing new brands popping up. Some of their prices seem too steep, so you want to make the oils yourself.

Learn if you should do that and how to make essential oils in this post.

How Essential Oils Get Professionally Made

There are three types of essential oil making processes big companies use. Some use one type exclusively and others change the method for different plants.

Here’s a glimpse of what they look like.

Steam Distillation

As it sounds, steam distillation uses boiling water to separate the oils from the plants.

You can do this in a few ways. One of them is to put the plant in boiling water, collect the steam then separate the oils from there.

You can push the steam and water through the organic material, forcing oils out.

In all these processes, machines or special devices separate the water and the oils. The molecules are too small to do this by hand.

Expression Cold Press

Essential oil purists say expression isn’t officially essential oil, but we’ll roll with it. This method is when citrus rinds get pressed in a machine to release their oils.


Extraction method uses another substance to bring the oils out of the plant.

There are two liquids needed in this method. The first is a solvent, like hexane, which creates a “concrete”. A concrete is the oils, resins, waxes, and other liquid plant materials.

Then, a second solvent (usual alcohol) is introduced and separates the oil from the concrete.

Steam distillation is the preferred method for quality and purity.

Making Your Own Essential Oils

While making your own oils is more cost-effective, we don’t recommend using all homemade.

The oil won’t be as pure as store-bought (quality brands) and it’s time intensive.

However, that doesn’t mean you can’t or shouldn’t try. Here are some things to keep in mind.

1. Plant Purity

If you’re picking things from your own garden, great! Then you know what’s on them.

If you’re buying things from a store or somewhere else, you don’t know that they’re pesticide free.

Make sure the plant you’re using is organic and has no poisons attached.

2. Dry or Fresh

You’ll get more oils out of fresh plants, but dry will work in a pinch. Use herbs, dried flowers, spices, or fruit rinds to make your oils.

3. Time

You can expect to spend at least six hours per type of oil you’re making. Depending on what you do for a living and the cost of oil, this isn’t always worth it.

But if you’re doing it for fun, it shouldn’t matter.

4. Quality

Since you’re making your own oils and there aren’t stringent quality standards, don’t ingest what you make.

Homemade oils should stay topical, like for use in bath bombs or bath salts. Handmade soaps, candles, and potpourri are other appropriate uses.

How to Make Essential Oils at Home: Methods

Find your crockpot and clean it out. If you don’t use a plant-based dish cleanser, rinse with apple cider vinegar after soap then clean water.

Place your plant material in the crockpot and cook it on low for an entire day. Then, leave it open as it sits out for a week. After the week, scoop the oils off the top of the crockpot.

Store in a dark glass jar in a cool, dark place.

Water Distillation

Instead of using a crockpot, you can place your plant material in a muslin or linen bag. Tie it shut and boil a pot of distilled water.

Add the plants and let it simmer for 24 hours. Stay home during this time for safety!

Let the water cool, then scoop up the essential oils off the top of the water. You can leave the pot a couple more days, but the bulk will come in the first round.


If you’re making a tincture or scent for soaps and baths, this is a great method. Get a glass jar and fill it with your choice of mixing oil.

We like almond or coconut, but jojoba and rapeseed work too. Shove as much of the organic material into the bottle with the oil.

Put the cap on it and put the bottle in cool, dark, place for about a week or 5 days. Then, strain out the chunks and save in a dark glass bottle.

Oil & Crockpot

The same idea as #3, but quicker due to the heating element.

Follow the same steps as above, but put everything in the crockpot instead of a jar. Put on low heat for six hours and strain with organic, unused, unwaxed cheesecloth.

Sun Power

Take a medium to a small glass bottle and fill it with 1/2 cup of olive oil. Place 1/2 teaspoon of organic what vinegar into the bottle. Add one tablespoon roughly ground or chopped organic material.

Put the cap on and place in a sunny place, where the power of the sun can “cook” the bottle. Keep it there for three weeks, shaking once or twice a day.

Then, strain out as needed and put in a dark glass container.

Rubbing Alcohol

For things, you won’t put on your body (aromas), get some rubbing alcohol. Place roughly chopped organic material in a bottle with rubbing alcohol for two weeks.

Then, pour it all out into a wide container or bowl. The alcohol will evaporate and leave you with oils.

Essential Oil Basics

If you enjoyed this post on how to make essential oils at home, you’ll love the rest of our blog. We catalog things like the best essential oils, diffusers, and tips to use them.

Come join our oily tribe and get oily fixes for all life’s problems. We’re only a click away.

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