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How do I dispose of essential oils when they are too old for therapeutic applications?

by Penny Keay

You have just checked your supply of essential oils and find you have some partly used bottles that have several mL left in them but are possibly 5 years old.

They should not be used on the skin or in therapeutic applications, so what in the world should you do to get rid of them?

As written in the article “What is the Shelf life of Essential oils & Carrier Oils? ” you know it is time to replace some of your more commonly used essential oils and carrier oils too. But what do you do with all these outdated oils.

As for the carrier oils, there is not much you can do with them. Once they have turned rancid you really can’t use them for anything else, they will need to be tossed out.

If it is a small amount you can usually just put them in your regular garbage, but if you have more than a gallon you should contact your local landfill or garbage service to see what they require. They are just vegetable oils and so may not need any specific disposal.

Old essential oils on the other hand may be able to be used in a variety of ways. If they are too old to use therapeutically in skin applications, then you can still enjoy the scenting they provide.

So the first way to use them is simply to diffuse them. They will still provide some of their properties since they will still work, they just won’t be as good at their therapeutic properties as if they were fresher.

The next common way to use them is in the ‘cleaning bucket’.

But not all essential oils will lend their self to the common suggestion of adding them to the ‘cleaning bucket’.

Personally, I do not care for the smell of Oregano and Thyme in my cleaning bucket (except in very small amounts and only if I blend it with something else to hide them).

As an example: Pennyroyal is minty so it will provide a nice mint scent. Use it in the cleaning bucket to provide anti-septic properties.

Even if it is old it will still have some disinfecting property. It smells nice and since it might repel insects you might want to use it in the garage.

So besides using them for diffusing or in the cleaning bucket what can you do with them?

If you just plain don’t want it and it is a small amount, (less than a teaspoon – or 5 mL) then add several drops of some dish soap to the bottle of essential oil, shake well, add a few drops of water, make it very sudsy, then you should be able to pour it down the drain.

You do not what to pour undiluted essential oils into your drains. They won’t go down very well, and could damage any rubberized parts if they are used in your sink or drains.

If it is a larger quantity than that you still have options.

The next option is to pour the essential oils in a bowl of Baking soda and let it evaporate, If you don’t like the smell then set the bowl out in your garage.

It can take several weeks for it to evaporate but it will not cause damage to your sink.

This is probably the best option if it is one of the stronger unpleasant essential oils that you won’t want to smell in the house.

Other uses of essential oils that smell pleasant include:

putting drops in the vacuum cleaner bag. Use in the automobile or camper.

Old Peppermint oil works great in vehicles or campers that will be stored away. It helps keep the mice away.

Simply place a small glass or ceramic saucer or bowl on the floor and pour in the essential oils. Place a cotton ball in the bottom of the bowl if you desire. When you return to the vehicle several months after storage, it may not have that ‘stored away’ smell.

Don’t forget you can also use the old essential oils when you store away seasonal clothing.

Using Cotton Muslin bags and Fiber Bits or Aroma beads, scent them with the old oils and place into the Cotton Muslin bags.

Toss a couple of the scent filled bags in your storage boxes or hang in your closets.

If you have more ideas please send them along to us and we’ll share them with others.

This article, in part, was in response to a question that was asked recently about what to do with Pennyroyal essential oil, the inquirer wasn’t sure what to do with some unused oil. If you have questions to ask – please send us an e-mail, we may use the question and answers we reply with in a future article as we did with this one.

All the products listed in the article are available at our Shopping Site - see link below.

© 2012, 2015, 2017 Penny Keay All rights reserved Worldwide.
Please do not use my information without my permission.

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