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Essential Oils Blog

How to Dilute Essential Oils: A Comprehensive Guide

Essential Oil bottle drop

Here at Plant Therapy, we are committed to making sure you have the information you need to safely and effectively use all of your essential oils. Due to the volatile and highly concentrated nature of essential oils, comprehensive and understandable guidelines on their appropriate dilution is critical to ensure everyone’s safety.


First, let’s discuss the purpose of dilution.

Safety and essential oil dilution are inextricably connected to one another. Using an essential oil directly out of the bottle, without diluting it first, can quickly become a one-way ticket to sensitized, irritated skin, or worse. According to world-renowned Essential Oil Safety Expert Robert Tisserand, essential oil dilution has two primary safety concerns. “One, to avoid skin reactions: irritation, sensitization, and phototoxicity. Two, to avoid systemic toxicity, such as fetotoxicity, hepatotoxicity, carcinogenicity and neurotoxicity. Adverse skin reactions are obvious when they happen, but systemic toxicities may not be. Skin reactions are totally dilution-dependent, and safety guidelines exist to minimize the risk.

Simply put, we dilute essential oils before applying to the skin to minimize adverse reactions and systemic toxicity. Applying undiluted essential oils to your skin can easily cause short term or long term adverse reactions, and there is no good reason to take the risk.

Diluting not only saves your skin, but your bank account will appreciate it, too. Diluting with a carrier oil before applying to your skin prevents the essential oil from evaporating as fast as it would if not used with a carrier oil. This reduction in volatility means that more of the essential oil’s therapeutic properties are able to absorb into your skin, it can be spread over a larger area, and you will use less essential oil overall.


There are many different types of carriers for your essential oils.   

Plant Therapy Carrier Oils

While carrier oils seem like the obvious choice for carrying essential oils, they are not your only option. Lotions, creams, butters, shampoos, conditioners, castile soap, and aloe jellies are fantastic choices to dilute your oils, and many of these products may include natural preservatives, which may suit your needs.


Now let’s learn the correct dilution rate for your situation.

Plant Therapy aligns its dilution rate to the Tisserand Institute’s recommendations. These values are approximate and have been rounded to whole drops. Please keep in mind that “drops” are not an exact measurement since the drops depend on the size of the orifice reducer and the viscosity of the oil. Also, the dilution rates presented here do not imply that each are safe for all essential oils in all situations:

1% dilution:

This rate is recommended for children over the age of 2, facial applications, long term use, daily use, and accessing the subtle energetic effects of the oil.

  • 10 mL/ 2 tsp = 3 drops
  • 15 mL/ 3 tsp/ 1 tbsp = 4 drops
  • 30 mL/ 6 tsp/ 2 tbsp/ 1 oz = 9 drops

2% dilution:

This rate is recommended for children, bath and whole body products, and is great for regular daily use of an oil.

Many of our KidSafe blends have dilution recommendations that range from 2-5%. These dilutions are fine to use with children under the age of 10 for spot treatment or acute situations. We do always recommend starting on the low end of dilution recommendations and then working your way up as needed.

  • 10 mL/ 2 tsp =  6 drops
  • 15 mL/ 3 tsp/ 1 tbsp =  9 drops
  • 30 mL/ 6 tsp/ 2 tbsp/ 1 oz =  18 drops

3% dilution:

This rate is recommended for specific localized discomfort.

  • 10 mL/ 2 tsp =  9 drops
  • 15 mL/ 3 tsp/ 1 tbsp =  13 drops
  • 30 mL/ 6 tsp/ 2 tbsp/ 1 oz =  27 drops

5% dilution:

This rate is recommended for short term use for a specific concern, no longer than two weeks.

  • 10 mL/ 2 tsp =  15 drops
  • 15 mL/ 3 tsp/ 1 tbsp =  22 drops
  • 30 mL/ 6 tsp/ 2 tbsp/ 1 oz =  45 drops

10% dilution:

This rate is recommended for small areas of concern and acute situations.

  • 10 mL/ 2 tsp =  30 drops
  • 15 mL/ 3 tsp/ 1 tbsp =  45 drops
  • 30 mL/ 6 tsp/ 2 tbsp/ 1 oz =  90 drops


Use this chart to help you calculate various dilutions.

Plant Therapy Essential Oils Dilution Chart

A good rule of thumb is to use one drop of essential oil per teaspoon of carrier oil for a 1% dilution. For a 0.50% dilution, because you cannot measure half of one drop, increase the amount of carrier oil used. If you are unable to add more carrier oil, round down to get a whole number for you essential oil drops. For example, 1.5 drops would become 1 drop.


Take extra caution when diluting for young children.

Baby using cream

Children have thin, porous skin that readily absorbs anything topically applied. We do not recommend essential oils be used topically on premature infants, but the dilution for full term infants, ages 0-3 months, is 0.10% to 0.20%. This equals 1-2 drops of essential oil per 1 ounce of carrier when being used for whole body application. For spot usage, you can use 3-9 drops of essential oil per 1 ounce of carrier.

Additionally, we recommend that anyone wanting to use essential oils on children under the age of two years consult with a Certified Aromatherapist or medical professional to help you decide if this is the safest and most effective course of action.

For children ages 3-24 months, we recommend a general dilution of 0.25%-0.5%. This equals 2-4 drops of essential oil per 1 ounce of carrier when being used for whole body application. For spot usage, you can use 9-27 drops of essential oil per 1 ounce carrier.

For children ages 2-6 years, we recommend a general dilution of 1%-2%. This equals 9-18 drops of essential oil per 1 ounce of carrier when being used for whole body application. For spot usage, you can use 9-45 drops of essential oil per 1 ounce of carrier.


Use this chart to help you calculate various dilutions, specifically for children.

Plant Therapy KidSafe Essential Oil Dilution Chart

The dilutions recommended on this chart are for whole body applications using our KidSafe essential oils and blends only. For both adults and children we recommend starting with a lower dilution and adding more for specific applications when needed.


Contact an experienced aromatherapist before skipping dilution and going “neat.”

properly diluting oils graphic

If you still want to use an undiluted essential oil topically, please get advice from a Certified Aromatherapist first. There are some specific situations where you can use oils neat, however, err on the side of caution. A sudden burn after touching a hot pan or a stinging bug bite are both examples of acute, short-term issues where using an oil neat may be beneficial. If this is the case, receive professional guidance on safe usage. Not only can some essential oils irritate the skin, but you will increase your risk for sensitization. Please note that we always urge safe, conservative use of essential oils so that you can continue to reap the benefits of these wonderful tools without creating additional problems.  


Contraindications to consider:

If you are on a course of treatment with prescribed medication, have epilepsy or asthma, have a compromised immune system, are pregnant, breastfeeding, or have any doubts about how an essential oil may negatively affect your health, seek advice from your physician.


Stay safe!

When it comes to essential oils, the saying “I’d rather be safe than sorry” should be taken seriously. Applying essential oils directly to your skin without proper dilution increases the risk of adverse reactions significantly. Keeping safe use of essential oils in mind, always use the lowest dilution possible that gives you effective results.

If you are concerned about a negative reaction to a new essential oil, we recommend conducting a patch test. For first time use of an essential oil, a safe practice is to place a drop of diluted essential oil to a small area of skin, such as the inside elbow. After application, be aware of adverse reactions for the first 24 hours. Possible reactions include skin irritation, headache, nausea, respiratory complaints, or dizziness.


**The advice shared is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any illness or disease nor is it intended to replace proper medical advice. When using essential oils we always recommend you consult with your doctor.


Looking for more information on essential oil dilution? Check out these in-depth educational pieces from the Tisserand Institute:

How to Use Essential Oils Safely

New Survey Reveals Dangers of Not Diluting Essential Oils

Bath Safety: How to Use Essential Oils in the Bath

113 thoughts on “How to Dilute Essential Oils: A Comprehensive Guide”

  1. So, to make sure I understand, if I want to make a blend for my face in a 10ml roller, I should add three drops of EO and then top off with carrier?

  2. Thanks for all the great information. I like to mix about 5 different essential oils together with a carrier oil. If the chart says 10 drops of essential oil should I put 10 drops of each or is 10 the total amount for all the essential oils combined?

  3. Thank you for taking the guess work out of dilution. Before I found PT I had read many books, blogs, and never clearly understood what the % meant when it came to drops. I was always using an online conversion sight. You have made it so much easier!

  4. I think the answer will be yes, of course. But, just out of interest, should I make all the tools and containers (using during dilute processing) supposed to sterilised ?

    Thanks for great informations though. I am really enjoying learning about essential oil worlds lately from you 🙂

    1. Clean, sterilized tools would be the best! That way you can be sure there are no extra components getting into your blend 🙂

      1. Thanks for quick answer for my question! Now it’s time to me to try then 🙂 Always using your roll-ons but getting excited / nervous to try by myself. haha

  5. I discovered you one month ago and already placed two orders. Can’t wait fot the oils to arrive in Romania. Your site is an universe. I very much apreciate you because this is not just an e-commerce store, it’s a “classroom” where anybody can learn about this amazing domain of pure essentials. Thank you! I am reading about it every day.

    1. Thank you so much for your wonderful comment, Mada! We are so glad you are enjoying the information we love to share with customers 🙂

  6. Very informative. But I have a question. If you are using more than one essential oil in a dilution do the essential oils count as a carrier oil for the other essential oils in the blend?

  7. Great article! I re-read this post a few times just to give myself a refresher. Also, shared this many times with family and friends. Thanks again PT!

  8. This may be a silly question, or please direct me to the location of this information: what does one use for the dilution? Your hand? A small container? Is that what the empty, amber bottles you can purchase used for? I’m fairly new to all of this! Thanks!

    1. That’s not a silly question at all, Kelley! How you dilute depends a lot on what you are trying to make. If I want to use some Skin Restore (for example) after a shower, honestly, I’m going to pour about a teaspoon worth of a carrier oil in the palm of my hand, then add my Skin Restore directly to that (since it has a 3% dilution, I would use about 3 or 4 drops), rub it in my hands together, then rub it where I want on my skin. On the other hand, some people prefer to mix them in a separate container before applying to their skin. If you want to make something like a bath salt, I would say to mix the carrier oil and essential oil in a container first, since it’ll have to hold salt as well. I hope this makes sense! But it really all boils down to whatever your preference is, and as long as you know the essential oil is safely diluted, it doesn’t really matter how you mix it up 🙂

  9. Thank you. I love PT’s commitment to safety and education. Before OT I had been using essential oils for many years and sometimes not safely. I had done quite a bit of reading and research but I was never aware of sensitization and that is so beyond important! Essential oils are a great compliment to health but need to be treated with respect for the potent gift they are!

  10. This post is wonderful. I’m so happy that PT promotes safe dilution rate. So many other oil companies don’t, they just care about sale.

  11. Very comprehensive. I am very impressed with all the information in this page alone! It sure helps me to make diluted essential oil properly! Thank you PT!

  12. Great information about dilution. As a beginner I was nervous about using the oils on my children. This blog decreased my apprehension.

  13. Thanks for this information! I’m new to essential oils and was nervous about dilution, so I ordered roll-ons for my first batch. Once I feel a little more comfortable with their use, I will definitely be referencing this page.

  14. Thanks for this. I have been mostly diffusing and using inhalers, but I’d like to start making applying topically and I was very confused as to how to use the carrier oils with them. So this helps a lot.

  15. Thank you! I am very new to essential oils as I just placed my order today and I can’t wait for them to arrive and being able to start using them. This chart will help a lot.

  16. Good information. But you say “Using an essential oil directly out of the bottle, without diluting it first, can quickly become a one-way ticket to sensitized, irritated skin, or worse.” Isn’t personal inhaler or wearables pretty much the same as sniffing the bottle? There is no dilution there…

    1. Nora, this is an excellent question! So, when referring to using undiluted, we are referring to topical use, not about use for inhalers, or diffusion. When applying oils topically we recommend diluting with a carrier oil.

  17. Thank-you for this information on diluting. I am new to essential oils and was not clear at all as to what to do with them, especially for applying topically.

    1. You’re welcome Jayne! Please feel free to reach out to our Customer Service team if you ever need assistance with the dilution process.

  18. I love rollerball application and knowing exactly how much to use based on which oil is very helpful. Thank you for the detailed explanation.

  19. As someone who uses essential oils for a little and myself, thus is not only extremely helpful, but also a great guide to share with others. Friends and family ask about oils and I love sharing safe information to help get them started.

    1. Dilution is such an important factor when using Essential Oils. We’re happy to provide this kind of information to help ensure our customers are using oils safely. Thank you for sharing with friends and family!

  20. We are are a brand new retail store opening in Oklahoma. Although we have been using essential oils for years, the information and education that Plant Therapy provides is invaluable when helping educate customers and actually being able to give them a printed copy to take home is so very important for many reasons. Thank you Plant Therapy for all that you do. You make it easier for us to educate and keep our customers safe, happy, and coming back.

    1. Sheri, thank you for passing along our Dilution Safety information to your customers! It’s something that we take very seriously at Plant Therapy and is such an important part of using essential oils

  21. Thanks for this blog post. I just forwarded this to a friend who told me that she was taught by a MLM seller of essential oils to put one drop of Peppermint essential oil under her tongue every morning or everytime she needs to stay alert!!

    One question:may I know how many ml there are in one teaspoon and one tablespoon?

    For example, if I want to get a one percent dilution in 10ml,how many drops do I have to put in the carrier oil? I like reusing the PT rollerbottles.=)

    1. Karen, 1 teaspoon = 5ml and 1 tablespoon = 15ml
      1% in a 10ml roller bottle would need 3 drops of EO. So you would add the 3 drops, then fill the rest of that roller with your preferred carrier oil 🙂
      Thanks for reusing those!

  22. Thank you so much for this & I am gonna print this out because I have see so many others using another brand of essential oils & putting them on your skin & the skin of kids without diluting them!!! That is not a good idea & I am very thankful that you have this explained so well.

    1. Nicole that is an excellent idea! We love to share information on how to safely use essential oils for adults and children 🙂 Hope you have a great weekend!

  23. Hi! Thanks for this detailed information which is useful for beginner like me. Quick question – so basis above, for a 3 month old, is it 3-9 drops in a 10ml bottle for spot usage? Tia!

    1. You’re very welcome Ida! It’s very useful information and something that is referenced often in the world of Oils 🙂 You are correct with your spot treatment dilution. 3-9 drops for 10ml bottle for a 3 month old.

  24. Thank you so much for this blog post! I found it incredibly helpful and had no idea I’d been using oils wrong the whole time. I copied the chart onto an index card and taped into my box of oils for a quick reference…which I’ve already used multiple times this week.

    1. You’re welcome, Jillian! This Dilution Chart is a must have if you are using EOs topically. I love the idea of copying it on a index card so it’s always readily available 🙂

  25. Thank you for such a good load of info! So glad I found you guys early on in my oily journey – the only oil I ever applied neat was peppermint when I had a migraine a few times but SO glad I quickly learned from this company the proper way to help ourselves with oils through proper dilution!!

  26. Great info on dilution! Thanks for posting! Unfortunately the MLM companies are constantly telling people to use most of their oils “Neat”. I had to learn the hard way with a rash on my chest after using neat.

  27. Helpful Info but I would also like to see safety guidelines for diffusing. I have the large diffuser and often think I may be adding too many drops to the water.

  28. Great post! I am wondering if you could please do a post and share for us which E.O to use on specific bug bites; mosquito, wasp, yellow jacket, etc.
    Thank you!

  29. This really helped me in deciding what and how much to use with my 3yr old. So now we will have separate roll-ons. Thanks so much!!!

  30. I always keep copies of my charts with me as a guide when using oils. Thank you for this comprehensive article and always putting safety first.

  31. So many people use essential oils in an unsafe manner and it baffles me. Thank you for the useful information and for helping people stay safe!!

  32. Thanks for the post! This information is very useful as I have been using my oils I’m roller balls. Does anyone have recommendations for which carrier oil they prefer?

  33. This blog is CHOCK FULL of great info! Thanks for my dilution chart that I keep on my fridge. I’ve been using oils for a year and a half but just recently going beyond diffusing.This entire blog might be worth printing out, it’s excellent and I need to read it frequently to get it in my head for keeps!

  34. this is awesome! the only thing that would be even more helpful is to have an explicit chart for number of drops and dilution rates to different size roller bottles. speaking of, is plant therapy ever going to sell their own empty roller balls? i’d buy those in a second!

  35. Thank you for posting this and explaining when each dilution rate is important! I like that both kid an adult information is all in one place! Consider this blog bookmarked!!!!

  36. Perfect and informative, cannot forget the 1 drop per teaspoon for a 1% dilution which makes it easy to recall when mixing my oils at the 1% rate. Saved and keeping on hand.

  37. This blog is really helpful. I am new to essential oils and been eager to research about it for a few months. Finally, ordered my 1st set yesterday. I am so excited to receive my orders. This blog will indeed going to be my guide. Hoping to enjoy my oily journey.

    1. We’re so excited for you to receive your first order from us! Our Blog is an excellent source of information and recipes and we hope it helps you all along your oil journey 🙂

  38. Yes, Yes and more Yes! I love this post. I love the infographics and all of the information contained in the blog. I love how PT makes sure everyone is as safe as possible when it comes to using essential oils!

  39. Thank you so much for this article! It’s super helpful. I was always confused about the correct number of drops for diluting. What great information, I’m saving these charts to my smartphone for quick reference 🙂

  40. When I mistakenly get straight up oil on myself (hand, fingers, etc) is it best to rub the area with a carrier oil? I’ve done this before and it seemed to help but what would be the best carrier to use in this situation?

    1. Yes Vicki! You would want to apply a carrier oil to the area of concern. You can remove, then re-apply more carrier as needed. Any carrier oil should do the trick 🙂

  41. I’ve heard that straight oils should not be stored in plastic. Is the same true for diluted oils? Can I put a few drops of oils in my shampoo and leave it in the shampoo bottle?

    1. Rachel, if you are planning to add EOs to a plastic bottle, I would recommend ones that are PET plastic. However, I have used oils in low amounts (.5-1% dilution) in my shampoo bottles, and they have been fine.

  42. This information is SUPER helpful! I have just been guessing at the dilution ratios, but I’m going to print this info so I can have it handy whenever I’m diluting them.

  43. Thanks for this post! I’ve often heard and read about dilution, but wasn’t really sure how to do it correctly. I look forward to making dilutions in the future!

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