Everclear 101: Essential Oils and Everclear - Naturally Blended

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Everclear 101: Essential Oils and Everclear

By Kristin Lail, Certified Aromatherapist & SEOR Admin

Have you ever read one of our recipes and noticed that it called for Everclear?  Maybe you didn’t know what it was or maybe you did and wondered why we recommended this bottle of liquid sin for an oily DIY.  So, we’re going to learn all about Everclear and address all of the frequently asked questions about it. What is the purpose? Why do we use it? How do we use it and where can you find it?

What is Everclear? 

Everclear 101 essential oils and everclear

Quite simply, Everclear is a brand name of grain alcohol that is bottled at a higher proof than cheaper vodkas. Everclear comes in two proofs, 151 (75.5% alcohol) and 190 (95% alcohol).   This information is important to know but we’ll come back to that in just a bit. [1]

Why and how to use Everclear?

everclear 101: everclear and essential oilsThere are a few reasons why Everclear is a great choice for water-based DIYs.  The first reason is solubilization. Solubilization means to make something (like oil) soluble (dispersable) in water. [2]

It should be common knowledge that water and oils do not mix. When water and oil come into contact with one another, the two separate. Oils mixed in water will float to the surface. If making a perfume, this means that undiluted essential oils will come into contact with the skin.  One could say that if you’re making a linen spray that solubilization is less important. However, from personal experience, these undiluted oil droplets will come into contact with clothing and leave spots that are a nightmare to remove. Keep in mind that for solubilization, you will want to use a minimum of 151 proof. If you can get your hands on 190 proof, this will do a much better job of solubilizing your essential oils.  

So how do you use Everclear as a solubilizer? Simply add essential oils to the alcohol first. Let it sit for at least an hour so that the oils can fully solubilize before adding water into the mix. I prefer to let my essential oils and Everclear meld for 2-3 days when I plan to apply topically, such as for perfume. 

The second reason why Everclear is a great choice is that alcohol can be an effective preservative when used at the right percentages. 

Without the addition of a preservative, water-based DIYs will begin microbial growth within three days of formulation, even if storing in the refrigerator. Using distilled water and sanitized equipment is not enough to prevent the growth of mold, yeast and other dangerous bacteria. [3] 

The failure to properly preserve your DIY could result in potentially life-altering complications such as recurrent yeast infections, staph infections, contact dermatitis or even toxic shock syndrome. [4]

This is where Everclear comes in handy. When used at 20-30% of the product total, 120 proof grain alcohol can work as a preservative.  Rather than looking for a solubilizer and a preservative, Everclear will cover for both. It’s a win-win! 

What can I use Everclear in?

DIY Pest SprayYou can use Everclear in water-based oily DIYs. These might include but are not limited to, pest sprays, perfume, room and linen sprays, or cleaning products. Since I haven’t mentioned it already, Everclear is an excellent choice for cleaning DIYs because high grain alcohol does a stellar job at disinfecting surfaces.[5] Emulsifier, preservative, and added cleaning power? Yes, please!    

The only thing to keep in mind is that alcohol can be a little drying to sensitive skin. However, I’ve never personally experienced this when using at the recommended 20-30%.  Also, for those who wonder whether you should use this with your kiddos, that’s completely a personal choice. There is a possibility of absorbing some of the alcohol but it would likely take a very high percentage of it to have an effect. While I am personally okay with using at 20-30% for a DIY pest spray with my own children, I cannot make this choice for everyone and would recommend personal research and doing what you feel is best for your own family.

Where can you find Everclear? 

Where can you find Everclear? 

The answer to this is going to vary by location within the United States and it may be banned in some countries.  In some states, you can find Everclear at any local store that sells spirits or liquors. In other states, like mine, you can only find Everclear in state dispensaries called the Alcohol Beverage Control.  If you’re unsure of where to find Everclear, I would contact your local beverage control or store that has a liquor license. 

Make sure that you check out these great essential oil DIYs using Everclear:

Is Everclear right for you?

carrier oilsWhile Everclear is a great choice as a solubilizer and preservative,  some families may have strong moral convictions or family situations where alcohol is not the best choice.  In this instance, you will want to look for alternatives, whether it is perfumer’s alcohol or the addition of an emulsifier and preservative

If you still have concerns about using Everclear, do not hesitate to reach out to our team of Certified Aromatherapists at [email protected]. I would also love to invite you to check our Safe Essential Oil Recipes group on Facebook for DIY recipes and support! 

Sources:

1: “Everclear (Alcohol).” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 24 June 2019, en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Everclear_(alcohol)

2: “Solubilisation.” Solubilisation – an Overview | ScienceDirect Topics, www.sciencedirect.com/topics/pharmacology-toxicology-and-pharmaceutical-science/solubilisation.

3: Fioravanti, Kayla. “Why Cosmetics Need Preservatives.” Personal Care Truth or Scare, 9 July 2010, personalcaretruth.com/2010/06/why-cosmetics-need-preservatives/.

4: “Preservative Information.” Preservative Information | Cosmetics Info, cosmeticsinfo.org/preservative-information.

5: “Chemical Disinfectants; Guideline for Disinfection and Sterilization in Healthcare Facilities”, https://www.cdc.gov/infectioncontrol/guidelines/disinfection/disinfection-methods/chemical.html

61 thoughts on “Everclear 101: Essential Oils and Everclear”

  1. Thank you for this information. What if Everclear is not available where you live? Can you use ethanol or another alcohol?

    1. Hey there! For use as a preservative, you will need 120 proof but for solubilization, you will need 151 proof at the minimum. 190 proof would be best. If you can find alcohol that fits these requirements, then you could use it in your diy blending.

  2. Thank you–this answered a question I have had for some time. I purchased Everclear but wasn’t sure about making sprays for topical use.

  3. I’ve wanted to try making our own perfume, but didn’t quite know what king of alcohol to use. Then, I saw smth about Everclear on PT SEOR page and came back to the blog to read about it. It’s great to know where you can find trustworthy info.

  4. This information has changed my approach to linen sprays and cleaners. I really feel better knowing they’re better preserved and emulsified.

  5. Such awesome information in this blog. Thank you! I will try to get my hands on some Everclear for sure and stop using the witch hazel!

  6. I love using everclear for my diy’s! I have poly 20 and optiphen plus but I just can’t figure out how much opitphen to use, so I just don’t lol

  7. I really need this blog post. I just saw Everclear in my local store and was looking to see if I needed to add anything to it and what % to use with water. Thank you now I don’t have to go searching.

  8. I have been using Everclear when making a room spray. Using at only 10% , based off directions from Tisserand Institute, then adding a preservative. Looking forward to making this with one less additive.

  9. Just got back from vacation and my only souvenir was my 190 proof Everclear!! Not able to get it in my state, however I found in South Carolina!! Let the room sprays and Linen sprays begin!!

    1. Ha! Well that’s good to know. I live in SC, and was reading this article thinking, yeah, we’re one of the most conservative populations, so it’s probably not gonna be easy to get my hot little hands on it…

  10. This is such great information. I just wish I could find Everclear here. I’m using poly 20 and Optiphen Plus instead but I’m not 100% confident in using these ingredients. Using Everclear would be so much easier!

  11. Wish i could find everclear in smaller bottle. Seeing how you only use a small amount in most recipes. Im just afraid hubby will be cutting up lemons to make limoncello.. Looking forward to trying some of the recipes.

  12. Great info. Hoping I can find Ever Clear in Mn.Might have to cross the border!! Looking forward to making bug spray…HATE those biting bugs!

  13. So happy to have found out this great info. I was probably making myself sick with my DIY car air freshener…..now I know better and can be safe!

  14. Excellent article, well written and informative. I’m fortunate to live in a state where I can easily purchase 190 proof to use in my diy room sprays and it works well. Thanks for sharing safety info.

  15. When I got Everclear 190 proof, it made me feel so much more confident in the safety of my essential oil DIYs, thanks to the safety information provided by Plant Therapy here and in SEOR, and sending me to quality resources like Robert Tisserand’s research and articles. Thank you for sharing it here in this blog post too!

  16. I’m so glad there is a blog about using everclear!! I use it in most of the stuff that I make and it’s so helpful to have on hand. Thanks for the great read and info! Super helpful!

  17. Wow! I love all your blogs but this one takes the cake! Thank you for all of this helpful information!! I’ve been using 25% Everclear & 75% vodka or witch hazel in my bug sprays. Sound ok?

  18. I didn’t know I was supposed to let the everclear and oils sit for a day or two to solubise. I wad only doing that for 15 minutes. Thanks for continuing to educate your customers!

  19. Everclear is actually available in California in 120 proof form. It doesn’t only come in 151 or 190 proof. Just letting you know in case it causes more confusion. Great blog!! Thank you!

  20. Thank you! I have Everclear and made a pillow spray, but I have no patience and didnt let the oils and Everclear meld long enough and I am seeing separation. I think I will try it again today! Thanks for the great information!!

  21. The blog rocks. It helped explain my questions
    I had, Thanks for all the info.. now off to buy some Everclear.

  22. This is such an excellent blog post! Thank you for taking the time to put this together… This will make it much easier for people to understand how grain alcohol is used for emulsifying and preserving their DIY products. Some of the expert articles that we have recommended in the past were a little heavy with jargon and difficult to comprehend… So nice to have and easy to read breakdown of the benefits of Everclear.

    1. If you don’t have Everclear available, we recommend using either perfumer’s alcohol or the highest proof vodka you can find. However, it may still require a preservative.

  23. This was so informative and helped me feel confident in some of the DIYs i’ve Done using grain alcohol. Love the knowledge you all share to help your consumers make the best choice for them.

  24. Would you need this for making your own foamig hand soap with EOs? I have never seen a recipe with it, but thinking about it, the recipes are mainly water…

  25. Thank you for clarifying on the usage. I am constantly learning better ways of using oils. I think I’ll head out this weekend and pick some up.

  26. Thanks for the information and clarifying the importance of a preservative and the proof of alcohol needed!

  27. I am going to need some everclear after reading the possible risk’s due not not preserving things properly! sheeh! I am thankful for all the insight PT shares on a constant basis!

  28. Everclear is my favorite for oily DIYs. I formulate a lot of things using it. It’s really not that expensive either, which is a plus!

  29. So glad you did this blog post! I’ve used Everclear in a few products in the past but learned so much reading this blog about it. It’s nice to know that it can act as a preservative (at the correct percentage) and as a soluble. I plan on checking out and making all the recipes posted using Everclear. Thank you so much for the information!

  30. I’m glad I read this article! I now know to let the oils blend with the everclear first and what the percentage should be! thank you!

  31. This is written very well and answers many questions related to how Everclear is multifunctional.

  32. I am lucky that Everclear is so readily available here, as this is my go to for any type of spray formula

  33. thank you for this information. I have wondered about everclear and you answered a lot of questions I have had. Does everclear have an odor and isn’t all vodka a preservative…Is it nongmo?

    1. Glad you enjoyed the post! To answer your question, to work as a preservative, the alcohol should be at least 120 proof. Most vodka is 80 proof. Which isn’t enough to work as a preservative. It has a slight smell to me but I no longer really notice it once used in a formulation.

  34. Hello, does isopropyl rubbing alcohol qualify as a emulsifier? It states 70% isopropyl alcohol by volume. There is no everclear available in my country.

    1. Hi Karen, if you use straight rubbing alcohol, you could substitute it for Everclear. If you can, try to find 91%. Keep in mind, it would not be enough to act as a preservative for recipes with water. Here are the specifics of blending with alcohol that you might find helpful!

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