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?
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. 
Why and how to use Everclear?
There 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. 
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. 
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. 
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?
You 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. 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?
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:
- Fleas, Ticks & Essential Oils + DIY Spray for Dogs
- DIY Texturizing Salt Hair Spray
- Essentials Video: Rosalina Linen Spray
- Video: Earthy Clean Aftershave
- Outdoor Spray DIY
Is Everclear right for you?
While 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]m. I would also love to invite you to check our Safe Essential Oil Recipes group on Facebook for DIY recipes and support!
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