How to recycle essential oil bottles has been the subject of our past two articles. We continue providing ways to give empty essential oil bottles a second life! Again, I want to thank my essential oil friends for their assistance and ideas for this series of posts.
This third article in our series focuses on cleaning empty and almost empty essential oil bottles. There is a simple way to clean and sanitize empty bottles to make them ready to hold other oils and blends.
How to Clean an Empty Essential Oil Bottle
Before reusing an empty essential oil bottle for holding other oils, you’ll want to clean them and sterilize the inside. The entire process is quite simple. Keep in mind that cleaning the outside will not remove all of the oil residue from the inside.
The process begins by cleaning the outside of the bottle. Use any small bowl or another container that can hold enough water to submerge the bottles thoroughly. The steps are:
- Remove each bottle’s cap and orifice reducer (plastic insert).
- Place the bottles, lid, and orifice reducer in the container for cleaning and add a small squirt of On Guard Cleaner Concentrate. (You can also use dish soap that cuts through grease.)
- Add enough hot water to the container to cover the bottles. (If using tap water allow it to run before adding to the container to ensure it is as hot as possible.) Allow the bottles, lids, and reducers to soak for 5 minutes to soften the label adhesive.
- When you can comfortably place your hands in the water, peel and discard the labels from the bottles
- Gently rub the exterior of each bottle with your fingers to help remove any residual label adhesive.
- Rinse the bottles, lids, and orifice reducers in warm water to remove soap residue.
Additional Cleaning Tips
- If, any stubborn adhesive spots are remaining after Step 5, rub a drop of Lemon essential oil on the spot with your fingers to remove.
- An old toothbrush and lemon essential oil are useful to help clean the caps and orifice reducers.
Unfortunately, the cleaning steps above do not always remove all of the essential oil residue from the inside of the bottle you plan to recycle. It is best to sanitize the bottles before reusing to hold other oils.
Sanitize the Empty Bottles
Cleaning the inside of glass essential oil bottles is not difficult. A home sterilizer is an excellent way to sanitize the bottles you recycle. However, if you don’t have a sterilizer, you can boil the bottles and parts in hot water.
- Place the clean bottles, caps, and orifice reducers in a large saucepan on the stove.
- Add enough water to cover all the pieces with an inch of water. Although the caps and reducers will float, make sure the bottles fill with water so they stay submerged.
- Bring the water to a rapid boil.
- Cover the saucepan and boil for 5 minutes.
- Turn off the heat and allow the water to cool.
- Use tongs to remove everything from the saucepan.
- Shake off excess water and place on a clean paper towel.
- Allow all the parts to air dry.
Note, some folks use rubbing alcohol or high proof vodka as a “solvent” to clean and sanitize the bottles they recycle of any previous oil. If you choose to sanitize using a solvent, be sure to rise the inside with hot water thoroughly. Afterward, allow to air dry before reusing.
Once clean and sanitized, you can reuse the bottles to hold other oils, like a carrier oil or your favorite personal blends.
Recycle Bottles to Hold Carrier Oil
It is easy to recycle essential oil bottles for keeping a favorite carrier oil in a convenient size. If you are always on the go, or frequently travel, having Fractionated Coconut Oil or another carrier oil can come in handy.
The 15ml size bottle is convenient to carry with you. It’s also handy to have a small bottle of carrier oil where you usually apply oils. Keep a small bottle of carrier oil in the bathroom, bedroom, and kitchen. Refill as necessary from your larger bottle.
Fill your clean bottle with your favorite carrier oil. Then replace the orifice reducer and cap. Be sure to label the bottle as containing a carrier oil to avoid any mistakes. A one- by two-inch label is perfect for 15 ml bottles. You can pick up a supply of 1-inch by 2-inch labels at any office supply store. This template can help with printing labels this size.
Recycle Bottles for Personal Blends
You can save time by pre-mixing your favorite blends for the diffuser, inhaler, or medicine cabinet. Make a “master blend” instead of counting individual drops of oil every time. When you want to use your personal blend, it will be ready in just one bottle!
A simple tool to help make a “master” blend is a supply of disposable pipettes. You can find disposable pipettes at doTERRA and Amazon. Remember, a pipette should touch only one oil to avoid contaminating another oil.
If your “master blend” is one you like to roll on, there are rollerball heads available for your recycled containers. You don’t need to purchase a special rollerball bottle. Instead, the rollerball inserts are available from Amazon and EO Tools for 15ml bottles.
Recycle Bottles for a “Master” Blend
Before you begin, we recommend calculating the total number of drops you need for an individual oil. As an example, we have a favorite Summer Diffuser blend that calls for a total of ten drops. The exact recipe is 4 drops of Lemongrass, 3 drops of Spearmint, and 3 drops of Lemon essential oil.
- Total drops in blend (4+3+3) = 10
- Total drops (volume) in 15ml container = 250
- Divide container volume by the number of drops in the total blend to get the number of “uses” you will get from this “master” blend (250/10 = 25 uses).
Now that you have the total number of uses, calculate the number of drops you need from each oil to create the “master” blend. Multiply the number of drops for each oil by the number of total uses (25) to get the total number of drops required of each oil to create your “master blend.”
In our example, Lemongrass requires 4 drops, Spearmint and Lemon each require 3 drops. So, lemongrass (4 drops*25 uses = 100). For Spearmint and Lemon 3 drops multiplied by 25 equals 75 drops of each.
Lemongrass – 4*25 = 100
Spearmint – 3*25 = 75
Lemon – 3*25 = 75
The total number of drops for each oil in the blend should equal the total number of drops in the container (100 + 75 + 75 = 250). Now is when the pipette will come in handy.
Make the Blend in a Bottle You Recycle
Now you are ready to mix your master blend. Gather the oils, pipettes (one for each oil) as well as a clean and sanitized essential oil bottle, orifice reducer, and cap.
- Count out the individual drops into the bottle.
- Insert a clean orifice reducer or rollerball assembly.
- Close the bottle using a clean cap.
Again, be sure to label the bottle so you know what is in it.
Using the Master Blend
To your “master blend” just count out the number of drops that were in the original ‘recipe.’
For our example diffuser blend, we would count out 10 drops from the “master” blend bottle into a diffuser. (Ten drops were needed to create the original blend.) Obviously, the number of drops you use for each blend will depend on the total number of drops that you would have used with the individual oils when making a single use.
Next: Recycle Creatively
In our next post, we’ll look at how to recycle empty essential oil bottles in some clever ways. These will get your creative juices flowing!
If you have a favorite recycling tip, please share with us in the comments below.