If you’re into using essential oils, the mountains of left over bottles can be a pain. They’re usually slick with oil to the point where it just feels gross, the dripper may be in the way and it might be tempting to just pitch the bottles into the recycling. But like a lot of items in the recycling bin, there are creative uses for oil bottles if you know how to clean them up.
For starters, cleaning oil bottles out is a very easy process. It requires more waiting than effort. You’ll just need to pull out the plastic dripper inside and remove the label. Then let the dripper, cap and bottle soak overnight in some warm, soapy water. Letting them soak will help break up the oil, and you can peel off what’s remaining of the label easier. To break up any smell that may still be present, soak the bottle overnight again, this time in one-part water to one-part rubbing alcohol. Then rinse the bottles off and let air dry.
There’s another method of deodorizing essential oil bottles where you stick the de-labeled bottles in a glass container with some epsom salt. Really dig the bottles into the salt and leave for at least 24 hours. The salt will work to absorb any remaining oil, and then you can reuse the salt as an infused bath salt mixture. It will smell amazing. After you remove the bottles from the salt, you just rinse them out and let dry like normal.
You’ll then have cute little tinted bottles that are great for storage, mixing other oils or display. Below are 11 ideas for how to use your old essential oil bottles.
1. Make creative displays
Another option is to label the bottles using printable graphics, creating fun décor themes. An example is these steampunk-themed labels
that would fit great on many essential oil bottles. You can also find Halloween ones
, general apothecary labels
or feel free to search any other theme.
2. Make mini flower vases
Essential oil bottles are perfect for displaying small flowers. A whole arrangement of the bottles in different colors with a variety of wildflowers would look great in the center of any table setting.
3. Store small items
Another good use for the bottles is to store any small items. They’re the perfect size for storing small craft beads, for instance. You can also label the bottles easily and have them on display on a shelf in a craft room. That organizational pattern will make for fast browsing to find what you need.
4. Create oil lights
You can even use your old oil bottles for a funky take on LED string lights. Essentially, you just attach one bottle to each light on a string of white LEDs, which creates a new, colored glow. You can find a video tutorial here
5. Use them as travel bottles
Buying travel bottles is the worst. They always seem to leak, and it’s just a waste of plastic. Instead, fill your higher quality essential oil bottles with shampoo next time you travel. Essential oil bottles are made to be kept on-hand, and tote around as long as you’re mindful of the glass (which is pretty thick).
6. Create a new bottle
You can also create a new way to use your oil bottle by just buying a new component for the top of the bottle. You can find roll-on tops, spray tops and new droppers at many of the largest oil supply stores online. If you’re into mixing your own perfume, the spray top option is a must. Also, it’s a great option for making spritzers, such as a lavender spray for bed sheets.
If you’re new to sprays, Abundant Health
has an easy recipe. It’s basically several drops of essential oil and some distilled water.
7. Store herbs
The size of essential oil bottles makes them perfect for storing small amounts of leftover herbs. They’re perfect for labeling and don’t take up a ton of space. You might even try labeling in a calligraphy and parchment style, and then put the bottles in view on a shelf. That will give your kitchen a classic feel.
8. Mix your own oil
You can even consider mixing your own blends of essential oils and then reusing your old bottles to house your new blends. Rather than just tossing oils together and hoping it works, however, there are some tricks to it. For instance, certain oil categories blend better together than others, and you need to watch out for the oil note to create a well-balanced and stable mixture. There is a very good guide on oil blending for beginners at Growing Up Herbal
9. Keep smaller amounts of oil
You can also use old oil bottles to house samplers. For instance, if you only have oil in a larger bottle you can take a couple dozen drops of the oil with you somewhere or keep it in a bag or your car. Plus, if you get into mixing your own oils and want to share your mixes with friends, it helps to have some of your old bottles on hand.
10. Make bug spray
You can even use your old bottles as part of a homemade bug spray by mixing your oils inside the bottle and adding a spray top. You can find a giant list of homemade bug repellents at The Prairie Homestead
11. Keep carrier oil
Another option when mixing essential oils is to dilute them with liquid carrier oils so they are not as strong. Pure essential oil can be irritating to sensitive skin in some cases. Carrier oils are derived from the fatty part of plants and do not evaporate or cause as strong of a scent. Examples include grapeseed oil, hazelnut oil, jojoba, rose hip oil, olive oil and avocado oil. You can find out more about carrier oils here
. If you decide to work with them, your old oil bottles will be great for keeping small amounts on hand at all times.