empty essential oil bottles

How to Effectively Clean your Empty Essential Oil Bottles

Inside: Step by step instructions on how to clean your empty essential oil bottles and ideas on how to reuse them. This post contains affiliate links. 

Do you throw away your empty essential oil bottles and the extra goodness inside of them? If so, stop today. Essential Oil is too expensive to be throwing it away.

Learn how to clean them properly and ideas to use them. Even when you can’t get another substantial drop out of the bottle, there is still oil in there you can get therapeutic value from. You have to get to it.

First, Clean Your Empty Essential Oil Bottles Correctly

How Not to Clean Your Empty Essential Oil Bottles

If you want to reuse your bottles and make blends that don’t contain the current oil, then you’ll need to clean the bottle first.

First a cautionary tale about what not to do:

I saw some great graphics on Pinterest that showed boiling your bottles with castile soap. I was fooled by a picture, thinking that just because something was pinned a lot it must work. Umm, no. Boiling your bottles in hot soap was a huge mess, and I had to throw away all my bottles.

The oil and soap congealed inside the bottle and no matter what I put inside the bottle to clean it, it would not come out. I spent so much time and trying to save those little bottles I ruined with soap.

Cleaning your essential oil bottles doesn’t need to be difficult.

Bottom Line: **Do not add soap when cleaning your bottles**

How to Effectively Clean Your Empty Essential Oil Bottles

  1. Peel the labels – don’t worry right now if they don’t come off completely.
  2. Take the white ring off from the cap if it comes off easily – sometimes other residue hangs out underneath this spot, throw the little white ring away. If it’s being stubborn, let it stay.
  3. Take the orifice inducers off the bottle.
  4. Put all of the bottle parts into a big bowl of Epsom salts. (Note: make sure you get plain Epsom salts since you will be making your own scented bath salts. You do not need or want, to buy the Epsom salts that come pre-scented. You are naturally scenting your salts.) Fill each bottle up with salt and cover all the bottles and each cap. Let the salt soak up all the oil for at least 24 hours.

essential oil epsom salt 5. Fill up a sink with super-hot water – I make it so hot I can barely touch it. Do not add soap. At this point, you can add some alcohol or vinegar to the water or the bottle if you are concerned about getting all the oil out.

6. Begin emptying all the bottles of the salt. It is okay for residue to stay attached, it will come off in the water. Put the bottles and parts in the water.

Related: Top uses for Copaiba Essential Oil 

7. Put the Epsom salt in a container for future baths. Now you have oil infused Epsom salts. It will be the most relaxing bath. This is so wonderful because it is a mix of different oils.

8. Once the water cools down, take em out to air dry. If any have labels still partially attached, you can rub a tiny amount of baking soda and lemon oil on the outside, and it will come off quickly, making sure not to get any on the inside. Once dry, your bottles are ready to reuse.

I wait until the bottom of my oil rack is full of empty bottles then I do a batch of them at a time. I have the kids help me, they think it’s fun and as you’ll see we get some nicely scented Epsom salts for our baths as a result. If you’ve never had an Epsom salt bath, then it’s time.


Ideas for Reusing Your Empty Essential Oil Bottles

1. Make Your Own Blend

Have fun being a scientist making your blends. If you choose to make a blend that includes the same oil as the bottle you are reusing, you won’t need to clean the bottle. For example, if your Lavender essential oil is empty and now you want to make a “breathe blend” of Lavender, Peppermint, and Lemon, use this bottle as your base and add all three oils into this bottle.

But if you are making a “breathe blend” for example, and only have an empty Stress Away bottle, you will want to clean it out with the instructions above.

2. Lazy Girl’s Epsom Salts

If you don’t want to clean the bottle out, but want to get all the oil out, then open the bottle and place it in a jar with Epsom salts and there you go~ you have bath salts. It’s that easy.

Let it sit for a couple of days. When you are ready for a bath, remove the salts and leave the bottle in the jar. Continue to add bath salts until all the aroma has been taken from the bottle. This is great for calming oils such as lavender, orange, or frankincense.

3. Natural Deodorizer

Open the oil bottle and let the aroma fully disperse in an area that needs a natural deodorizer. Such as a child’s sock drawer, laundry room, lingerie drawer, the bottom of a trash can, or closet. This is good for lemon or purification.

Related: Essential Oil Gift Guide Every “Oiler” Will Love!

4. Decorations

Or try making stringing them onto your Christmas lights.

5. Carrier Oil Bottle

When I’m traveling, I use the 15ml size bottle for my carrier oil. After thoroughly cleaning it per instructions above, I take the orifice reducer off and fill it with a carrier oil. Then I have a small, travel sized bottle of carrier oil. I have to be careful about pouring it out, but this is much easier than having a large bottle of grapeseed oil or coconut oil when traveling.

Your Turn

What do you do with your empty essential oil bottles? Share your ideas in the comments below.

How to Effectively Clean your Empty Essential Oil Bottles

6 Comments

  1. Julie Smith says:

    Actually I just put them in a mason jar with Epsom salts and leave it in there . I add more Epsom salts and you can always smell the oil. I haven’t really cleaned them yet .

  2. When you use an empty essential oil bottle for traveling and carrier oils, could you leave the orifice reducer in there? Im just worried it woukd leak

    1. Sure, you can leave the orifice reducer in the bottle, but I would remove it before trying to pour carrier oil out of it because it’s thicker than the essential oil. When I travel I keep all my bottles in a traveling case, including the carrier oil in an empty essential oil bottle, and I keep the carrying case upright so none of the bottles leak.

  3. Leigh Ann Doolin says:

    I use the 5 ml bottles to give a friend a sample of an oil or make a small roller bottle(you can buy roller tops for empty bottles) and I use the 15 ml bottles to give samples of thieves household cleaner or a carrier oil that a new member hasn’t tried.

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