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How to Dilute Essential Oils for Topical Application

A printable chart with all the drops and teaspoon ratios at every age group! It’s important to dilute essential oils with a carrier oil. Learn how!

How to Properly Dilute Essential Oils

Knowing you’re supposed to dilute essential oils for use on the skin is a good start – but as usual, I did it wrong for a few years before I got smart enough to find some resources and do the math.

Cutting essential oils with a carrier oil like coconut oil (use the code STEWARDSHIP to get 10% off) or olive oil makes them appropriate for topical use (most can’t be used “neat,” or straight, on the skin). My friend Jess explains more on How to Choose Carrier Oils

But there are different ratios for babies, toddlers, children and adults, and knowing how to dilute essential oils for each age group often takes some heavy thought and mathematics if you have a dilution chart with tons of numbers on it!

I learned that I was probably not using enough EOs when diluting for adults and perhaps a bit much sometimes when I applied oil to my younger children.

I just wanted a resource to tell me how many drops of essential oil to add to my coconut oil so I could be off and running with the remedy I needed. I’m not much for measuring in ounces or milliliters – give me a teaspoon any day.

How to Dilute Essential Oils to Use on Your Skin

I’m thrilled that Plant Therapy agreed to sponsor this post and allow me to put my teaching skills to use to create just that for you – I started with their essential oil dilution chart, and after my eyes uncrossed, I dug in to figure out how to make it simpler.

Turns out it’s as easy as 1-2-3!

  • 1% dilution
  • 2 tsp. carrier oil
  • 3 drops essential oil
How to Dilute Essential Oils for Topical Applications just remember its as easy as 1 2
Pinterest end of post - want to save this one

Starting with 1% makes the rest of your math much easier, so you can properly dilute essential oils for any age group and any percentage!

Diluting Oils for Babies and Toddlers Too…

Achieving the proper dilution is especially important when dealing with infants and toddlers as the percentage is VERY low for such tiny bodies. (Note: Many essential oils are not recommended for use in children under 2 anyway, and another set is not recommended for under 6. I love that Plant Therapy has a KidSafe line, formulated by Robert Tisserand, a real authority in the field.) Read more about essential oils that are safe to use with kids.

how to properly dilute essential oils

These are the recommended age percentage dilutions for essential oils for a whole body application (like massage):

  • Essential oils are not recommended for premature infants.
  • Age 0-3 months = 0.1% dilution (that’s only 1 drop in TWO tablespoons carrier oil)
  • Age 3-24 months = 0.25% dilution
  • 2-6 years = 1%
  • 6-15 years = 1.5%
  • 15 and older (adults) = 2.5%

Particularly if you’re using a targeted application, perhaps the bottoms of the feet or the chest, you may increase the amount of essential oil up to double these numbers (no higher) – but best to start with less and see how it goes.

Do you know how to properly dilute essential oils?
essential oil dilution chart
Katie here, popping in to tell you how important it is to be sure you’re diluting those essential oils properly. Sure, you know not to use EOs straight (neat). But do you know the 1-2-3 math so it’s not too strong or weak? Print this chart to keep with your oils so you never have to do math in the middle of the night when your LO is congested: You can read more about why it’s so important to dilute essential oils here, and I know the little chart will be helpful!

Here’s How to Dilute Essential Oils

Disclaimer: I’m not a medical professional of any kind, and this is NOT medical advice. It’s just math. What oils you use and how are up to you to determine.

Welcome to my makeshift classroom! Let’s see the number of drops per part carrier oil and some basic EO info:

If you can’t view the video above, click “how to dilute essential oils” to view it on YouTube.

Print It!

I took a moment to make a one-page printable for you so you can snip an easy-to-read chart and tape it right onto your medicine cabinet door – wherever you keep your essential oils – so it’s always handy. It includes all the dilutions in drops of EO + tsp. or Tbs. of carrier oil for babies, toddlers, younger and older children, and adults. You shouldn’t have to do any math when you need a remedy now (you’re welcome).

Send Me The Printable Chart

Thanks again to Plant Therapy for making essential oils available to everyone and for sponsoring this video/post/printable!

how to properly dilute essential oils

Now friends…I’ve often shared about my journey with essential oils, and now I want to hear from you!

What lessons have you learned that you wish everyone knew about EOs? What’s your favorite way to use them?

Essential Oils and the Brain

Watch this quick video for info on the vagus nerve, how essential oils can be a “backdoor” entry to health, and the importance to your whole family of getting into a parasympathetic state more often:

Can’t see the video? Watch Essential Oils and the Brain here on YouTube.

Grab Jodi’s bonus chapter here.

And the oil she held up in the video is one of her own special blends, appropriately called Parasympathetic. You can get your own hands on some here.

Other Essential Oils Posts at KS:

Unless otherwise credited, photos are owned by the author or used with a license from Canva or Deposit Photos.

10 thoughts on “How to Dilute Essential Oils for Topical Application”

  1. Ive used essential oils under my arms and it worked wonderfully until about 8 months in. Then i developed extreme itching and burning no matter what fragrance of E.O i used. I want to try to dilute the oils. Should i use coconut oil or olive oil?? Is there a difference?

    1. Hi Kim,
      Essential oils should almost always be diluted for use on skin – you may have developed a reaction because of the straight use. 🙁 As for using coconut or olive, both will cut the EO sufficiently, but coconut oil is often used on armpits because it has its own antibacterial properties that can be helpful for BO. More here. Hope that helps! 🙂 Katie

  2. My question is when making a blend for 1% dilution. If blending 3 EOs, should I use 3 drops of EACH EO?
    Or the ratio of 3 drops is the total of drops of EO per 2 tablespoons? (in this case using 1 drop of each)

    1. Hi Maria Luisa,
      That’s a very good question, and I have to say that I have no idea of the official answer! If I were using a pre-made blend, I’d just do 3 drops total. But I’d be guessing (and erring on the side of caution until I got a better answer). I’d check this FB group:

      Good luck! 🙂 Katie

      1. Hi!
        I was wondering the same question. Did anyone find out if its 3 drops total or 3 drops for every EO being used?

        1. Carolyn @ Kitchen Stewardship

          For a 1% dilution, it’s 3 drops total. If you’re using more than 3 oils you can premix your blend and use 3 drops of that in your carrier oil. Hope that helps!

  3. I may be stupid, but what is the second line for in each category? (under 2-6 yrs you have 1% again with 1 Tbs. to 4-5 drops)

  4. Thank you so much for the chart! You made dilution so simple. I’ve been looking for something like this for a long time!

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