You know those cartoons where there’s a little angel and a little devil sitting on the character’s shoulder?
Yeah, I feel like that sometimes.
My ambitious side seems to constantly be at-war with my practical side, and it’s a never-ending battle.
Ambitious Jill: C’mon… Let’s double the size of the garden this year, and get more cows and heritage pigs!
Practical Jill: You’re pregnant, have a jam-packed schedule, and you’re ripping rooms off your house… You really think pigs are a good idea?
Ambitious Jill: DIY ALL THE THINGS!
Practical Jill: No one will die if you buy dish soap at the store instead of making it yourself right now.
Ambitious Jill: EEK! Don’t throw that away… We must repurpose everything!
Practical Jill: Hello clutter…
Practical Jill has been winning a lot lately, mostly because there’s only so much you can do when you’re in the middle of a major home remodel project. However, there’s one thing she never wins on:
Essential oil bottles.
Considering I’ve been using essential oils for a good three years now, I’ve amassed an impressive collection of empty bottles.
And it is physically impossible for me to throw them away.
I. JUST. CAN’T.
They are so cute, and they smell good, and I like how they feel in my hands.
OK whatever. I might have a problem… but still. They just aren’t going in the trash. I don’t care what Practical Jill says.
So, to justify my hoarding thriftiness, here’s a list of ways to put them to good use. Because part of being a homesteader is “waste not, want not”, right?
How to Reuse Essential Oil Bottles
(this post contains affiliate links)
1. Recycle ’em — of course, this option is better than simply tossing them into the garbage, providing you have glass recycling facilities where you live… However, it’s not my favorite option on the list, so let’s keep going.
2. Share with Friends & Family — Once people know you’re building an essential oil stash, it’s only a matter of time before they sheepishly knock on your door asking for one or two to try. I often use cute lil’ sample bottles like this when I’m sharing. However, if I run out of sample bottles, or need to share a larger quantity, I always reach for one of my empty bottles.
3. Accessorize — Many oil supply companies carry sweet ways to accessorize your bottles, including spritzer tops, droppers, and roller balls. I keep a stash of these toppers handy, and like to use my empty bottles to create custom blends, roll-ons, and sprays.
4. Make Portable DIY Hand Cleanser. Use my homemade hand sanitizer recipe, add a spritzer top, and you’re good to go.
5. Create custom perfumes — It’s been years since I’ve used traditional perfume and honestly, the fragrances I used to like now give me a headache. I much prefer to use my essential oils when I go out on the town (aka– go run errands), and it’s easy to add a spritzer to an empty 15 mL bottle to make it happen.
7. Make Sheet Spritzers — I always feel extra-fancy when I spritz fresh-smelling essential oils on the bedsheets on laundry day. My favorite option is lavender, or sometimes lavender mixed with frankincense. Simply mix water and 8-10 drops of your favorite oil in an empty 15 mL bottle and add a spray cap. These essential oils known for their ability to promote healthy sleep are awesome choices, too.
8. Put Together a Travel Kit — I make it a habit to take my oils with me whenever I travel. If you don’t want to take your entire stash, add smaller quantities of your must-have oils to empty bottles. This is also added insurance that you won’t lose your entire collection if your luggage is lost or stolen.
9. Store Carrier Oils — When I use essential oils, I like to dilute them with a liquid carrier oil of some sort. My favorite options are fractionated coconut oil, sweet almond oil, or apricot oil. I keep an empty 15 mL bottle filled with carrier oil in my travel kits so it’s always within reach.
10. Oily Lights — How cute would it be to make a string of essential oil bottle Christmas lights? This is perfect for the die-hard oil fan, or if you are looking for some oily decor ideas. (Just make sure you’re using super-clean bottles if you do this.)
11. Stock your Barn Stash — If I happen to be using oils on an animal (like when I was doctoring my chicken), I always mix up the oils I need and add them to an empty bottle before hauling them outside. It’s a given the bottle will be rattling around in my coat pocket, or sitting on a fence post, and I like to avoid mucking up a full, clean bottle from the house.
12. Make Bath Salts — The most frustrating thing about an “empty” bottle is that it never quite seems completely empty… There’s always a bit of precious residue left inside. To put every last drop to good use, remove the cap and orifice reducer from your bottles, and place several empty bottles in a container with several cups of Epsom salts. Allow it to sit for several days, and you’ll find you have lovely-scented bath salts at the end. (This is also an ideal way to clean the bottles/remove scent and residue if you want to use them for something else)
13. Mini Flower Vase — Stick a single delicate flower in an empty bottle and use it to decorate an end table, nightstand, or table setting.
14. After-Sun Spray for your Beach Bag — Looking give your skin a refreshing cool-down? This simple after-sun spray is a cinch to mix up, and my favorite remedy if I forget to cover up while working outside on a hot day…
15. Bye-Bye Mosquitos. There are a ton of different ways to use essential oils to combat mosquitos or other creepy crawlies that want to eat you for lunch… Mix up your favorite recipe in a 15 mL empty, add a spritzer, and toss it in your backpack. Grab a ton of DIY bug repellent ideas here.
*BONUS TIP* To easily remove label residue from your bottles, simply rub in a drop or two of lemon essential oil, then wash with warm, soapy water.
Alrighty… I know you guys have even more brilliant ideas– what’s YOUR favorite way to use up empty essential oil bottles?
My Favorite Essential Oils
Want to get started with essential oils, but not sure which brand you want to try? This is the brand I’ve used for three years, and they are my favorite.
More Essential Oil Tips:
- Cooking with Essential Oils
- 30 Essential Oil Hacks for Homesteading
- 20 Essential Oil Recipes for Diffusers
- 8 Essential Oils for Sleep
- 21 Homemade Gifts You Can Make with Essential Oils
Karen @ On the Banks of Salt Creek says
Way to repurpose those bottles. I like the bath salt idea best, and the hand sanitizer.
Prairie Wife says
I finally got into essential oils earlier this month so this article has come at the perfect time! I’m pinning it so I can reference back to it later on. I wish I had the time to attend the education course but, I’m barely keeping afloat now as it is lol. I hope there will be another chance soon 🙂
Jill Winger says
yay! You won’t regret it!
i use empty bottles to make our allergy spray. Fill an old bottle with water add equal parts lemon, lavender and peppermint essential oil -maybe 10-15 drops each. When you feel an attack coming on spray it under your tongue. Fits in my sons pocket, he can carry it anywhere!
Jill Winger says
LOVE that plenty for allergies!
Ellen grendel says
Another use for the bottles is as closet/drawer satchel. Leave the top off and close the drawer or closet. I used to do this with empty perfume bottles. I also keep mixtures near my wax warmer room deoderizer a and just add a few drops whenever the fragrance diminishes. My favorite is lavender mint. Sometimes I add a little orange or lemon.
Jill Winger says
oooh… I like that idea!
my son added fractionated coconut oil to an almost gone bottle of Frankensence , it is just as lovely to use as original.
Jill Winger says
Way to waste not, want not! 🙂
Jennifer Lawrence says
I live in Ohio I have never tried to grow stevia can stevia grow here
Stevia is from a more topical area . You can either grow it as an annual and save the seeds or bring it in .
Oooh, I love the mini flower vase idea! Why didn’t I think of that? 🙂
Jill Winger says
I know! so lovely 🙂
Joli Tripp says
Love these ideas! and especially giving yourself a break from doing it all and making it all.
Thanks for the great ideas! Where did you get the roller balls to fit the bottles? I would love to be able to do this. Thanks!
Jill Winger says
They are hard to find sometimes, but I’ve seen them on Amazon.
I love the roller balls by Young Living. They hold up very well to all of the oils. They are stainless, so don’t absorb odors, like the easier to find plastic rollerballs do. Vetiver is an excellent example of Rollerball magic, as it tends to get sticky around rim of the applicator bottle.
What size shall we look for?
Kellie Timmins says
You can find the rollerballs for the top of the bottles from most of the essential oil supply companies. In Canada my favourite (who ships to US) is http://www.eonation.co :o)
Q: How do you get the labels off those bottles?
Jill Winger says
I strip off the outer layer, then rub in lemon essential oil, and finish with hot, soapy water.
I use a scrapper first which takes off most of the glue, then I use lemon oil for the finishing touches.
Suzy VanDyke says
Awesome tips!cant wait to try the bug repellant ????
Suzy VanDyke says
Whoops the ???was a typo ????
Carla Wagner says
When my favorite smell(s) are empty, I place the empties in my dresser drawers. It’s amazing how long your garments, etc. will keep that lovely aroma.
love that idea even more than reusing bottles. especially when the lavender bottles are starting to really pile up. Thx 🙂
You forgot the link to the Christmas lights post 😉
I like concocting facial oil blends. My skin is getting dry-ish as I age (gracefully). Empty EO bottles are the perfect vessel for holding small amounts of oil blends to have on hand. Mine can be found in purses, totes, jean pockets, book case, etc. at any given time. Tiny enough to not be obtrusive. I hide them everywhere, and never lack for a good skin nourishing boost.
Karen Wood says
I can’t throw them away either (along with anything else good). One way I use them is when I am rooting plant cuttings. The brown glass keeps algae from growing. Just can’t let the roots get too big for the bottles.
The brand essential oils that use, has bigger bottles of the most common oils, like lavender, tea tree and eucalyptus. I refill the smaller bottles from the bigger bottles. The big bottles don’t have the reducer…
I have also used them for my mixes. I buy single ingredient oils and mix my own. They can also double as an inhaler, with just a small amount of essential oil in the bottle.
I like the sachet bottle idea! That’s a good way to finish the off the bottom of the bottle without waste!
Thank you for sharing! I don’t like throwing things away either…
Thank you for your wonderful ideas, just need to know where to get the spray tops for the bottles?
Where are you located Robyn ?
If you google New Directions aromatics they might still sell them ….also voyageur soap & candle .
New Directions Aromatics requires $100 minimum purchase, which may matter to some people (such as myself). I spent considerable time browsing the site before realizing I wouldn’t be able to order just a few mister tops, so I thought I should share that info in case it would be helpful to anyone else.
I love Voyageur Soap and Candle, though! I’ve ordered several times from them over the years, and have also visited their retail store/warehouse to browse and purchase in-person… they always provide phenomenal customer service!
You can get glass bottles and spray tops from AromaTools.com or Oillife.com
I put Castile soap in mine for traveling. It saves room in my luggage and smells like the oil!
LOVE all your great ideas! I have to ask, though: what happened to #6?
I love reusing mine. I make diffuser blends and store in them so they’re ready to use, especially during sick season. I also make and store deodorant blends in them so all that my family has to do is add a base and so many drops of the premade blend. I store my homemade moisturizer body oil blends in them.
I use the bottles on mini bottle trees!
Want to thank you Jill for sharing with us, you are such a busy little bee. I seem to have a lot of the same interest, however I’m not so lucky, I don’t live in the country. Miss the milk and cream and all the different meats and huge garden. I was so happy to get your recipe for homemade sausage. I’m sure after making yours I’ll fiddle around with it and try some different spices.
Thanks again and keep up the excellent work!!
Robin Schick says
gotoilsupplies.com is a great resource for spray tops and accessories. Great customer service.
Thanks the ideas are great! Love the idea of purchasing roller bottle tops and using a spare of oils just for travel purposes.
Antonika Chanel says
I have searched the internet for those rollerball tops that fit the 15ml bottles. its seems that every other size exist except the 15ml. I see you have them in a photo shown. I’ve been to the link you suggested but can not find that size. I’ve seen them on amazon but since I first purchased them the price has doubled. Can you make any specific recommendations to size. BTW I love your website and your contribution to the world.
Jill Winger says
Thanks Antonika! I bought the roller tops a while ago– they fit the 15 mL bottles and I did get them on Amazon. Sorry to not have more info for you.
Debra Storey says
I found these on Amazon. I’ve never used them, so this isn’t a recommendation. ?
Two sites that sell roller and spray tops was mentioned in a post above
Robyn L. Lamb says
How can I keep new labels on my bottles from slipping off…..I wanted to give as gifts using recycled bottles bur my labels come off or writing runs/fades…help needed….
Jill Winger says
Sounds like there might be residue left on the bottles from the old labels or oil?
Jeanette Christine Nunez says
I cover them with a piece of clear packing tape.
I open the empties and float them in my diffuser. Cleans them out too
Julie Wedergren says
You can put a cotton ball in the bottle and when it’s all soaked up you put the cotton ball in your trash can.
I do the same thing, but I put the cotton ball in the vent of my truck. Now I’m driving in citrusy heaven.
Thank you so much. I have been interested in learning about essential oils, their uses for congestion, digestion, etc. I had not thought about many of the points that were addressed in this article. It is great timing for me because I have just begun to buy oils and bottles. We will be traveling Jan 15 thru April 15 so I will use your travel box idea for certain.
Thank you for sharing your ideas.
Hope you enjoy your day.
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carrier oils says
Actually when someone doesn’t know afterward its up to other visitors that they will help, so here it
Mostly glass bottles are airtight and watertight, making them ideal for storing certain perfumes and essential oils. It can also be used for storing medicines, as these vials can potentially keep your products safe and sealed, not only this but they are easy to fit inside your purse of bag.