Are Plastic Bottles Safe for Essential Oils?

Are Plastic Bottles Safe for Essential Oils?

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Is it safe to store essential oils in plastic containers?  It depends.

While glass is always the best choice, it may surprise you to learn that certain plastics are typically considered suitable for essential oils.

Are Plastic Bottles Safe for Essential Oils?

Generally speaking, essential oils are best stored in dark glass containers. Certain metals are fine for essential oils usage as well, such as stainless steel water bottles.

However, in some cases it’s impossible, impractical, or downright inconvenient to use glass or metal containers for your essential oil concoctions.

Plastic Sprayers for Hand Sanitizer with Essential Oils | Yankee Homestead
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For example…

  • I prefer the sturdy plastic mini-sprayers pictured above for my DIY Hand Sanitizer.
  • A sturdy, recycled plastic jar stores my sugar scrub in the shower, where hard tiles + children showering could lead to a dangerous situation with broken glass.
  • We also use a plastic dispenser for foaming hand soap (pictured below), in another bathroom where broken glass is a concern.

Are Plastic Bottles Safe for Essential Oils? | Yankeehomestead.com
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Plastics Generally Considered Safe for Essential Oils

Again, glass and stainless steel are always the best option when it comes to essential oils.  But if necessary, the plastics listed below should work just fine.

Keep in mind that essential oils should always be diluted when using plastic.

  • HDPE plastic (High Density Polyethylene)
  • #1 plastic
  • #2 plastic
  • Thick, food grade plastic

Keep Essential Oils Away from these Plastics

Never use essential oils with these types of plastic!

  • Water bottles
  • Solo cups and their equivalents
  • Plastic drinking straws
  • Plastic kitchenware
  • Thin plastic containers
  • (Styrofoam)

Are Plastic Bottles Safe for Essential Oils? | Yankeehomestead.com
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Citrus and Other Hot Oils

One more thing to keep in mind is that certain oils, especially citrus, are more caustic towards plastic.  Other hot oils include Cinnamon, Thyme and Oregano.

It’s always a good idea to use a little extra caution when dealing with these oils.

 Try it yourself: fill a plastic Solo cup with water.  Add a few drops of citrus oil such as Lemon.  Let it sit there for a while, and then watch what happens.

Hint: It will eat away the lining of the cup.  Guess where that lining goes?  Right–into the water.  Never drink your EOs from a plastic cup or bottle!

When it comes to essential oils: always use common sense; choose glass or stainless steel when possible; and when plastics are necessary, be sure to choose the safe kind.  

Are Plastic Bottles Safe for Essential Oils?
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Kathleen Henderson

Let's get real! I’m Kathleen Henderson, your Natural Living Mentor. I’m on a mission to help families see the joy in real food, while finding natural remedies and creating a nontoxic home. Learn more about my story >>

33 Comments

  1. Chris on 06/03/2015 at 2:02 pm

    What if the water bottle is #1? Aquafina says their water bottles are made from polyethylene terephtahalate (PET). PET bottles (marked as Recycling #1). Would these be safe to add a couple drops of essential oil (lemon) and drink from?

    Thanks!
    Chris

    • Kathleen on 06/03/2015 at 7:00 pm

      Chris–You definitely want to avoid adding essential oils to #1 water bottles.

      • Chris on 06/03/2015 at 7:29 pm

        Thought so, just wanted to make sure.. thanks for the fast reply!

      • Melissa L on 06/13/2015 at 2:31 pm

        I’m confused – above it says that #1 bottles are safe. But they aren’t? (I wouldn’t use them with oils anyway – I try not to use them period – just as easy to fill a glass with water at work as to grab a bottle of water. 🙂 )

  2. Kathleen on 06/13/2015 at 3:37 pm

    You’re right, Melissa–that IS confusing! Sorry!

    doTERRA’s Dr. Hill speaks here about plastics and EOs: http://doterrablog.com/ask-dr-hill-carrier-oils-plastic-and-essential-oils-interacting-with-our-bodies/.

    Here’s a link to explanations of the different types of plastics: http://www.care2.com/greenliving/which-plastics-are-safe.html

    Regardless of whether certain plastics are considered “safe” for EO usage, I personally would never drink EOs from a plastic container. Hope that helps! 🙂

  3. Amanda on 03/23/2016 at 9:03 am

    Are they safe for the piping if you use eos in the toilet or bath? I know they’d be quite diluted, but worry about the piping getting eaten..

    • Kathleen on 03/31/2016 at 1:55 am

      I use EOs in our toilets all the time. You’re right–they’re so diluted that I really don’t see an issue. One caution: you might want to be careful with a whirlpool tub. We don’t have one, but I believe the tubing for the jets might be more vulnerable to damage from EOs. If you use EOs in a whirlpool tub, it’s probably best not to use the jets.

  4. Mgracia on 06/17/2016 at 8:21 pm

    Can I make a bug spray concoction using a HDPE bottle and put some citrus Essential oils in it? In other words, can citrus be put inside a HDPE spray bottle?

    • Kathleen on 06/17/2016 at 11:37 pm

      Sturdy plastic bottles are generally considered safe for diluted essential oils. We’ve used a very thick plastic spray bottle for our bug spray, although I haven’t added citrus oils.

      • laura m. on 06/20/2016 at 5:27 pm

        will check on plastic bottles (2 or 4oz) you mentioned on ebay. My facial and hair oils come in 16 to 24 oz bottles from a vitamin co. I mail order from. I have smaller 4 oz glass bottles I transfer the oils to, some given as gifts. I use safflower oil for a hair cond. and sometimes on legs after shaving. Argan oil (Sallys supply) comes in cobalt blue one ounce with dropper (face oil) which is ok. Kukui comes in 4 oz.- hair/ face, Almond oil w/E is used on face (I rotate oils), use sunflower in larger container. Large containers stay under sink and small 4oz ones are out and used daily. I have used essential oils in hair cond for the scent like lavender or lemon. I am a retiree so now you know why I have all these oil varieties to combat wrinkles and cond. hair.

  5. Melissa on 10/26/2016 at 3:23 pm

    So if I added a couple drops to a plastic water bottle, copolyester hardplastic, should I know throw away the bottle? I didn’t know and had it in there with water and was drinking it for 2 days before a friend told me. I have cleaned it out with soap but do not want to continue to drink out of it if it is going to continue to get plastic in the water.

  6. Violet R Zeglevski on 12/21/2016 at 8:42 pm

    Would an ABS plastic jar for bath salt with EO be ok??

  7. Danielle on 02/06/2017 at 3:28 pm

    I want to degrease the plastic sides of my popcorn maker. I am worried it may ruin the plastic. Lemon or orange EO dilluted. Any suggestions?

    • Kathleen on 02/06/2017 at 4:07 pm

      Danielle, if it’s a thick, sturdy, food grade plastic, you might be okay. It’s not like you’ll be storing essential oils in the plastic for a long period of time. For a one-time cleaning of sturdy plastic, it should be fine. Just be sure to rinse it well afterwards.

  8. Violet on 03/13/2017 at 4:20 am

    Hi. I put rosemary oil in my shampoo bottle… Is that safe?

    • Violet on 03/13/2017 at 4:25 am

      Its No. 01 pet

  9. Jodie on 03/13/2017 at 11:50 pm

    Hello! I used the recipe for foaming soap (in plastic bpa free containers I bought in bulk on Amazon) but occasionally have been using citrus oils to scent them and add to the germ killing properties. Would this not be a big deal since we are just using it on our hands? Would you avoid all citrus in the plastic hand foamers?

    • Kathleen on 03/16/2017 at 8:11 pm

      Hi Jodie, Technically it’s best to use glass, but glass is so breakable in the bathroom! I’ve used citrus oils in plastic foaming soap dispensers.

    • Kathleen on 03/16/2017 at 8:16 pm

      Hi Violet, I use Melaleuca in my shampoo every time I wash my hair, but I’ve chose to keep a bottle of the oil in the shower and add a few drops to my hand rather than adding the EO to the shampoo bottle. It may not be a big deal, but I try to avoid using EOs with plastic whenever possible.

  10. Alex on 09/27/2017 at 9:06 am

    Hello, We were just wondering if glass were not an option, would stainless steel be acceptable for long term storage for most/all essential oils? Would the stainless cause any issue with the oil?

    Thank you

    • Kathleen on 09/27/2017 at 4:45 pm

      Stainless steel should be fine. 🙂

  11. Cheryl on 11/21/2017 at 8:50 pm

    Hello. I typically use 1 drop of either lime, lemon or peppermint doTerra essential oil in my glass (not plastic) of water almost every day. Is it safe to ingest that much oil on a regular basis. I have been reading various stories of how oils ingested are harmful to liver and kidneys and yet my representative said that they are perfectly safe. Thank you.

  12. KATHLEEN R GORIA on 02/14/2018 at 11:53 pm

    I can’t find stainless steel spray bottles with nozzles to put my thieves cleaner in. I’m looking for 8, 16 or 32 oz. size. Any suggestions?

    • Kathleen on 02/15/2018 at 12:05 pm

      I haven’t come across any stainless steel spray bottles. For cleaners, I use glass spray bottles or sometimes recycle the super sturdy plastic refill bottles from my On Guard Foaming Hand Wash.

      • Amanda on 02/15/2018 at 5:44 pm

        I found some stainless steel spray bottles on Ali Express by searching for stainless steel sprayer. I’ve gotten several things from Ali and been happy. Shipping is usually low or free, but it does take about a month to get here from China. There’s so many sellers on there, be leery of ones that haven’t sold anything yet or have no star rating. Here’s a link for one bottle I found:
        https://www.aliexpress.com/item/32774508037/32774508037.html

  13. Jenna on 02/19/2018 at 3:52 pm

    My expensive diffuser is plastic. Thoughts on that?

    • Kathleen on 02/21/2018 at 1:52 pm

      Yep, Jenna, almost all diffusers are plastic. The thicker and sturdier the plastic, the better.

      • Jackie Tyrrell on 01/06/2019 at 2:11 am

        If the diffuser says it’s made from medical grade plastic you should be fine.

  14. Jacy porter on 04/12/2018 at 1:28 pm

    I’m looking to make some On Guard hand sanitizer. What plastic bottles would you recommend? I found some PET BPA free ones on Amazon.

  15. Ernest on 09/17/2018 at 11:25 am

    Wegmans sells stainless steel spray bottles and amber glass perfume roller bottles. Spray is $1.99 and amber perfume roll-on is $3.99. I’ve found some on amazon 6 bottles for 5 bucks. Aromatherapy – Amber Glass Bottle with Roll On Applicator and Black Cap – 10 ml – Package of 6 https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00MHZRQ94/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_apa_064NBbF42FKXM

  16. Sabrina Daigh on 09/19/2018 at 7:27 am

    I’m going to make eye lash enhancer with castor oil, rosemary & lavender essential oils will it be safe to store in l: PETG/ ABS/ PP, clear and durable containers?

  17. Cindy Taylor on 06/30/2019 at 7:25 pm

    Is tritan BPA free plastic contigo tumblers safe to use with essential oils?

  18. Frank on 06/11/2020 at 7:30 pm

    Hello ,
    The trunk of my motorcycle is made of ABS plastic. I want to put a metal can with 3 drops of peppermint oil in cotton, and just leave it in there until I can’t smell peppermint, then do it again to keep my trunk smelling pleasant.

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