This is the time of the year when selection in the garden for projects can be limited but essential oils, thankfully, are available year round. For years it was a challenge to find a good quality spritz top but I am finding more and more options that give a good fine mist and don’t clog.
This is a quick and simple project with many variations so I have listed a range of ingredients and why you might want to add them to your mixture.
Whichever bottle you choose, make sure it will not let the light through to the essential oils or the value of adding real essential oils will quickly dissipate. If using glass ensure it is the amber or blue tinted varieties. The Soap Dispensary can help if you are trouble finding stock locally.
In theory all you need is distilled water and essential oil but if that is all you are using, the oils will float on top of the water and will happily return there very quickly even after a good shake.
Three things that will assist as emulsifiers are salt, alcohol and witch hazel extract. An emulsifier is something that will help two things that don’t usually stay together when mixed, bond. Lecithin holds that job in chocolate but for room sprays let’s stick with salt and witch hazel.
Now might be a good time to talk a little about the variety of purposes that spritzers can be used for as that might help in deciding which ingredients to add.
The most common use for sprayers is add scent to a room to “freshen” it. That freshening can be the taking away of smells in say a bathroom or the adding of a lovely aroma once a cleaning is complete. In addition they can be used in a bedroom to aid in sleep, to help a child with concentration while studying, to set a mood or to ease symptoms of a cold. Around the house they can keep bugs away, help clean counter tops and toys. They can even flavour salads.
Depending on your intention, several additional ingredients can be added to the water and essential oils to assist. I used grey sea salt as it contains added minerals which once dissolved will also be in the mist when the spritzer is used.
At the bottom of the bottle, I placed about half a teaspoon of salt crystals and then added my essential oils and allowed them to dissolve on the salt for a few minutes.
Cornstarch can be an added benefit if you are wanting to take smells out of the air. Just like the negative ions coming from a burning candle will combine with the positive ions from cigarette smoke and fall to the floor, reducing the amount of smoke inhaled, adding cornstarch to your mixture is said to aid by binding to unwanted aromas in the air, making them heavier and dropping them to the ground.
Because it tends to fly everywhere, a funnel is helpful. Again you only need about half a teaspoon for a small (80ml/4 oz) bottle. The cornstarch will make your mixture “foggy” and that is perfectly fine.
Now add your distilled water. Three tablespoons for a small bottle should be enough as you need to leave room for the witch hazel and or alcohol. Do not use straight from the tap water if at all possible as it contains all the additives put into public waters these days.
Top with a shot of vodka or rubbing alcohol which will act as a preservative and has antibacterial components. You can also add witch hazel which will give additional help with the emulsification and is full of antioxidants. It is a great thing to have in your first aid kit for small scrapes.
There is not hard and fast rule to the amounts added so a little more or less of anything will not make big differences. The one area where you will want to play safe is the essential oils. Stay on the conservative side and add more after mixing to suit your preferences.
Aromatherapy is a longer study than this short post and I would encourage you to explore and experiment to fulfill your needs. The suggestions below are just that. You may have a very good reason for not using a particular oil and usually a substitute can be found to replace an ingredient and still give the qualities you are looking for.
For keeping bugs at bay try combinations of Rosemary, Citronella, Clove, Geranium, Lavender, Eucalyptus, Cedar, Mint, Lemongrass, Basil, Thyme.
To relax and aid in sleeping, Lavender, Sweet Orange, Roman Chamomile, Vetiver, Valerian.
As a disinfectant mixture try Eucalyptus, Tea Tree, Lavender, Bergamot, Thyme and Peppermint.
Cranberry Lane is one of many resources online for more information. This is a downloadable .pdf with additional suggestions for essential oils.
Shake well each time before using to mix the ingredients in your spritzer and ensure the bottle is properly washed before refilling.
I like to label and date for home use as these will not last indefinitely. I find a little ribbon makes it easy to tell the varieties apart at a glance. There are lots of great computer programs that will print pretty labels for gifting and finding a sticky label that will clean up easily is a bonus.
So even if the world outside still looks like the dead of winter where you live, it is possible to breath in the gifts of Mother Earth with five minutes of time and a quick shake.
Sprayers for rooms, linen and more from My Kitchen Wand