Why You Shouldn’t Throw Away Empty Essential Oil Bottles & How to Reuse Them

Why You Shouldn’t Throw Away Empty Essential Oil Bottles & How to Reuse Them

You don’t throw away your empty essential oil bottles, do you?

Whenever I can, I always try to clean and reuse my glass essential oil bottles. While I’ve been lovingly accused of being a packrat from time to time, I prefer to think of myself as “creative” and “environmentally conscious.”

I think the biggest reason that a lot of essential oil users toss out their old bottles would have to be because they can be pretty tough to clean—even boiling empty bottles doesn’t always do the trick. The good news? I have a simple, effective method to get your used essential oil bottles looking (and smelling) brand new, which I’ll share with you below.

Once they’re properly cleaned, there’s tons of great ways to reuse your essential oil bottles, and I’ll be sharing a couple of my favorites with you today.

Here’s a huge tip before we get started: when you’re working with essential oil bottles, getting the caps off can be a major pain in the you-know-what… unless, of course, you grab one of our universal essential oil bottle openers.

how to clean an essential oil bottleHow to Clean A Glass Essential Oil Bottle

Since a lot of essential oils can be pretty thick and sometimes even borderline sticky, getting a small 10ml can be a real chore. It can even be tough with 50ml bottles. If you’re going to reuse your essential oil bottles, you more than likely want them to be clean so that the residue from the previous contents don’t mix with whatever you’re putting in next.

Fortunately, I’ve figured out a quick and easy way to get glass essential oil bottles clean.

First, to save time, try cleaning the bottle the old fashioned way—take it to the sink and hit it with soap and hot water. If it isn’t gunky anymore, it’s probably still smelling like the essential oil it was originally filled with quite a bit. Remove the plastic stopper and try boiling it next for ten or fifteen minutes.

For some essential oils, this is often enough to have a “near perfect” clean, i.e., there’s no residue and you can’t smell the oil it was originally filled with. If the bottle is still filmy or smelly, the next step is to use a solvent like rubbing alcohol or high-proof vodka. Fill the bottle all the way up to the top and let it sit for a few days. Make sure to keep it in a safe place where no kids or pets can access it.

After sitting for 2-3 days, rinse out the solvent completely (hot water under the sink should work fine). That’s it! I’ve yet to meet an essential oil bottle I couldn’t clean this way.

Use The Bottles to Create Your Own Blends

Now that you have clean, empty glass essential oil bottles, it’s the perfect opportunity to try making some of your own blends!

I have tons of great recipes to get you started here on the Aroma Outfitters blog. This post in particular will give you a few great ideas, and it’s perfect timing because spring is right around the corner.

creative uses for old essential oil bottlesUse Smaller Bottles for Travel or to Store At Work

Your smaller 5ml or 10ml recycled essential oil bottles are perfect for tossing in your travel case or keeping in your desk at work. The best essential oils to leave at work are usually the ones you can quickly inhale or topically apply for a fast boost of focus. (Check out this post I wrote about essential oils for students—it turns out they’re great for at work too.)

You can also keep a handful of the 5ml bottles in your bag or purse to give away to friends.

Convert Your Bottles to Roller Bottles

After you take the regular drip cap off, why not create your own roller bottle blend and use your recycled bottles as dedicated “rollers”?

Grab a pack of our gemstone roller bottle tops if you want to get fancy!

I’m Not Kidding About This…

Remember how I mentioned that I’m a bit of a packrat? Even before I started using some of the above methods to reuse my essential oil bottles, I just knew they’d come in handy someday, so I started saving them… in the early days of my essential oil obsession, I eventually had a collection of 25 or 30 empty bottles.

I really, really wish I had access to an essential oil bottle opener (I didn’t know they existed at the time). Take it from me: if you’re recycling your essential oil bottles, get one!

Your fingernails can thank me later.

I’d love to know if you try out any of the suggestions above or if you have your own ways to reuse essential oil bottles. Why not swing by and let me know on Facebook or share your projects with us on Instagram?

Happy oiling!

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  • This is not about cleaning. It’s about the safety of using oils in an atomizer around dogs. Which oils are dangerous for animals? I’ve been seeing a lot of articles about this. Any and all info will be appreciated.

    Dee Johnson |
  • Hi Dee – a great resource for essential oils and animals is our friend Dr. Janet Roark who is a veterinarian. You can find her here: http://essentialoilvet.com/

    Charity |
  • If you mentioned how to get the labels off, I missed it. But there is a way! Rip off what will come off and then you are usually faced with a lower thin level of paper that is glued fast to the bottle. Soak it in soapy water for a while. Then scrape off with a metal spatula what will come off easily. Or skip that last step and go straight to the next step. Rub lemon essential oil all over the remaining label. It doesn’t use much oil and lemon oil is inexpensive. Let it sit a minute or two. Shake some baking soda on it and rub with a washcloth or paper towel and the label and glue come off completely, leaving a smooth clean bottle. The baking soda isn’t necessary, just makes it come off faster because of the “grit” effect.

    V |

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