In this blog post, I’m going to be transparent and tell you several short stories of times I did not practice essential oil safety. I will then give you some Essential Oil Safety Guidelines so that you can appropriately use and enjoy your oils. By following these simple steps, you will experience the wonderful benefits of essential oils without having a history of embarrassing stories like me! 

Blog post updated on November 3, 2022, for accuracy and relevance.

Here are some honest-to-goodness true stories of times I wasn’t careful with essential oils.

#1 Dumb Thing I Did

I asked a massage client if she wanted to smell the essential oil while she was on the table.  I removed the cap and tilted the bottle toward her. There was no dropper to plug the opening and ….viola! right down her nose and throat. After 10 minutes of coughing, sips of water, giving her crackers, and a promise of a free return massage, she was okay.  
Lesson Learned: Always check that your bottle has the orifice reducer inside before you use it!

#2 Dumb Thing I Did

I rubbed my eyes after pouring peppermint essential oils.  I had some on my hands.  OWWWWW. NEVER do this.  
Lesson Learned: Never touch your eyes – or your mouth and nose for that matter – when you’ve got essential oil on them.  Peppermint contains menthol which is very irritating to the skin and mucous membranes.

#3 Dumb Thing I Did

I was in a hurry to “freshen up” and put lemongrass, neat (undiluted and straight from the bottle), in my underarms and nearly screamed from the burning.  
Lesson:  Never use oils high in aldehydes, like Lemongrass, on the skin without a carrier.  Learn your essential oil chemistry.

#4 VERY Dumb thing I did to my female business

One summer I spent a lot of time in wet bathing suits and sometimes this can result in vaginal yeast infections as was the case for me. When I learned that Tea Tree is good for getting rid of this type of yeast infection, I soaked a tampon with Tea Tree essential oil. DO NOT DO THIS! Honestly, a few drops are plenty. My husband nearly had to peel me off the ceiling.
Lesson Learned: Be extremely careful using essential oils in delicate areas with mucus membranes.  Less is more.

#5 Dumb Thing I Did

I put my son – then aged 5 – in a bath with eucalyptus essential oil when he had a cold. I neglected to first mix the eucalyptus with vegetable oil and the eucalyptus sat on top of the water. When I put him in it burned his little butt.
Lesson Learned: Add essential oils to whole milk or vegetable oil before adding to bath water.

#6 Dumb Thing I Did

I had a very bad sore throat. Thinking I might have strep throat, I just wanted to kill all the things (germs) In a hurry and get better. I made myself a gargle with water and added 2 drops of Oregano Essential Oil and salt water. I gargled and nearly lost my breath. My tongue was flaming red and I burned the inside of my cheeks and the roof of my mouth. This was a chemical burn from the high amount of Carvacrol constituent in Oregano.
Lesson: Never use essential oils high in phenols, like Oregano, on delicate mucous membranes.  Another reason to study the chemistry of essential oils.

#7 Dumb Thing I Did

I left a bottle of Thyme Essential Oil on my blending workbench instead of putting it away. My son and his friend (both aged 8) played nearby and got curious. The next thing I heard was much yelling and calling “MOM!!”. They had opened the cap to sniff and touched the bottle to their noses.  Like Oregano, Thyme essential oil (Thymus vulgaris) is high in phenols and extremely hot and irritating. 
Lesson Learned: Never leave essential oil out where kids can get them.

#8 Dumb Thing My Friend Did

My friend Diane loved the dry sauna at our gym. Once she thought it would be beneficial to add essential oil to the dry rocks while she was in there. She dripped about 3 drops of Eucalyptus essential oil on the rocks, flames shot up and she nearly burned the place down.
Lesson Learned: Essential oils are flammable.

Essential Oil Safety Guidelines and Tips

Essential oils are very concentrated. Please use them with care and respect. Just because they’re natural doesn’t mean they are harmless. Before you experiment with these oils, get some education: take a class, or check out this safety page on the NAHA website.

1. Keep out of the reach of children.
2. Keep away from the eyes. If oils accidentally touch the eyes add a couple of drops of vegetable oil to kleenex and swipe over the eye. The essential oil will grab onto the vegetable oil.
3. Do not use essential oils undiluted on the skin (exceptions may be lavender and tea tree and even those should be diluted to avoid becoming sensitized to the oil).
4. When an allergic reaction is a possibility, do a patch test 24 hours prior to use.
5. Extra precautions should be taken during pregnancy, especially in the first trimester. If you wish to use aromatherapy during your pregnancy, contact a qualified aromatherapist.
6. Do not take essential oils internally without the guidance of a physician or trained aromatherapist.
7. Certain essential oils such as camphor, eucalyptus, and peppermint should be avoided while taking homeopathic remedies as these oils will counteract the effects.
8. When using essential oils in the bath, swirl the water well to help disperse the oils. For children, or if you have sensitive skin, it is best to disperse your essential oils in a tablespoon full of vegetable oil or 1/2 C of full-fat milk.
9. Do not use essential oils before going out in the sun as many, especially most citrus oils, are phototoxic.
10. You can become sensitized to an oil that you use over and over, especially undiluted. Change the oils you use, and try new ones.


Now it’s your turn to share.
Have you ever had any “oopsie” experiences
with essential oils?

Fess up!
We can all learn from each other’s mistakes!


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