Shipton's CleanAir Solutions Blog
Can You Use Essential Oils as an Air Purifier to Improve Indoor Air Quality?
Essential oils for indoor air quality are becoming more and more popular. It is hard to go anywhere today without finding all kinds of air freshener and air purifier products with labels like "essential oil-based" and "all-natural."
But does that mean essential oils are safe to use in your indoor air? And if essential oils are safe for adults to breathe, what about your kids or your pets?
The most accurate answer is "it depends." It depends on which essential oils you choose, how many essential oils you use and how sensitive each family member may be (including humans and pets).
Learn what the science says about the safest way to use essential oils. And whether it can be used as an air purifier to improve indoor air quality.
What Are Essential Oils?
Essential oils are concentrated naturally-occurring chemical compounds extracted from a plant. Depending on the plant species, these oils may be found in the bark, stems, leaves, flowers, seeds, fruits and/or roots.
There are also different ways to extract and preserve these natural chemicals. Popular methods include mechanical pressing (expression or maceration), water distillation, enfleurage and steam distillation.
As you might imagine, essential oils are extremely concentrated! And the essential oil is just one part of the whole plant, which means it may have a different effect than using the same plant in other ways.
Aromatherapy for Air Quality and Health
The use of essential oils for health and wellness benefits is typically called aromatherapy. This implies that the best way to get the benefits is by direct inhalation.
But, as you know, essential oils are very strong. And they do not always smell great! This makes direct inhalation a last resort for many practitioners, especially when working with sensitive individuals such as kids, the elderly and pets.
Luckily, there are many ways to activate essential oils when using them to,
- Improve your indoor air quality,
- Strengthen your immune system,
- And promote physical, mental and emotional benefits.
The most popular way to diffuse essential oils? Diffusion - direct dispersal into the ambient air. It’s by far the safest way to use essential oils! It’s also the most economical and most pleasant way to improve your indoor air quality with essential oils.
How to Diffuse Essential Oils Into the Air Safely
Safe use of essential oils is a very individual process. You won't know how you or your child or your pet may respond to a certain essential oil until you test it out.
Here are the steps to take to diffuse essential oils into your indoor air safely.
1. Read the ingredients.
The first thing to do is read the ingredients list! Sadly, this is necessary because some companies may include essential oils alongside other chemical fragrances or potentially toxic contaminants, preservatives or other ingredients.
Be sure the essential oil product you choose is pure and from a reputable manufacturer.
2. Dilute, dilute, dilute.
Not all essential oils are safe to use directly. Even among those that are, they can be too strong for some people. Dilute your essential oils in a carrier oil such as coconut or almond oil or in pure distilled water.
3. Do a sniff test first.
For pets, a very effective way to test if the essential oil may be well tolerated is to present the bottle with the cap ON and allow your pet to just sniff and explore it. Their body language will tell you if it is likely to be well tolerated.
For kids, a safe equivalent is to do a small patch test on your own skin and see how you react.
4. Ensure excellent air circulation and ventilation in the room.
Another important way to test a new essential oil for indoor air quality is to do so in a room with good air circulation and excellent ventilation.
5. Diffuse essential oils for short periods only.
Essential oils can be potent and effective at levels where you can't even really smell them. So best practices indicate diffusing for only 30 to 60 minutes at a time.
6. Always ask your doctor first.
It is vital to talk with your doctor or your child's paediatrician before introducing any essential oils into your indoor air.
Which Essential Oils Can Improve Indoor Air Quality?
Research about the use of essential oils for indoor air quality is ongoing. But it is evident that essential oils do have strong air purification properties. This means that, yes, it is possible for essential oils to be used as a type of air purifier in your home.
Here is a list of essential oils that have performed well against airborne toxins in research studies to date:
- Tea tree
- May Chang
- Sweet orange
- Clary sage
This is not an exhaustive list and there is much more research to be done. But the important thing to remember is that many essential oils (such as the ones listed here) have a number of properties that can be very beneficial for indoor air quality!
For example, the lemon essential oil is an antiseptic. Oregano has natural antibiotic properties. Lavender essential oil is a natural antibacterial. And clary sage is a natural antifungal!
Shipton's CleanAir Solutions Delivers Trusted Indoor Air Quality Improvements
Improving indoor air quality is such a popular topic now that it can be achieved using so many different products. But it is important to note that not all products actually improve your indoor air quality. Some can make it worse!
That’s why we always recommend that you do your research well before introducing a new indoor air quality product in your home. And that goes for the essential oils too!
Although they do have many beneficial air cleansing properties, you need to ensure that your family can tolerate them before putting them into use.
Here at Shipton's CleanAir Solutions, we have nearly 100 years of expertise in the HVAC and air quality industries. Our friendly, knowledgeable air quality experts work with you to improve your indoor air quality safely and affordably.