Recommended Dilution Chart

There are approximately 500600 drops per 1 oz (30 ml) of carrier oil. These dilution guidelines are based on this number.

1% of 500 = 5
1% of 600 = 6

  • Use the 1% dilution for problems that are emotional in nature, for accessing the subtle energetic effects of the oils,
  • For pregnant women and children, for anyone with a compromised immune system, and for using directly on the face: 1% dilution = 56 drops total of essential oil in 1 oz (30 ml) of carrier. If you are using 3 different oils, this might translate into 2 drops of each oil in the blend.
  • For massage oils and daily use: 2% dilution = 1012 total drops of essential oil in 1 oz (30 ml) carrier.
  • For acute issues, such as a cold, or a specific injury of muscle, tendon, bone: 35% depending on the individual, age, situation and oils being used. (If a 1% dilution is 56 drops, then a 5% dilution is 2530 drops.)
  • In general, for kids between five and twelve years old, stick with 5 to 6 drops of essential oil per oz of carrier. That’s a 1% dilution.
  • “Neat” (this means undiluted essential oil without carrier oil) oils are used for the following acute situations: headache, superifical cut, bee sting, bug bite or burn. (Use only 1 or 2 drops.)

Guidelines for using essential oils with children:

Ages 2–5

No direct skin application except for first aid.

First aid with a 1% dilution in a carrier:

  • Lavender – Use 1 drop undiluted ("neat" directly out of the bottle) for burns, bites, stings.
  • Lavender – Use 5–6 drops per oz of aloe vera gel for cuts, bruises or sunburns.
  • Aloe vera gel – Use without essential oil for wet, weepy skin issues.
  • Coconut oil – Use without essential oil for hot, dry, irritated skin issues.
  • Diffuse 10 drops essential oil throughout the room for calming.
  • For foam soap, use 5 drops of essential oil for every 1 oz of castile soap. Feel free to add a little extra essential oil for aroma, if needed.
  • Take the load off by making your own cleaning products. Recipes are in the Green Cleaning section.

Ages 5–12

  • Use a 1% dilution. That's 5–6 drops of essential oil per 1 oz of carrier (Argan oil, Jojoba wax, lotion, body cream, etc.).
  • First aid, diffusion guidelines, taking the load off, and foam soap guidelines are the same as for ages 2–5.
  • Place 10 drops of essential oil in an aromatherapy respiratory inhaler.

Ages 12 and up

  • 1%–3% dilution for skin applications.
  • All other guidelines are the same as above. The only difference is you're safe to work with stronger dilutions for skin application (up to 3%).

Take special care with these precautions:

  • Before giving Eucalyptus Radiata to a child with asthma, have them smell the cap of the oil first. Ask if they feel like their chest is opening up, or getting tighter. Only use the oils if the child experiences an opening in the chest. Eucalyptus is an effective respiratory oil for some children, but irritating for others. Not generally for or children under 10 years old.
  • Always be sure to skin test a small patch of essential oils, or the blend you have created, on your child's inner arm.
  • A note on 4% dilutions – Sometimes, a 4% dilution is a good first aid solution for older children. This is only appropriate in the instance of acute injury, like an ankle sprain. It's not for long-term use. Once the initial swelling or pain has reduced, go down to a blend of 3%, and gradually step back down to 1%.

These guidelines are not absolute rules but general recommendations based on traditional aromatherapy use and research.
The amount of essential oil use will also depends on the age, health issue, the kind of essential oil use, sensitivity of the skin, and duration.