When it comes to the power of essential oils, we sometimes hear concerns about the type of containers to use with liquids and DIY products containing essential oils. While it is true that oil will dissolve some plastics, there are other container options that are completely safe.
There are several types of containers that are safe to use. These include glass, steel, and a high quality plastic called HDPE or High-Density Polyethylene. Find out more about each material below.
Glass. For any of our DIY recipes, we recommend using glass spray bottles, or glass jars to store scrubs, lotions, etc. This is because glass is impervious to essential oils, and is the perfect container for keeping DIY products fresh. Glass is also really easy to clean after using oils in the container, you only really need to use water and soap to get the residual oils out.
Steel. doTERRA roll-ons, like those in the doTERRA Touch® line, have roller balls made of steel. Not only are steel roller balls better quality, they also allow for better control of application. It helps that steel is also impervious to oils and easy to clean. Stainless steel water bottles are an excellent option if you are worried about dropping and breaking a glass bottle.
HDPE. Plastics that are specifically used with essential oils in caps, diffusers, orifices, etc. are made of HDPE, also known as plastics number 2. This very high quality plastic has stronger bonds and longer chain lengths that are not broken up by essential oils. HDPE plastics will not be affected by essential oils.
The ratio of dilution matters when it comes to essential oils. The diluted essential oils in DIY projects are highly unlikely to have a high enough concentration to interact with the container. However, it is better to be safe and use glass with DIY products, especially if you plan on storing a homemade cleaner or personal care product for a few weeks or longer.
Similarly, using essential oils in your beverages also highly dilutes the oil.
Resin Identification Codes
Not sure how to tell if your plastic water bottle is safe or not? Plastics have a resin identification code to help you identify which type of plastic a container is made of. In fact, you’ve probably seen it many times—it’s the number surrounded by chasing arrows. There are seven types of plastics currently designated. This system was established in 1988 as more and more people started to participate in recycling.
Some of you may wonder about aluminum containers. We would not anticipate any issues in using essential oils in aluminum containers, such as water bottles. We suggest adding a drop of the oil to the outside of the container to verify that there is no change to the aluminum over the course of a few minutes after the oil is applied.
Another common type of plastic, PET, (plastics number 1) is also resistant to essential oils and can be used safely. But what about the other types of plastic? Some are definitely not a good idea. Many essential oils have compounds in them that dissolve some plastics. For example, Polystyrene (plastic number 6) is easily dissolved by d-limonene in Lemon oil. Lemon oil disrupts the van der Waals forces, causing the polystyrene chains to break apart from one another. But, other plastic containers may work if not reused and if only a small amount of oil is added at a high dilution rate. If you are not sure if a plastic is resistant, perform the same test that you would for aluminum. Add a drop of the oil to the outside of the container and make sure there is no change to the plastic after a few minutes.