Well, it depends.
Let’s be real, using glass for all your DIY products can be impractical and inconvenient especially when there are little ones around. For their safety, plastic is the better choice for DIY products that will be within their reach. I have good news. There are some plastics that can be considered safe for essential oils.
Safe Plastics for Essential Oils
Before I get into this, these plastics can be safe ONLY when the essential oil is diluted. You never want to add essential oils directly to plastic; these should always be stored in a glass bottle.
- #1 plastic – Polyethylene terephthalate (PET or PETE)
- #2 plastic High Density Polyethylene (HDPE) – Preferred
#1 plastic PET may leach antimony (antimony trioxide is used as a catalyst and flame retardant in PET). The longer a liquid is left in a PET container the greater the potential for release. Also, warm temperatures inside cars, garages, and enclosed storage areas increase the release of antimony into the liquid. Antimony trioxide is considered a possible carcinogen.
#2 plastic HDPE is generally considered a safer plastic for food and drink use, although some studies have shown that it can leach the endocrine disruptor nonylphenol (added to HDPE as a stabilizer), especially when exposed to ultraviolet light (sunlight) and possibly other additive chemicals with estrogen-mimicking activity.
Bottom line is plastics are toxic so your first choice should always be glass. I recommend avoiding plastic whenever possible.
Never Use Essential Oils in…
Now that you know which plastics can be safe for essential oils, let’s talk about those that are absolutely NOT safe.
- Solo cups
- Water bottles
- Plastic drinking straws
- Styrofoam cups
- PVC (highly toxic)
Although I’ve mentioned that there are some plastics that can be safe, I would never use them to drink water with essential oils from them. If you’ll be drinking water infused with essential oils, please use glass, ceramic or stainless steel only.
Want to do a fun little experiment? Get a styrofoam cup and a solo cup. Fill it with water and then add a few drops of 100% pure therapeutic grade essential oil in it. Give it a little time and watch what it does. For faster results, you can flip the cups upside down and add a drop or two of lemon essential oil to it. If you want to accelerate the results even more add a quarter on top of it to add some weight. In a few minutes you’ll see the quarter fall through. Crazy, huh? If you use plastic to drink your water infused with essential oils, guess where that deteriorated plastic will go? Right into your water and in your belly. No bueno! Like I said, glass is the safest way to go.
Oh, and please be cautious when ingesting essential oils. Not all essential oils are meant to be ingested. There are some brands that are NOT SAFE for internal use because they can be filled with synthetic ingredients (not just essential oils like some brands lead you to believe). If you ingest oils that are not approved to be ingested you can end up poisoning yourself and earning yourself a trip to the hospital. ALWAYS read the directions. Young Living essential oils are specifically labeled (white label vitality line) for ingestion and are approved by the FDA for internal use.
Moral of This Post
- Choose glass, stainless steel or ceramic first especially when ingesting essential oils.
- Only use plastic when absolutely necessary and be sure to use plastic that is considered safe.
Making a DIY recipe with essential oils? Check out my “Bottles I Recommend for DIY Recipes Using Essential Oils” post.