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How To Use Essential Oils In Your Car

Tips and ideas for how to use essential oils in your car! Includes how to diffuse, what oils to use and also fun blend recipes that you can use for car aromatherapy!

How To Use Essential Oils In Your Car

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My Car Diffuser Story

I started using essential oils back when I smoked cigarettes and my car smelled terrible!

I tried using regular car fresheners but they really bothered my allergies and breathing (no shade to these, my daughter loves her Christmas Tree car air freshener!)

I started by just having roller bottles that I put on me, but the smell really improved when I had dedicated car essential oil holders and paired them with charcoal bags under the seats.

It is hilarious that I don't have smoke smells anymore, just horrible teenage boy smells and grand baby smells to battle now!

Why To Use Car Essential Oils

Let’s face it, we all spend time in our cars, it could be A LOT of commuting time, siting in the car line at school or just being the “mom taxi”.  Noise, horns, traffic jams, annoying commercials on the radio, all of these can make you aggravated at best.  

Wondering how to make your car a literal oasis of aromatherapy? The answer is a simple as this:  essential oils.  

You know they work wonders at home, so why not in the car?  Here are some tips on how to use them and what to use (or not use) to make your car trips more serene.

Diffusing Essential Oils In The Car

There are many ways to use essential oils in the car and I wanted to show you some of the ways that I use oils in my car (and a few I don't use but are good ideas!)

Car Diffuser

One of the easiest ways to use essential oils in the car is to buy and use a car diffuser.  

Essential Oils Car Diffuser

You can buy types of car diffusers that work using the air flow from the air conditioner or heater and include a small pad to put the oils on (I live in Florida so I NEVER use my heater!)

I like these so much because they don't take up a part of my dashboard where I plug in all my different kinds of electronics! They are also cheap… going for $10-15 bucks a piece.

Humidifying car essential oil diffusers usually plug into a USB charging portal in your dashboard. They sit in your cup holder, humidify and provide aromatherapy at the same time.  They have pads that you use to put the oil on and diffuse as you drive.

Cheap Car Essential Oils Diffusers

“But I spend enough on the oils, isn’t there a way to car diffuse without purchasing a separate gadget?”  I’m so glad you asked!  In a word: YES!

Just A Tissue

The simplest way to diffuse essential oils in the car without gadgets is to use a tissue with a few drops of your favorite oil and toss it onto the dashboard.  

The engine heat and/or sun work to disperse the oil.

Now if you find that using up tissues to do this isn’t what you want, especially in cold and flue or allergy season, you can try a few neat tricks like these:

Clothes Pin & Cork

Clip a piece of cork to the air vent and add a few drops of oil.  Hot glue the cork to a clothes pin and clip the clothes pin to the vent.

Clothes Pin Only

Skip the cork and just use the clothes pin!  Obviously, it has to be a wooden clothes pin.

Cotton Ball or Felt Ball

Put a few drops of essential oils onto a cotton ball or felt ball and tuck it in the car air vent.

Cotton Ball or Felt Ball Essential Oil Diffuser

Tiny Oil Bottle

This is not the most practical idea, but I do love it! I found these wicked cute tiny bottles and sometimes bring them into the car when I need a boost!

Tiny Essential Oils Bottle for Car Diffusing

Diffuser Necklace

One of my favorite ways to use oils in the car is to hang a diffuser necklace around the mirror!

Essential Oil Diffuser Necklace In The Car

I just wrap it around a few times to hold it! Easy to get back off and I can put it around my neck to take it in the house when I want to refill the oils.

Essential Oils To Use In The Car

Ok, so common sense should tell you that some oils are just not good for use in the car.  Basically, anything calming or sleep inducing.  But there are really good ones you can try too.

Good Oils To Use In The Car

Bad Oils To Use In The Car

While you don't want to be all hyper in the car, there is a reason we don't use the same oils in the car as we use in sleep sprays!

These oils can have TOO calming an effect or just be too darn distracting to use in the enclosed space of a car.

* eucalyptus isn’t calming, quite the opposite… the scent can be overwhelming and make you nervous or anxious in the car

Essential Oil Car Blend Recipes

I love having a recipe to use instead of having to think about what to put in my diffusers! Here are some of my favorite essential oil blends for in the car.

Car Sick Away Blend

2 drops spearmint or peppermint (use spearmint with children under 3)

2 drops lemon

Be on the Alert! Blend

1 drop tangerine

1 drop pink grapefruit

2 drops lime

Keep the Older Kids Alert too! Blend

1 drop peppermint

3 drops wild or sweet orange

The Where the Heck are my Keys? Blend

1 drop rosemary (omit for young children)

1 drop frankincense

2 drops lime

No Road Rage Blend (relieves stress and anxiety but no sleepiness)

2 drops neroli

2 drops sandalwood or ho wood


2 drops juniper berry

2 drops cypress


1 drop cedarwood

3 drops bergamot

Car Diffuser Warnings

If you use a diffuser necklace be careful.  In some jurisdictions it’s illegal to have things hanging from the mirror because it’s a distraction and also can obstruct your view. 

Always keep in mind that essential oils are highly concentrated and even though they have great benefits, in a small area with limited ventilation, like a car, more is NOT better. 

 In fact, some beneficial oils overused in a small area can cause headache, migraine, nausea, and vomiting.  If you go overboard, put the windows down.  

Also, turn of the air recirculation as it will just compound the scent when the same air continually goes over the diffuser.  Fresh air is your friend!

In the summer or in hot climates, use very sparingly.  A closed car in the heat means over diffusion!

How To Use Essential Oils In Your Car