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pallen123's avatar

What type of alcohol do I use for infused oil?

Asked by pallen123 (1507 points ) February 18th, 2012

I want to make a room freshener using essential oils that diffuse through a wick. Should I mix the oils with alcohol? What kind of alcohol? Where do I buy it?

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17 Answers

gailcalled's avatar

Often, vodka works because it doesn’t have a strong aroma.

CardAngel's avatar

I’ve used grain alcohol or perfumer’s alcohol to make reed diffusers with essential oils. You need alcohol with a high enough proof for the essential oils to fully disperse in the alcohol, at least 130 proof (65% alcohol). The highest proof vodka available where I live (80 proof/40% alcohol) won’t dissolve the essential oils. 190 proof (95%) grain alcohol used to be available where I live. When it no longer was available, I ordered perfumer’s alcohol online.

If you’re using infused oil (a scented carrier/base oil) rather than undiluted essential oil it won’t dissolve in alcohol. Also, infused oils won’t diffuse because of they are fixed oils rather than volatile.

cazzie's avatar

@CardAngel is right. You need an emulsifier, like polysorbate 60. I know where to get it in the UK, but where are you? I might find you a place where you live where you can get eo’s fo’s and emulsifier.

pallen123's avatar

Thank you all. @cazzie do you add emulsifier to the oil/alcohol mixture? What does it do?

cazzie's avatar

emulsifiers make oil and water/alcohol mix.

CardAngel's avatar

Emulsifiers are not needed if you have the proper percentage of alcohol. Although I have used emulsifiers to combine essential oils and water, I have not used them in any type of formula that would be diffused through reeds or a wick.

@cazzie, Would the emulsifier clog the reeds/wick or interfere with the diffusion?

cazzie's avatar

it depends on what you use, but I wouldn’t think so. If she uses real perfumers alcohol, that has enough alcohol in it, you wouldn’t probably need an emulsifier. With real alcohol the surface tension is so low, it works, but if she is using just vodka or something like that just a tiny bit of polysorbate should do the trick. I don’t know much about those reed diffusers. You replace the reeds every so often anyway, do you?

CardAngel's avatar

I would use the highest proof alcohol available for a solution that will be wicked. It seems to me that a high water content might not diffuse well. As far as the reeds, they can be used as long as nothing clogs them up, which I think an emulsifier would. What I’ve found works best is pure essential oils diluted in a high proof alcohol. The higher the volatility, the better the diffusion.

cazzie's avatar

She’ll need a link to somewhere to buy perfumer’s alcohol, perhaps. I don’t think they air freight it because of it’s volatility. Here in Norway, if I wanted to start buying it and using it, I would have to get a special license (I kid you not). I have looked into it. So, it depends where she is.

Also, @pallen123 make sure you know the difference between an essential oil and an infused oil. They are two very different things.

CardAngel's avatar

I would have recommended somewhere to order perfumer’s alcohol from but the place I used to buy from is no longer in business due to the owner’s illness. I’m in the USA.

I haven’t looked into a new supplier yet because my perfume crafting has been suspended while I deal with my divorce, health problems and other related issues.

cazzie's avatar

sorry to hear that, @CardAngel. My crafting is what helps keep me sane, but right now, I haven’t made anything new for a while because of depression.

CardAngel's avatar

thank you, @cazzie. I do other types of crafts since I still have supplies for them. I had stopped making crafts for a while but once I started again I realized how much it could help me through this tough time, and it has. I’m so sorry to hear you’re going through depression. I would encourage you to do even just a little crafting. Creating something may help. I hope so. (hug)

cazzie's avatar

The last thing I made was cold porcelain with my son. It was hard to make the dough because of the stirring involved, but once we got the dough, Little man and I had great fun with it. I have a hard time just getting up enough ‘care’ to do laundry and dishes, and seeing as I’m the only one in our house that does anything, if I don’t do it, it doesn’t get done, and that is even more depressing for me. It never lasts long, perhaps a day or two and then I managed to pick myself up and dust myself off.

CardAngel's avatar

@cazzie, I’m going to message you privately since the thread has derailed. :)

cazzie's avatar

If she has any other questions, I hope she adds to this thread so we can help.

CardAngel's avatar

Me too. I love talking about fragrance crafting and crafting in general. Almost as much fun as the actual crafting!

cazzie's avatar

Here, I found a source for just the base of the reed fragrance:

http://www.elementsbathandbody.com/Reed-Diffuser-Base-pr-1388.html

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