How to Use Citronella Essential Oil
The uses of essential oils are just as unique as the selection of oils to choose from. Although known primarily for its pest control benefits, citronella oil also has medicinal applications and can be used in a variety of home remedies. As always, you need to use caution when choosing any medicinal herbs, oils, and home remedies.
Essential oils are trending even though many remain unaware of just how many uses they have. In fact, you may use and purchase products today that contain essential oils and not know it.
Citronella is likely a name you have heard before, thanks to its popularity as a repellent for summer pests. Expensive candles and even tiki torches often contain citronella for repelling mosquitoes. But this essential oil has numerous uses, including:
- pest repellent
- skincare and acne treatment
Often, with essential oils, practical applications for these uses are more cost effective than over-the-counter items that already contain the oils. By using an organic oil you have on hand when the need arises, it can save you money in the long run. This article will break down the many different ways citronella essential oil can be used in your life.
Conduct a Test With a Diluted Sample Before Applying Directly to Your Skin
Before you start rubbing the oil directly on your skin, I suggest adding it to a lotion or a carrier oil beforehand. While most people seem to tolerate citronella oil directly, it's best to be sure you have no reactions. So, diluting the oil in any lotion or with another carrier oil and conducting a small test on the back of your hand is recommended.
How to Use Citronella as a Pest Repellent
As early spring begins to unfold every year, citronella candles and torches start hitting the shelves to help consumers deter pests while they try to enjoy outdoor areas.
5 Ways to Apply Citronella to Keep the Bugs Away
- Apply it directly to the skin.
- Mix it with lotion or oil before applying to the skin.
- Add it to an aromatherapy diffuser.
- Add 2–3 drops to cotton balls and place it strategically around the home or outdoor area.
- Mix it with water in a spray bottle.
Before you start lathering up and rubbing the oil all over your skin, however, I suggest adding it to a lotion or a carrier oil beforehand. While most people seem to tolerate citronella oil directly, it's best to be sure you have no reactions. So, diluting the oil in any lotion or with another carrier oil and conducting a small test on the back of your hand is recommended.
Use in a diffuser if you struggle with depression or anxiety or just want to relieve some stress. Never inhale directly though! It is merely an aromatic, and you should only use 2–3 drops to a full amount of water for your diffuser. Aromatherapy diffusers work outside too. Place it on your porch if you are able, and it will help deter mosquitoes and other flying insects.
You can use citronella as a flea and tick repellent for your pets too. Mix 10 drops with water in spray bottle and mist your dog before letting it outside. Dilute oils to avoid any possible skin reactions. Alternatively, you can add a few drops to a cloth pet collar, so that it's not directly touching the skin.
Citronella's Anti-Fungal Properties
Along with other home remedy applications, you can use citronella as an effective anti-fungal treatment. It's necessary to apply daily the same as you would with an over-the-counter treatment for many common fungal infections. While it has some antibacterial properties, however, it does not cover a broad spectrum of bacteria.
Common Fungal Treatment Uses for Citronella
- athlete's foot
- ring worm
- toenail fungus
- jock itch
If you're treating a fungal infection with a citronella home remedy, be sure to dilute it in a carrier oil beforehand. You can purchase carrier oils at various stores, or you can even use olive oil if you have it. Apply the diluted citronella solution after you have cleaned and dried the affected area, and reapply it until the infected areas no longer need it.
Consider Making Large Batches of Diluted Solution
Rather than making a bunch of small dilutions of citronella essential oil every time you need to use it, you can periodically make large batches of diluted solution—using water, lotions, or other carrier oils—and fill up various bottles and other containers with it. That way, you always have some ready when necessary.
Using Citronella Oil as an Anti-Inflammatory and Antispasmodic
Citronella has both anti-inflammatory and antispasmodic properties, making it an option to use as a topical treatment for many ailments, including:
- rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis,
- muscle spasms, and
- menstrual cramps.
You may also find other inflammatory afflictions that citronella may benefit as well. To reap the benefits, mix 2–3 drops to 2 tablespoons of carrier oil and apply topically. If you have empty containers, you can make this in larger batches to have on hand when needed.
Applying Citronella Oil for Skincare and Acne Treatment
As if all those other uses for citronella essential oil weren’t enough, it is also an effective acne treatment and has general skincare applications as well. Citronella inhibits some forms of bacteria, making it an optimal choice when battling an acne outbreak, since acne is partially caused by bacteria that clogs the pores.
You can add 1–3 drops to a mild facial cleanser product you already have on hand to help with the battle on your next acne outbreak. I buy a cheap store brand facial cleanser and add my citronella essential oil (that I use for all the mentioned remedies and applications)—but I usually need my husband to help get it all mixed. If you are having a difficult time mixing while in the bottle like I do, you can empty the bottle to a bowl and then mix thoroughly and re-fill the bottle.
If you have dry skin with acne issues, try mixing citronella with a coconut oil or any handy carrier oil you have on hand and applying to the skin. This helps to moisturize, while also helping to eliminate any pesky pimples you may have.
A Final Word About Using Essential Oils
Using essential oils is not something you should do on the fly. There are so many more uses for this oil, as well as any other one out there. You should always consult with your doctor (or holistic doctor at the very least) before jumping in headfirst. As with any home remedy, there are times it is best to seek professional medical advice and be fully evaluated before you decide to treat at home.
While some options with citronella oil like skincare and acne are not too hard to diagnose, you should still test a small post to ensure you have no reactions. While most people do well with this oil, some people could have a reaction. Testing a small area is recommended with any oil before you start a treatment regimen with it.
While I prefer home remedies for myself and often for my family, we still do go to the doctor and discuss treatment options. At times, we treat at home and it is more cost effective with home remedies. Other afflictions and ailments, however, require treatment provided by a medical professional. Any home remedy that does not tell you to be cautious is one I would be concerned about.
Have you ever used citronella oil?
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2020 Cynthia Hoover