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Formulating Sprays for Personal Use

When making a room spray, body mists or perfume, in most cases to avoid bacterial growth, you would need a preservative, disperser, and a soluble.

Using water alone will not work since water and oil are polar opposites, meaning they repel each other and will not blend. And once water is in a product, it becomes a bacteria breeding ground as well as other microorganisms.

I wanted to give you the simplest way to accomplish this without trying to figure out which products to ensure your personal product is safe to use and most importantly, effective.

And I know I am being repetitive but it is for your safety. We all like making our own home remedies but if those home remedies aren’t formulated correctly, instead of killing off the ‘bad’ microbes, your product becomes a breeding ground for the growth of microbes, defeating your purpose. Instead of killing off the bad germs, you are attributing to their growth.

A preservative is a chemical substance that will slow down or prevent the growth of living microorganisms, which include not only bacteria but also mold and fungi that commonly contaminate products.

There are many options for a preservative but here we will discuss the use of alcohol for a preservative. The correct alcohol not only can preserve your product, it also works as a proper solubilizer and diluter for your essential oils.

The type and amount of alcohol you use plays an important part. It must be 190 proof Ethanol (grain alcohol) for it to work. The other three types, methyl, propyl and butyl alcohol will not work. Let’s look at what ethanol alcohol is and how it works. It is also used in many many medications, behind and over the counter and has been for many years.

Above is the molecular structure of ethanol. Cool, huh!! Ethanol or grain alcohol is made of 2 carbon, 6 hydrogen and one oxygen atom. And that would be "C2H6O". Pretty simple. It is water soluble, volatile, and inflammable. Ethanol is made by fermentation and the distillation of starchy sugars, fruits, and grains.

Ethanol is a simple chemical compound that is used in many products such as foods, alcohol, cosmetics, perfumes and cleaning products. Because it is cidal, it’s capable if killing off living microorganisms and has also been used in medications for many, many years.

You can find ethanol alcohol such as Everclear at many retailers that sell alcohol. I’ve used the brand Diesel Grain Neutral Spirits which is also 190 proof.

To make your product, your formula must be done correctly. This is where a small scale comes in handy. I use a small kitchen scale to weigh out formulas. Why weigh it? Weight of liquids vary slightly with temperature, altitude, chemical composition, etc.

You’ll need to tare (balance) the scale to accommodate the weight of the container you are using.

The alcohol content needs to be between 20-30%. When learning about formulating, I found it easiest to use 25%. With this in mind, we will be using 1-ounce (25%) of ethanol alcohol

3-ounces (75%) of water

To add essential oils, you would subtract the percentage from your water only. The following is for a 2% product. To get 2% of 4 ounces, you would multiply .02 x 4 = 0.8% (72 drops essential oils). Then subtract 0.8 from 3.00 (water) = 2.92-ounces of water.

1 oz. ethanol alcohol

2.92 oz. water

0.08% essential oil(s) or 72 drops

In the 4-ounce container, blend the ethanol alcohol and essential oils and let it sit for at least an hour. Once it’s ready, top it off with the 2.92 ounces of water. Your final product may be cloudy, and this is normal. Place your cap on and you are ready to use.

If you are using citrus oils, be cautious if using topically on exposed areas in the sun and tanning beds. Keep safety of essential oils in mind when preparing your sprays/perfumes.

If you make a product with ethanol and have more in mind than just personal use, be sure to check with state and federal guidelines.

Thank you for taking time to read my article. Please leave comments. I appreciate you being here.


Rehne Burge


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