Undiluted Aroma Oils + Plastic Don’t Mix

Part of the fun of soap making is choosing from the many fragrance oils and essential oils available. From fruity to floral, masculine to clean, scents add personality and flair to your projects. All Bramble Berry fragrance and essential oils have been thoroughly tested for use in bath and body products, and are skin safe when used correctly.
Ever wonder why Bramble Berry ships fragrance and essential oils in fragile glass rather than plastic containers? See the photo below for the answer!

Undiluted fragrance and essential oils can deteriorate some plastic surfaces, such as containers and molds. To avoid this, store fragrance and essential oils in glass containers. Of course, certain plastics can be used to store fragrance oils for a short amount of time. The container should be made of a chemical resistant plastic (HDPE is an example). At Bramble Berry, if you order 5 pounds or more of a fragrance or essential oil you will probably get it in a plastic pouch or drum. This saves immensely on shipping due to the lighter weight of the container. But if you aren’t going to use up that fragrance within a few weeks, we recommend transferring the oil to glass containers.

Orange Valencia Essential Oil took about 7 minutes to disintegrate the disposable plastic cup below.

This is a great example of why it’s important to quickly clean up any fragrance or essential oil spills on your counter or work space. If a fragrance or essential oil bottle breaks, place the aroma oil into a glass container, rather than plastic. Mason jars work great.

While this example of plastic deterioration is extreme, similar effects are seen when straight fragrance oil or essential oil is placed onto a plastic mold. Shown below, is an example of a plastic mold that came in contact with undiluted fragrance oil. Notice the plastic has begun to degrade.

Another way to prevent plastic mold damage is to ensure your fragrance and essential oils are fully mixed into the product. If the oil forms a pocket, it could begin to degrade the plastic mold or container. Using a whisk is a great way to fully incorporate the fragrance for both melt and pour and cold process, without accelerating trace.

So you may be wondering, if fragrances and essential oils do this to plastic, what’s it going to do when I put it on my skin? That’s a great question! Fragrance oils are safe when used at the correct usage rates. That’s because they are diluted when you add them to a product. Usage rates vary depending on whether you rinse off the product (like a soap) or leave it on (like a lotion) but that’s where we have made it really easy for you. Find recommended fragrance and essential oil usage rates by using the Bramble Berry Fragrance Calculator. Simply choose the type of product you are creating, the amount you are making and select the fragrance or essential oil. The Fragrance Calculator will calculate three different usage rates, depending on how strong of a scent you prefer, but they will all fall within the approved usage rates for the fragrance oil. To learn how usage rates are determined read this post about fragrance oils.

For a more detailed explanation on how to use the Fragrance Calculator, and general fragrance and essential oil usage rates, check out the Using the Bramble Berry Fragrance Oil Guide.

Remember, fragrance and essential oils are perfectly safe when used correctly! Have you ever had any plastic and aroma oil mishaps? 

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  1. Jessica says

    I just found this out the hard way about 20 minutes ago. I thought it was because I mixed fragrance and essential oil but was glad to find this post… Now I know. My kitchen has never smelled better!

    • Kelsey says

      Hi Cadence!

      Witch hazel should be just fine in plastic containers. We keep witch hazel in plastic bottles in our Soap Lab. The bottles are absolutely fine. :)

      -Kelsey with Bramble Berry

  2. Judy Dughman says

    Sure did! I put some grapefruit & lemongrass EO in a small plastic cup and proceeded to put together the rest of my formula. When I turned around to pick up the EO it looked exactly like the orange valencia cup in your picture!

  3. Jane says

    I had it happen to me several years ago. Luckily, it was one of those wipe-up-and-forget-moments. I had put a plastic container with essential oil in a wardrobe to scent it and it basically dissolved. )For want of a better adjective.) There was no staining even though the colour of the oil was quite dark.

  4. Michelle says

    Thanks for this! The calculator is great!

    Question though… how do I “fix” a scent so that it stays through curing. I have made a lavender soap, and an orange soap. Both smelled amazing for the first week of curing, now entering week 3 of curing both soaps barely have any scent. Any advice? Should I just use max amounts to make it stronger?

    • says

      I find that if I use some kaolin clay in my CP with certain EO’s it helps to fix them. Try using the 10X Orange instead of the valencia for CP – it sticks better, and you can try adding some Litsea Essential Oil to the orange and that will help it stick.

      For the Lavender, you might need to increase the amount you are using – so you might need to use the maximum amount.

    • Kelsey says

      Hi Michelle!

      Merryn is correct! Citrus essential oils tend to be lighter scents. However, our 10x Orange Essential Oil has been concentrated 10 times, so it’s stronger than the Orange Valencia Essential Oil.

      Also, using the maximum amount of fragrance will help. We recommend .8 oz per pound of soap for a strong fragrance. :)

      -Kelsey with Bramble Berry

      10X Orange Essential Oil: http://www.brambleberry.com/10x-Orange-Essential-Oil-P4441.aspx

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