In my previous article, Discovering Hydrosols, I covered the production and cautions of essential oils (EO) and hydrosols, a type of aromatic water, also known as essential waters.
Now I am following up with a variety of ways to use these related products. Since more readers are aware of essential oils than the essential waters, or hydrosols, I am concentrating on the latter.
Without a doubt, the two most popular ways to use a hydrosol are misting and spraying. Most products come with spray tops.
These hydrosols can also work in synergistic ways when blended with complementing materials; for example, combining lavender and rose. They can also be added to other products.
Here is a helpful list of possible uses:
With misting, hydrosol sprays are used to mist body, hair and face – avoiding eyes – for refreshing, cleansing, hydrating and softening.
Deodorant benefits are for underarms or feet. Because of their anti-bacterial properties, hydrosols can minimize odor. Some folks use these as light cologne, depending on the quality and desired smell.
Other benefits include calming, stress and anxiety reduction. Some types of hydrosols (and EO) act as aromatherapy and may ease depression or reactions to worries, thus decreasing high blood pressure. Both lavender and rose have long been attributed with these traits.
Hydrosols have anti-inflammatory properties as well. Both rose and lavender are said to to alleviate mild skin aliments. I emphasize the word “mild” and the fact that we are referencing topical application only. Hydrosol can be used as a topical remedy, but EO use is generally discouraged.
Rose hydrosol can be used to decrease mild congestion (either from allergies, illness or seasonal changes). You can use it as aromatherapy or even topically (not the oil) directly sprayed on the chest or rubbed on the sinus areas (avoiding eyes).
Rose and lavender hydrosol can also be used in place of water for DIY fragrances, lotions, creams, facial toners or other skin products. Again, this is because essential waters are much gentler than EO, the latter which as a rule should not be used topically (directly on the skin).
As a bathwater addition, hydrosols are an inexpensive way to pamper yourself. Even better if combined with candles and a glass of wine!
Hydrosols can be used to freshen materials. Spray on rugs, fabrics, personal garments, linens / sheets/ pillowcases or curtains.
Personal note: this can be a useful alternative for those of us, like me, who almost retch when in “smelling distance” of commercial products designed to “freshen without washing.” They work for some noses, but not mine. I once used one of those products, which you would know the name of (and rhymes with sea breeze) and had to later throw the offending pillow out.
Even after multiple times in the dryer I could not eliminate the chemical smell. I gave the bottle to someone who didn’t share my sense of smell. Luckily, essential waters work much better for me.
Freshening of space is another use for hydrosols. Spruce up the air in your house, sprayed like a typical air freshener, or put in a humidifier. It seems to me that it doesn’t require as much hydrosol as commercial air freshener to eliminate – rather than cover – room smells.
You can freshen your car by concentrating on the car seats. Do avoid painted, fragile auto surfaces.
Hydrosols have uses with pets – but also important cautions. The animal-loving folks at Monte-Bellaria, a lavender farm I visited and reported on in my last post, warn never to use essential oil on a pet, especially cats. Be cautious about hydrosol directly on other pets as well.
Conversely, these essential water (hydrosol) products are terrific to freshen up the litter box area, or pet beds. Some varieties (like lavender and rose) can even be used on pet toys without fear.
Finger bowls and aroma diffusers for heating oils are common uses for rose, lavender and so many other varieties of essential oils and essential waters. Hydrosols can also be used to refresh potpourri or worn-out sachets of similar parent products. I have also used both EO and hydrosol – each in combination with water – to re-hydrate air-freshener crystal beads. No, you don’t need to throw them out when they dry out. Re-hydrate – and save your pennies.
Spray in the dryer before spinning clothes, whether they “need it” or not.
Spray in the bottom of dishwasher. I recently had a “smell-disaster” after thoughtlessly putting a supposedly-empty garlic jar and lid in the dishwasher. I had to rerun the washer again (and again). But I spritzed the machine bottom with lavender hydrosol the second time and it helped even that mess. I don’t recommend this as an experiment at home.
Make Sully-the-Monster wave bye-bye. Many conservative vendors prudently suggest avoiding EO with children. However, the light aromatic water sprays of lavender or rose in hydrosol form are helpful to calm babies and children and chase the under-bed creatures away. (Okay, it’s true. Most grandkids would give anything to meet Sully in person and not want to send him packing at all. Nevertheless, you get the idea.)
There are certainly numerous applications of essential waters, making it doubtful that any purchase would ever go unused – unlike numerous old make-up jars I have lying around the house. In my previous article, I suggested refrigerating the hydrosol for longer life. You can find more of these ideas, as well as further information, online.
Notice I didn’t talk about cost. That is because cost varies so much with quality, location and growers. Still, if this helps, essential waters/hydrosols tend to be either less expensive than essential oil or distributed in much larger quantity bottles for similar prices. This bargain allows us a bit more liberal use as well, and a chance to try all 15 tips.
Have you ever tried essential waters? Do you have a favorite scent? What tips would you add to these 15? Please share your experiences, ideas, or secret tips.
Tags Healthy Aging