If you work outside the home, you likely commute to and from work every single day. Driving your car to work, school, and the grocery store seems like nothing more than a chore. What if there was a way to make your car ride more about the journey than the destination?
Unless you’ve just purchased a brand new car, chances are that ‘new car smell’ dissipated many moons ago. Fuel stations and auto shops offer car fresheners in many shapes, colors, and scents, but these artificial fragrances are made up of thousands of chemicals. Wouldn’t you want your lemon-scented air freshener to be made from … lemons?
Using essential oils in the car doubles as a way to naturally freshen the air and have an aromatherapy session at the same time. Essential oils do much more than just make the air smell good. These powerful substances work with the brain’s limbic system to help regulate emotions, increase FOCUS, and give you a boost of energy. Essential oils can purify the air, reduce bacteria and viruses on surfaces, and minimize any feelings of stress and anxiety you may have.
Cleaning Car Surfaces
If your dashboard has been gathering dust or sticky fingerprints from your children, it’s time for a good clean. Instead of using chemical-filled disinfecting wipes, you can make your own with a blend of essential oils and old t-shirts.
- Cut or tear t-shirts into squares (about the size of a store-bought disinfecting wipe)
- In a mason jar or other container, mix together 50/50 white vinegar and water
- Add 10-15 drops of your favorite blend of antimicrobial essential oils – lemon and tea tree is a great combination
- Add cloth squares to jar and press to soak up the liquid.
- Voila! Whenever you need a quick clean, take one of the cloths out of the jar and quickly wipe down car surfaces. Wring out excess liquid before using.
These cloths can be used again and again by hand washing them or throwing them in with your laundry. They can then be put back into the jar for later use.
Creating a Natural Air Freshener
One of the easiest ways to create your own air freshener is to add a couple of drops of your favorite oil to a piece of wool felt. You can clip this directly to the air vent or punch a hole in it and hang it with string from your rearview mirror. Some scents dissipate quicker than others, so keep a bottle of the oil handy for reapplying on the drive home.
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It’s also a good idea to keep a spray bottle on hand. Fill with water, add a few drops of your favorite oil blend, and simply spray the air to instantly freshen the space. This can be especially helpful on long, hot drives. A combination of peppermint and your favorite citrus oil can cool you off and energize you at the same time.
Oil Blends to Try
When driving, it’s best to choose combinations of oils based on how you are feeling emotionally and physically. If you often get road rage, a blend like Zen MONQ relaxes may be your best choice. If that third cup of coffee still hasn’t woken you up, an energizing citrus blend may help. Those who suffer from motion sickness may want to use Relieve to reduce nausea. Mix and match your favorite oils until you find the perfect blend for your particular situation.
- Energizing: Lemongrass & tangerine
- Anti-nausea: Ginger & peppermint
- Emotional support: Rosemary & eucalyptus
- Cool off: Peppermint & red grapefruit
Oils to Avoid in the Car
While lavender and Roman chamomile are wonderful emotional support oils, they can make the driver a bit too relaxed. The same is true for other sedative oils such as vetiver, jasmine, or marjoram. Instead, focus on energizing oils such as wild orange, grapefruit, peppermint, or lemon. A good rule of thumb: if you diffuse the oil right before bedtime, you shouldn’t diffuse it while driving.
If you’re driving with young children or pregnant women, diffusing essential oil in a confined space may not be the best idea. If this is the case, try a diffuser necklace or keep a small piece of wool felt in your pocket. Add a drop or two of your favorite oil to the necklace or wool felt, and raise it to your nose whenever you need some extra support.
As always, less is more. Start with one drop of oil and build up from there if needed. If you start to feel uncomfortable, completely roll down all the car windows to let in the fresh air. With the perfect blend of oils, your daily commute can be much more enjoyable.
Photo credits: nikolaborovic/shutterstock.com, A.A. Smirnov/shutterstock.com, plprod/shutterstock.com, IvanovaKsenia/shutterstock.com