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Lemon Oil

by Cybele
When life gives you lemons… We have a lot of lemons now that we’re on Fab Feb or NAF (depending on what mood you catch me in), because we have been drinking things like this Lemon Water from the Planning Queen to up our vitamin C intake.
This lemon oil is a great recipe for body treatments and cleaning products, however it is a bit too potent for cooking, and can be quite bitter. I will do a cooking lemon olive oil at a later date.
Did I mention that I love lemon oil? It is a great smelling way to  disguise whatever in home fragrance, smooth cracked heals, scrub the bath and scare spiders away, so I am pretty friendly with it.
The only disappointing thing is that I didn’t know how easy it is to make earlier, because those little bottles of lemon oil can be exy so I was quite parsimonious with it. Now I can paint the house with it… Considering we were throwing the lemon skins away, this cost me nearly nix to make and the best thing is the lemon oil pretty much cooked itself while I pottered around on a rainy Sunday afternoon. The only thing to keep in mind is that this infused oil will have a sweeter, mellower fragrance than the fresh, tart scent you will get with a cold pressed essential oil.

Lemon oil ingredients: DIY Lemon Oil | Blah Blah Magazine

5 lemons, preferably organic
1 cup oil, ideally sweet almond, coconut, macadamia or grapeseed oil
Double boiler or a saucepan that fits a bowl on top
Strainer or piece of cloth
Jar or bottle
1. If you’re not using organic lemons scrub the peels really well, as most citrus is sprayed with a fungicide.
2. Peel the lemons. The aim is to have as little of the white pith as possible, because the oil is extracted from the yellow part.
3. Fill the bottom of the double boiler or saucepan with water (allowing enough space for the top of the double boiler or bowl to fit in too!) Bring the water to a simmer and set the heat to the lowest heat. This water underneath is absolutely essential, if cooked over direct heat the temperature will be too high and the peels will scald and the oil will turn rancid. Also, this cannot be done in a crock pot or slow cooker as their lowest temperature is too high for this. The water bath method maintains the temperature under boiling.
4. Fit the top of the double boiler or bowl into the saucepan, add the lemon peel and cover completely with oil. Heat on low for three hours. Every now and then check the water level and that the oil is not getting too hot. There should be only the occasional bubble.Lemon Oil
5. Strain the lemon peel. A cloth sitting inside a funnel works really well for this, as you can pick it up and squeeze it to get every last drop.DIY Lemon Oil | Blah Blah Magazine
6. Store in a cool, dark place.


Uses for Lemon Oil:

Whipped coconut oil body butter
Make a scrummy body scrub.
Fragrance the home.
Add to vinegar as a cleaning product.
Dab around the spots where spiders and other creepy crawlies like to hang out, for some reason they seem to hate the stuff.
When I was a kid, I used lemon oil to get rid of warts and it seemed to work really well.
What do you do when life gives you lemons?
Bele x


About BlahBlahMagazine

Cybele Masterman (Bele) trained as a beauty therapist, aromatherapist and journalist. After working as all of the above has found herself on a quest for a beautiful and meaningful life that doesn't cost the earth. Follow on google: +blahblahmagazine twitter: @blahblahzine or Instagram: BlahBlahMagazine

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  1. Thanks for sharing this! I love the smell of lemon oil and yes it can be exxy.

    I am pinning this for when I have some lemon peel handy.

    And thanks for linking up to the simple things x

  2. The lemon oil is really handy. I would love to hear how you go x

  3. I’ve never thought that lemon oil is so easy to make! Thank you for instructions I will definitely give it a try.

  4. Could you also use it on food?
    I prepare orange oil from dried zest and use it for a yummy sauce with yogurt, on pasta, for cakes… :3

    • Hi Arianna, technically, you could use this in food, it’s just that this recipe is more potent at these quantities than I would like for food. I am still testing out recipes for the food option. I am definitely keen to try your orange oil, as orange oil is next on my hit list x

  5. Would this work in a crockpot?

  6. *UPDATED* It sounds like Crock Pots cook at a higher temperature than the bain-marie style I used, so it probably isn’t ideal.

  7. I tried this using a crock-pot to heat the oil. My oil turned out a dark golden for the lemons and dark green for the limes in color and smells like cooked lemons/limes rather than a fresh lemon/lime fragrance. Is this what it is supposed to smell like? I thought it would smell more like fresh lemons/limes. I really want to make the lemon/lime coconut body butter, but was afraid to add these essential oils since they smell more like cooked food. They would be tasty in a stir fry, but I’m not sure if this is the right fragrance for the body butter. Please let me know if I have done something wrong or if the cooked lemon smell is normal.

    • Apologies, I have been a bit slow with my response, because I wanted to do some research so I could give you a proper answer. I have since discovered that different Crock Pots cook at different temperatures and generally at a higher temperatures than the water bath method I used. I am very sorry.
      Without seeing the oil, it sounds like the higher temperature has started to caramelise the peel in the oil. So it does sound like the fragrance would be out too.
      My lemon infused olive oil is the bright yellow colour pictured above and has quite a zesty fragrance and the lime infused coconunt oil is nearly mint green in colour when solid and smells quite sweet, like a lime coconut slice. You can see a picture of lime-coconut oil in the lip balm post (it’s in the little glass with the spoon.)
      Please let me know if I can help out in some way.

  8. Thanks for the recipe. It’s awesome 🙂

  9. I am going to use this method will get back to you it sounds awesome its a school project so hopes it turns out very good

  10. Good luck with the school project. Looking forward to hearing how it goes x

  11. Can you use rubbing alcohol instead of Vodka?

  12. Being that I LOVE lemon and had a bunch around…I decided to go for it. The house smelled like a lemon meringue pie the whole time it was on the stove 🙂

    BUT, I used coconut oil…and guess what happened when it cooled down? Yup, coconut oil solidifies under 76*F 🙁

    Anyone have any ideas on how to use my lemon essential oil in “block form”? LOL

  13. So happy to hear you like the smell! I find whipping the coconut oil helps to soften it: http://blahblahmagazine.com.au/coconut-oil-body-butter/
    I hope this helps! I’d love to hear how you go x

  14. Melinda Ellisor

    Thank you for posting this. I was actually looking for a way to get rid of silverfish (gasp! ack!) when my search came to lemon oil and then to you. Can’t wait to see how it works!

  15. Would this also work for other peelings such as: orange, lime, or grapefruit?

  16. I have looked at a few ways to do this. Why do some say put in sun and some say to put in a cool dark place?

    • Apologies for the slow response to your good question.
      You can leave the lemon and oil in the sun (for a short time, like a week or two) to infuse or you can do it over a low heat on the stove for a couple of hours. Either way, to keep the oil fresh for as long as possible it’s best to store in a cool dark place after the essential oils have infused. I hope this helps!

  17. Hi, I love the sound of your cleaning products and can’t wait to try them out! Just a question with the lemon oil… can you use a less expensive oil such as canola, or vegetable oil? I’m looking to make the lemon oil for cleaning mostly, would probably use one of the ones on your list for cosmetics.
    Thanks for your help, and love your site… just found it today.

    • I haven’t tried it with canola or vegetable oil. Technically, it should be easier to do it with these oils as they have a higher smoking point and can handle higher temperatures, whereas the oils with lower smoking points like olive oil can be harder to manage.
      I’d also love for you to have a look at this post: http://blahblahmagazine.com.au/homemade-cleaner/
      Because it’s a really easy way to add lemon or orange oil to cleaning products if you’re using vinegar.

  18. Hi Bele,
    I tried canola oil with vanilla extract for a reed diffusers… not really that happy with the results… it kinda smells okay, tho the oil and vanilla completely separated. May work better with a vanilla bean.
    I have learnt a lot about ‘carrier’ oils from this site http://www.aromaweb.com/articles/whatcarr.asp
    Canola or vegetable oil aren’t on the list… However, sunflower is, and is another cheap alternative.
    Thanks so much for your reply comments. It is really refreshing to find someone who is willing to share their knowledge and experience without asking for any compensation.
    Will also be making a batch of Little Squirt this weekend… just wondered, what surfaces would it not be suitable for?
    Thanks again for your help.

    • Grapeseed is my favourite of the cooking oils. Vanilla is very tricky because it’s very expensive and the essences tend to vary a lot. I wonder if you could use straight vanilla essence in the reed diffuser this would cut out the separation.

  19. Could you use the crockpot as a double boiler? My stove doesn’t really have a “low” setting.

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  21. Could you use this oil to make soap from? I am about to plant a tangerine tree and am hoping to be able to make soap using the fruit peel.

  22. Hello!

    I want to make my own scented oil to use in candles. What method do you recommend for that? Would this method work well?

    Thank you!

    • Mmmm… good question. None of the homemade options really come close to the strength and purity of still distilled essential oils. I tend to recommend the infused oil for skin care and the alcohol extraction in this post for fragrance, because the alcohol can help with prolonging the life of the fragrance. I hope this helps x

  23. Hello,

    I was wanting to make this oil because I heard it is good for receding gums. Do you think it be used for that? I wasn’t planning on using that many lemons. just 2 to start a small patch.

  24. Hi Maggie,
    I haven’t heard about using this for gums, but lemon. Oil is wonderful oil and a weaker dilution of the 2 lemons is the strength used in cooking, so should be safe for consumption. Also, It might be worth using coconut oil for the base oil, as the Ayurvedics have used coconut oil for gums for centuries by swishing a teaspoon of coconut oil around in the mouth first thing in the morning. They do it for twenty minutes but that’s pretty hard so I do it for as long as I can. I hope this helps! I’d love to hear how you go.

  25. I read your orange oil recipe using vodka and this recipe for lemon oil using oil. I am kind of a newbie to essential oils but have been learning about using them in cleaning. Anyway, my question is, which of these methods (vodka or oil) would be best for an essential oil for use in cleaning – or are they equally as good. I am fortunate to have an orange tree, lemon tree and lime tree in my yard so I could make as much of this as I like 🙂 Speaking of which, do you think lime oil would be similar to lemon oil, I get way more limes than lemons. Thanks so much, love your blog

  26. Thanks for the post, I am wondering for how long you are supposed to leave the lemons on the stove?

    • Good question. In the post recipe I say 3 hours, but it does depend on your stove. I have a slow electric and I leave mine on for 5 hours. Basically, once the oil smells strongly of lemon and turns yellow. I hope this helps. I think I need to make this clearer in the post.

  27. Hi do you have a receipe for mint essential oil and lavender essential oil

  28. Awesome post. Was curious, if you know, how well would this lemon oil work as part of a scented candle. If so, Any recommendations on which wax would work best with your lemon oil?


  29. The photo under number 4 is missing……thought you should know. This was an interesting article to find and I enjoyed it tremendously. Thank you!

  30. You made me read so much today. Thank you. I wanted to ask your recipe for both the lemon essential oil and the Orange peel essential oil, is this ok to use in making cold compress soap?

    I also would appreciate if you could share more essential oil recipes like ginger, lemongrass, rose and gardenia.

    Thank you. Looking forward for your email reply.


  31. Hi. Thanks for the interesting article. I read somewhere you can put the lemon peel in a bottle (plastic or glass), while soaked in either olive or coconut oil and leave under the sun for 3 days before draining. Is this method good? Please reply. Thank you.

  32. Hi today I tried it out and im really pleased with the result! i used coconut oil…a5 first the oil was overpowering the smell of lemons then i added more lemon peel and was ok. I wanted to ask you ….maybe you already tried it out…since I used coconut oil, can I use it to repel ants? Wont the coconut oil attract them rather than repel?
    Thanks a lot!

    • I’m so pleased it worked well. I haven’t tried the lemon coconut oil with the ants, but I’m curious. I think it’s the potency of the lemon compared to the coconut that’s important. I’ve been trialling lemon infused bicarb to sprinkle about the place and that seems to be working well.

  33. I have been avoiding using citrus essential oils because of the danger they present to my cats. How does this oil compare to essential oils? Would it be dilute enough to be used around cats?

    • Hi, apologies for the slow response, but I wanted to do a bit of reading on this. Unfortunately, because there is no way of measuring the quantity of essential oil extracted in this lemon oil I can’t recommend it. Apologies x

      • Do you make citrus essential oil basically the way you do the lemon oil.
        Also,how do you preserve the oil for more than a year.?
        Are there any preservatives you can recommend for water based skin product. Thanks

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