Citronella oil is readily available in beauty or health food shops. However, it’s quite possible that the citronella oil in stores may have lost some of its natural properties while going through the process of commercial production. It’s also relatively expensive, and it may also contain processed oils, which aren’t healthy for you. So, how can you make your own citronella oil?
There are different ways to make citronella oil at home. One way is to add citronella leaves and rubbing alcohol to a jar and leave it for 3 days. Alternatively, you can boil citronella leaves and olive oil in a slow cooker to extract the citronella oil. Store in a glass container.
As you can see, it’s quite easy and inexpensive to make citronella oil at home. Let’s take a closer look at the citronella oil-making process in detail. We’ll also go over the best way to store it to preserve its effectiveness for as long as possible.
What Is Citronella?
Citronella is a lemon-scented, medicinal plant that typically grows in southern Asia. This plant has various health benefits since it contains antiseptic, tonic, sedative, antibacterial, and analgesic properties. It’s great for anxiety and stress relief, which is why it’s commonly used in aromatherapy as well.
What Is Citronella Oil Used For?
Citronella oil is highly effective as a natural insect repellent and is used in candles, lamps, lotions, and repellent sprays to keep the mosquitoes away. It can also be used as flavoring for foods and beverages, and as a fragrance for certain soaps and other cosmetics.
How to Make Citronella Oil at Home
You can easily grow the citronella plant in your garden and make this oil at home whenever you need it. There’re a few different ways to go about it:
- Take a small jar and put 4 ounces of dried citronella leaves in it.
- Fill it with rubbing alcohol (on Amazon).
- Set it aside for 3 days.
- Take a wide-mouthed pot and put a colander over it.
- Strain the contents of the jar into the pot.
The citronella oil in the pot should be stored in an a glass container with a rubber seal like this one (on Amazon).
- Cut lemongrass into small pieces and rinse it thoroughly with water.
- Allow it to dry.
- Pound or grind these leaves to extract their juice.
- Take a pot that’s big enough to conveniently hold a small pan. Add water to the large pot and bring it to a boil.
- In the smaller pan, add ½ cup of olive oil, ½ cup of coconut oil (on Amazon), and the grounded citronella leaves and oils. Mix them well. Make sure that all the leaves in the pan are covered with oil.
- Place this small pan in the pot with the boiling water, making sure the water doesn’t enter the pan.
- Keep stirring the leaves and oils until this mixture becomes a greenish-yellow in color.
- Allow it to cool.
- Strain the citronella oil in a jar.
- Add ¼ cup of citronella leaves and stalks to a slow cooker.
- Pour 1 cup of olive oil over the citronella leaves.
- Boil it for a few minutes.
- Strain the mixture with cheesecloth or gauze in a container.
- Throw away the leaves collected in the strainer.
- Using fresh citronella leaves and stalk, repeat the process without changing the olive oil.
- Strain it again after boiling.
- You now have citronella oil with the purest aroma.
How to Store Your Citronella Oil
Proper storage of citronella oil is essential to maintaining its effectiveness over time. Use a dark container to store the citronella oil. Be sure to place this container in a cool, dry place. Remember that citronella oil can be optimally stored for only 6 months.
Don’t use or consume citronella oil during pregnancy. Avoid applying it directly onto your skin as it can cause irritation. If you want to use it as a lotion, be sure to add soft oils such as coconut or olive oil before application.