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DIY Thieves Oil: A Safe, Natural Disinfectant & Health Aid

DIY Thieves Oil: A Safe, Natural Disinfectant & Health Aid

With cold and flu season in full swing, everyone should have a bottle of Thieves oil in their natural first aid kit to help kill germs in your body and around your home.

Powerful and versatile, Thieves oil will stimulate the immune system, circulation and respiratory system, and help protect against the flu, colds, bronchitis, pneumonia, sore throats, cuts, and more. Here’s how to make it… 

History of Thieves Oil

Legend has it that a band of spice merchants became thieves in the 15th century, when pandemic Plague crashed the economy. They used the following essential oil concoction to rob the gravely ill and deceased without becoming infected themselves. When finally caught for their crimes, the thieves supposedly traded their recipe for a lighter sentence.

Whether or not the legend is true, the ingredients in this mixture are antibacterial, antiseptic and antiviral, and have immune-stimulating properties. That means it should keep just about any flu, cold or virus at bay.

In fact, Thieves oil (sometimes called Four Thieves oil) was tested by Weber State University in Utah in 1997, and found to kill 99% of airborne bacteria when diffused into a room.

How to Use Thieves Oil

Thieves oil is one of Ten Ways to Strengthen Your Immune System, but that is not all Thieves oil can do for you. Here are some suggestions for how you can use it.

Thieves Oil for Household Use

Thieves oil recipeDiffusing - Diffusing Thieves Oil will purify the air, kill germs and eliminate odors. Diffuse several drops of thieves oil for 20-30 minutes three or four times a day in an essential oil diffuser, nebulizer, or in a pot of simmering water on the stove. (Where to find an oil diffuser online.)

If our house or family members have been exposed to any colds, flu or other infectious illnesses, we run the diffuser continuously for a few days. At the very first sign of any cold or flu we diffuse the oil continually until symptoms subside.

We also run the diffuser in the bedroom of anyone who is sick, while they sleep at night. This provides a constant flow of the therapeutic oils into the respiratory tract, and is very healing.

Thieves Oil Recipe All-Purpose Spray - This all-purpose spray solution cleans and disinfects around the home, purifying the air and eliminating odors. Add 1 drop of thieves oil for each ounce of water in a spray bottle. Add the thieves oil first, then add water. It mixes better that way. Shake vigorously before each use.

Use in the air or on countertops, doorknobs, toys, phones, litter boxes, pet beds, and other places that need disinfecting.

Dishwasher and Laundry - Add 4-5 drops to your dishwasher soap cup or to the water in your laundry machine to thoroughly clean, eliminate bacteria and odors. This is especially great to use for washing cloth diapers.

Floors - add a 10-15 drops to ½ bucket of cleaning water.

Pests - To repel aphids, ants or bedbugs, spray plants, surfaces, floors, and mattresses with a mixture of 2 drops thieves to every 4 ounces of water.

Thieves Oil for Common Ailments

Basic Thieves Oil Recipe for Massage - Add 1 drop of thieves oil to 4 drops of a nice massage carrier oil like almond, jojoba, grapeseed or olive oils. Massage on the feet, lower back, neck and behind the ears. On babies, massage just their feet. Test for sensitivity first.

Colds, Flu and Bronchitis - Dilute 15 drops Thieves oil with 15 drops of a carrier oil like almond, olive or jojoba. Apply to lower back (where viruses and bacteria tend to hibernate), to the upper back of thighs, and back of neck to help with symptoms. For coughs and bronchitis, also apply to your feet, sternum, chest and throat.

If you can take a stronger blend, add a few more drops of Thieves oil, to tolerance. (See caution below)

Head and lung congestion - Place a few drops in a steaming bowl of hot water, cover head with towel and inhale vapors.

Sore throat - Add 2-3 drops to 2 Tablespoons. of water and gargle, or add 1 drop of thieves and 1 drop lemon essential oil in warm water, drink as tea. You can also make a throat spray using 1 drop of Thieves oil to 1 ounce of water.

Headache - Place a drop of Thieves oil on your thumb and place your thumb on the roof of your mouth. May require repeated applications. Be careful not to lick your lips because the cinnamon bark oil in the mixture can burn. Use vegetable or carrier oil to wipe off if you do.

Cuts, scrapes - Dilute 1 drop thieves oil to 4 drops of carrier oil apply to wound or scrape to help prevent infection, reduce pain and inflammation, and speed healing. You can also apply diluted Thieves oil to your gauze or bandage.

Poison ivy, insect bites (mosquito, bee & wasp stings) -  Combine 1 drop of Thieves oil and 1 drop of lavender essential oil for each ounce of water in a spray bottle, and use on insect bites, poison oak, and poison ivy rashes to reduce inflammation, pain, itching, and irritation.

Bad breath, tooth decay - Add a drop of Thieves oil to your toothbrush to kill germs in your mouth and sanitize your toothbrush. Or, alternatively, add a couple drops to 4 tbsp. of baking soda, place in small container (not plastic) and shake well. Dip toothbrush in mixture and brush.

Immune support – For protection against colds, flu, and other infectious disease apply a few drops of Thieves oil undiluted directly to the bottom of feet. You can also rub a few drops into your hands as a safe, natural hand sanitizer.

Caution: The cinnamon bark, clove and eucalyptus oils in Thieves oil can feel very “hot” or irritating to babies and people with sensitive skin. Always test yourself or your child for sensitivity, and dilute your Thieves oil with a carrier oil like almond, grapeseed or olive oil to the strength you can tolerate. If for some reason you use too much or it feels too strong, use carrier or vegetable oil to quickly remove it from your skin.

Note:  Some people recommend ingesting diluted or encapsulated Thieves oil for health purposes. I am not comfortable with this because the cinnamon bark, clove and eucalyptus oils in the mixture can be very irritating—or even toxic—if not used properly.

Essential oils should only be taken internally if you have received a detailed consultation or a prescription from a trained and qualified aromatherapy practitioner.

DIY Thieves Oil Recipe

Tools

Ingredients

Directions

  • Mix all essential oils together in a dark glass bottle and shake well to mix.
  • Adjust the ratios to suit your needs and smell preference, if you wish. (I always add more cinnamon and rosemary.)
  • Shake well before each usage.

Note:  One 15 ml bottle of essential oil contains approximately 250 drops and one 5 ml bottle contains approximately 85 drops.

PAID ENDORSEMENT DISCLOSURE: I may receive monetary compensation or other types of remuneration for my endorsement, recommendation, testimonial and/or link to any products or services from this blog, including Amazon.com links. These small earnings make it possible for me to continue writing this blog for you. That said, I only recommend products I genuinely love, and that I believe would be of value to my readers.
Thank you for your support!

MEDICAL DISCLOSURE: Your health is between you and your health care practitioner. Nothing in this blog is intended for the treatment or prevention of disease, nor as a substitute for medical treatment, nor as an alternative to medical advice. Use of recommendations is at the choice and risk of the reader.




54 Comments

  1. Ty so much

  2. Ty

  3. Great article, Dawn. I’m a huge fan Thieves oil. We’ve used it to prevent the spread of colds and flu by diffusing it and using as a hand sanitizer. I love the scent as well.

  4. Hi Dawn,

    I may have missed it in this thread, but I was wondering where you buy/order your oils from? I am new to to oils and so far I have read all sorts of things that make me reluctant to move forward in buying some. I’m hoping you may suggest a reputable site that has top quality oils. Thank You.

    • The links in the post will take you to listings for a few of my favorite companies that distribute excellent essential oils.

    • Dawn,

      Thank you very much for your response. I must have missed the links because I tend to read too quickly. I found the link for Plant Therapy and will be looking over all they have to offer and I am also looking forward to making some Thieves Oil for our home. One more question, do you prefer mixing your own oils as opposed to an already made version? I have no experience with oils so any help is appreciated. Thank you.

      • Oops, one more question…do you buy organic oils or are the non organic oils fine for mixing Thieves Oil and the like? Thanks again.

  5. Curios how we know for certain these are the right ratios? About to mix my own now, but wondering where the recipe comes from?

  6. Thanks for the information. I am about to make more batches to share

  7. I am curious about the process to request the permission to be able to print part of this information WITH FULL CREDIT to you, the rightful author/owner of this content. However, I did not know the true awesomeness that Thieves oil truly was. I am two ingredients away from making a batch with fresh ingredients – whole cloves, cinnamon bark, rosemary twigs, lemon zest, and eucalyptus (will be essential oil instead of actual plant as per recipe). I got the recipe from Karma Parker at http://diynsave.com/?p=273 and her article about how to make Thieves Oil at Home for a household cleaner. I am excited to learn the wonders of this stuff and can’t wait to distribute some of the homemade stuff to my friends and family for Christmas gifts. I am intrigued by the straight five oil blend and curious about how the two versions compare as far as their range of awesomeness that they are capable of. Any thoughts? And may I please share your information about the wonders of Thieves Oil with my family and friends?

  8. Do you know how many batches this would make? Seems more cost effective to make your own. Thanks!

    • About 2, but that’s because the ratio of oils is so spread out. You will go through the clove and lemon much faster than the other oils.

  9. Thank you Dawn for this recipe! I have heard that you can put one drop of Thieves oil under your tongue when you are around a lot of sick people and it will act as a shield against the bacteria!!
    I also want to use it in a cold humidifier for my per duck to inhale, he is very sick with a fungus in his lungs….

  10. Thanks for a timely recipe for Thieves oil. I recently purchased this oil, but now I will be able to make my own when it is gone. I am so glad I found this post on “Small Footprint Fridays” link up.

    • I’m glad you did too! It’s much cheaper to make your own!

  11. I used thives on my 1 month old baby (duel 1:10 coconut oil) rubbing on the bottom of her feet when she got RSV. It was gone In 2 days I swear by the stuff now

  12. Wow. I have never heard of Thieves Oil before, and tonight I have seen it referenced several times. I could have used some this week. Looks like I have a busy weekend ahead of me, mixing this up and making your probiotic gummy candy as well. Thanks for all the great ideas!!!

  13. Be careful with tea tree oil around pets. It’s highly toxic. They absorb the oil through their paws and their liver cannot metabolize the oil. http://www.petpoisonhelpline.com/poison/tea-tree-oil/. Just wanted to pass this along to any pet owners.

  14. Do you have a recipe to make your own “endoflex” oil blend. Young living is kind of expensive.

    • Sorry, I don’t know what “endoflex oil” is and I’ve never bought anything from Young Living.

  15. PLEASE SEND ME SOME INFORMATION ON THEIVES OIL
    THANK YOU,
    EMMALEE

  16. thank you so much, i have been looking for a recipe to make my own. i’m new to essential oils and still trying to figure this all out. i do have a question about any of this oils being an issue during pregnancy? i want to make sure before i start using this. thanks!!

    • If used topically or in the air, there is no issue in using Thieves oil while pregnant. I wouldn’t ingest it though.

  17. Does it matter if the oils are mixed in a dark glass bottle? Or can I use a clear?

    • A dark bottle helps the oils from spoiling or going rancid. You definitely don’t want to expose essential oils to light or heat.

  18. Are these seperate oils? (10 drops of Essential Oil of Tea Tree, Lavender, Cedar or other anti-microbial, aromatic essential oil.).
    Or are they combined as one?

    • Yes, tea tree, lavender and cedar are all separate oils. You can add 10 drops of any of these you like.

  19. Excellent, wow what a resource. I’m inspired!

  20. Dawn,

    Oh, my goodness. This is exactly what we’ve been needing in our house this week! I’ll be mixing up a batch tonight. :)

    Thanks so much for sharing it in this week’s Thank Goodness It’s Monday carnival.

    Blessings!
    Kresha from NourishingJoy.com

  21. I thought thyme was a major ingredient in thieves blends? This is a great posts – love the recipe, and the other suggestions are great ideas even if you decide to buy it pre-blended!

  22. I’m a great fan of Thieves oil, besides the huge list of uses you’ve posted I also find it works well to keep down molds and mildew. And mice hate it.

    • Those are also great uses for Thieve’s oil! Thanks for sharing!

  23. My niece introduced me to thieves oil a few months ago, I haven’t tried it yet, but hear it is amazing stuff — thanks for the recipe to be able to make my own. Thanks for sharing with Hearth & Soul Hop. :)

  24. I feel smarter after reading this and some of your other posts….thanks! (saw this on Linky Friday at LHITS)

  25. Thank you for your submission on Nourishing Treasures’ Make Your Own! Monday link-up.

    Check back tomorrow when the new link-up is running to see if you were one of the top 3 featured posts! :)

  26. Allergic to eucalyptus oil…will this work without it?

    • Yes, it will. Add the optional tea tree, lavender or cedar oil instead!

  27. Thanks for sharing this on Wildcrafting Wednesday. I have heard about Thieves Oil on Facebook but this is the first time I’ve seen a recipe for it. I’m definitely going to try this.
    Chris

  28. Just found your site and love it so far. Just one small point, as a lifelong resident of Utah I can say with some confidence that there is no Webster University in Utah. There is Weber State University located in the Ogden, Utah area – could that be the one you credit as having done the efficacy testing?

    • Yes, that is the one. Thanks for correcting me.

  29. Thanks for putting together this recipe! I love thieves oil and have been using a small bottle of Young Living’s Thieves oil spray. I had gathered all the oils to make my own but had yet to do any research as to ratios.
    I just mixed up a small bottle and put about twenty drops into a hot Epsom salt bath as I am currently battling a nasty bug that keeps coming at me one symptom at a time! What the heck? I am definitely bringing out the big guns now!
    Do you ever use alcohol in your sprays for cleaning and disinfecting? It’s the first ingredient in the YL spray. I gave up using isopropyl alcohol years ago after reading Hulda Clark’s books but have found that Everclear (grain alcohol) works anywhere that isopropyl (rubbing/wood alcohol) is called for. It makes a great addition to homemade window cleaner! (I use Crunchy Betty’s recipe for that… best glass cleaner ever!)

    • I too use alcohol for window cleaning and sometimes surface disinfection, but I am not using Everclear. I’ll have to give that a try! Thanks for your comment!

  30. I love Thieves oil! I usually buy it as a blend, so it’s really interesting and useful to see a recipe. I use it so often that I had actually run out (again) and put it on my Christmas list! I use it mostly for headaches and immune support and generally follow the not-so-precise method of shaking a few drops onto my tongue.

    • Awesome, Heather! Thanks so much for sharing that! It can be great for common headaches.

  31. Love the Thieves oil recipe. My Grandmother used to make it. I’m definitely going to make some.

  32. Thank you for sharing this on Wildcrafting Wednesdays! I would love to have you stop by and vote for your favorite post on the People’s Choice Awards at:
    http://www.theselfsufficienthomeacre.com/2012/12/peoples-choice-award-for-wildcrafting-wednesday.html

  33. I wonder if there is a recipe that does NOT use lemon? My daughter is allergic to citrus of any kind and this definitely won’t be good for her! :) Any ideas?

    • Just take it out! It might not be quite as effective and synergistic with the other oils, but the other four oils are quite powerful by themselves. You can also substitute the lemon oil with 10 drops of lavender, cedar or tea tree oil, as was mentioned in the optional ingredients list. The smell will be different, but you will still get great results. Best to you!

      • Thank you for the great info, Dawn!

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