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Best DIY Essential Oil Inhaler Recipes for Colds & Flu (2021)

We are a few weeks back into the school year here in Australia and it hasn’t taken long for the germs to be on attack. Second week of school we had gastro, now the kids are showing signs of a cold (stuffy noses abound). Sigh.

We are also being bombarded in the media about the flu epidemic and being urged to get the flu shot – something we as a family can’t do since our MTHFR variations make clearing toxins a challenge. That combined with the huge adverse reaction my now 12 year old had to the flu jab a few years back we choose alternative methods for flu prevention one of which is using essential oils.

When we are at home we generally have our diffuser running to help with various symptoms, germ prevention or mood intervention. Unfortunately, you can’t walk around school or in public with a diffuser strapped to you. I often send rollerball blends with the kids but some blends they just don’t want to wear on their skin so I’ve found the next best thing is to whip up some DIY nasal inhaler blends.

Here are just a few of the reasons we love essential oil inhalers

  • Effective– A nasal inhaler (aromatherapy inhaler) is one of the most effective ways to get all the great therapeutic benefits of essential oils.
  • Economical– Inhalers cost less than a dollar each, only take 15 drops of essential oils, and they can last for a month or longer and can be recharged with fresh oil.
  • Doesn’t affect others around you–  when you want to use an essential oil that isn’t safe for or liked by those around you, a personal inhaler is a great solution.
  • Portable– Just toss an inhaler in your purse or the kid’s backpacks and you’re ready to go.   Unlike roller bottles, you don’t need to worry about inhalers spilling in your bag or the glass bottles breaking.

Because Inhalers are super portable, easy to use and they don’t require you to ‘wear’ the scent on you they are perfect for kids to use at school or on the run.

essential oil nasal inhaler recipes for cold and flu season
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How do you use essential oils in an inhaler?

Inhaler kits are super easy to use with essential oils. Inhaler tube kits for essential oil inhalers, come with tubes, wicks, plugs and covers. Assembling is easy. Just put the essential oils that you choose on one end of the wick. You then place the wick into the inhaler tube (with the side you applied the oils to going in first). Place the plug in the end of the tube. Next, press down on your work surface to firmly seal it, and screw on the lid. 

Supplies for DIY Inhalers:

Inhaler tube kit


Plate or Bowl

Essential Oils

You can check out my essential oil resource page here.

Supplies needed for essential oil nasal inhalers
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How to Make Your Inhalers

How long do essential oil inhalers last?

Essential oil inhaler recipes last for about 1-2 months, but this will vary depending on how frequently it is used.  The more often the inhaler is opened and used, the faster the oils will dissipate. The good news is you can refresh the cotton wick with the same oil recipe you used when the scent has faded.

How to use an essential oil inhaler

To use your inhaler, place the inhaler near your nostrils, then slowly inhale through the nose while waving inhaler stick back and forth under your nostrils. 

  • Count to 5 while inhaling in
  • Count to 5 while holding breath
  • Count to 5 while exhaling
  • Repeat 2-3 times as needed

General Immunity Booster Inhaler Recipe (preventative)

Supports healthy immune function so is a good all-round inhaler to carry around and use when you are in public places a lot. 

Immunity boosting essential oil inhaler blend
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or you can use a pre-made blend like the ones below and just add approximately 15 drops to the inhaler wick:

Defender from Simply Earth

Immune Strength from Rocky Mountain Oils

OnGuard from doTerra

Blends to Help Clear Breathing and Nasal congestion

Essential Oil Inhaler Recipes for Congestion
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What essential oils get rid of colds? – What they do and why they help get rid of cold symptoms.

Pine Oil:  is known to kill bacteria, fungi, yeast and pathogens. Proven to have the capability to purify air by helping to eliminate various toxins that can live within your home, pine oil is beneficial as an asthma natural remedy, a cough remedy, and can even alleviate allergies, respiratory infections and colds.

Cedarwood oil: has anti-inflammatory agents, relieves spasms (cough), can cure fungal infections, reduce cough and clear out toxins.

Lavender oil:  is an antibacterial and antioxidant, it also helps with pain relief and relaxation which are both things you need to help you recover when you are unwell.

Eucalyptus oil:  works as an expectorant and helps cleanse your body of toxins and harmful microorganisms that can make you feel sick

Lemon oil: lemon helps with cleansing and purification, cough relief, calms the stomach and can help with lymphatic drainage.

Peppermint oil: is anti-microbial, helps clear the respiratory tract, and is an expectorant.

Rosemary oil: l is good for relieving cold and flu symptoms because it is a warming oil, reduces aches and pains, aids in circulation, and relieves nausea.  High in camphor it helps clear the respiratory system. *Do not use if you have epilepsy as the high camphor levels can induce seizures – do not use if pregnant.

Thyme oil: is antiviral, a decongestant, fights fatigue and is a natural stress reliever and antidepressant which makes it a perfect essential oil for colds and fighting the flu.

Oregano oil: is a super powerful antiviral and antimicrobial essential oil. In fact, a recent study shows that oregano essential oil dramatically reduces symptoms of upper respiratory ailments including coughs and sore throats.

Frankincense oil: has natural cold-fighting properties, such as antiseptic, astringent, anti-inflammatory and expectorant properties which make it an ideal essential oil for treating a cold or the flu

Cinnamon Leaf oil:  has anesthetic, antiseptic, antimicrobial and antioxidant properties making it an ideal essential oil for colds and flu relief.

Tea Tree oil: contains antiseptic, antiviral and antimicrobial properties. Using this essential oil for colds is excellent for diminishing coughs, bronchial congestion and sore throats.

More on Inhalers

The folks at were kind enough to send me some sample inhalers to help me in writing this post. They are a fantastic and affordable supplier of essential oil accessories to make it easier for you to incorporate essential oils into your home and health care routines.

Here are a few of the great inhaler products they have on their site for you to purchase:

Aroma Inhaler DIY Kit 

Nasal Aroma Inhalers

Replacement Wicks for Inhalers

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Tammy Rose-Townsend

4 comments on “Best DIY Essential Oil Inhaler Recipes for Colds & Flu (2021)”

    • They shouldn’t be unless you are particularly sensitive – in which case you can use less of the oils that bother you – just dilute the formula with less drops.

  1. Do you have dilute these with a carrier oil such olive oil or avocado or coconut oil or do you just use the oils as is

    • If you are using them in an inhaler or diffuser you just add the oils to the wick/diffuser water. If you are going to apply them to skin then yes you would dilute them in a carrier oil.

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