Age-Appropriate Anti-Germ and Anti-Congestion recipes and suggestions for babies and children

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There has been lots of talk in the Using Essential Oils Safely group about finding an anti-germ/anti-congestion type blend that is safe for children. Based on these discussions, I have come up with  several recipe formulas you can use, depending on the age(s) of your children.

These recipes are comparable to Thieves or OnGuard blends, but are formulated to be safe for children of all ages.

What Makes These Recipes Different?

Most anti-congestion recipes contain Eucalyptus and Rosemary, but neither one is recommended for children under 10 due to their ability to slow respiration in some children due to the constituent 1,8-cineole.

Instead of Eucalyptus or Rosemary, my recipe for children under 10 will be using Fir Needle, which contains no 1,8-cineole and is also great for respiratory congestion. If you do not have Fir Needle, you may use Cypress, or any of the Pines or Spruces except Ponderosa Pine (Pinus ponderosa), or Huon Pine (Dacrydium franklinii).

I will not be including Clove Bud (or Clove Leaf) in my recipe for children under 2 per safety guidelines in Essential Oil Safety.

I am also not using Lemon due to its potential harshness on the skin (have you seen Lemon essential oil remove grease from an oven? I have!). Instead, I will be using Sweet Orange. Lemon would be fine to diffuse, though.

I have specified Cinnamon Leaf (not Cinnamon Bark), as Cinnamon Leaf is less irritating to the skin and best for topical use. You may use Cinnamon Bark in a diffuser. Please note: Cinnamon (Bark and Leaf) may inhibit blood clotting, and therefore should not be used by anyone who has blood clotting disorders or is taking anticoagulant medication.

Lavender EO can be used instead of Cinnamon Leaf in any of the recipes.

Diffusing These Blends

The amount of drops you use will depend on the diffuser you have. I have the SpaVapor and I use 10 drops.

Run the diffuser for 30 minutes with a 60 minute break before diffusing again another 30 minutes. Studies have shown the effects to wear off after an hour, so why waste your oils? :)

If you have children in multiple age ranges in the same room as the diffuser, please use the blend that is safe for the youngest child in the room.

Diffusing is best for children under 2.

Using Inhalers

Add 10-15 drops of the blend of your choice to the inhaler’s cotton pad. Have your child inhale before and after being exposed to germs (i.e. grocery store outing). If your child is sick, allow them to inhale once every 3 or 4 hours when they are awake.

To encourage them to inhale the aroma, simply unscrew the inhaler’s cap and wave under their nose a few moments.

Inhalers can be especially useful when your older children are using blends containing Peppermint or Eucalyptus. They can breathe that blend right out of the inhaler, away from little ones.

Inhalation is more effective than using the blends topically, except in the case of hand sanitizer.

Important! Please Read!

It is my hope that those using these recipes will do so responsibly. Please do not over-use this blend, or any other essential oils, but only use when needed. Long-term daily use of any blend or essential oils is never recommended.

Essential oils should never be used on broken skin, particularly Clove and Cinnamon.

If your child has health concerns, please use extra caution before using any essential oils, as some essential oils cause interactions with medications. Know your child and the essential oils!

As always, when using topically, dilute, dilute dilute! See our dilution guidelines here: Properly Diluting Essential Oils. Also read: What Carriers to Use.

Age-Appropriate Anti-Germ and Anti-Congestion recipes and suggestions for children aged 6 months – 2 years (and up!) .25% – .50% dilution

Please be especially careful when using essential oils on or around children in this age group! Preferably, you would not even need to use them on children this young and you would be using herbs or hydrosols instead, but these are the guidelines you would use if you need to. Please use responsibly and do not over-use.

NOTE: These recipes were created with children between 6 months and 2 years old in mind. However, they may be used by older children as well. If you prefer a stronger dilution for your older children, keep reading! I have those recipes available further down on the page.

Anti-Germ Blend recipe
ages 6 months – 2 years (and up!)

Combine in a 5ml bottle:

  • 30 drops Sweet Orange Citrus sinensis
  • 40 drops Cinnamon Leaf Cinnamomum verum*
  • 25 drops Fir Needle Abies sibirica

*Feel free to exchange the Cinnamon Leaf for Lavender Lavandula angustifolia

For this age group, diffusing into the air by adding 5 or so drops to your diffuser is the most gentle and can still be effective.

You can make an inhaler by adding 10 drops to an inhaler, waving the inhaler under your child’s nose before and after being exposed to germs. Inhalation via an inhaler is a more concentrated route of inhalation than diffusion.

Inhalation (via diffuser or inhaler) is more effective than topical use, but you can use it in a massage blend by combining 1 drop of this blend per 4 teaspoons (20ml) of carrier oil for a .25% dilution if your child has been exposed to germs.

Other dilution options:

2 drops per 8 tsp or 1.5 ounces

4 drops per 16 tsp or 3 ounces

6 drops per 20 tsp or 4.5 ounces

8 drops per 32 tsp or 6 ounces

Note: You can bump it up to .50% dilution if your child is sick.

Anti-Germ Hand Spray recipe
ages 6 months – 2 years (and up!), .25% dilution

In a 2 ounce fingertip sprayer combine:

  • 1 1/2 ounces (3 TBSP) witch hazel
  • 2 tsp almond oil (or oil of your choice)
  • 3 drops Anti-Germ Blend (recipe above)

Because children tend to put their hands in their mouths, I suggest you wash your child’s hands after spraying with this solution. Or just skip it! :) Washing hands with plain ol’ soap and water is very effective.

Note: If you need to boost this blend, you may increase to a .50% dilution by adding an additional 3 drops per ounce of the liquids in your hand spray (for a total of 6 drops per 2 ounce bottle).

Although the Anti-Germ Blend recipe will be successful for both keeping germs away and helping with congestion, I have provided a blend with a bit more Siberian Fir Needle and less Cinnamon Leaf as an option. I have called this my Anti-Congestion Blend recipe.

Anti-Congestion Blend recipe
ages 6 months – 2 years (and up!)

Combine in a 5ml bottle:

  • 30 drops Sweet Orange Citrus sinensis
  • 30 drops Cinnamon Leaf Cinnamomum verum*
  • 35 drops Fir Needle Abies sibirica

*Feel free to exchange the Cinnamon Leaf for Lavender Lavandula angustifolia

For this age group, diffusing into the air by adding 10 or so drops to your diffuser is the most gentle and can still be effective.

You can make an inhaler by adding 10 drops to an inhaler, waving the inhaler under your child’s nose. Inhalation via an inhaler is a more concentrated route of inhalation than diffusion.

Anti-Congestion Massage Oil recipe
ages 6 months – 2 years  (and up!), .25% dilution

Combine in a 2 ounce squeeze bottle:

  • 2 ounce almond oil (or carrier oil of your choice)
  • 3 drops Anti-Germ/Anti-Congestion Blend

Shake well and apply on throat/neck/back of congested child.

Note: If you need to boost this blend, you may increase to a .50% dilution by adding an additional 3 drops per ounce of carrier oil (for a total of 6 drops per 2 ounce bottle).

 

Age-Appropriate Anti-Germ and Anti-Congestion recipes and suggestions for children aged 3 – 5 years (and up!) 1% – 2% dilution

Please use responsibly and do not over-use. Clove (Bud, Leaf, or Stem) is appropriate to use for this age group, so the blends now contain Clove. You may continue to use the recipe for age 6 months – 2 years and just increase the dilution.

NOTE: These recipes were created for children aged 3 years and up to aged 5 years. However, they may be used by older children as well. If you prefer a stronger dilution for your older children, keep reading! I have those recipes available further down on the page.

Anti-Germ Blend recipe
ages 3 – 5 years (and up!)

Combine in a 5ml bottle:

  • 30 drops Sweet Orange Citrus sinensis
  • 20 drops Clove (Bud, Leaf, or Stem) Zyzygium aromaticum
  • 20 drops Cinnamon Leaf Cinnamomum verum*
  • 25 drops Fir Needle Abies sibirica

*Feel free to exchange the Cinnamon Leaf for Lavender Lavandula angustifolia

For this age group, diffusing into the air by adding 10 or so drops to your diffuser is the most gentle and can still be effective.

You can make an inhaler by adding 10 drops to an inhaler, waving the inhaler under your child’s nose before and after being exposed to germs. Inhalation via an inhaler is a more concentrated route of inhalation than diffusion.

Inhalation (via diffuser or inhaler) is more effective than topical use, but you can use it in a massage blend by combining 1 drop of this blend per teaspoon (5ml) of carrier oil for a 1% dilution if your child has been exposed to germs.

For other volumes using a 1% dilution, see the chart here: Properly Diluting Essential Oils.

Note: You can bump it up to 2% dilution if your child is sick.

Anti-Germ Hand Spray recipe
ages 3 – 5 years (and up!), 1% dilution

In a 2 ounce fingertip sprayer combine:

  • 1 1/2 ounces (3 TBSP) witch hazel
  • 2 tsp almond oil (or oil of your choice)
  • 12 drops Anti-Germ Blend (recipe above)

Note: If you need to boost this blend, you may increase to a 2% dilution by adding an additional 12 drops per ounce of the liquids in your hand spray (for a total of 24 drops per 2 ounce bottle).

Although the Anti-Germ Blend recipe will be successful for both keeping germs away and helping with congestion, I have provided a blend with a bit more Siberian Fir Needle and less Cinnamon Leaf/Clove as an option. I have called this my Anti-Congestion Blend recipe.

Anti-Congestion Blend recipe
ages 3 – 5 years (and up!)

Combine in a 5ml bottle:

  • 30 drops Sweet Orange Citrus sinensis
  • 15 drops Clove (Bud, Leaf, or Stem) Zyzygium aromaticum
  • 15 drops Cinnamon Leaf Cinnamomum verum
  • 35 drops Fir Needle Abies sibirica

*Feel free to exchange the Cinnamon Leaf for Lavender Lavandula angustifolia

For this age group, diffusing into the air by adding 10 or so drops to your diffuser is the most gentle and can still be effective.

You can make an inhaler by adding 10 drops to an inhaler, waving the inhaler under your child’s nose. Inhalation via an inhaler is a more concentrated route of inhalation than diffusion.

Anti-Congestion Massage Oil recipe
ages 3 – 5 years (and up!), 1% dilution

Combine in a 2 ounce squeeze bottle:

  • 2 ounce almond oil (or carrier oil of your choice)
  • 12 drops Anti-Germ/Anti-Congestion Blend

Shake well and apply on throat/neck/back of congested child.

Note: If you need to boost this blend, you may increase to a 2% dilution by adding an additional 12 drops per ounce of carrier oil (for a total of 24 drops per 2 ounce bottle).

Age-Appropriate Anti-Germ and Anti-Congestion recipes and suggestions for children aged 6-9 years (and up!) 2% – 3% dilution

Please use responsibly and do not over-use. Peppermint is appropriate to use for this age group, so the blends now contain Peppermint (you can read all about Peppermint here). You may continue to use one of the recipes for the younger age groups and just increase the dilution.

NOTE: These recipes were created for children aged 6 years and up to aged 9 years. However, they may be used by older children as well. If you prefer a stronger dilution for your older children, keep reading! I have one more recipe available further down the page.

Anti-Germ Blend recipe
ages 6-9 years (and up!)

\Combine in a 5ml bottle:

  • 30 drops Sweet Orange Citrus sinensis
  • 20 drops Clove (Bud, Leaf, or Stem) Zyzygium aromaticum
  • 20 drops Cinnamon Leaf Cinnamomum verum*
  • 25 drops Peppermint Mentha Piperita

Ideally, you should add 10-15 drops to an inhaler and inhale before and after being exposed to germs. This is the most effective, along with using the Hand Spray recipe below.

Although inhalation is more effective than topical use, you can use it in a massage blend by combining 2 drops of this blend per teaspoon (5ml) of carrier oil for a 2% dilution if your child has been exposed to germs.

Note: You can bump it up to 3% dilution if your child is sick.

Anti-Germ Hand Spray recipe
ages 6-9 years (and up!), 2% dilution

In a 2 ounce fingertip sprayer combine:

  • 1 1/2 ounces (3 TBSP) witch hazel
  • 2 tsp almond oil (or oil of your choice)
  • 24 drops Anti-Germ Blend (recipe above)

Note: If you need to boost this blend, you may increase to a 3% dilution by adding an additional 12 drops per ounce of the liquids in your hand spray (for a total of 36 drops per 2 ounce bottle).

Although the Anti-Germ Blend recipe will be successful for both keeping germs away and helping with congestion, I have provided a blend with a bit more Peppermint and less Cinnamon Leaf/Clove as an option. I have called this my Anti-Congestion Blend recipe.

Anti-Congestion Blend recipe
ages 6-9 years (and up!)

Combine in a 5ml bottle:

  • 30 drops Sweet Orange Citrus sinensis
  • 15 drops Clove (Bud, Leaf, or Stem) Zyzygium aromaticum
  • 15 drops Cinnamon Leaf Cinnamomum verum
  • 35 drops Peppermint Mentha Piperita

Ideally, you should add 10-15 drops to an inhaler and inhale to help clear congestion. This is the most effective.

Anti-Congestion Massage Oil recipe
ages 6-9 years (and up!), 2% dilution

Combine in a 2 ounce squeeze bottle:

  • 2 ounce almond oil (or carrier oil of your choice)
  • 24 drops Anti-Germ/Anti-Congestion Blend

Shake well and apply on throat/neck/back of congested child.

Note: If you need to boost this blend, you may increase to a 3% dilution by adding an additional 12 drops per ounce of carrier oil (for a total of 36 drops per 2 ounce bottle).

Age-Appropriate Anti-Germ and Anti-Congestion recipes and suggestions for children aged 10+ years 2% – 3% dilution

Please use responsibly and do not over-use. Eucalyptus is appropriate to use for this age group, so I’ve included it in the blend along with Peppermint. You may wish to replace all of the Peppermint with Eucalyptus if you wish! Totally a matter of preference :)

NOTE: These recipes were created for children aged 10+ years. I am keeping the dilutions the same as the previous age group (2-3%) although ages 15+ can use up to a 5% dilution if necessary.

Anti-Germ Blend recipe
ages 10+
Combine in a 5ml bottle:

  • 30 drops Sweet Orange Citrus sinensis
  • 20 drops Clove (Bud, Leaf, or Stem) Zyzygium aromaticum
  • 20 drops Cinnamon Leaf Cinnamomum verum
  • 15 drops Peppermint Mentha Piperita
  • 15 drops Eucalyptus Eucalyptus globulus, Eucalyptus radiata, Eucalyptus divies, Eucalyptus smithii

Ideally, you should add 15 drops to an inhaler and inhale before and after being exposed to germs. This is the most effective, along with using the Hand Spray recipe below.

Although inhalation is more effective than topical use, you can use it in a massage blend by combining 2 drops of this blend per teaspoon (5ml) of carrier oil for a 2% dilution if your child has been exposed to germs.

For other volumes using a 2% dilution, see the chart here: Properly Diluting Essential Oils.

Note: You can bump it up to 3% dilution if your child is sick.

Anti-Germ Hand Spray recipe
ages 10+, 2% dilution

In a 2 ounce fingertip sprayer combine:

  • 1 1/2 ounces (3 TBSP) witch hazel
  • 2 tsp almond oil (or oil of your choice)
  • 24 drops Anti-Germ Blend (recipe above)

Note: If you need to boost this blend, you may increase to a 3% dilution by adding an additional 12 drops per ounce of the liquids in your hand spray (for a total of 36 drops per 2 ounce bottle).

Although the Anti-Germ Blend recipe will be successful for both keeping germs away and helping with congestion, I have provided a blend with a bit more Peppermint/Eucalyptus and less Cinnamon Leaf/Clove as an option. I have called this my Anti-Congestion Blend recipe.

Anti-Congestion Blend recipe
ages 10+

Combine in a 5ml bottle:

  • 30 drops Sweet Orange Citrus sinensis
  • 15 drops Clove (Bud, Leaf, or Stem) Zyzygium aromaticum
  • 15 drops Cinnamon Leaf Cinnamomum verum
  • 20 drops Peppermint Mentha Piperita
  • 20 drops Eucalyptus Eucalyptus globulus, Eucalyptus radiata, Eucalyptus divies, Eucalyptus smithii

Ideally, you should add 15 drops to an inhaler and inhale to help clear congestion. This is the most effective.

Anti-Congestion Massage Oil recipe
ages 10+, 2% dilution

Combine in a 2 ounce squeeze bottle:

  • 2 ounce almond oil (or carrier oil of your choice)
  • 24 drops Anti-Germ/Anti-Congestion Blend

Shake well and apply on throat/neck/back of congested child.

Note: If you need to boost this blend, you may increase to a 3% dilution by adding an additional 12 drops per ounce of carrier oil (for a total of 36 drops per 2 ounce bottle).

Lea Harris is a Certified Aromatherapist with Advanced Graduate training from Aromahead Institute in July 2013, but she is not a doctor. Please consult a trained aromatherapist or your doctor before using any of the suggestions on this website, as the user's age and health conditions must be taken into account before using. The information contained in this website is for informational purposes only, and should not be used as a substitute for professional medical advice.

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Age-Appropriate Anti-Germ and Anti-Congestion recipes and suggestions for babies and children — 3 Comments

  1. Pingback: Read this before you use Eucalyptus, Peppermint, or Rosemary Essential Oils (1,8-cineole) | Health, Home, & Happiness (tm)

  2. Newbie here, so this may be a stupid question, but here goes: If long-term daily use is never recommended, how do I use this preventatively? I have school-aged children; they are therefore exposed to germs umpteen times a day, every day. So using it “when exposed to germs” would be daily and for 6-9 months, depending on how early those fall/winter viruses start spreading. My 22-month-old and my 8-year-old both get asthma with URI, so I’m hoping EOs can help prevent frequency and severity of episodes.

  3. Hi,

    I am new to EO and appreciate this article after learning about the safety concerns of eucalyptus, peppermint & rosemary. I am very interested in using EO for both sanitizing and congestion. My 3 yo has an orange allergy (hives when ingested, rash when touched). I am finding almost all kids EO blends use sweet orange. Is there a good substitute? He is not allergic to other citrus. Also I am wondering if it safe to use a sanitizer blend with rosemary for cleaning when he isn’t home? How long do I need to wait before he could be around the cleaned surfaces? Thank you!

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