While sandalwood essential oil can be purchased through specialty stores and online, it is fun and easy to make your own version at home. Sandalwood can be expensive and sometimes difficult to purchase but if you are able to get your hands on some, the oil making process is fairly quick. Making essential oils at home can turn into a fun hobby that is beneficial for the entire family. A fresh bottle of homemade sandalwood oil even makes a great gift.
Keep in mind that no homemade oil is as potent as a purchased oil. This is because it is near impossible to duplicate the complicated process with at home materials. Your homemade sandalwood oil is still strong enough to cause allergic reactions or irritation though so use with the same safety precautions as you would with a purchased oil.
What You Will Need
- Sandalwood/Sandalwood Powder
You can purchase both sandalwood and sandalwood powder online. Many health stores carry sandalwood powder. If you are unable to find the powder the sandalwood chips will need to be broken down as fine as possible. When making your own sandalwood oil, the quality of the sandalwood is much more important than with other homemade oils. Both items are easy enough to find but the quality will greatly vary. Keep in mind that a bargain is most likely sourced from an immature tree. In order to produce quality sandalwood oil, a tree needs to be several decades old. A tree that is forty years old will provide enough oil but a tree that is eighty years old is preferred. There will be more oil present and the aroma will be much stronger. If possible, try to buy sandalwood from the root of the tree, which is where the most oil is concentrated.
- Coffee Bean Grinder/Mortar and Pestle
You will only need these products if you need to break down your sandalwood chips. Use a grinder that you can spare to lose, just in case the wood damages the appliance. To avoid this, break down the chips as small as possible and only grind for short bursts. Once the wood chips are much smaller, you can continue to grind them or use a mortar and pestle to finish the job by hand. It will be very difficult to achieve the same fineness as store bought powder but the goal is to get the chips as small as possible. This will provide you a higher quality oil because the oil is situated deep within the wood chips. Your oil will also have more surface area to receive the sandalwood oil from.
- Double Boiler
This is only needed for the second method. If you don’t have a double boiler, make your own by placing a pot inside of a larger pot filled with water.
- Large Glass Container
This is what you will make the oil in so make sure that it is big enough to hold all of the cloves and oil. It should also have a tight fitting lid. You can use an old food container as long as it has been cleaned thoroughly and is made of glass. A canning jar would be ideal.
- Olive Oil
Olive oil is recommended for making sandalwood oil but any carrier oil will do. Make sure that its scent isn’t too strong. You don’t want to cover up the aroma of the sandalwood.
- Cheesecloth or Coffee Filter
A cheesecloth will work best but a coffee filter can be used in a pinch.
- Dark Glass Bottle
This is what you will be storing your essential oil in. All essential oil products store best in dark glass and will stay fresher longer this way. Try to use one with an eyedropper attached to the lid to make distribution easier. Be cautious if using a bottle that previously held a different essential oil. It can be difficult to completely clean the bottle and remove all the residue and fragrance from the previous oil, which can affect the new oil that will be placed in it.
Place a quarter ounce of sandalwood powder in a jar and pour a cup of olive oil over it. Give the jar a little shake and place in a safe spot where it will receive enough sunlight to warm up a bit. Let the jar sit for about a week, remembering to shake the jar on occasion. The jar may be left for as long as you wish but if left for over a month, add more olive oil every two weeks.
After the soaking time has passed, open the jar and begin to strain the mixture. Once the mixture has gone through the strainer, push down on the sandalwood powder with a spoon to extract more oil. Once the straining has been completed, the oil that is left is your essential oil. If you would like to make a stronger homemade essential oil, begin the process again by adding more sandalwood powder and using the already infused olive oil, adding more if needed. This process can be repeated as many times as you would like to achieve a more potent oil. Keep in mind that the more potent the oil is, the higher the risk for irritation. Always dilute sandalwood oil, even a homemade concoction. When you are ready, transfer the oil to a dark glass bottle and store it in a cool, dark place.
If you want your sandalwood oil to be ready sooner, you can place the ingredients in an oven safe pot. Place in an oven heated to 200 degrees Fahrenheit and allow to heat for at least four hours, stirring occasionally. You can also put the ingredients in a slow cooker and simmer on low for eight hours, stirring occasionally. Strain and store as normal.
No matter which method you use, your sandalwood oil should be used within six months. Try adding a few drops of vitamin E oil to extend the life of your oil.