Car Aromatherapy: 6 Refreshing & Calming Oils for Every Car Ride (Updated April 2020)

Essential oils for car aromatherapy can help you with a lot of car-related issues. Maybe you’re prone to getting a little hot-headed on the road, maybe you need a little pick-me-up during long road trips that stretch late into the night, or maybe you tend to get a little carsick. Essential oils can help you take care of these issues and more.

You can make sure that the benefits of essential oils extend out of your home or office. Making the effort to make your car trips better than they could be is definitely worth it. Thankfully, you won’t have to take the time to build a collection of essential oils that you can use in your car.

Just for you, Aroma Foundry has assembled an Essential Oil Six-Pack for Car-Omatherapy, consisting of six of the best essential oils for car rides to help you drive safer and smarter.

car aromatherapy

We did a side-by-side comparison with two of the world's biggest essential oil brands.

Aroma Foundry essential oils versus other brands


Best Essential Oils for Car Aromatherapy

car aromatherapyDid you know that you can practice aromatherapy even inside your car? Photo by Tom Arrowsmith/


Studies have shown that smells can influence behavior, and can thus influence situations that occur inside a car. They can also help you become a better driver. With the right scents, you’ll be able to stay alert and be calmer while driving, which are important to maintaining your safety.


1. Lemon Essential Oil

lemon essential oilFun fact: lemon trees are able to produce as much as 600lbs of lemon fruits each year.

Lemon essential oil can also help you clear your mind and improve your concentration, which is why it is one of the best essential oils for car rides. A clear head and strong focus are key when it comes to driving safely. With the help of lemon oil, you can decrease your chances of getting distracted or making miscalculations and errors when driving.

The Science of Lemon Essential Oil

The chemical compound β-Pinene, which makes up about 25% of lemon essential oil, has properties that can help sharpen focus and improve concentration. This is why lemon is a great scent for vehicles: not only is it pleasant and fresh, it’s also helpful in keeping you safe and alert.

Other than this, lemon oil can help you improve your mood and ease anxiety, which can be good for those who are new to driving. There is also proof that inhaling lemon-scented air stimulates the production of a neurotransmitter called norepinephrine, which induces positive feelings.

lemon essential oil

Using Lemon Essential Oil

If you’re prone to motion sickness, lemon essential oil may be helpful, because it has been found to have properties that can relieve nausea and vomiting. If you or some of your family members tend to get carsick, the scent of lemon may help with getting through long journeys or short ones on bumpy or winding roads.

You can also blend lemon essential oil with other essential oils. These include:

  • Rosemary
  • Grapefruit
  • Eucalyptus
  • Cedarwood
  • Lime
  • Lemongrass
  • Ylang ylang
  • Bergamot

Learn more about lemon essential oil benefits.


2. Mandarin Essential Oil

mandarin essential oilMandarin trees are drought-resistant, but they can be easily damaged by cold weather.


Mandarin essential oil has a lot of surprising benefits, and it can prove to be a very useful addition to any set of essential oils for car aromatherapy.

This citrus essential oil can help reduce stress, anxiety, and other similar negative emotions. It is also considered to be a sedative, but its sedative effects are more for calming nervousness. Thus, it can keep you calm, but it won’t induce sleep or dull your senses.

If you’re new to driving, or if driving generally makes you a bit nervous, mandarin essential oil will be able to help. It won’t make you fall asleep at the wheel, but it can keep you calm enough to be able to drive well.

The Science of Mandarin Essential Oil

Mandarin essential oil can keep cuts and wounds safe from microbial infections, help treat diarrhea, stimulate appetite, and more. It also has antispasmodic and anti-inflammatory properties, which can help with muscle spasms and other symptoms.

Of course, mandarin oil isn’t just good for the body; it’s good for the mind as well. It can help reduce stress, anxiety, and other similar negative emotions. Other mandarin oil properties include:

  • Antiseptic
  • Antispasmodic
  • Restorative

mandarin essential oil

Using Mandarin Essential Oil

Because it’s a citrus essential oil, it’s best to avoid applying mandarin topically, especially if you’re due to go out into the sun within 12 hours after application. However, its scent is definitely beneficial, so there are other ways to use the oil other than applying it topically.

You can add mandarin essential oil to homemade aromatherapy sprays, and you can even make your own car fresheners using mandarin as the scent. Mandarin essential oil can blend well with other oils, such as:

  • Grapefruit
  • Lemon
  • Bergamot
  • Lime
  • Lemongrass
  • Patchouli
  • Basil
  • Cedarwood
  • Ylang ylang

Learn more about mandarin essential oil benefits.


3. Grapefruit Essential Oil

grapefruit essential oilGrapefruit, like all other kinds of citrus fruits, is technically a berry.


Like lemon and mandarin oil, grapefruit essential oil is also beneficial for driving. It also has invigorating effects but does have some abilities that lemon and mandarin oil don’t have. Grapefruit essential oil can also reduce stress and promote calmness and alertness, but what sets it apart is its ability to help relieve fatigue.

Long car drives can be exhausting, but a lot of the time, they’re necessary. Grapefruit oil can help you keep your strength during long journeys, so that you can remain alert, focused, calm, and energetic enough to make it through the trip.

The Science of Grapefruit Essential Oil

Typically, essential oils are made of several different chemical compounds, with each compound appearing in varying amounts. The interesting thing about the chemical composition of grapefruit essential oil is that it is 90% limonene.

Limonene is typically found in citrus essential oils. It offers many benefits, including anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects. For car aromatherapy, however, limonene offers benefits such as stress relief and appetite reduction.

Other components include:

  • β-Pinene
  • Linalool
  • α-Terpinene

These compounds, however, are found in amounts no higher than 1.2% of the total.

grapefruit essential oil

Using Grapefruit Essential Oil

Grapefruit essential oil can boost energy, improve mood, and even help clean and disinfect your car. You can use it in a spray, a homemade car air freshener, or a cleaning solution for wiping down the interior surfaces of your car. You can also use it in car aromatherapy, either by itself or blended with other scents.

These other essential oils blend well with grapefruit:

  • Rosemary
  • Lemon
  • Sage
  • Cedarwood
  • Patchouli
  • Bergamot
  • Lime
  • Ylang ylang

Learn more about grapefruit essential oil benefits.


4. Rosemary Essential Oil

rosemary essential oilSprigs of rosemary used to symbolize fertility in Tudor-era England.


Rosemary essential oil doesn’t just help you keep yourself healthy; it can also help you drive safely. Studies have found that it can help relieve anxiety, improve mood, and induce alertness. Because rosemary oil can boost cognitive performance, it can also help improve concentration and help you make quick decisions while driving.

If you’re driving with kids, however, you should be careful with using rosemary oil for car aromatherapy, because the oil can be too strong for young children. Use only a drop or two, and make sure that you don’t diffuse the scent in the car. You can still enjoy the benefits of rosemary oil, but be careful in using it so kids in your car won’t end up getting sick..

The Science of Rosemary Essential Oil

Like other essential oils, the composition of rosemary essential oil consists of a variety of beneficial compounds. The compound 1,8-cineole in particular makes up the bulk of rosemary essential oil.

1,8-cineole can offer a lot of benefits and advantages, one of which is the attractive aroma it lends to rosemary. It’s also known to be able to improve memory, which is why rosemary is considered to be good for cognitive function.

rosemary essential oil

Using Rosemary Essential Oil

Because rosemary essential oil is good for the brain, it can help you stay focused and make good decisions while on the road. You can use it in a spray or a car freshener. Rosemary by itself may not seem like a typical scent to use for car interiors, but you can blend it with other essential oils.

These essential oils go great with rosemary:

  • Lemon
  • Grapefruit
  • Eucalyptus
  • Cedarwood
  • Ylang ylang
  • Bergamot
  • Spearmint
  • Tea tree

Learn more about rosemary essential oil benefits.


5. Eucalyptus Essential Oil

eucalyptusEucalyptus trees can grow up to 180 feet tall. However, the tallest eucalyptus tree on record is 298 feet tall.


Eucalyptus essential oil can help you overcome mental exhaustion and sluggishness. This makes it an ideal essential oil for car rides, as it can help you stay awake and mentally alert during long or early morning drives.

It can also make your car smell fresher by deodorizing the interior. If you’ve had an unfortunate spill inside your car, or it just smells musty after a long time of use, eucalyptus oil can help you get your car to smell like new again.

The Science of Eucalyptus Essential Oil

The benefits of eucalyptus essential oil come from the different compounds it’s composed of. These compounds are present in varying amounts, with 1,8-cineole and α-pinene making up the bulk of eucalyptus oil.

Both 1,8-cineole and α-pinene are great for improving memory, making eucalyptus a useful essential oil to add to your car aromatherapy regimen.

eucalyptus essential oil

Using Eucalyptus Essential Oil

However, it’s important to be careful when using eucalyptus essential oil. You should avoid using these two oils around kids, and you should also use just a little of eucalyptus oil when you’re using it for the first time. This is because you too may have an adverse reaction to the oil, so it’s best to first test how you’ll react to it.

It may also be best to test this oil out while at home, so you won’t be driving a car in case you have a negative reaction.

Here are other essential oils that will blend well with eucalyptus essential oil:

  • Rosemary
  • Lemon
  • Cedarwood
  • Ylang ylang
  • Tea tree
  • Lemongrass
  • Bergamot
  • Patchouli
  • Spearmint

Learn about eucalyptus essential oil benefits.


6. Spearmint Essential Oil

spearmint essential oil
Spearmint is gentler and less intense than its cousin, peppermint. Photo by Elenglush / Freepik.


Spearmint essential oil can make your journeys a lot easier if you’re the type to get carsick. While spearmint’s cousin peppermint is more well-known when it comes to treating nausea, spearmint can actually be just as effective. Some might also find the scent of peppermint to be a bit too strong or overwhelming; fortunately, spearmint is less intense.

The Science of Spearmint Essential Oil

Spearmint essential oil has menthol as a component. Menthol can help you breathe better, which can in turn help you manage your nausea better. Additionally, you can mix spearmint oil with a carrier oil, then rub the mixture onto your stomach area. The cooling sensation and the scent of the spearmint can soothe your stomach and make you feel more at ease.

Additionally, spearmint can also help inhibit the growth and proliferation of harmful bacteria and fungi. It can even help relieve flatulence and uncomfortable gas pain. This essential oil is definitely worth having on your side in emergencies.

The compound carvone, meanwhile, is naturally found in spearmint. Carvone can help calm the stomach, which can in turn help keep you at your best during long trips.

spearmint essential oil

Using Spearmint Essential Oil

It’s important to make sure that you use spearmint essential oil properly and safely. Make sure that you dilute the oil before applying it topically in order to avoid skin irritations. Pregnant women should also avoid using spearmint oil.

You can also blend spearmint with these essential oils:

  • Rosemary
  • Tea tree
  • Patchouli
  • Lime
  • Eucalyptus
  • Lemongrass

Learn more about spearmint essential oil benefits.


Check out a variety of essential oils you can use in various ways.

buy essential oils



Before you take a look at how you can use the various essential oils in the Aroma Foundry Essential Oil Six-Pack for Car-Omatherapy, you should first take a look at the various precautions you should take before moving forward. These precautions aren’t complicated, but they are necessary in keeping you safe from negative reactions to the oil.

In general, you should not apply more than a few drops of 100% pure essential oil directly onto your skin. Some essential oils should not be applied topically at all. You can dilute the essential oils in a carrier oil, like coconut or olive oil, to make sure that they won’t cause skin irritations.

If you’ve accidentally gotten a lot of essential oil on your skin, you’ll probably notice redness and irritation on the affected area. This is a normal reaction, but you should still contact your doctor to get advice on how to treat the irritation.

Another important thing to remember is that you should not wash essential oil off with water. Essential oils are not water-soluble, and rinsing them off with water will only spread them to a larger area of your skin. Thus, the irritation may spread.

In this case, it’s best to rinse the area with some carrier oil instead of water.

You should also avoid using essential oils on young children, especially those aged 7 or younger. If you are pregnant or breastfeeding, you should avoid using essential oils as well, since they have not been conclusively proven to be safe to use for pregnant and lactating women.


How to Use Essential Oils for Car Aromatherapy

A car is a confined space, which means that the scent of pure essential oils can be overwhelming. This means that you should avoid using too much of essential oils, and you can adjust the amounts of oil called for in the recipes below to find the amount that you’re most comfortable with.

It’s also worth noting that none of the oils in this Six-Pack has strong calming or sedative effects, which can make you fall asleep at the wheel. While some of the oils in the Six-Pack can induce calm, they don’t induce relaxation to the point of falling asleep.

Here are two ways you can use Aroma Foundry’s Car-Omatherapy Essential Oil Six-Pack!


Hanging Car Air Freshener

car aromatherapySick of how the usual hanging car air fresheners smell? We have a great solution. Photo via


One of the more common things you’ll find in vehicles all over the world is a hanging air freshener. Usually, it’s in the shape of a pine tree hung on the rear view mirror. Depending on your own individual sensibilities, you may or may not find the scent of these air fresheners to be pleasant.

If you’re not too fond of that cloying car freshener smell, you can make your own hanging air freshener for your car, using scents that you can mix and match yourself. Here are the things you’ll need:

  • 6 ounces of water
  • 6 to 8 drops of any essential oil combination from the Six-Pack
  • Adhesive craft foam
  • Craft felt
  • String or twine
  • Hole punch

Figure out what shape you’d like your air freshener to be in. Once you’ve decided on a shape, cut it out of both the craft foam and the craft felt. Make sure that both pieces have exactly the same dimensions, since you’ll be sticking them together.

Peel the protective layer of paper on the craft foam to reveal the sticky side. Press this side onto the back of the felt cut-out and make sure that all the edges of both pieces align. Then, take your hole punch and make a perforation on the top part of the shape.

You can now take a glass spray bottle and fill it up with 6 ounces of water. It’s best if you use a bottle made of ultraviolet glass, which can protect natural materials like essential oils from the harm that can be caused by visible light rays. You can check out Infinity Jars, which has a whole line of UV glass spray bottles in various sizes.

Once the water is in the bottle, you can add the essential oils. Shake the bottle to mix all the ingredients together, then spray the mixture on the felt side of your air freshener. You can spray as much or as little of the mixture as you want.

After this, pull the string through the hole you made on the top of the shape. You can then hang the air freshener up on your rearview mirror.

If you’re a DIY enthusiast, you can also try simpler ways to make your own car fresheners with essential oil. Just be cautious of how many drops of oils you use, so you can achieve a scent that’s not too strong nor too subtle. The video below is an example of a DIY freshener, with the use of just a cotton pad and essential oil.

DIY Gel Air Freshener

Gel fresheners are actually quite easy to make, and they can be easy to carry around with you. While you can buy air fresheners from the nearest store, making your own can allow you make a scent you prefer. As a bonus, you won’t be buying plastic or tin containers that can contribute to garbage pollution.

Here are the things you’ll need:

  • 1 cup of water
  • 2 packages of unflavored gelatin
  • 1 tablespoon of salt
  • 20 drops of any essential oil combination from the Six-Pack

Boil 3/4 cup of water in a small saucepan, then add the salt and wait for it to completely dissolve in the water. When the salt is done dissolving, you can carefully add the unflavored gelatin. Keep stirring until the gelatin is dissolved as well.

Turn off the heat and stir in the remaining ¼ cup of water. Pour the mixture into a glass cosmetic-style jar, preferably one made of ultraviolet glass.

Since you’ll be using Aroma Foundry essential oils, which are all 100% pure and all-natural, ultraviolet glass can help extend the shelf life of the product. UV glass filters out visible light, which can harm natural materials. However, it can allow UV and infrared light to pass through, which can enhance the quality of these materials as well.

You can check out Infinity Jars for a wide variety of UV glass containers, each of which can be reused for different purposes.

Once you’ve transferred the gelatin mixture to the glass jar, you can add the essential oils. You can experiment with the different essential oils in the Six-Pack until you find the blend that appeals the most to you.



There are a lot of essential oils for car aromatherapy that can help you become a better driver. These oils can help you stay alert, focused, and in a good mood for the duration of time you spend in the car. If you have a tendency to get carsick, some of these oils can help you get through that as well.

The good news is that you won’t have to buy these oils individually to fill up your collection. You can buy them all at once by purchasing Aroma Foundry’s Car-Omatherapy Essential Oil Six-Pack.

wholesale essential oils


  1. Risks and Dangers Of Essential Oils | Wellness Mama Katie -
  2. 9 Fascinating Ways You Can Use Lemon Oil In Your Body, On Your Body, and Around The House
  3. Herbal Oil: Mandarin Orange Oil Benefits and Uses
  4. Grapefruit Oil: The Citrus Extract To Help Activate Your Lymphatic System
  5. Herbal Oil: Rosemary Oil Benefits and Uses
  6. Herbal Oil: Eucalyptus Oil Benefits and Uses
  7. 15 Wonderful Benefits Of Eucalyptus Oil
  8. “10 Surprising Benefits Of Spearmint Essential Oil” Organic Facts -
  9. “Chemical Composition, and Antioxidant and Antimicrobial Activities of Essential Oil of Spearmint (Mentha spicata L.) From Pakistan”, Journal of Essential Oil Research,
  10. How To Make Your Own Gel Air Fresheners · One Good Thing By Jillee
  11. How To Make 3 Naturally-scented Air Fresheners For Cars · One Good Thing By Jillee
  12. Aromatherapy on the Road: Oils Essential To a Safer Car Ride
  13. How To Use Essential Oils In The Car To Make Journeys So Much Better (& Safer)
  14. The Effect of Lemon Inhalation Aromatherapy on Nausea and Vomiting of Pregnancy: A Double-Blinded, Randomized, Controlled Clinical Trial Parisa Yavari kia, Farzaneh Safajou, Mahnaz Shahnazi, Hossein Nazemiyeh - Iranian Red Crescent Medical Journal - 2014
  15. Olfactory Influences on Mood and Autonomic, Endocrine, and Immune Function Janice K. Kiecolt-Glaser, Jennifer E. Graham, William B. Malarkey, Kyle Porter, Stanley Lemeshow, Ronald Glaser - Psychoneuroendocrinology - 2008
  16. Antiproliferative effects of Camellia sinensis, Frangula alnus and Rosmarinus officinalis Cenić-Milošević Desanka, Tambur Z., Ivančajić S., Bokonjić D., Čuković Anika, Stanojković Tatjana, Grozdanić Nađa, Kulišić Z., Juranić Zorica - Archives of Biological Sciences - 2013
  17. Aromatherapy and Mood Joelle Cooper - Academic Excellence Showcase Schedule - 2015
  18. Hsouna, Anis & Ben Halima, Nihed & Slim, Smaoui & Hamdi, Naceur. (2017). Citrus limon essential oil: Chemical composition, antioxidant and antimicrobial activities with Its Preservative Effect against Listeria monocytogenes inoculated in minced beef meat. Lipids in Health and Disease. 16. 10.1186/s12944-017-0487-5.
  19. Uysal, Burcu & Sozmen, Fazli & Aktas, Ozgur & Oksal, Birsen & Kose, Elif. (2011). Essential oil composition and antibacterial activity of the grapefruit (Citrus Paradisi. L) peel essential oils obtained by solvent-free microwave extraction: Comparison with hydrodistillation. International Journal of Food Science & Technology. 46. 1455 - 1461. 10.1111/j.1365-2621.2011.02640.x.
  20. Limonene: Uses, Benefits, Side Effects, and Dosage. Ashley Sobel -
  21. Sebei, Khalid, et al. “Chemical Composition and Antibacterial Activities of Seven Eucalyptus Species Essential Oils Leaves.” Biological Research, vol. 48, no. 1, 19 Jan. 2015, doi:10.1186/0717-6287-48-7.
View all resources


Author Profile

Fagjun Santos is an avid reader who eventually decided to try her hand at writing her own stuff. After spending her teen years writing what can be considered to be Vogon poetry, she now writes things that aren't a pain to read. Her favorite Aroma Foundry scent is peppermint, with lavender coming in a close second.

See more Fagjun's article >>>;

  1. Background
  2. Best Essential Oils for Car Aromatherapy
    1. Lemon
    2. Mandarin
    3. Grapefruit
    4. Rosemary
    5. Eucalyptus
    6. Spearmint
  3. Precautions
  4. How to Use Essential Oils for Car Aromatherapy
  5. Summary
  6. References