What would you say are the worst smelling essential oils? Is there an oil that you just really dislike? Come on, you know there is at least one that you just don't want to ever crack open again.
There are lots of good essential oil options to enjoy for aromatherapy but we wanted to know what essential oils are the least favorites. Find out what our Loving Essential Oil readers voted on and see if they surprise you at all.
Here is the question we asked our readers:
What essential oil is your least favorite? Here is what we found out.
The answers to this question all seemed to relate to the smell of the essential oil or how the body reacted to the aroma. That makes sense because each and ever essential oil offers so many positive benefits that what it really comes down to is the smell or your reaction to the essential oil. Maybe the smell even reminds you of an unpleasant memory.
Worst Smelling Essential Oils - Least Favorites
OK, so the results REALLY SHOCKED ME!!
There were so many different answers that I can't just make this the top 10 worst smelling essential oils because I have a list of over 45 oils that were mentioned negatively. Oils from A-Y (Angelica Root to Ylang Ylang)
What do these finding suggest? To me it suggests that smell is such an individual preference that it is hard to say what the worst smelling essential oils are because everyone's list would be different.
There were 4 essential oils that really stood out as being unpleasant for several users, here they are:
1. Patchouli Essential Oil
Patchouli essential oil has a deep, earthy aroma and is used extensively in perfumes, soaps, and cosmetics. Patchouli oil is also used in aromatherapy and has a range of benefits for health and wellbeing. It is believed to be helpful for anxiety, depression, and stress.
Patchouli essential oil is also thought to be helpful for acne, eczema, and other skin conditions. It can be used topically or inhaled, it should be diluted before topical use on the skin.
"Patchouli, I know a lot of people that wear it as perfume/cologne (men and women) and they put on way too much, it is super overpowering and gives me a headache, almost makes me gag when I smell it on people." -Kristin F, CO
"Patchouli oil I do not care for because it reminds me of a hippy smell." -Karen R, CA
"Patchouli, I am a hippie from the 60s and it brings back not so good memories!!" -Deb W, TX
"Patchouli is too grassy smelling to me." -Heather E, FL
"Patchouli oil, I associate it with my dad’s divorce to my mom and have never enjoyed the smell." -Julie, VA
"Patchouli, just smelling it can bring on an asthmatic attack." -Lisa S, NJ
"Patchouli, I tried to like it. Mixed with orange the smell was OK. But to me it smells like cat pee." -Liz R, FL
2. Tea Tree Essential Oil
Tea tree essential oil is good for a lot of things. It can be used to help fight off colds and flu, clear up sinuses, soothe insect bites and stings, and even help to heal cuts and scrapes.
Tea tree oil is also effective at assisting with fungal infections like athlete's foot, ringworm, and candida. In addition, this oil has powerful antibacterial and antiviral properties, making it a great natural remedy for many common ailments. Tea tree essential oil is also an excellent natural cleaning agent.
"Tea tree because it is soo strong" -Amy V, NY
"I would have to say that the EO I dislike the smell of is also one of the most valuable and also one that I use most frequently and that is Tea Tree oil. I have used it successfully for so many things from topical for skin problems to use in my natural antibacterial multi-use cleaning products. I almost always use Tea Tree in conjunction with more pleasant smelling oils such as lavender and citrus which also have some of the same properties. " -Claudia S, CA
"Tea Tree oil. My brother spilled a bottle of it in my kitchen...took months to get the smell out. Am afraid to even order something that has it 'blended' in." -August S, MT
"Tea tree oil. Just don't like the smell." -Sherri F, CA
"Tea tree just because the smell is so overpowering to me." -Kristina C, TN
3. Oregano Essential Oil
Oregano essential oil is gaining popularity for its wide range of benefits. It is a powerful antiseptic and can be used to cleanse cuts, scrapes, and other wounds. It can also be used to aid respiratory infections such as bronchitis and sinusitis.
Oregano oil is effective in boosting the immune system, making it a valuable tool in the fight against colds and flu. In addition, it can be helpful in treating digestive disorders such as indigestion and diarrhea. Oregano oil is also said to have anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving properties. Oregano essential oil is an incredibly versatile natural remedy that should be a part of every home medicine cabinet.
"Oregano, don't like the stinky smell!" -Jen, CA OK, so this is me, this oil got my #1 vote. I really do not like the smell and once I get it in my nose, it is hard to get it out. I know there are amazing oregano benefits but it is a hard one for me to use and smell. I will add a drop or two into my blending blends.
"Oregano scent is too strong." -Mary Jo, NM
"Oregano! I love the herb in foods, but the fragrance of the oil is so potent that once I smell it, I can’t get it out of my sinuses, and it isn’t pleasant .:-(" -Cynthia M, SC
4. Lemongrass Essential Oil
Lemongrass essential oil has a wide range of uses and benefits. It is frequently used in aromatherapy and massage, as it is believed to help reduce stress and promote relaxation. It is also commonly used in household cleaning products, as it is effective at combating bacteria and odors.
In addition, Lemongrass essential oil can be used topically after diluting with a carrier oil to relieve muscle pain and headaches. It is also reputed to have insect-repellent properties, making it a popular choice for natural mosquito control.
"My least favorite essential oil is lemongrass, I try to avoid using it as much as possible because every time I get a whiff I start nonstop sneezing. These aren't good sneezes, these are the choking gagging sneezes. They can be quite painful too. I've given myself the benefit of the doubt and tried diffusing lemongrass in a blend using half the oil and I still suffer. It's safe to say that lemongrass is my least favorite oil. I look forward to learning from you about all the fun oils and how I can transition into have a whole stockpile of cleaning products." -Kim T, OR
More Least Favorite Essential Oils
I was shocked to read that some fans disliked orange essential oil (yes 2 people said orange), 3 people said peppermint, 1 said cypress...I LOVE each of these oils and I use them everyday. They also make a great essential oil combination too!
Some responders wouldn't name names, others were new oil users and haven't found one they disliked yet. Katharine M from NY said "All essential oils deserve love!"
"I don't have a least favorite. They all do their work and are all powerful healing remedies." -Tannath J.
How to Use Essential Oils That Don't Smell Good
Many essential oils have potent aromas that can be very beneficial for our health. However, some essential oils have less pleasant smells that can be off-putting. If you find yourself with an essential oil that doesn't smell good, there are still ways to use it.
Thankfully essential oils still work, even if you dislike the smell. Here are some things to try:
Use Less Drops of the Oil:
- Try using less drops of the oil you dislike. Each drop of oil is so powerful and concentrated. You can also dilute the oil in a carrier oil such as jojoba or coconut oil. This will help to reduce the intensity of the aroma while still allowing you to reap the benefits of the oil.
Blend with Another Essential Oil:
- Another option is to combine the essential oil with other oils that have more pleasant smells. This can help to create a blend that is both effective and pleasant-smelling.
- "I really do not dislike any essential oil. Each of them has a specific medicinal purpose. Some smell more "mediciny" or pungent. They can be diluted or blended with something else to be nicer to the nose. That's how perfumes are created ;) " -Sherry P.
Continue to Use Anyway:
- "My least favorite oil is Juniper because of the smell. It helps me with lessening vertigo so I will continue to use it but I don’t like the smell of it." -Kris M, MI.
- "I really don't like the smell of Helichrysum, but I use it because it's a super oil." -Lisa W, GA
Learn to Like It:
- "I find benefits in every single eo! Blend or single, every oil is beneficial to one person or another for various conditions. You may not accept the aroma at first but you and your body learn to accept and use them to their fullest potential" -Geralyn C.
Apply to Feet:
- Instead of applying close to your face and nose, try applying to feet or behind ankles.
- The feet are an ideal spot for applying essential oils because they are full of pores and absorb the oils quickly. In addition, the essential oils can then be diffused throughout the body, providing a range of benefits.
Find an Alternative:
- There are so many essential oils available to purchase, you can easily find an alternative oil that offers similar benefits.
- I do not like Oregano but thankfully Sweet Marjoram is in the same family and has similar benefits.
- "Other than not loving the smell of basil, I don't have any oils that I don't at least like. Whether I love the smell or the effect of a specific oil, they all make me happy!" -Bev J, AZ
Stop Using It:
- Buy new essential oils in small bottles that way if you don't like it, you aren't out a lot of cash.
- "The smell of Spikenard is one I haven't gotten used to. It has great benefits but I haven't used it much because of the scent." -Kimberley Z, WA
Trial and Error:
- Initially you may not love the smell of an essential oil, especially if just smelled out of the bottle.
- The aroma may change if applied to skin or mixed with other oils in a blend.
- With a little experimentation, you can find ways to use even the most potent essential oils without being overwhelmed by their smell.
When I first got patchouli oil I didn't like it. I avoided it for about 2 years. Then I pulled it back out and tried it in different recipes and blends and now I love the oil, especially when used with orange essential oil. I even use it in an Essential Oil Solid Perfume Recipe!
Bad Smelling Essential Oils FAQ
Here are a few questions and answers related to stinnky and bad smelling essential oils:
Why do my essential oils smell bad?
If you've noticed that your essential oils have started to smell bad, there are a few possible explanations. One possibility is that the oil has become oxidized. This can happen when the oil is exposed to too much heat, light, or air.
Another possibility is that the oil has gone bad due to bacteria growth. This can occur if the oil isn't stored properly, if it gets contaminated, or if it's been used too many times.
Finally, it's also possible that you simply don't like the way the oil smells. Each person's sense of smell is unique, so what may smell bad to one person may smell perfectly fine to another. If you're not sure why your essential oils smell bad, try talking to a professional for more advice.
Why does my essential oil diffuser smell bad?
If your essential oil diffuser is giving off a bad smell, there are a few possible reasons.
- First, make sure you are using high-quality essential oils. If the oils you are using are old or of poor quality, they will not evaporate properly and will leave behind a residue that can cause a bad smell.
- It's also important to clean your diffuser regularly. If essential oils build up on the surface of the diffuser, they can start to degrade and produce offensive odors.
- Finally, make sure you are using the correct ratio of essential oil to water. If you add too much essential oil, it can vaporize incompletely and leave an unpleasant smell in the air.
By following these simple tips, you can enjoy the benefits of essential oils without having to deal with bad smells.
Why does patchouli oil smell so bad?
Patchouli oil is made by steam distilling the leaves of the Pogostemon cablin plant. While patchouli oil has a wide range of benefits, it is most commonly known for its strong, musky scent. This essential oil has a potent smell that can be overwhelming to some people. However, others find the scent to be grounding and relaxing.
If you are not a fan of the smell of patchouli oil, you can try diluting it with a carrier oil such as jojoba oil or coconut oil. You can also try using less essential oil or diffusing it for a shorter amount of time.
More Essential Oils Our Fans Didn't Like
- DC at Young Living. It is the smell I do not care for. I think it does what it says it is just the smell. Mary H, KS
- Citronella I would say smell wise but it is great for keeping bugs away. Heather O, MA
- Cinnamon. I know I'm weird but I can't stand the smell of cinnamon.... in any form. I'm pretty sure I'm the only one in the world who doesn't like it. I don't like eucalyptus either but I'm allergic to that. Gives me an asthma attack. Yes, going into to stores like Michael's, hobby lobby, ac Moore etc can be agonizing lol. Sara K, TX
- Frankincense...only because of the scent, otherwise it is very useful. Renee C.
- Fairly new to essential oils so I don't have a lot but so far it is one of the pine scented ones. Maria E, MN
- Arborvitae is my least favorite EO. I can not stand the smell, it makes me want to puke! lol. Jessica B, MT
- Probably Peppermint, and only because I have a slight allergic reaction to it. Holly B, WA
- Angelica root is too peppery for me. Susan, OH
- Vetiver, it's too thick so makes it hard to come out of container. Melinda H, MD
- I would say Cassia because for me it smells like hospital, but maybe I am wrong! Johanna C, FL
- I'm not sure which essential oil is my least favorite as I haven't experienced them all .... however for now I would have to say maybe clove as its so strong! Jamie, IA
- Manuka is my least favorite. The scent is off-putting to me. Kimberlee S, IL
- Nutmeg. I read somewhere that ancient Egyptians used Nutmeg oil in embalming practices. Now, that is what comes to mind when I smell Nutmeg oil. Chris S, MI
- I think Turmeric but only because of the scent. It's not very appealing. Otherwise I love the oils I have. Susan B, NY
- The hot oils cinnamon and clove bud, need to be careful how and what they are used for. Karen H, MN
- Valerian, the smell is just horrendous!! Barbara S, TX
- Surprisingly, I'm not fond of lemon. It reminds me of a public bathroom, ha ha! I also find tea tree pretty gross. Debbie C, AR
- Cedarwood - it just doesn't like sense of smell - usually get all sinus clogged after diffusing oils with Cedarwood in the mix.:( Marie F, TX
- Siberian fir, just don't like the smell although I'm sure it's great for health uses. Elizabeth H, FL
- I dislike cypress eo. The aroma is far too strong and makes me nauseous. Krista T.
- Orange. It reminds me of cleaning supplies. Jordyn D, WA