You might mix essential oils with a carrier to use topically or put them in a diffuser. Essential oils can be used to soothe aches and pains, enhance beauty treatments, relieve stress and improve your mood. Adding essential oils to compresses is a comforting and often overlooked way to incorporate them into your life.

What Is A Warm Compress?

A warm compress is a way to apply heat to the body. It can be used with wet or dry heat and is good for:

  • Headaches
  • Sore muscles
  • Tight muscles
  • Stiffness
  • Eye pain

Heat improves circulation. Because blood carries oxygen and other nutrients, increasing its flow to certain areas of the body can speed healing and enhance your well-being.

Plus, what’s more, calming than relaxing with warmth? Infused with essential oils for aromatherapy, a warm washcloth can do wonders at the end of a long day.

What Is A Cold Compress?

Sometimes, you may prefer a cool compress to a warm one. If you’re experiencing a headache, a cold washcloth can feel great on your forehead, face or neck.  Cold temperatures reduce swelling and inflammation. Ice numbs the area, which can further reduce pain.

Cold can be energizing. Use a cold washcloth sprinkled with a stimulating essential oil for a pick-me-up throughout the day. This can also be used for sprains, bruising and fever.

How To Make A Warm Compress

A warm or hot compress should never be so hot that it burns you. Therefore, always use tap water and avoid using boiling water. Run water to a temperature that would be comfortable for washing your face or hands. Collect one to two cups in an insulated thermos.

Add 10 to 15 drops of essential oil. You can use a variety of oils to suit your purpose or a single oil.

Place a few washcloths in the water. Remove one, wring it out, and place it on your body. When it cools off, you can swap it for a warm one from the thermos.

How To Make A Cold Compress

One of the benefits of using a cold compress instead of an ice pack is that it is less shocking to the skin. As the cold compress warms up to your skin, you can continue to swap it out with a cold one. We’ll tell you how to adjust the temperature so that you stay as comfortable as possible when using this type of therapy.

Start with a large bowl and some washcloths. Fill the container with one or two cups of cold water, and add 10 to 15 drops of essential oil.

If the water from your tap isn’t cold enough, you can place the bowl in the refrigerator or add ice cubes to it. Place several washcloths in the bowl to soak up the water. You can use one cloth at a time, replacing it when it gets warm.

If you would like a colder compress, put the wet washcloths in the freezer after you soak them in the bowl of essential oil and water. They’ll take longer to warm up and may be more effective for treating deeper aches and pains.

What Can You Use Essential Oil Compresses For?

You can use essential oils safely in a compress, and they can help with many injuries and concerns. Now that you understand how to use an essential oil on a warm or cool washcloth, you might want to know what you can use it for.

Bug Bites

Although insect bites are generally harmless, they can be uncomfortable. They may cause pain, stinging, itching or burning. Sometimes, mild swelling occurs at the site.

A cold compress can minimize swelling and soothe the skin. The low temperature delays the communication between nerve signals. This means that your brain won’t register the pain or itching as readily.

Adding essential oils to a bug bite treatment can introduce antimicrobial and antihistamine properties. Peppermint and tea tree oil help combat bacteria. Tea tree oil is also a natural antihistamine. Lavender relieves pain, and rosemary and chamomile have anti-inflammatory properties.


Depending on the type of headache, you could use a warm or cold washcloth with peppermint, eucalyptus, and lavender essential oils. Warm, moist heat is helpful for getting the sinuses moving and relieving pressure from congestion. Cold helps relieve headaches caused by strain or tension. It may also reduce the severity of a fever.

You can alternate with hot or cold washcloths. If you have a migraine, it may be beneficial to place a warm washcloth on the back of your neck while a cool one rests on your forehead. The warmth will open up the blood vessels, which may help to relieve the pain.

When using essential oil for headaches, keep the oils out of your eyes. The ideal placement of the washcloth would be on the forehead, cheeks or back of your neck. After using the washcloth on your face, wipe off any excess essential oil residue that might be on your skin so that it doesn’t seep into your eyes. If you do get essential oils in your eyes, flush with water and get medical attention if necessary.

Sprains And Strains

If you have muscle, tissue or joint pain, you might want to try using a cold compress within the first 24 to 48 hours of the injury. Oils with anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties are the best for these conditions. Using them in a compress delivers topical benefits, but you’ll also get aromatherapy benefits from breathing in the oils while you use them.

After 24 to 48 hours, you might want to switch to a warm compress for body aches. You can even try soaking in a bath that has been infused with essential oils for full-body relief.

Skin Wounds And Infections

Whether you have acne or another type of skin infection, you can use an antimicrobial essential oil on a compress to fight bacteria. You can also clean and relieve the pain of cuts or scrapes with warm essential oilcloths.


If you have a cold or allergies, placing a warm cloth on your chest or nose can be soothing. Drape a warm washcloth over your nose and mouth, inhaling the essential oil steam, or lay it on your chest to help clear your lungs.

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This