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All About Lemon Essential Oil

Lemon essential oil is one of the best selling essential oils on the market today. It is no wonder with it’s energizing, invigorating, fresh, clean, purifying and recognizable scent. It is also an extremely versatile essential oil, everything from addressing skin blemishes to air purification to surface cleaning.

Lemon essential oil can be listed with the botanical name of citrus limon, citrus x limon or citrus limonum. The botanical family is rutaceae. Lemon essential oil is one of the cheaper essential oils in the industry. Prices range from $10-15 for a 15 ml bottle, depending on the brand and if it is organic. Lemon essential oil has antiseptic, antifungal and astringent properties.

Lemon essential oil has GRAS (Generally Regarded As Safe for food additive or flavoring by the US Food and Drug Administration) status.* The main constituents (over 1%) are limonene, β-pinene, γ-terpinene, and x-pinene. The fragrance note classification is top and the consistency is thin.

For much more on essential oils, be sure to see my Comprehensive Guide to Essential Oils.

How is Lemon essential oil made?

Most brands cold press or express the fresh lemon peel. It is possible for the lemon peels to be steam distilled and this is usually clearly indicated on the bottle. Most essential oil brands source their lemons from Italy and some use the USA.

What is the shelf life of Lemon essential oil?

Approximately 2 years with proper storage in cool, dark spaces. Older oils can potentially cause skin irritation or sensitization due to oxidation.

Can you use Lemon essential oil on or around children?

Yes. Recommended age is over 2 years old for normal use with appropriate dilution.

Essential oils can be used around children under the age of 2 years old, but should be done so mindfully and carefully. Always refer to the specific instructions listed for the essential oil by the brand you are purchasing from.

What is the Lemon essential oil dilution rate for topical application?

  • Adult: up to a maximum of 2% dilution
  • Children 2-6 years of age: general dilution rates recommended at 1% or less
  • Children 6-15 years of age: general dilution rates recommended at 1.5% or less


How can Lemon essential oil be used?

24 Uses of Lemon Essential Oil

Lemon essential oil is one of the best essential oils to have in your collection due to the many ways it can be used. There are few products on the market today that can be used for various types of cleaning, to increase wellness within the body and for beauty. Lemon essential oil provides a wonderful, uplifting and clean scent that is experienced anytime that it is used. Here are many of the ways lemon essential oil can be used:

  • Furniture polish
  • Window cleaner
  • Household cleaner and disinfectant
  • Air purifier
  • Eliminates odors
  • Uplifts mood
  • Aids memory
  • Aids respiratory function
  • Boost immune system
  • Helps to clear nasal passages
  • Reduces cough
  • Reduce inflammation and pain
  • Relaxes and aids in better sleep
  • Use in massage
  • Bath oil (dilute properly prior to adding to bath)
  • Apply to zits to clear up quickly
  • Add a drop or two to shampoo to address dandruff
  • Add a drop to conditioner to produce a nice smooth shine
  • Use to whiten teeth
  • Facewash
  • Use to remove sticky residues
  • Reduce bacteria in minor infections
  • Add to lotion or carrier oil to prevent or address dry skin on feet
  • Some will ingest to help cleanse the body and to aid digestion*


What essential oils can Lemon essential oil blend with?

While there are many benefits and uses for lemon essential oil on it’s own, there are times when you might want to try blending with another essential oil to reap the benefits of 2 or more essential oils. It is fun to experiment and experience the different essential oils together. Here is a collective list from many of the top essential oil brands of recommended essential oils to blend with lemon essential oil.

  • Bergamot (Citrus bergamia)
  • Benzoin (Styrax benzoin)
  • Carrot Seed (Daucus carota)
  • Cedarwood (Cedrus atlantica)
  • Chamomile – German (Matricaria chamomilla)
  • Chamomile – Roman (Chamaemelum nobile)
  • Cinnamon Bark (Cinnamomum verum)
  • Cistus (Cistus ladanifer)
  • Citronella (Cymbopogon winterianus)
  • Coriander Seed (Coriandrum sativum)
  • Elemi (Canarium Iuzonicum)
  • Eucalyptus (Eucalyptus radiata)
  • Fennel (Foeniculum vulgare)
  • Frankincense (Boswellia carteri) 
  • Geranium (Pelargonium x asperum or Pelargonium graveolens)
  • Grapefruit (Citrus x paradisi)
  • Juniper Berry (Juniperus communis)
  • Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia)
  • Lemongrass (Cymbopogon flexuosus)
  • Lime (Citrus x aurantifolia)
  • Mandarin (Citrus reticulata)
  • May Chang (Litsea cubeba)
  • Neroli (Citrus x aurantium)
  • Oakmoss (Evernia prunastri)
  • Orange (Citrus sinensis)
  • Palmarosa (Cymbopogon martinii var motia)
  • Peppermint (mentha x piperita)
  • Petitgrain (Citrus x aurantium)
  • Rose (Rosa x centifolia)
  • Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis)
  • Sandalwood (Santalum spicatum)
  • Tangerine (Citrus reticulata)
  • Tarragon (Artemisia dracunculus)
  • Tea Tree (Melaleuca alternifolia)
  • Vetiver (Vetiveria zizanoides)
  • Ylang Ylang (Cananga odorata)

One of the easiest ways to experience lemon essential oil in an essential oil blend is to purchase one that has already been created by many of the essential oil brands on the market today. These blends, or synergies, are usually created by aromatherapists who understand the chemistry within the essential oils and how they respond to each other and are able to achieve a particular scent or therapeutic experience. Since lemon essential oil is so versatile there are many blends or synergies that have it included. Here are a few from different essential oil brands:

  • Germ Fighter from Plant Therapy
  • Thieves from Young Living
  • Breathe from doTERRA
  • Mountain Bandits from Aromatics
  • Breathe Easier from Eden’s Garden


What do I need to consider when using Lemon essential oil?

Lemon Essential Oil

Citrus essential oils have been known to be phototoxic when using topically. This sensitivity can result in a bad sun burn and varies depending on how much of the lemon essential oil was used, if it was applied neat or diluted and how long after application exposure to the sun. Best practice is to allow 12 hours after application before going in the sun or tanning bed, unless using diluted 12 drops or less to 1 oz of carrier oil.

Lemon essential oil that has been steam distilled it is not phototoxic. Steam distilled lemon essential oil provides an inferior lemon sent than expressed lemon essential oil and would be used more for flavoring then aromatically but offers the same benefits topically.

Since lemon essential oil comes from the peel of the plant it is recommended to purchase organically to avoid pesticides that remain on the peel that could be included in the essential oil.

Do not use lemon essential oil when cleaning granite and other natural stone as it could scratch or damage the surface.

Lemon essential oil can cause possible skin sensitivity. Keep out of reach of children.

*Please note, not all essential oils should be ingested and the specific essential oil brand labels and directions should be followed. Also, there is debate within the industry regarding ingestion of essential oils without following guidance from a physician or certified aromatherapist.

Disclaimer: For informational and educational purposes only. These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration and are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. If you have a health concern, a medical condition, are pregnant or breastfeeding, or are taking any medication please consult your healthcare provider.