DIY distillers and where to buy distilling equipment for making essential oils

Mini Still Full View
Mini Still Full View

Have you ever wanted to distill your own essential oils instead of spending loads of $$ on buying them? Especially when some are diluted and therapeutically speaking, not worth the price.

Yes, there are reputable companies out there who consistently offer top of the line essential oils, but their prices reflect this and wouldn’t it be great to know exactly where that essential oil you’re using comes from?

By home distillation, you can control exactly how the plants/flowers/etc. are grown, tended and what products are used or not used in their raising. (i.e. pesticides, herbicides, etc.)

separating can where final oil separation and capture happens
separating can where final oil separation and capture happens

I’ve always dreamed of trying my hand at home-distillation. On ‘Serenity Acres’ (our cute one acre property), is loaded with flora of all types and is prime for distilling.

We’ve got grapefruit, tangelos, calamondin (calamandrina’s), bitter orange (best for NEROLI!!–my fave!), oakmoss, echinacea (purple coneflower), gardenia, wild roses, calendula, lemongrass, camphor trees, and loads more! I could stay busy all year!

Wouldn’t it be great to have fresh grapefruit and tangelo essential oil? And omg…neroli (from the bitter orange blossom)!..which also means petitgrain (from the leaves/twigs of bitter orange tree)….oh, I’m too excited! Wish I could afford one!

UPDATE: all our citrus trees were frozen in the past two winters (we had two weeks of around 19 degrees) and that just did the poor trees in. I can’t believe Florida can get so cold! So, hopefully we can get some of those fine citrus trees again, but until then, I’ll have to play with the plants that made it through the freeze.

One of these days I’ll have saved enough to purchase my own distiller, so needless to say, I’ve looked around a lot. I’ve found many distillers on the net and most are quite expensive for the hobbyist.

If anyone has made their own distiller, or has tips on where they found a great deal on one, please email or comment I’d love to hear what worked for you! 🙂

I did find some that look promising, both in price and value:

AWESOME videos and distillers for essential oils at Rainier!!!

Also see them on Facebook here


Portable electric tabletop distillers (also really awesome for distilling tap water to save $ instead of buying bottled water) from Spirit Master.

more electric tabletop distillers from Homebrew Heaven


essential oil distiller directionsHere’s a list of what’s for sale on EBAY for e.o. distillation


GREAT VARIETY of distillation equipment here at Crucible

or see more below:

AnnapolisHomebrew; distillers & distiller parts (from alcohol distilling site)

Item #62010

StillSpirits Airstill

The AirStill is a self-contained, electrically heated and air-cooled distilling machine. No external heat source or cooling water is required.

After one hour warm-up time, production rate is approximately one liter per hour.

IMPORTANT: StillSpirits distilling equipment is sold in the United States for the purposes of water distillation, and the production of essential oils and herbal extracts.  These uses are legal in all 50 states.  No other alternative should be inferred because none is implied. Home distilling in the United States is illegal, and committing this offense could bring about criminal penalties.
Price: $239.99


from China:

Portable Table Top Essential Oil and Hydrosols Distiller


cool blog post about home distillation:

Essential Oil Distillation & Other Tuesday Night Projects

So apparently my kitchen is turning into a bit of a chemistry lab. What are all of those beakers and hoses you ask? Why, it’s a steam distiller, of course!

I will continue to update this post if I find a better deal on distilling equipment.

Please let me know if you’ve found a better one! 😉



  1. How to Make Essential Oils: 20 Steps – wikiHow

    While essential oils can be very expensive to buy, they are relatively cheap to distill at home. This guide provides basic instructions on how to extract the oils …

  2. Essential oils home made – steam distillation of geranium oil

    Dec 25, 2011 – Uploaded by Jason Lye

    Kitchen chemistry from Jason – Steam distillation used to isolate essential oils from geranium. You can find the

  3. Essential Oil Home Distillation Kit – YouTube

    Aug 21, 2012 – Uploaded by OilExTech

    OilExTech, LLC is introducing their new product line the “EssenEx-100” (patent pending). The EssenEx allows

  4. More videos for distill essential oils at home »
  5. Make Essential Oils At Home – Squidoo

    Jump to Collecting Your Oil Once It’s Distilled‎: Separating oil from water. Once you have distilled a beaker of fragrant water, and you have …

  6. Essential OilsHome Distillation of Alcohol (Homemade Alcohol to

    I have no personal experience in essential oil distilling except where I have distilled crushed aniseed, orange peel and lemon peel as part of the wash in a reflux …

  7. How to Make an Essential Oil Distiller |

    Essential oils have been used for centuries to aid in everything from stress to skin … you can make your own essential oil distiller right in your own home. … This container will capture the essential oil once the distillation process is complete. 13 …

  8. Small scale home distilling of essential oils – Orangeblossomfarm…/small-scale-home-…

    Jan 16, 2013 – Now that winter has come, I have eventually found some time to post a few pictures of last summers essential oil distilling project. With the help …

  9. Essential Oil Making: Home Distillation – HubPages › … › Herbal Remedies

    Aug 18, 2011 – Distillation is the most common method of essential oil extraction used at home. It is a good thing that numerous home distillation kits are now …

  10. Essential Oil Distillation | Extract Your Own Essential Oils 6 minutes

    Home and Lab Microwave Essential Oil Extraction Kits and Essential Oil Distillation | Extract Your Own Essential Oils in 6 minutes.

  11. ESSENTIAL OIL Steam Distillation Steam Distiller – HeartMagic

    All glass (pyrex) essential oil steam distiller apparatus for essential oil steam distillation extraction and purifying at home.

Searches related to distill essential oils at home

how to distill essential oils

how to make essential oils at home

DIY making your own essential oil distillery

also, check out these cool articles I found:

How to Make an Essential Oil Distiller By CindyM (Ehow)

Things You’ll Need

  • 2 clean plastic milk jugs
  • ¾-inch copper piping
  • Metal tea kettle with no opening at the top
  • Rubber stopper
  • Ice
  • Liquid sealant
  • A drill and 3/4 (19mm) drill bit
  • Plant material
  • Tennis ball can
  • Meat thermometer
  • Glass container


    • Take the first milk jug and drill a hole in the lid large enough to just fit the copper tubing. Drill another hole near the bottom of the jug.

    • Cut the top off the second milk jug and drill a hole in the bottom large enough to fit the copper piping through.

    • Cut the copper tubing. You will need one piece long enough to run from the kettle stopper to the first milk jug. The second piece will run from the first milk jug to the second and coil through it.

    • Coil the one piece of copper piping seven or eight times around the tennis ball can. Leave one end long enough to travel from the first milk jug to the second. The other end should be straight and left just long enough to exit the second milk jug.

    • Put the stopper in the tea kettle and poke the meat thermometer through.

    • Get a 3/4-inch (19 mm) drill bit, to drill a hole in the stopper.

    • Fill your first milk jug with your plant material and screw on the lid.

    • Put one end of the straight copper pipe through the tea kettle and put the other end through the lid of the first milk jug.

    • Take the coiled piece of copper pipe and place the long straight end into the hole at the bottom of the first jug. Place the coiled portion of the copper pipe into the second milk jug. Run the other straight end out the drilled hole. Feed enough pipe through to reach your glass container which will hold the oils produced from your essential oil distiller.

    • Seal all the openings of your essential oil distiller with sealant.

    • Fill the second jug with ice water. This will cause the vapor to condense.

    • Place the glass container under the copper pipe running out of the bottom of the second milk jug. This container will capture the essential oil once the distillation process is complete.

    • Fill the kettle with water and place it on the stove on high heat.

    • The water will begin to boil and cause steam to penetrate the plant material. This steam will, in turn, capture the essential oils. The copper piping through the ice will cool the steam and separate the oils from the water.

Tips & Warnings

  • Drying your plants beforehand will increase the yield of each batch as you can fit more dried plants into the milk jug at one time.
  • Let plants dry naturally out of the direct sun.
  • Do not let the temperature of the water exceed 175 degrees F or your water will evaporate.

Other People Are Reading

And another one:

How to Make Your Own Essential Oil Distillery

Written by contributing writer
How to Make Your Own Essential Oil Distillery

Make your own essential oil distillery. This is as simple a still as you can make without spending hundreds to thousands of dollars on a mini-distillery. Most of the items in the still we will build can be bought at a second-hand store for only a few dollars. Distillation is a method of separating chemicals (in this case, an essential oil) by boiling into steam and cooling that steam into a liquid. To isolate essential oils, heat up plant material (usually flowers) and cool the steam that comes from the plants so it becomes a liquid called the essential oil.


Things you need

  • Liquid water
  • Plant material
  • Large pot (base only)
  • Wok
  • Large lid (flat but slightly domed)
  • Jar with lid
  • Ice
  1. Place the largest pot you can find on the hob. Fill this pot 2/3 full with water. Any pot that is deep and can hold a lot of water will work.

  2. On top of this pot, place a wok so that it is seated above the water. If a wok is not available, use any pan that can sit on top of the pot. A wok is ideal since it is thin enough to transfer the heat and will sit nicely on top of any size pot.

  3. Fill the wok halfway with fresh plant material. This can be any type of material from which you wish to extract oil. You can use the stems, leaves, flowers, fruit peels, even the roots. Any plant will do but beware that some plants and plant parts are toxic. Do not assume that the oil is good for you simply because it is “natural.” Do not cut the plant more than absolutely necessary, for highest yield.

  4. Place an empty jar in the centre of the plant material with the open mouth up. Make sure that the jar is absolutely clean since this is where you will collect your essential oils.

  5. Place a metal lid on the wok. This lid should be wide enough to cover the wok. It should be a fairly flat lid with a slight dome to it. It should be able to fit in the wok with the handle side going into the wok so that the part normally facing the pan is facing the ceiling. The idea is to let the steam condense on the inside since the outside of the lid is cooler. The oil will cool and condense on the inside part of the lid and will run down the domed part to the handle in the centre. At the centre it will drip into the jar. This is called distillation.

  6. Assuming that the lid does not leak at the knob/handle above the jar, pour cold water into the lid on top and drop in a few ice cubes. This will speed up the process of distillation.

  7. Turn on the stove, and boil the water in the pot. As long as there is water in the pot, the apparatus can keep going. The time depend on the type of material you are using, as thicker material will take longer to extract oils from. For extracting oils from flowers, it takes at least 2 hours to get everything out of the plant, depending on the boiling point of water at your elevation. The higher you live above sea level, the longer it will take. Check the water level periodically, being careful not to burn yourself. If the water starts to run low, add more water.

  8. After everything is cooled down, remove the jar from the centre of the plant material and put a lid on it.

Tips and warnings

  • Baby food jars are the best to use as collecting jars because they have a wide mouth, are small, and close airtight.
  • Make sure that the apparatus (the distiller) is stable and that steam/hot water do not escape in a way that can burn you. Do not touch the apparatus while it is hot. Do not let the apparatus get to the point that it runs out of water. Do not lift the lid at the top while cooking since it is not healthy to inhale that much essential oil. If there is ice in the upside down lid, it may be safe to touch (on some parts) but steam escaping from underneath the lid when raised may still be dangerous.
  • Do not assume that all oils obtained this way are safe since certain plants may have poisons that can become concentrated in this manner. Stick with edible plant parts for a safer experience.

14 thoughts on “DIY distillers and where to buy distilling equipment for making essential oils

  1. Pingback: Essential Oils and other Natural Tips to Aid in the Prevention of H1N1, Swine Flu and Flu Viruses « YellowstarEssentialsBlog

  2. Pingback: Essential Oils and other Natural Tips to Aid in the Prevention of H1N1, Swine Flu and Flu Viruses « simply frugalistic

  3. Please let me know which kind of Distillation Equipment you are need of like distillation column (Packed or tray type) Please let me know the Distillation Feed Stream Composition…….

  4. I like the helpful information you supply for your articles.
    I’ll bookmark your weblog and take a look at once more here regularly. I’m moderately certain I’ll be informed many new stuff right right here! Good luck for the next!

  5. Do you have a spam problem on this blog; I also am a blogger, and I was wondering
    your situation; many of us have developed some nice procedures and we are looking to swap techniques with other folks, please shoot me an e-mail if

  6. I really like your blog.. very nice colors & theme.
    Did you design this website yourself or did you hire someone to
    do it for you? Plz reply as I’m looking to design my own blog and would like to find out where u got this from. thanks a lot

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.