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Understanding Essential Oil And StyroFoam

What Does It Mean If An Essential Oil Dissolves Styrofoam?

If you saw a video of an essential oil eating through styrofoam, would it encourage you to ingest that EO on the basis that it has a detoxifying effect? Many seem to be divided on this issue. Which is why we at Edens Garden often get asked questions surrounding this viral YouTube phenomenon. What could essential oils eating through styrofoam mean for you and your aromatherapy use? Let’s look at the facts.

Why Can Some EOs Dissolve Styrofoam?

Certain essential oils are verygood organic solvents. An organic solvent, orvolatile organic compound (VOC), is a compound which contains carbon and easily evaporates when exposed to oxygen. VOCs are used to dissolve certain materials, act as dispersants for coatings such as paint or lacquer, and as a cleaner. One example of a material that many organic solvents can dissolve is styrofoam.

Essential oils such as Lemon exemplify many characteristics of a good organic solvent, in that it is volatile, contains constituents made of carbon and it can eat through styrofoam as many have demonstrated.

What EOs Dissolving Styrofoam Doesn’t Mean

Despite what many may think, an essential oils ability to dissolve matter doesn't indicate its ability to detoxify when ingested. On the contrary, an essential oil’s ability to dissolve styrofoam suggests the dangers of casual EO ingestion, and the need for safe aromatherapy practices to be employed. So though essential oils with organic solvent properties could potentially breakdown the petrochemicals in your body, they can also damage your insides, whichsome have unfortunately learned the hard way.

What This Means for You and Your Essential Oils

When it comes to EOs, casual use can quickly turn into  misuse. So, how can one use essential oils with peace of mind? Following aromatherapy safety precautions and proper guidelines is the best way to use essential oils safely and effectively. When using essential oils in this respect, there is no need to fear adverse reactions, but you can rest assured that you’re getting the most out of your EOs.

Furthermore, it is also recommended that you avoid using essential oils on finishes such as paint and lacquer, and that you mix and store your EOs in glass, PET plastic or stainless steel rather than styrofoam and other plastics.

In light of this information, it is our hope that the next time someone watches a video of an essential oil eating through styrofoam, they’ll know this isnot a good reason to ingest it.  


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6 Responses

Edens Garden

March 15, 2019

Hi Lori! This is a common occurrence when it comes to essential oils, which is why we only recommend storing oils in glass or PET plastic containers. All essential oils possess the ability to dissolve certain materials.


March 15, 2019

Just because any material eats through anything doesn’t mean it’s bad, it’s just chemistry! Something a great many people lack any knowledge of and understandably so. Besides that, the lining of your stomach is being replaced every few days in part due to the already inhospitable environment of it being naturally acidic. You know what else breaks down Styrofoam? Mealworms. People are experimenting with the frass (poop) from mealworms fed exclusively Styrofoam to see if plants can still grow with it mixed into the dirt. My point is, there is almost more than 1 thing going on than we realize. Also from reading the list of medical complaints in the provided link, people are not being taught just how concentrated E.O. are and not being given the info. about risks & uses even if not over using them. Like all medicine, use with respect, knowledge, and don’t take anything anyone says as true, even a doctor, they don’t know you specifically, do your own research & even then as in life, no guarantees.


March 15, 2019

Very nicely written!! You have given insight and awareness to EOs many do not know or understand. Kudos to you and your team. Nicely done!!

Audrey Brown

March 15, 2019

Young living claims you can ingest their oils is this true, because I have friends that ingest their oils


March 15, 2019

In a similar vein, I have had issues with some EOs dissolving the rubber bulbs on droppers when I create blends and store them for awhile. Is this a common issue, and which oils are likely to do it?

Nancy R.

March 15, 2019

Thanks again for sharing important safety information! Your commitment to safe usage, and putting your customers’ safety above your bottom line is one of the reasons why I love EG.