How to Make Hydrosol from Fresh or Dried Herbs
This post may contain affiliate links.

 Learn how to make hydrosol from fresh or dried herbs.  This saves you money, and you can create a hydrosol in just a few hours.  Use your hydrosol for a toner, DIY hair care, DIY skin care, or even a homemade cleaner.


Hydrosols are sometimes called floral waters.  They are made in much the same was as an essential oil, and they are actually a byproduct of making an essential oil.


Where an essential oil is oil based, a hydrosol is water based.  It has similar properties to the essential oil, but it's milder and can be used in a variety of DIY recipes or on its own.





Today, we are going to learn how to make a hydrosol using either fresh or dried herbs.  I'm using a steam juicer because I have one for food preservation.  I'll also show you how to make hydrosol without buying any special equipment.


How to Make Hydrosol From Fresh or Dried Herbs


Last week, we learned how to make a hydrosol with essential oils.  This is a copycat method that works great for most recipes, but it does have some limitations.


If you already have the essential oil, this works really well.  It saves money, and you don't have to buy a large bottle or wait for it to get shipped.


Can You Make a Hydrosol With Dried Herbs?


Yes!  You can use either dried or fresh herbs to make your own hydrosol.  If you are using dried herbs, expect to use about twice as much as fresh herbs.





How Do You Make Herbal Hydrosols?


You'll have to steam distill to get a water based liquid that has some of the plant matter in it.  The method I'm going to show you can be done at home with supplies that you should already have.


Otherwise, you'll need a still to make essential oils and hydrosols.  The initial cost will be so high, it isn't practical for home use.


What Are Hydrosols?


Hydrosols are water based products that have some plant properties.  This method uses steam to extract the plant material and then cools it quickly to condense it.


Typically, a hydrosol will be about 2 percent plant material and 98 percent water, although this can vary from batch to batch.





This method is inexpensive and easy to make, but it does take a while.  Plan to start this when you'll be home most of the day, although you don't need to watch it constantly.


Hydrosols can be used alone or in place of water in other recipes.  You can use them in place of the water to make cleaning products, lotions, and even shampoos and conditioners.  


They also make great skin sprays or room sprays.  They have a subtle scent, and I really like using them alone or with essential oils to make a room spray.  


Equipment


To learn how to make hydrosol from fresh or dried herbs, you'll need the following:


  • a large pot with a curved lid
  • one medium heat proof bowl smaller than your pot
  • a smaller bowl or canning rings to set the bowl on
  • about 4 cups of dried herbs or 2 cups of fresh herbs
  • ice (lots of ice)


I am just using a large sauce pan and the glass lid that came with it.  Make sure your lid is not flat because the curved shape will help the condensation (hydrosol) drip back down into the bowl.


You're supposed to set one bowl upside down in the pot and your collection bowl on top of it.  My pot wasn't big enough, so I made a support with canning jar rings.  


You don't want your collection bowl sitting on the bottom of the pan, so this works well for me.  If you use a larger pot, you can use two bowls if you have enough room.


Plan to use a lot of ice!  It melts very quickly, so I put it in a zipper bag.  I tried using ice packs, but they didn't seem to work as well as the bags of ice.






How it Works


You're basically creating a crude still.  The water boils (simmers) on the bottom of the pan and then the steam rises.  It "catches" some of the properties of the plant.


Then the steam rises to the lid, which is cooler due to the ice.  It then condenses and falls back down into the pot. 


Since you have a bowl there, it catches  most of the floral water or hydrosol.


Pretty cool, huh?  I may or may not have used this for homeschool hours to teach the kids some science.  


Herbs for Making Hydrosol


I'd imagine that you could use almost any herb or plant to make a hydrosol, although some don't work that well.  For example, lilacs won't give you that amazing lilac scent.


Some fruits even work,  Cucumbers work great!


I used calendula because it's my favorite herb for skin and hair.  It's soothing, and it's wonderful for irritated or dry skin.  





You can use any of the following to make your own hydrosol:



I added 4 cups of chamomile to my batch.  You could use more or less.  If you use fresh herbs or plants, use about half as much.  


I paid $2.60 for my dried calendula and got 4 cups of hydrosol in about 3 hours.  Calendula hydrosol is about $35 for 16 ounces, so learning how to make hydrosol from fresh or dried herbs was considerably cheaper!


Where to Buy Herbs


I get most of my herbs at an Amish greenhouse.  They have jars and jars of herbs that I can get by the pound.  I love going there!


Otherwise, I recommend iHerb or Starwest Botanicals.  Starwest Botanicals has a bigger selection, and most herbs are available by the pound or smaller quantities.  They offer free shipping for orders over $75.


iHerb doesn't have a big of a selection, but they do offer free shipping on orders over $20.  





Water


Use filtered or distilled water.  You don't want any impurities or minerals in the water if you'll be using it in DIY beauty recipes.


I used water from my Zero filter since I know it's testing at zero total dissolved solids.


How Long Does Hydrosol Last?


Since hydrosols are nearly all water, you will have to store them in the fridge.  It should last about 6 months.  


If it starts to smell or you see anything growing, toss it immediately.


Any recipes you make with a hydrosol have to have a preservative or be stored in the fridge.  


How to Make a Hydrosol Ingredients


  • 2 cups fresh herbs or 4 cups dried herbs
  • 2 cups water (add more as needed)
  • Ice




Tools and Supplies


  • Large pot
  • Curved lid
  • Small heat proof bowl
  • Large heat proof bowl

Directions


Step #1


Determine the best fit for your bowls and pot.  The bowl that catches the hydrosol should be smaller than the pot so the steam can move from the bottom of the pot to the top.


Then place the smaller bowl upside down or use canning jar rings to create the base.


Step #2


Spread the herbs around the base.  Add water to cover.


I used 4 cups of dried herbs and 2 cups of water.  I added more water when I changed the ice.





Step #3


Set the bowl on top of the base.  Place the lid on upside down.  Heat on high heat until boiling.  Then turn the heat down to medium or lower to maintain a light boil.  Mine was between a simmer and boil.


Step #4


Place ice in a zipper bag and place on top of the lid.  This will melt quick, so keep an eye on it.  The bag will get hot, so use tongs to remove it. 





Dump the water and refill with ice.  Repeat as needed.


It's important not to let the water on the bottom dry out.  Add more water as needed.  I checked mine every 15 minutes or so and added more water as needed.


There is only so much plant material that you can extract from the herbs.  I ran mine until I got 4 cups of hydrosol.  


I figured that I won't use more than that in 6 months anyway.


Subscribe to my newsletter below because I'm going to be using my hydrosols in some DIY recipes.


diy, herbs, hydrosols
Yield: 4 cups
Author: Cari @ Everything Pretty
Estimated cost: $5

How to Make Hydrosol from Fresh or Dried Herbs

prep time: 15 Mperform time: 3 hourtotal time: 3 H & 15 M
How to make a hydrosol at home using fresh or dried herbs.

materials:

  • 2 cups fresh herbs or 4 cups dried herbs
  • 2 cups water (add more as needed)
  • Ice

tools:

  • Large pot
  • Curved lid
  • Small heat proof bowl
  • Large heat proof bowl

steps:

  1. Determine the best fit for your bowls and pot. The bowl that catches the hydrosol should be smaller than the pot so the steam can move from the bottom of the pot to the top.  Then place the smaller bowl upside down or use canning jar rings to create the base.
  2. Spread the herbs around the base. Add water to cover.  I used 4 cups of dried herbs and 2 cups of water. I added more water when I changed the ice.
  3. Set the bowl on top of the base. Place the lid on upside down. Heat on high heat until boiling. Then turn the heat down to medium or lower to maintain a light boil. Mine was between a simmer and boil.
  4. Place ice in a zipper bag and place on top of the lid. This will melt quick, so keep an eye on it. The bag will get hot, so use tongs to remove it.
  5. Dump the water and refill with ice. Repeat as needed.
Created using Craft Card Maker

Like this post?  Pin it!


















Cari Dunn
Cari Dunn

Cari lives on a small farm with her husband, three kids, two dogs, two cats, and a goat. She loves coffee, Gilmore Girls, her chihuahua, and her kids, but not in that order.