I'm so glad you folks are using essential oils!
Yes, I'm employed by Frontier Coop, and Frontier owns Aura Cacia. I'm a regional business manager for the company - my territory is the central US. I've taken some aromatherapy certification courses, read lots of books, attended many many trainings/seminars...when I took official aromatherapy certification courses, I realized I was self taught, as I already knew so much from my own experience/inquiries! So, I guess I'm an aromatherapist, but I also dig herbs and spices and know a fair amount about them.
Diffusion...many good ways.
The simplest way was mentioned - just put some drops of oil into simmering water. This is great if you are sick and want to clean up the air around you, or want to prevent others from contracting an illness...my favorite for that is several drops of cinnamon (cassia) oil in a pan of water. DON'T put it on your skin, please, as it will burn the heck out of you! Put it in water on the stove and your house will smell wonderful and you'll have the most powerful antimicrobial in the air!
This is also a good way to disburse medicinal oils for upper respiratory infections...put some eucalyptus oil or lavendin oil in the pan and breathe breathe breathe!
My other favorite cheap way to dispurse is to put oil on a cotton ball and hide it. e.g., if you're having company and want your home to smell wonderful and clean, a couple of drops of lemon oil, orange oil, or grapefruit oil...yum. Hide the cotton ball in the bookcase or behind a potted plant. Easy.
If it weren't so darned hot out, a great recipe for a dinner event is to diffuse a bit of nutmeg and orange oil..this seems very warming ..either on the botton ball or in a diffuser...people love it.
Your way of mixing it with water in a spray bottle is excellent - I keep several in my fridge during this outrageous heat. Just remember that you must shake the bottle well to disburse the oil, and if you use citrus oil, they contain coumarins that cause photo sensitivity. And, it's oil and could stain clothing if enough is sprayed!
Some oils are fine for the skin...and most, if diluted in jojoba oil, are fine. I put oils in my hair and back of my neck...just like perfume. Always test your skin first (inner arm is a good place) to make sure you don't react to it...oils like cinnamon, clove, nutmeg - these are just plain too strong to put on the skin or in a bath. Don't try it. Some people find peppermint too strong - I personally love the cooling/warming of peppermint, but it will bring blood to the skin surface and might burn. So test first before putting it on the skin, or dilute.
Diffusers...well, there are so many out there. I like candle ones fine, but some are better than others. Heat is helpful in causing the oils to disburse.
But then again, I have a little bowl with sea salt next to my desk where I put oils to help me think...like rosemary and lemongrass...or basil oil. That's my desktop diffuser! So no heat needed there where my needs are in a limited area.
I've not seen the wide mouthed jar and sponge - but sounds smart...easy to create.
I use a car diffuser sometimes - very easy.
Some electric diffusers work well if you need a larger area covered.
With candle diffusers, make sure that the candle is not too far away from the bowl, and that you keep the bowl full of water when burning the candle.
I travel alot, and use e. oils all the time in hotel rooms and rental cars...I put peppermint or lavendar onto a tissue and near the vent of the airconditioner...I drop a drop on a light bulb and turn it on...I've been known to put it directly on carpet in especially smelly rooms - most oils don't stain, and those rooms needed the help anyway!
I sometimes put a drop on a candle and light it - that seems to be the best way to get e.oils from a candle.
The bath is a great way to diffuse oils ...but you must be very careful not to put too many drops in. Less is definitely best, and many oils shouldn't go in the tub. If you're having hot flashes, mood swings and need to de-stress, 2-3 drops of clary sage and a couple of drops of lavendar in the bath is wonderful...Very important to remember that oils are hydrophobic - they don't mix with water, so they head for any lipids they can find, and that would be your body...hence, you'll absorb most of what is put into the bath...
and remember essential oils are concentrated..a little is a lot. A bottle goes a long way (unless you're using orange oil to kill weeds...then you need alot)..
I'm leaving out things, I know, but these are cool and easy ways to diffuse oils...all you need to do is play with them and remember the basic cautions (don't put directly on your skin unless you test it on your skin first, less is best, etc)...and you can grow your knowledge very quickly!
And your question about Aura Cacia oils - they are all pure..every batch tested with a lot number to trace the source. Back in 1994 when I worked at Whole Foods as an herb and bodycare buyer, Aura Cacia had not been bought by Frontier yet, and testing wasn't done...it's quality was as good as everyone else back then (pretty good
) ...that changed a year later when testing began... and now, we are one of the few companies that is large enough to afford the equipment. Check out our website!
Clary sage is one I love ... I also like Sandalwood a lot...my hot flash/summer spray is water with 4 drops of sandalwood, 3 drops of clary sage...put in the refrigerator and use often!