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Droppers for Essential Oils: How Inserts Should Really Work for Your Products

by Steve Carow  |   Mar 22, 2018


A man and woman meet, get married, have a family, and live happy lives together. The end.

Now wouldn’t that story be a lot better if there were some details? Names, dates, life events, humorous accounts…the details make all of the difference when you are telling a story.

What kind of story is your business telling? What lifestyle do your customers have that you can become a key part of?

You want your product to exemplify quality, design, service, and professionalism. In fact, the smallest detail could be a malfunctioned product that leaves customers dissatisfied with your brand––and, *poof*; they are a customer no longer. You’re erased from their story.

But when you invest in the details, you invest in your brand. Start by choosing the right dropper insert so your packaged essential oil is the perfect detail for your consumer’s lives. From early morning pick-me-ups to more restful sleep, your oils should be a small detail that truly makes their day.

How a Dropper Insert Works:

Dropper-Cap-AssemblyA dropper insert is applicable with a rigid container including rigid plastic and glass dropper bottles. Because you can’t squeeze glass containers, dropper pipettes are a popular alternative. However, essential oils eat away at the rubber in a pipette.

This is where dropper inserts for essential oils step in. Dropper inserts are not just orifice reducers for essential oils. Dropper inserts are designed with 4 (or more!) elements that make a better user experience than orifice reducers for essential oils.

There are two main styles of dropper inserts: horizontal and vertical. Both inserts features a liquid exit and air entrance, and both have common elements that make a better dispensing experience than simple orifice reducers. You can read more on the exact difference between horizontal and vertical dropper inserts in this post.

After deciding on your preferred style of dropper insert, you are ready to begin filling. The components you need are: dropper insert, dropper bottle with 18 DIN neck, and 18 DIN dropper cap.

There are four styles of caps. But, for sake of this discussion, let's work with one of the most popular styles: tamper-evident caps.

Here are the steps to test the fit of your packaging:

  • Fill your bottle with the essential oil or oil blend.
  • Insert the dropper with the long tube first into the bottle.
  • Press down on the top of the dropper insert so it is flush with the sides of the lip of the bottle. You will feel a little pop as the insert connects with the bottle.
  • Screw the tamper-evident cap of the bottle down, which will seal the bottle so it is ready for the consumer.

After the consumer unscrews the cap, the tamper-evident seal will be broken. The dropper insert, however, will stay in the correct position throughout each application.

Determining the Flow Rate of Your Dropper Inserts:

To give your customers the best experience with your oils, you should optimize the dropper choice with each oil to get the best flow rate. The dropper insert is highly effective for controlling the flow of the liquid inside the bottle. Once inserted correctly, drops will start to flow within 3 seconds of holding the bottle upside-down or at a side angle.

If the product doesn't start flowing in about 3-5 seconds or––once flowing––the drops take longer than 3 seconds to dispense, then maybe the surface tension of the product or the viscosity of the product are coming into play.

Change the dropper selection to increase or decrease the flow rate to give the best experience to your customer.

  • Choose a larger liquid exit (orifice size) to increase the flow of drops or to handle thicker products.
  • To reduce the flow or to handle thinner viscosity products, choose a smaller orifice size.
  • In addition to the liquid orifice, different air orifice sizes can be selected to increase or decrease the flow the drops.

To help you select the perfect flow rate for your various products, Carow offers at least five different orifice sizes of dropper inserts.

We are familiar with this market, and we have various inserts and accessories you might not be able to find anywhere else. We can help you take care of the fine details to find the ideal flow rate.

Considering how the viscosity of each essential oil blend varies, you will need to experiment to find the perfect flow rate.

  • Essential oils with a thinner viscosity include tea tree oil, orange, lemon, eucalyptus, lime, cypress, ginger, lavender, peppermint, and wintergreen. For these you might choose a smaller orifice.
  • Oils with a thicker viscosity include vanilla, patchouli, cedarwood, vetiver, clary sage, jasmine sambac, and ylang ylang. These oils would work best with a larger orifice.

How to Use Droppers for Essential Oils

essential-oil-dropperIf you’re in the business of essential oils, you know that the tendency of the user is to turn the bottle upside down and start shaking it to release product. They do this because their mind realizes they can’t squeeze a glass bottle––but quickly have spilled product flying.

The key to ensuring great customer satisfaction with your oils is to indicate on your packaging how to use the product, and encourage the user to let the dropper insert do all the work.

If your product is using vertical droppers, instruct the user to turn the bottle upside down, 180 degrees. They should then let the pressure differential take place. Air will go in as the drop falls out with just the right amount of oil dispensing.

If, on the other hand, your product uses horizontal droppers, instruct the user to turn the bottle like they are pouring a bottle of wine––about 135 degrees. The pressure differential will take place again, as the air goes in and the drop falls right out.

Regardless of which dropper insert your product uses, the flow rate for your essential oils should have these characteristics:

  • The first drop should be dispensed in 3-5 seconds
  • Subsequent drops should flow every 1-3 seconds

Is Your Packaging Vendor Helping Or Hurting?

Are you currently working directly with a Chinese or other overseas manufacturer? Most likely, they are unable to troubleshoot your flow rate issues. This might be due to the fact that these vendors lack the materials you need to get the details just right.

Also, when you are working with an overseas or inexperienced vendor. you are confronted with miscommunications and plain and simple distance. It is very difficult to find a way to experiment in-house with various orifice sizes, dropper insert materials, and rigid bottle sizes when your vendor is located halfway across the globe.

Another factor inhibiting the perfect flow is dropper construction. Every manufacturer sets its own size because of proprietary molds of inserts and rigid bottles. Therefore, when you choose a different vendor, they will need to complete test runs and experiment with the flow rates. What works for one brand of dropper inserts simply will not work with all inserts.

The same goes for choosing the essential oils. Harking back to the viscosity rates, some blends of essential oils will change the overall viscosity creating a thinner or thicker flow.

Here at Carow, located in the US, we offer convenience and accessibility. It is our mission to provide you with the materials needed, so you can provide your customer with efficiency in essential oil application.

If your current packaging provider is not providing you with the analysis of your dropper details, you may be missing out on an incredible quality assurance step in your business.

To Sum It All Up

Now, if you knew that the couple we talked about in the beginning went by the names of Johnny and June Cash, that would start to bring out all of those wonderful life details. Grammy Award winners, country music legends, and a 35-year marriage worthy of the award-winning biography Walk the Line—those are the kind of details we love to hear about.

What kind of details are you leaving your customers with? Are they going to find the perfect match in your product, or do you need to rework your brand’s image a bit with more effective dropper inserts?

Contact us today if your brand has a story to tell––and needs the partner with which to do so.


Essential Oils

Steve Carow

Author: Steve Carow

Since 1993, Steve has developed a comprehensive knowledge of dispensing, including sales, operations, information technology, and product development, which he applies when identifying customer solutions. He is the President of Carow Packaging and our representative for Midwestern US & Central Canada Sales.



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