DoTerra Essential Oils vs. Traditional Disinfectants Which one is more successful in killing hand bacteria?


DoTerra Essential oils

DoTerra Essential oils are said to be the best essential oils on the market. They are completely pure, and are rigorously tested to be classified as CPTG, or Certified Pure Therapeutic Grade. This ensures that no added filler or synthetic ingredients are added to the oils. DoTerra supplies oils for almost any illness or health problem, including both mental and physical health. They can be taken by aromatic, topical, or internal means. DoTerra also sells oil blends, which are blends of many oils that can all be used for the same purpose. I will be using oils that are known for their ability to kill germs and fight disease that are often used topically, so tang I can place the oils directly on the bacteria.

Traditonal DisinFectants

There are many traditional types of disinfectants for the hands. Including hand sanitizer and basic antibacterial hand soap, there are many products to choose from. Purell is a common hand sanitizer used today. It is a alcohol based hand sanitizer, so it is very strong. The two main alcohols are ethyl and isopropyl, which are the biggest from killing agents. The benefit to using these is that bacteria can't create a resistance to them, so the product also can kill germs. The downside of alcohol based hand sanitizers is that they can sometimes remove good bacteria along with the bad, and the high alcohol content makes them dangerous to children. The other common option used is antibacterial soap. Obviously this is usually used with warm water. The main ingredient in antibacterial soap is triclosan, which is an active ingredient that prevents that spread of bacterial infection. The other ingredients are types of detergents which work to both kill bacteria and dissolve dirt and oils from the hands. The downside to triclosan is that it may create strains of bacteria that grow resistance to antibiotics. The CDC recommends using soap and water, but hand sanitizers are a very good replacement if the previous is not present.

Why is this experiment important?

This experiment is important because it is important to find the best way to fight bacteria on a day to day basis. The CDC says that keeping your hands clean is the best way to fight the spread of disease or infection. Many diseases spread through contact, so keeping your hands clean is better for the health of you and others. This experiment is small and not that high tech, but it still can show the best ways to fight disease. Keeping your hands clean also helps fight against the rise in antibiotic resistance. People get sick more often is they don't wash their hands enough, so they have to rely on antibiotics to often and end up overusing them. This experiment shows the best ways to kill the common bacteria found on your hand, and therefore the best ways to keep your hands clean and fight disease.

What does this have to do with class and biology in general?

Science is always looking for better ways to improve. Biology is one side of science that has a long way to go, both in discovery and interference. Bacteria are constantly changing and adapting, so it is important to find new way to fight them. In class we learned about prokaryotic cells and also mutation, which both have something to do with this experiment.


  1. DoTerra Oils Oregano, Clove, and Melissa (also known as lemon balm)
  2. Disinfecting Hand Sanitizer (Purell)
  3. Softsoap disinfecting hand soap
  4. 10 Petrie Dishes
  5. Q-tips
  6. Water, agar agar, and beef stock
  7. Pot, flat pan, and stirrer
  8. Measuring spoon
  9. Camera (iPad)
  10. Sticky notes and a pen

Hypothesis and Variables


My hypothesis is that the DoTerra Oregano oil will be the most effective, and the hand sanitizer will be the least effective, but they will kill a substatial amount of the bacteria.


  • Independent variables- The independent variables in this experiment would be the different disinfectants used, so the 3 DoTerra oils and hand sanitizer.
  • Dependent variable- The variable that is changed and then measured based of the different independent variables, so in this experiment it would be the how much of the bacteria is killed.


1. First, I ordered all of the ingredients that I didn't have with me, which included the Petrie dishes, Agar Agar, Purell, and soap.

2. Then I filled the pot with 200ml of water and boiled it for 3 minutes to sterilize it. I let the water cool to just below boiling and added 4.5g of agar agar, and 2 tablespoons of beer stock. I stirred it until it dissolved and let it cool.

3. I added the cooled solution into the Petrie dishes so that they were a little less than half full, and put them in my fridge upside with the tops on to set overnight.

4. 24 hours later they were semi-solid gelatin so I began adding the bacteria. I wet a q-tip and lightly rubbed back and forth on my hand, and then lightly applied the bacteria from the q-tip onto the gelatin.

5. I did this for all 10 dishes, using a new q-tips each time, and then put the lids on.

6. I put the dishes on the tray and put them in my boiler room to culture, because the best condition is a warm environment. I let them grow for 4 days and then began the experiment.

7. I took the lids off of each dish, and wrote 2 of each name on the sticky notes. I put the sticky note on each lid so that there were 5 differently labeled dishes- Purell, soap, DoTerra Oregano, DoTerra Clove, and DoTerra Melissa.

8. After that, I took the measuring spoon and selected the 1/8 of teaspoon, which was the smallest one. I started with the hand sanitizer, so I filled the spoon about 3/4 full and put it on a dish labeled "purell".

9. I repeated this process, making sure I cleaned the spoon each time, until all of the 10 dishes had their 5 respective disinfectants.

10. I put the lids back on and waited 24 hours for the disinfectants to kick in.

11. Then I recorded the results of which one worked the best and killed the most bacteria.

ResuLts and analysis


Straight off the bat, the DoTerra Clove oil killed the most bacteria. I could tell that right away, but Purrel was a close second. The worst was DoTerra Melissa oil, but it wasn't that far behind. It still removed many of the white spots, which are the bacteria cultures. Another thing I noticed were some black spots, were not killed, or at least very little. The disinfectant soap and the DoTerra Oregano oil were very close, and it was difficult to tell because the spots were so small.

Before and after Clove oil- the glare makes the white dots hart to see, but of you look closely you can see a serious change

With all of the pictures it is difficult to see the white dots, either from glare or shadow, but you can tell a difference between the first and second pictures if you focus on the changes.


These results are somewhat surprising, but in another sense not that much because I expected them to be very close. The results show that both of the traditional disinfectants are very useful and work well. The different oils used are all from an oil blend meant to fight bacteria like this, so by testing this I was also able of see what oils are used for what. The clove oil is obviously the main oil used for killing bacteria, and the other two, while they help, could be used for other purposes, such as more internal problems or fighting viruses. After all, in one study Oregano oil was found to be better in some cases than penicilin, so it could be more of an internal oil. The black dots were interesting as well. I think they might not have been bacteria growth but some agar that didn't dissolve, because I used flakes instead of powder. The main reason I think that is because none of the disinfectants affected them.



My hypothesis was partly wrong. I was wrong in which oils would be the most and least effective, but I was right that they would all kill a lot of bacteria. I think I was wrong because the traditional disinfectants are specifically made for this type of experiment and bacteria, while the oils are more vague and varied in their abilities, not that either of those things are bad. I think that when it comes of hand cleanliness, either the soap, hand sanitizer, clove oil, or Oregano oil would all be very good choices to use, while the Melissa oil, while it would be somewhat effective, it would not be as strong of a choice.

I learned that, like I said before, all of the choices would be strong, but some more than others. The Clove oil and hand sanitizer proved to be the best, with the soap and Oregano oil right behind them. I learned that bacteria grows very quickly as well, as was shown. One of the biggest things that surprised me though was that the bacteria grew in many small group, not just a few large groups. This could be both because there were many types of bacteria and also they naturally are attracted to grow in a group.

In summary, the disinfectants all proved to be successful, but in varying degrees, with Clove oil and hand sanitizer at the top and Melissa oil at the bottom. One study that would be interesting to do would be to see how fast each one kills the bacteria or how much of each disinfectant would be the best amount. All in all, it was a very cool and interesting experiment and I learned a lot.

Works citEd


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