DIY Simple Salve: An All Purpose, All Natural Ointment and Carrier Oil

Avatar Gaye Levy  |  Updated: November 24, 2020
DIY Simple Salve: An All Purpose, All Natural Ointment and Carrier Oil

It has been a year since I first proposed that you ditch the petroleum jelly in favor of a more natural DIY salve. At the time, I named the salve I came up with “Plain Ole’ Salve”.

During the ensuing year, I have turned to this easily made salve over and over again. Not only is it a superb moisturizer, but because it is fragrance free, it has become the perfect base for all of my many essential oil concoctions.

DIY Simple Salve - Backdoor Survival

Making your own Simple Salve is a cinch and it only takes a few minutes using just three ingredients. Here, once again, is the recipe and directions.

How to Make BDS Simple Salve

Those of you familiar with Miracle Healing Salve already know how to make Simple Salve. Basically you take the same recipe and leave out the essential oils. That’s it.

But there is more. You can make a more budget-friendly, colorless and odorless version by using “pure” olive oil instead of extra virgin olive oil. I actually prefer it. At the opposite end of the spectrum, you can use a combination of oils, mix and match, such as Jojoba oil, grapeseed oil, avocado oil and more. The options are limitless.

Backdoor Survival Simple Salve – The Recipe

1 Cup Coconut Oil
1 Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil or Pure Olive Oil
5 to 5 1/2 Tbl. Organic Beeswax Pastilles

8 x 2 ounce jars (mason jars or ointment jars) ** OR **
4 x 4 ounce jars (mason jars or ointment jars)

1. Put a pot of water on the stove to simmer. While the water is heating, put the coconut oil, olive oil and beeswax pastilles in a heatproof jar or measuring cup.

DIY Simple Salve - Backdoor Survival

2. Set the jar filled with the coconut oil, olive oil, and wax into the water and leave it there until it melts, giving it a stir from time to time. You want a slow, gentle melt so take your time. It could take 15 or 20 minutes depending on the temperature of the water bath.

DIY Simple Salve - Backdoor Survival

3. Pour the melted oils into each of the smaller jars and allow to cool.

4. Set the jars aside for up to 24 hours. Although the salve will start to firm up within minutes, it takes at least 12 hours to complete the firming process. If you are in a hurry, you can refrigerate the salve and it will solidify in just a couple of hours.

DIY Simple Salve Cooling - Backdoor Survival

5. Store in a cool location or even in the refrigerator. The shelf life should be six months but in my home, it does not last that long.

Note: For a budget friendly version, skip the coconut oil and use two cups of pure olive oil (I use the Kirkland brand). If you do this, I suggest adding an extra teaspoon of beeswax pastilles. The therapeutic qualities of coconut oil will be gone but this will still create an amazing salve.

How to use BDS Simple Salve

First and foremost, BDS Simple Salve makes it easy peasy simple to blend essential oils into a custom salve. By scooping some salve into a small jar (I like these 1/2 ounce jars that run about 50 cents each), you can add a few drops of this and a few drops of that to come up with your own healing concoction.

In effect, you are using you homemade Simple Salve as a carrier oil.

There are a few ways to do this. The first, and the easiest, is to scoop some Simple Salve into the palm of your hand, add a few drops of essential oil, the apply the oil topically. The second method, as I have described above, is to scoop some into a jar, add your oils, and stir like crazy to mix them up.

DIY Simple Salve - Backdoor Survival

The third method, and the one I prefer, is to first melt the Simple Salve in your small container of choice. After it has reached its melting point, add your essential oils, cap the jar and shake it up to blend. After blending, take the cap off, and allow the enhanced salve to set up and cool before using.

Note: I use a microwave but you can also place your jar of salve in a hot water bath to melt. As long as you do not overheat the salve and take it just to melting point, you can add your oils right away without harming them.

That is really all there is to it. After dropping a roller ball filled with precious oils and breaking it to bits, I have begun to use Simple Salve as a base carrier oil instead of fractionated coconut oil. That is not to say that I don’t use FCO for some things, but Simple Salve has become my carrier oil of choice.

The Final Word

With this article, I am renaming Plain Ole’ Salve BDS Simple Salve” or just “Simple Salve”. Simple Salve better describes the this very special blend of oils and also reflects the simplistic nature of this all-natural, all-purpose, salve.

Where do we go from here? I am glad you asked.

Over the past eighteen months, I have created specialized essential oil salves that I use for blood pressure management, psoriasis, arthritis, charley horses, colds and flu, and common cuts, scrapes, burns and “owies”. Each starts with a base of Simple Salve and while some of these recipes have already been shared, others will be showing up soon.

Why not be ready with a batch of Simple Salve set aside and ready to go? It really is wonderful stuff!

Enjoy your next adventure through common sense and thoughtful preparation!

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Below you will find everything you need to make your own Simple Salve.

Beeswax Organic Pastilles, Yellow, 100% Pure 16 Oz: I ordered the white pastilles but have since learned that the natural yellow pastilles are better. That said, the difference may not be discernable – just be sure that what you purchase is cosmetic grade.

Coconut Oil: Coconut Oil from Tropical Traditions is my preferred coconut oil. I love it so much I purchased a 5 gallon tub. Really, I did! I find it very silky to work with and love the taste when used in cooking. Note that no refrigeration is required and although it solid at room temperature, it melts at 76 degrees. The Nutiva brand from Costco works well too.

Kirkland Brand “Pure” Olive Oil: This is the brand I use. When I can, I purchase it at Costco but it is also available online.

White Plastic Jar with Dome Lid 2 Oz (12 Per Bag): I chose to use these small ointment jars rather than Mason jars for my salve. I also have similar jars in the 1 ounce size and 1/4 ounce size (my favorite for mixing up various salve and essential oil concoctions).

Ball Jar Crystal Jelly Jars: Used with the optional plastic lids, these are perfect for your DIY Simple Salve.

Mason Jar Storage Caps Set of 8: These are fantastic! These plastic lids screw onto a mason jar and are perfect in the pantry or to cap you salves. There is both a regular and a wide mouth version. I can’t believe I have not mentioned these before!

Spark Naturals Health & Wellness Kit - Backdoor Survival

Spark Naturals Essential Oils: One of my favorite SN products is the “Health and Wellness Kit” which includes all of my favorites plus everything you need to make my custom salves. Be sure to use the discount code BACKDOORSURVIVAL to receive a 10% discount.

NOW Foods Essential Oils: I use essential oils from Spark Naturals. For healing purposes, I feel they are superior. On the other hand, NOW Foods has decent essential oils at a budget price. Here are a few to get you started: NOW Foods Rosemary Oil, NOW Foods Peppermint Oil and Now Foods Lavender Oil.

Glass Droppers, Pack of 6: I bought a package of these and loved them. When I went to re-order, I accidentally ordered plastic instead glass droppers. Learn from my mistake. The price is the same go get the glass ones.

Essential Oils Desk Reference 6th Edition: I thought long and hard before purchasing this book myself, but once I did, I was so grateful I took the leap. The information is cross referenced in many ways making it easy to find what you are looking for. When searching for a particular remedy, you may see multiple oils listed and any will work but they are presented in order of typical efficacy. The nice thing is that if you do not have #1 on hand, you can move down the list. I have found the recommendations to be spot on.

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9 Best Essential Oils for Your Survival Kit | Backdoor Survival

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59 Responses to “DIY Simple Salve: An All Purpose, All Natural Ointment and Carrier Oil”

  1. I am a diabetic with neuropothy. have been looking for a DIY pain salve. tried turmeric but it turns my skin yellow. drinking the tea does also.any ideas?

    • Have you tried the birch salve (with geranium and lemongrass)? Or even just Lemongrass which is a powerful pain reliever on its own. I am behind on my article extolling the virtues of Lemongrass but try 15 drops to 1/2 ounce of simple salve or other carrier oil.

      Here is a link; it is very inexpensive. //

    • I was just going to ask this same question, my hubby has neuropathy and I am looking for something besides capsaicin in relieving his sensitivity.
      Thanks you for the information, I’ll need to order the oils, I have the carrier oils on hand.

    • BE CAREFUL WITH THE LEMONGRASS. it has helped me but i also tried around my eyes because of the great salve ingredients. the lemongrass can burn the skin so be fore warned.i would also add the vitamin e for a preservative if you are making for your prepping pantry

    • If you get ANY essential oil around or in the eyes, remember that oil dissolves oil. Grab some coconut oil or EVOO and apply to the offending area (or drop in the eye) for immediate relief.

    • Sorry for the delay but I needed to research EO solutions for neuropathy before responding.

      Try 3 drops each of Frankincense, Geranium, and Lavender mixed into a small amount of Simple Salve; perhaps a teaspoon or so. If that seems to help, you can play with the dilution a bit. You might also want to try the Birch formula I have written about (unless he is on blood thinners).

  2. Please, please, more of your essential oils salve recipes. These are perfect for our prepping as well as everyday use Thank you

  3. Gaye I just found your article on Birch essential oil and the Lemongrass. I have not gotten the Birch but I did already have the lemongrass. I tried it in some lotion I had and it seemed to help a lot. thank you and I am sorry I had not seen it earlier.will try and get the others soon. I read the ingredients of another lotion touted as a pain relieving one for neuropathy it had calendula and chamomile in it also.I didn’t realize I also have the essential oil “Bible” you mentioned too. Guess I need to did it out.How are you keeping your salves so they last for the future for SHTF time? Or do you not expect them to be for Preppers?

    • I tend to make the salves up as I need them. My solution for the long term, though, is to stock up on the individual components. For example, I have 2 x 5 gallon buckets of coconut oil because in a it has a long shelf life. I also have a sizable back stock of essential oils and add 4 or 5 bottles a month to my inventory.

      If I lived in a warmer climate, I would refrigerate my EOs for as long as I could. If the grid went down permanently, I would have to store them in the coolest location I could find, possibly buried.

    • Pure olive oil is the yuck of all olives. They do not list this on the ingredients but do a little research. It has to have very little olives to be considered olive oil. Go for EVOO only.

  4. I wonder if you know how much 5T of beeswax weighs so I would know how much to purchase? I think it is often sold by weight, by the ounce or the pound.

    • Linda – I have weighed the beeswax pellets/pastilles in the past. They come in at 1 TBL = .4 ounce. That is more or less because each time I measure, the results are slightly different.

      Just keep in mind that there is a lot of wiggle room and you do not have to be exact.

  5. This is a great idea – thanks for such a detailed post with instructions!

    Have you considered adding some kind of preservative to help this keep for longer or will it last without preservatives?

    • I have in the past added vitamin E but honestly? I go through this so fast that it is used up long before it might spoil. I might think differently if I lived in a hot, humid climate.

  6. I’m allergic (severely) to coconut and other palm nuts- what can i use in place of this?

    • You can substitute any oil, really. Or mix and match. I have successfully made my salve just using pure olive oil, as an example.

  7. Hi Gaye,

    Wanted to pass on a salve-making tip I found (sorry, can’t remember the source). If a small amount of arrowroot powder or cornstarch is SLOWLY stirred into the hot salve oil before pouring it into containers, it will reduce the greasiness feel of the salve. I’ve tried it in a couple of salve recipes and it does help. I use a ratio of 1 tsp arrowroot powder to 1 cup hot salve oil. (I’m allergic to cornstarch). It makes the salve a little more opaque but doesn’t seem to affect the absorption into the skin.

  8. Hi Gaye,

    Do you have a recipe for homemade Neosporin-type salve? I’d like to find one that uses essential oils (for simplicity) instead of herbs like the following recipe uses:



  9. // here is a recipe but maybe Gaye can think of a better one.

  10. Thank you for this simple salve recipe!

    Do you know of any essential oils that will help with tendonitis, specifically De Quervain’s syndrome?

    • Terri – Funny you should ask. The formula I use in my Miracle Healing Salve started out as a tendonitis formula. After initially using it, I discovered the formula worked well for almost everything! It is made up of Rosemary, Peppermint and Lavender essential oils.

      Here is a link for you. //

      Good luck!

    • I have tried to pull up the miracle healing salve and the website wont load. Can anyone remember how much lavendar, peppermint, and rosemary is in it?

    • A few readers are also having this problem but mostly on tablets. I would suggest that you clear your local cache if you can. In the meantime, here are the proportions for you:

      To each 2 ounce jar add: (double if you are using 4 ounce Mason jars)
      5 drops Lavender essential oil
      5 drops Rosemary essential oil
      5 drops Peppermint essential oil

  11. Thank you Gaye!! I will try this. Also my mother suffers from terrible leg cramps at night, and she’s tried a lot of things, but nothing helps. I’ll send her some of this. 🙂

    • Lemongrass essential oil works great on nocturnal leg cramps. Mix with some Simple Salve for immediate relief. That is what I do.

      On the other hand, the occurrence of those nasty night cramps is less frequent when I rub the Miracle Salve on my calves and feet before bedtime. Lately, though, I have been lazy about it which is a shame because the benefits appear to be cumulative. I don’t quite understand why, but they are 🙂

  12. Gaye, I used your miracle healing salve on my daughter who got very sunburned, almost to blisters, and I put it on her that night, it did not sting, by the next morning it was red, the following evening it was pink/red and the next morning it was almost normal skin color, it did not peel and I know it would of. Thank you for sharing your recipes, I have had tons of fun trying them. You can add #11 now to your list.

    • Yep. Many have had good luck with this. I use the salve morning and night as does my husband. His doctor was even able to take him off of one of his BP meds and in my case, I did not have to start taking them!


  13. Hi there! I just made this salve and have a question about storage. Do I have to store it in the refrigerator or can it just stay in the cupboard? Also, the top of it when cooled was firm but underneath was soft and smooshy. I ended up stirring the mixture in the jars and then it was all soft and smooshy….never did really get firm. What did I do wrong? I am a salve-making newbie and appreciate all advice! 🙂

    • My last batch was also smooshy as you describe. It still works fine but I do prefer it a bit firmer. My guess is that the beeswax pastilles I used were not packed as tightly as normal or they were larger so volume wise they were the same but not weight wise. If you prefer a firmer salve (and not everyone does), you can remelt it and add another teaspoon or two of the beeswax.

      I am going to weigh the beeswax in my next batch so I can fine tune the process a bit.

      BTW, something you can do is take a small amount from the batch while it is still hot and put it in the refer for 15 mins. Take it out and check the consistency. If too soft, add more beeswax. If too firm, add a bit more coconut or olive oil.

      Good luck and have fun with it!

  14. Thanks for theinformation!!! I also used beeswax pastilles and they were a bit larger than what I had used before. I like your idea about putting it in the refrig to cool it and then check the consistency. Great Idea!!

    Also, if I put it into the fridge when it is hot and get it cool, won’t there be condensation in the jar? Will that water contaminate my salve? I know…I am so full of questions. And I appreciate your help!

    • I have not experienced any condensation at all.

      I think you also asked about storage in your previous comment. I keep my spare jars of salve at room temperature and have never had a problem with mold or nasties. They say adding some Vitamin E will serve as a preservative, but I don’t bother. I believe having clean jars and tools are as important or more so. I try to use mason jars mostly, because they can be sanitized in the dishwasher. Still, when mixing up small concoctions, I use 1/2 ounce or 1 ounce plastic jars.

      Hope this helps.

  15. I started making your salve, after UrbanSurvival a few year’s ago (Dec 2013) , had comments and a link to your site. It was then called “miracle healing salve”. I still make it the way the article at the time suggested, Vit E (optional), rosemary, peppermint and lavender essential oils. I do not make it plain but will with other recommendations you may suggest for other healing. The original “healing” salve is a wonderful superb salve. I have given it to people I know using it for eczema (using ea tree oil)with great success. Thin skin brought on by diabetes to assist the body in giving the skin back moisture it needs in the affected areas. Family members with fungus issues. It has proven to be a generally good healing salve and the oils used give it great scent. Next I want to try your arthritis salve as family and my hands are feeling the pain! Can you tell me where to get the roller ball bottle? I will start using the glass mason jars as I prefer glass to plastic. Thanks for your experimenting to bring us such great naturally healing salves.

    • Thank you for the feedback and kind words. I have tried all types of roller balls and find that these cobalt blue ones from Amazon are the best: Link

      Some of the others I have tried work okay for awhile but then the roller ball falls out and I have a mess as well as wasted oils on my hands.

    • No, however you could use shea butter as a substitute for some of the coconut oil. The beeswax is needed to thicken up the salve and help it set up. As an alternative, you could also use Carnauba wax.

  16. Wow! I googled using essential oils for high blood pressure and TADA!!! your site came up and within an hour I made your recipe for Simple Salve so I can use it for my unexplained, recent occurence of high blood pressure, and……also saw some comments about neuropathy which got me totally excited because I am trying to find something to help the constant pain of my peripheral neuropathy. I am so excited to try both remedies as I am all for not using drugs to alleviate these problems and I love, love using essential oils for cleaning solutions and pesky pests! Thank you for all the wonderful things you share.

  17. Could I use all coconut oil instead of olive or is a different oil required? I look forward to trying this on my palms which have something like plaque psoriasis although the Drs never gave me a definite answer. I am a diabetic of 35yrs and have been looking for something organic with positive results. Thanks for the great information.

  18. I am looking for something to help with outbreaks on my legs and arms. The itching is driving me crazy!
    Dermatologist says it is eczema which can be controlled but not cured. I don’t subscribe to that theory. I have even made ointment with coconut oil, cocoa butter and some herbal pot. It has helped a bit with the itching, but one area heals and another breaks out. HELP!!

    • Have you tried Aloe Vera gel for the itching? Something we are playing with relative to Shelly’s psoriasis (which flared up again) is Hemp Seed Oil covered with plastic wrap overnight then followed up with organic ACV in the morning. It is all but gone after just 2 weeks.

    • I just started using castor oil myself so I do not have a lot of experience with it. It is very thick and sticky which leads me to believe the salve will not be as silky smooth as with the coconut oil. If I were going to experiment, I would substitute just a portion the coconut oil, or instead, perhaps 1/3 to 1/4 of the olive oil.

  19. Gaye,
    Do you by chance a good recipe for homemade lip balm? I tried you blood pressure recipe and love it.
    Thanks for the good results of your experiments.

  20. Regarding your BP salve. My essential oils book says to avoid rosemary when dealing with high blood pressure. Rosemary is for low BP. I have borderline high BP, and am interested in your salve, but not sure of rosemary.

    • As far as Rosemary EO, Rosemary itself is a great stress reliever. On the other hand, I have learned that the use of Rosemary can actually raise BP in some individuals but not others. For that reason, I now tend to leave it out except during particularly stressful periods.

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