Banana oil describes two different liquids. Synthetic banana oil combines fusel oil and sodium acetate. Fusel oil is created when potato, corn or grape alcohol is distilled. It is poisonous and foul-tasting until sodium acetate is added. This makes the compound harmless and creates a strong banana taste and smell. Naturally derived banana oil comes from cold-pressed bananas. The natural oil is extruded and bottled. Both types are used for similar purposes, but the synthetic version is much less expensive.
Synthetic banana oil has made a place for itself in kitchens all over the world. When combined with palm oil, it makes a light oil with a slight banana flavor that is appealing to chefs. The oils retain a high smoke point and also keep their nutritional value after being heated. This type of oil is prized because it can replace unhealthy vegetable oils and doesn't add the olive flavor that olive oil does. Synthetic banana oil is also commonly used for flavoring ice creams since it has such a distinct banana scent and flavor.
Soap and Candle Making
Both synthetic and natural banana oils are used for soap and candle making. The synthetic version provides an inexpensive avenue for adding a fruity scent to soap and candles. Natural banana oil is also used in these products but it is costly. People who prefer naturally derived items can look for ingredients in their soap and candles that say cold-pressed banana oil. Synthetic banana oil is often labeled as amyl acetate. The upside to using cold-pressed banana oil is that it takes much less to scent an item since essential oils are extremely strong.
Textiles, Paint and Medicine
Synthetic banana oil has a large amyl alcohol content, which makes it ideal for treating and softening leather. It is a light oil with a pleasant scent that is desired by leather workers. Synthetic banana oil is also used in the process of making artificial leather products. Since synthetic banana oil has such a high alcohol content, it is used for making paint and as a solvent for a variety of lacquers. Amyl acetate is used in the making rayon fabric and has been used in the process of making penicillin.
Aromatherapy and Potpourri
Natural banana oil and synthetic banana oil are commonly used to add scent to potpourri. The sweet, light scent of the synthetic version adds a fruity aroma to many potpourri blends. When banana oil is used for aromatherapy purposes, it is often the natural version that is used. The natural version has a stronger smell and requires much less to create a strong scent. It is often used in massage oils because of this, and massage oils are made from all-natural ingredients.