How to Use Essential Oils in Cleaning
The use of essential oils dates back from the ancient times. It has been an integral part of beauty rituals in ancient Egypt and Chinese medicine. Today, it is again rising into prominence as it is primarily used in aromatherapy, perfumes, moisturizers and natural remedies. Horst Rechelbacher, the same man who founded Aveda, established another company based in Minneapolis, Minnesota with a line of essential oils and sprays that can be blended or easily utilized around the house.
Essential oils are compounds extracted from plants obtained by either distillation or through mechanical methods such as cold pressing and then its essence is combined to a carrier oil which produces to what we commercially know as essential oils.
ESSENTIAL OILS FOR THE HOME
Essential oils does so much than just creating an inviting ambience to your home with its pleasant aroma, it also has antimicrobial properties that makes them a great choice for cleaning your home. Commercial cleaners uses chemicals that are harmful not only to us but also to our planet. This is why many green cleaning companies such as Seattle Green Cleaning Fairy advice to incorporate essential oils when doing your homemade cleaning recipes.
Utilizing the cleaning properties of essential oils is a great way to foster a healthy and environmentally friendly home. If you’re ready to go green with essential oils, I’ve compiled a list of 10 of the best essential oils to use for home cleaning.
Lemon is a popular choice because of its light, nice,clean scent. Its refreshing scent works best to deodorize the fridge and cleaning the kitchen sink where unpleasant odors tend to accumulate. Lemon’s natural antibacterial and antiviral properties makes it great for degreasing stains and for cleaning the air and the floor. You can also use it as a natural wood or leather polish by combining 10 drops of lemon oil with ½ cup olive oil. Lastly, if you’re looking for an extra-fresh citrusy smell on your laundry, just add a few drops of lemon oil to your laundry and you’ll certainly get that fresh smell!
2. Tea Tree
It is also known as Melaleuca. Tea tree oil is an effective germicidal and has antibacterial and antiviral properties which makes it great for homemade wipes and soap. Mix tea tree oil with water in a spray bottle and use it to fight off bugs. You may also try this homemade all purpose cleaner: Mix ½ cup white vinegar, 3 cups of water and add 10 drops of tea tree oil. Use this all purpose cleaner on any hard surfaces such as counter tops, floors, sink and it will also leave your mirrors squeaky clean!
Note: 100% tea tree oil is toxic to pets, please dilute properly.
Rosemary is popular for its antiseptic and anti-bacterial properties. It goes great with home made dish washing soap and detergent. You can also use it to deodorize your bathroom by mixing 2 tablespoon of rosemary essential oil with ½ cup dish washing liquid and 1 cup baking soda. Sprinkle the mixture over your bathroom tiles and wait for an hour before scrubbing away the dirt and rinsing with water. Rosemary essential oil is also perfect as an air freshener combined with peppermint. Not only will you get a fresh smelling house but the scent will actually invigorate your mind providing you more focus on your tasks.
4. Wild Orange
Wild orange essential oil is a “happy” oil. You smell it, you feel happier. Oh, did I mention it’s also great in removing grease and has antibacterial and antiviral properties? This is perfect for wiping down greasy stove top and countertops. Combine 12 drops of orange essential oil with ¼ castile soap and water and you’re ready to go. There are numerous ways to utilize this oil such as boost enhancing, floor cleaner and air freshener, you will surely have fun trying these at home.
One of the best smelling essential oils, lavender is popular because of its natural antibacterial properties. You can make your own lavender-scented dishwashing soap by adding 10 drops of lavender essential oil to a bottle of unscented. Lavender’s scent also works as an insect repellant. You can add a cotton with 3-5 drops of oil and leave it inside your pantry to keep roaches and bugs away. To achieve fresh smelling linen and clothes, add 10 drops of lavender essential oil to a small clean cloth and leave it in your drawer and closet.
Eucalyptus essential oil has great germ killing properties and a potent dust mite buster. Deep clean your mattress by using baking soda with eucalyptus essential oil. To make a toilet disinfectant, mix 50ml of eucalyptus essential oil with 1 litre of water. Use it to clean tiles, shower and toilet bowl or to get rid of any stinky smell. You can store it as you would a normal disinfectant. You can also naturally deter insects and bugs using eucalyptus essential oil by adding a cotton ball with 3-4 drops of oil to the areas where insects and bugs usually hang out. Add 20 drops of eucalyptus oil to your washing cycle to kill mites that are present to your linens, towels, blankets or pillows.
Note: Avoid using eucalyptus when pregnant as it stimulates uterine contraction which can lead to miscarriage.
There are a myriad of uses of peppermint essential oil at home. Its invigorating scent would keep your home smelling good while its antibacterial properties makes it a great addition to your green cleaning supply. To make an air freshener, mix 10-15 drops of peppermint essential oil with 1 cup of water and put it in a spray. This also works great to deter ants and other bugs. Just spray directly to the crevices where the ants are and voila! No more ant problems!
Beautiful, sweet and spicy; these are cinnamon essential oil’s distinct scent. What many do not know is that it has potent antibacterial mechanism. According to a recent study, cinnamon essential oil along with its other two constituents, cinnamaldehyde and cinnamic acid, effectively inhibits bacteria by destroying its cell membrane. Bacterial cell membrane is very essential and without it, all cell processes and even its motility will be altered and subsequently, it will die.
Use cinnamon essential oil as a homemade mold and mildew spray or when cleaning hard surfaces of your kitchen and bathroom. Mix 3-4 drops of oil to a 1 gallon of water and use this solution as often as you need.
Did you know that Pine oil is a common ingredient in cleaners such as Pine-sol? It effectively kills E. coli and yeast spores and is perfect as for cleaning your floors. Combine ½ cup wine vinegar and 10 drops of pine oil to a bucket of water and mop away!
Incorporate Thyme essential oil in cleaning cutting boards and kitchen countertops as it effectively inhibits Salmonella. Because it is non-toxic to food and has high antibacterial property, it is also great to use as a dish soap.