I love when my home is fresh and clean. I think better. I feel better. I get more done and I relax more. Nothing cleans my home better than when I use essential oils for cleaning. Cleaning with essential oils not only disinfects, they smell great, which helps create a nurturing and healthy environment for me to live in.
Cleaning with essential oils will minimize costs, maximize clean, and gives you a lot of variety to work with. Essential oils were the first household cleaners and have been around for decades. They disinfect, brighten, kill mold and mildew and prevent bacteria from creeping in to places, while giving you healthful benefits while using them. There are many magical recipes to work when using essential oils for cleaning in all areas of the home and they are environmentally friendly.
Bacteria is everywhere!
According to an article published on www.science.time.com, titled, Your Tiny Roommates: Meet the Microbes Living in Your Home, written by Veronique Greenwood, your house has a microbiome, a microscopic—or, in the case of viruses, submicroscopic—ecosystem every bit as complex as the ones found in oceans, rainforests, deserts and woodlands. This microbiome contains at least “several billion” bacteria, fungi and viruses. “Some of them are harmless, some are actually helpful, and some could, in the right concentration and the wrong circumstance, kill you.” Essential oils are well-known for having the ability to kill harmful bacteria and not kill the bacteria we need.
What are the best essential oils for cleaning?
Choosing essential oils for cleaning depends a lot on your preference for smells, the quality of the essential oil you’re using and what the essential oil contains. Some oils have antibacterial qualities while others have antifungal qualities, some have both. It’s good to know which oils are classified as which, and what those benefits are. That way you’re not using an essential oil that contains antibacterial properties when you want to be using an essential oil that has antifungal properties.
Some of the most popular essential oils for cleaning include: lemon, tea tree, lavender, orange, and peppermint.
- Lemon Essential Oil: fights bacteria and fungi, lightens and brightens surfaces and smells amazing. It works as an antimicrobial agent and removes harmful pathogens in the home.
Lemon Essential Oil
- Tea Tree Essential Oil: cleans and prevents mold, mildew and bacteria in the home due to its antibacterial and antifungal properties, also serves as an antiseptic. Great for bathrooms, window ledges, garbage bins, under sinks and on floors.
Tea Tree Essential Oil
- Lavender Essential Oil: is one of the most versatile essential oils of all the essential oils in all the land. It’s great essential oil for cleaning. It has antifungal, antiseptic, antibacterial and antimicrobial properties. It removes mold and mildew and prevents bacteria and fungus from reforming. It smells amazing and has healing and tranquil properties, making it a nice essential oil to enjoy while cleaning your space.
Lavender Essential Oil
- Orange Essential Oil: like lemon essential oil. Orange Essential Oil fights bacteria and fungi. It lightens and brightens surfaces and has a nice clean smell. Using citrus essential oils (lemon, orange, and grapefruit) to clean with prevents bacterial and fungus from forming. The properties in citrus essential oils break down grease and product build up from sinks, counters and tubs, making them fantastic essential oils to clean with in any room in your space.
Orange Essential Oil
- Peppermint Essential Oil: is a strong essential oil. It works wonders when warding off headaches and fever in the body, and since it has anti-bacterial qualities, it works wonders when warding of germs and pests in the home. Peppermint makes the list of an essential oil to clean with because it’s a great insect repellent (ticks, mosquitos, spiders, ants, and cockroaches). Using 10 – 15 drops in a spray bottle and spraying into the nooks and cracks of your space where insects tend to rally can end the party and send the pests packing in a short time.
Peppermint Essential Oil
Supporting Products to use with your Essential Oils for Cleaning
All the recommended essential oils for cleaning can and should be used together with supporting natural products. Here are some essentials you can use to put together your all-natural cleaning kit:
- Spray bottles (like these ones here that come in cool colors for just a few bucks)
- Baking soda or Borax
- White Vinegar
- Scrub Brushes (this one here works amazing)
- Olive oil
What to use and where
There are many uses for essential oils for cleaning in your home. Where and when you want to use them is completely up to you. Once you figure out the basics and what you can do with essential oil for cleaning in your home it will open more doors for exploring different natural products and creating your own recipes.
The kitchen is one of the dirtiest places in the home, some say it is dirtiest. It is vulnerable to all kinds of bacteria and mold which can creep into a lot of nooks and crannies. Essential oils for cleaning in the kitchen include, but are not limited to lemon essential oil, Thieves essential oil by Young Living, tea tree oil, lavender, peppermint and orange.
Cleanse the air in your living space with a diffuser and your favourite essential oil. Dust table tops and lamps with a gentle essential oil for cleaning (lavender). Note: since citrus oils are great for breaking down build up of products, they will do so on treated table tops. Therefore, it isn’t recommended to use citrus essential oils on treated table tops or as a fabric cleanser. You can spray couches and rugs with a gentle cleanser, such as lavender or chamomile without worrying about a breakdown of fabric or polish.
Olive oil can be used to treat untreated wood. It will give it a nice shine and condition to prevent cracks.
Cleaning in the bathroom may require strong essential oils, such as peppermint essential oil and tea tree oil. Since skin and hair sheds and can attract tiny insects, spraying your bathroom with peppermint essential oil after it has been cleaned is a great way to keep your bathroom clean longer and will detract any pests. Spray around the bottom of the toilet and faucet and under the sink and edges of the floor and inside the garbage. Tee tree oil will remove mold and mildew. Vinegar is your best friend for mirrors and polishing faucets.
Essential Oils Cleaning Recipes
A few recipes to play with:
“Essential oils make homemade recipes so much more enjoyable. I love how I can customize the scent to suit my mood. My favourites are lemon, cedarwood, and eucalyptus.” Jill Potvin Schoff, author of Green Up Your Cleanup
When adopting a toxic-free cleaning regime into my daily household care I used Schoff’s book, Green Up Your Cleanup as a reference. Schoff provides easy-to-make recipes and simple strategies to ensure high standards of clean in your home. The point is to reduce the use of toxic chemicals. Schoff recommends boiling rags and scrubs after cleaning, so it’s like starting with a brand-new tool each time you clean. Using basic soap products with a scrub on your bathtub will get the job done without harsh chemicals.
Mildew and Germ Killer by Jill Potvin Schoff, (page 43, Green Up your Clean up)
- 1 16-oz. spray bottle
- 2 cups of water
- ¼ tsp. (about 25 drops) tea tree oil
- ¼ tsp. (about 25 drops) lavender oil
- Fill spray bottle with water and add essential oils.
Laundry Soap by Jill Potvin Schoff, (page 42, Green Up your Clean up)
- 1/8 cup liquid soap or detergent
- 1 tbsp. washing soda
- ¼ cup vinegar
- 20 drops your favourite essential oil
- Add soap and soda to washing machine as it fills with water
- Try varying amounts of ingredients to fine-tune the recipe for your needs.
- Add vinegar to the rinse cycle (not the wash cycle) to rinse away soap scum and soften clothes.
I hope you were able to learn a bit more about creating a chemical free natural cleaning regime for your home, and how to get started with essential oils for cleaning. As you gain experience and try out a few recipes, you will most definitely build your confidence, and find new ways to use essential oils for cleaning in your home. When you do, I would love for you to share your favorite recipe with me.