Who doesn’t love essential oils? These tiny containers can enhance your experience in any room of your home and allow you to relax and enjoy a fresh, clean and calming scent.
But did you know that they’re also useful for cleaning? Well, they are! If you think about it, it makes perfect sense. Most essential oils come from organic sources such as plants and fruits which, as we know, offer cleaning and sanitizing properties.
The best part is that you can use them on their own, or you can add more ingredients to create the perfect cleaning mix for different uses around your household. And on top of that, you get a home that smells great all the time.
Without further ado, let’s read some tips on how to use essential oils for cleaning!
What Are Essential Oils?
Essential oils are oils that come from either organic sources or synthetic sources. You can use synthetic oils mostly as fragrance, but organic oils preserve natural properties, or at least most of them.
As you know, fruits and plants can offer hundreds of properties, such as the ability to clean, disinfect, degrease, sanitize and stop bacterial and mold growth. Besides, a nice fragrance can be soothing, invigorating and capable of improving your mood and wellbeing.
If you live in a humid state such as Dallas, you might need to clean constantly to avoid bacteria and mold, especially around humid places. Even though commercial cleaners are effective, sometimes they come with downsides: they can be dangerous to you or your kids, they can also be too aggressive on your materials and surfaces, and most of them are not eco-friendly.
Lemon Essential Oil
Lemon is by far one of the best essential oils, especially for cleaning. They are extracted from the peel of fresh lemons. They do not contain vitamin C but they do offer many other health and cleaning benefits to your body and household.
On its own, lemon can bring a variety of benefits and that’s why it’s used commonly as an ingredient for manufactured cleaning products. This means that you can use lemon essential oil straight or diluted in water and it’s already an effective cleaner.
For example, you can add 15 drops of lemon essential oil to two cups of water. You’ll have right away an all-purpose surface cleaner! You can use half a cup of vinegar as a plus to maximize its effectiveness. Feel free to change these proportions if you want a stronger or lighter cleaner.
Related: How to Clean Using Vinegar
Lemon oil can become a powerful stain remover as well; you just need to rub some lemon oil onto the
e stain and then wash as usual. Lemon oil is a great degreaser, and therefore able to break down stains with ease. Plus, it is a natural and safe alternative to industrial stain removers.
Now, the best part is that it can be combined with many other products. For example, you can use it along with baking soda to deodorize your fridge.
Start by grabbing two tablespoons of baking soda and about 10 drops of lemon essential oil. Mix them in a saucer plate and place them in your fridge. This mix will absorb odors, as well as add a nice fresh citrus fragrance. They should be replaced every 4 to 5 days.
Lemon essential oil is also a wood cleaner. It needs to be mixed with olive oil, though. You can try mixing a few drops of lemon oil to two tablespoons of olive oil. Apply with a clean microfiber cloth to wood surfaces.
Read more: 10 Creative Ways to Use Lemon For Cleaning
Lavender oil comes from lavender flowers. It has been used since ancient Egypt: not only because of its sweet, floral fragrance but also for its therapeutic properties.
Its essential oil is well-known for being used during laundry. In fact, many laundry detergents and fabric softeners include lavender oil or fragrance. If you want to try it, just add 5 drops to your laundry detergent measuring cup, right before adding it to your washing machine.
Not only it will leave an incredible perfume, but it will also prevent mold and mildew from building up, which is common in washing machines, especially the front-load ones.
Tea Tree Oil
Tea tree oil, also known as melaleuca oil, is an essential oil that comes from the Australian tea tree. It is obtained by crushing its leaves, and it offers antimicrobial and antifungal properties.
You can create an all-purpose cleaner with tea tree oil as well. A very simple variant consists of mixing one cup of hot water, ¼ cup of vinegar and 8 drops of tea tree oil. This is similar to the lemon essential oil mix, and it works just as nicely with tea tree oil.
It can be helpful to deodorize your garbage bin as well. You can start by cleaning your garbage bin with a one-part vinegar, one-part water mix, and scrubbing with an old sponge. You might need to use a hose for stuck-up grime. If it’s stainless steel, be careful not to let it soak for too long.
Now, here’s when the tea tree oil comes into play. Right before you place a new, clean bag, you can add 4 to 5 drops of tea tree oil. its antimicrobial properties will keep bacteria and fungus at bay, which is important around garbage bins.
Melaleuca Oil can be used for cleaning your bathroom, too. Just combine 15 drops of this oil into two cups of hot water, half a cup vinegar, two tablespoons baking soda and one teaspoon of castile soap. This way you’ll getting a mix that is a stain remover, bacteria and mold remover, deodorizer, and degreaser, and with a nice fragrance on top of that!
You can remove mold as well using tea tree oil. Mix two cups of vinegar and two teaspoons of tea tree oil, and apply to moldy areas, letting sit for 15 minutes and scrubbing with an old toothbrush. Then, remove with a microfiber cloth.
Besides its incredible fragrance, peppermint has antibacterial properties. Research has shown that it can be used for medical reasons and it is also popular as a cleaning agent.
For example, you can use it as a mirror cleaner. Start by mixing 3 cups of distilled water, a quarter of a cup of white vinegar, a quarter of a cup of vodka, and 20 drops of peppermint oil. Mix all ingredients in a spray bottle, shake and apply over your mirrors. Let sit for 5 minutes and then wipe with a microfiber cloth or a squeegee.
Peppermint can be used for cleaning your hands as well! We all know that washing your hands is super important. However, you also need to exfoliate them properly to remove dead skin cells, as well as bacteria and grease residues.
Here’s the perfect mix for a DIY hand scrub: four tablespoons of raw sugar, four tablespoons of kosher salt, two tablespoons of lemon juice, two tablespoons of honey, one tablespoon of coconut oil and 5 drops of peppermint oil.
Just mix all ingredients into a glass jar, such as a small mason jar. Keep that on top of your bathroom sink with a small wooden spoon and apply and scrub your hands whenever you need to, rinsing with plenty of cold water afterward.
As you can see, these materials will help you clean, moisturize and exfoliate your hands.
Combine Essential Oils to Maximize Cleaning Effectiveness
If you want to make your own dish soap, you can use the power of citrus essential oil. Mix half a cup of castile soap and 10 drops of lemon oil, lime oil and wild orange oil. Citrus fruits offer a remarkable degreasing power which is exactly what you need for doing the dishes.
An all-purpose cleaner can be created following the vinegar/water mix. Add half a cup of white distilled vinegar to two cups of warm water. Instead of adding 15 drops of a single oil, you can mix and match different oils. For example, you can create a citrus powerhouse with 5 drops of lemon oil, 5 drops of lime and 5 drops of wild orange.
Or you can use peppermint oil with tea tree oil instead to maximize its antibacterial effectiveness!
Bonus tip: always use glass bottles and store them in a dark, dry place! Sunlight can make them expire faster, and glass is strong enough to contain them because plastic can break down due to the oils’ concentration.
When Not to Use Essential Oil for Cleaning
There are some circumstances where essential oils should not be used, or at the very least, handled with care.
For example, it’s not safe to ingest essential oils. Although organic essential oils come from natural sources such as fruits and plants, they are highly concentrated, and can cause several injuries. Plus, they’re not approved by the FDA.
If you plan to use lemon essential oil as a cleaning agent, remember that pets are very sensitive. You should not use them if you have dogs or cats. The same goes for tea tree oil. Before applying any type of essential oil, check first with your vet to confirm that everything you do is safe for your pet.
Some essential oils are not safe because they come from acidic sources, the best example is lemon oil. In this case, it’s not a good idea to use this type of oil for some surfaces such as natural stone. Remember to do some research on the type of oil and the material you’re using it against.
Remember to always test your cleaning products or agents in a small, hidden place. You can never be too sure about the reaction to another material or surface.
Cleaning oils are an organic, green alternative to commercial cleaners. The best part is that you can combine them with many other cleaning agents to keep your home clean, tidy and with a pleasant fragrance throughout the day.
Keep reading our blog and wait until next week for part II! There are so many more cleaning essential oils to choose from, so don’t miss it out!
And remember, you can always hire a cleaning service to help you out with household chores and enjoy your free time without a care.