[dropcap]T[/dropcap]he smell of a clean home might give us a sense of comfort, but that smell often comes at the cost of exposing our loved ones to the harsh chemicals found in most name-brand cleaning products.
There is a safer way to clean our homes, and it all begins with common pantry items and some essential oils. A few simple recipes can help ditch the toxic cleaners and replace them with cost-effective and equally disinfecting alternatives.
A few things you should know about essential oils before implementing them into your cleaning routine.
- Essential Oils are plant based. In fact, it takes tons and tons of plants to make a small bottle. This makes them very potent and often just a few drops is all you will need.
- Fragrance oils are not essential oils. Look for labels that use the words “essential oil.” If you see fragrance or perfume, these are chemically derived and do not provide the same benefits of essential oils.
- Do not use undiluted on the skin. While there are some essential oils that can be applied directly to the skin, it is best not use them this way unless directed by an expert in the field. And you should never use undiluted oils directly on babies and children.
- If you are pregnant, do your research before introducing essential oils into your home. Some oils are not recommended for use by pregnant women. (As a note: the oils included in this article are considered safe for pregnant women.)
- Most bottles of essential oil remain effective for up to five years.
The majority of essential oils are high in antibacterial, antifungal, and antiviral properties, making them excellent candidates to replace the commercial, toxic cleaners we are used to using.
There are some common and easy-to-find essential oils that all households should have on hand to help green their cleaning…
The best 5 essential oils that replace toxic cleaning products include:
Tea Tree Essential Oil
Tea tree is the powerhouse of essential oils. It is an antimicrobial, antifungal, antiseptic, antibacterial, and insecticidal oil that is the perfect choice for cleaning high-traffic areas like the kitchen and bathrooms. The smell of this oil can be a bit strong, so it is common to pair it with another oil like lemon or lavender (both on this list) to create a smell that is more appealing.
Lavender Essential Oil
Known as one of the seven polyvalents (effective against many toxins) and its antiseptic, antiviral and antibacterial properties make it very effective for cleaning. Research shows that lavender also has relaxing effects on our body making it an especially good choice for cleaning in bedrooms and other places that will benefit from some calm.
Lemon Essential Oil
Lemon has a long history of being used around the house as a natural cleaning aid and is a good choice for our household cleaning arsenal. Not only does it have antiseptic, antimicrobial, and antibacterial properties, studies show it can improve mood.
Peppermint Essential Oil
Peppermint is all around us and is often used in our food because of its effects on our digestive system. It also boasts strong antiseptic and astringent properties that help with mental clarity, alertness and work performance making it a perfect choice for cleaning the home office or other work areas.
Sweet Orange Essential Oil
A recent study showed that sweet orange essential oil inhibited E.Coli and Salmonella making this a perfect oil for cleaning the kitchen, especially during raw food preparation. It is a known antiseptic, antifungal and antibacterial ingredient that also enhances mood, similar to that of lemon.
Some Common Green Cleaning Recipes Using Essential Oils
All of the essential oils listed are great for all-purpose household cleaning, and feel free to use any of them in the following recipes.
Choosing the right essential often comes down to where it will be used. Essential oils are very powerful and potent so use sparingly when first creating your recipes.
Mix these oils together to a create a unique and pleasant scent.
Kitchen & Bathroom Counter Spray
Vinegar: ½ cup
Water: ½ cup
Essential Oil: 20 drops
The recommended essential oils include sweet orange, tea tree, and/or lemon.
Vodka: ½ cup
Water: ½ cup
Essential Oil: 75 drops
The recommended essential oils include lavender, peppermint, and lemon.
Water: 2 ounces
Essential Oil: 10 drops
The recommended essential oils include either lavender or lemon.
Water: ½ cup
Essential Oil: 50 drops
The recommended essential oil is tea tree.
Dried Gum or Sticky Residue
Apply sweet orange essential oil to a cotton ball and massage until removed. It won’t stain cloth items but wash immediately. For gum or sticky residue on furniture, test first on a small, hidden piece of furniture before using.
Essential oils can be used for much more than just cleaning. Because they are plant based, each oil can be linked to specific health benefits, often affect mood and can heal internal and external injuries.
There is a lot of information out there on the uses of essential oils. Do your research and you will soon learn all the ways essential oils can benefit you and your home.