Jennifer is passionate about essential oils, natural medicine, and green cleaning. She believes that essential oils have changed her life.
If you are trying to live more naturally and avoid harmful chemicals, replacing your household cleaners with essential oils can be a life-changing decision. Not only will you save loads of money on cleaning supplies but you will be helping to reduce toxins left behind by chemical-based cleaners.
Essential oils can be very effective and powerful for cleaning even the toughest messes. They also help to deodorize and to kill germs like bacteria and viruses. Experiment using some of the oils mentioned below and decide which oils smell best to you. Once you have found the perfect blend, it will leave your house smelling amazing!
Which Essential Oils are Best for Cleaning?
- Tea Tree
Why Household Cleaners Are Bad For Your Health
Did you know household cleaners may be dangerous for your health? Especially if they are not used safely. And its not just household cleaners—any product with added fragrance can be extremely harmful to your health when used for a prolonged period. Even products advertised as "green" or "natural" may contain ingredients that can cause health problems.
According to the American Lung Association, many cleaning supplies or household products can irritate the eyes or throat or cause headaches and other health problems, including cancer. Some products release dangerous chemicals, including volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and other harmful ingredients like ammonia and bleach. VOCs and other chemicals released when using cleaning supplies contribute to chronic respiratory problems, allergic reactions, and headaches.
Important Information About Mixing and Storing Essential Oils
The best container to use for mixing and storing essential oils is glass. Pure essential oils can be very potent and plastic can be dissolved by some oils. Glass is impervious to essential oils so the glass can not be damaged. The best part about using glass is that it's easier to clean!
For storing essential oils, it is recommended to use amber glass bottles or cobalt blue bottles. That is because when essential oils are exposed to heat and sunlight they can break down and lose their fragrance as well as their therapeutic properties. Storing your essential oils as well as the cleaning products you make with them in darker stained glass containers, will maximize their shelf life.
10 Ways to Use Essential Oils for Green Cleaning
1. All-Purpose Cleaner (Any Essential Oil)
Think about it, when you clean your home with commercial cleaners, you are spreading chemicals all over your house. Chemicals are everywhere—on your floors, your counters, your table, bathtub, toilet, etc. This is especially harmful if you have children or pets in your home.
It's actually very simple and cost-effective to make your own all-natural cleaner. Plus, you will love cleaning with essential oils. Mix together equal parts of vinegar and water (give or take depending on how strong you want it to be) and add some essential oils. How much essential oil you add will depend on how strong you want your cleaner to be. Start with a little and add more if needed.
Citrus essential oils make the best cleaning solutions (like lemon, lime, orange, and grapefruit), but you can pretty much use whichever oils you like. Experiment with some blends and use the oils that smell the best to you. They will leave your home smelling amazing.
2. Glass Cleaner (Any Essential Oil)
This is basically the same thing as an all-purpose cleaner but it deserves its own spot on the list. Just add a little less vinegar then you would with the all-purpose cleaner and try not to add to much oil to the mixture because it can leave streaks. A glass cleaner should be mild compared to an all-purpose cleaner.
3. Wood Polish (Lemon, Lime, Orange, Etc.)
If your wood furniture is looking dull and faded, essential oils can be used to restore life and leave it looking like new again. Use olive oil and vinegar and blend in some essential oils. Don't use water for this because it can damage the wood. The best essential oils for cleaning and restoring wood are lemon, lime, orange, grapefruit, lavender, and cedarwood.
4. Air Freshener (Most Essential Oils)
You should know that if you are using synthetic air fresheners in your home or car, you could be increasing the risk of developing some very serious health issues. The chemicals found in synthetic air fresheners can build up in your body over time and have been known to cause lung damage, cancer, and many other serious health conditions.
Not only do essential oils have very powerful aromatic properties, but they can effectively eliminate bad odors instead of just covering them up. Plus essential oils support healthy respiratory function and influence positive mood and emotions. The easiest way to use essential oils as an air freshener is to use a diffuser but if you don't have one you can blend some essential oils in a spray bottle with alcohol or vinegar and filtered water.
5. Mold Killer (Tea Tree, Cinnamon, Oregano, Etc.)
Essential oils including tea tree, cinnamon, oregano, basil, thyme, and clove have powerful anti-fungal properties and are very effective in killing mold. You can use these oils in your diffuser to protect your home from growing mold or you can dilute them with vinegar and spray it on the mold directly.
6. Bathroom Cleaner (Lemon Oil, Etc.)
Cleaning your bathroom usually means breathing in harmful chemicals and getting on your hand and knees and scrubbing. Using essential along with a few other simple ingredients can effectively remove those hard to get stains and leave your bathroom looking clean and bright with putting your health at risk. The combination of vinegar and essential oils will remove hard water stains a lot quicker and easier than most store-bought cleaners.
To make your own bathroom cleaner blend together liquid castile soap with a small amount of vinegar, baking soda, and water and add several drops of lemon oil. You could also add lime, orange, grapefruit, juniper berry, lavender, tea tree, peppermint, oregano, clove, arborvitae, and cedarwood.
7. Bad Odor Eliminator (Lavender, Tea Tree, Bergamot, Etc.)
Essential oils have anti-bacterial properties and can be helpful for removing odors from must, smoke, and pets in your home. The best essential oils for removing odor are lavender, tea tree, bergamot, peppermint, wintergreen, thyme, eucalyptus, rosemary, lemon, lime, grapefruit, orange, tangerine, sage, and cedarwood, cinnamon, jasmine, rose, lemongrass. You can diffuse these oils to eliminate odor or mix them in a spray bottle with alcohol or vinegar and water and spray it around your home.
8. Degreaser (Citrus Essential Oils)
Citrus essential oils are great for cleaning and removing oil and grease stains. Mix a little bit of your liquid dish soap with water and add a few drops of lemon, lime, orange, tangerine, and grapefruit essential oils. Spray it on the stain and scrub with a cloth or sponge. You will be surprised how well it works.
9. Carpet Cleaner (Lavender, Tea Tree, Citrus, Etc.)
Not only are commercial carpet cleaners expensive, but they will also leave chemicals behind in your carpet or rug. If you have small children or pets in your home, it can be dangerous for their health. Using homemade, all-natural carpet cleaner is just another great way of reducing harmful chemicals in your home. Essential oils are also great for protecting the fibers in your carpet, lengthening its life.
To make homemade carpet cleaner use baking soda, vinegar, a small amount of castile soap (optional), and several drops of essential oils. You can use lavender, tea tree, lemon, lime, grapefruit, orange, tangerine, rosemary, peppermint, thyme, and cinnamon.
10. Permanent Marker, Crayon, and Gum Remover (Lemon Oil)
Lemon oil can be used to remove permanent marker, crayon, gum, and all other kinds of gunk from your walls, floors, or furniture. Put a few drops of lemon oil on a cloth or rag and scrub the area. You may have to repeat this a few times in order to get all of it off.
More Essential Oil Uses
If you enjoyed this article and you would like to know more essential oil uses, read 20 Essential Oil Uses for Body, Skin, Hair, Nails, and More.
This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.
© 2018 Jennifer C
Jennifer C (author) on December 05, 2018:
Vinegar is great for removing hard water so I bet it would work amazing for the shower. It actually works better than most cleaners I find. I clean with vinegar and water mixed with citrus essential oils like lemon, lime, and orange. I love the smell it leaves behind and I feel better knowing its safe. I'm hooked!
Jennifer C (author) on December 05, 2018:
Thanks, Layne. Yeah, they make me sick too. I can't stand air fresheners. Essential oils actually work way better for removing odors. They smell better too!
Liz Westwood from UK on December 05, 2018:
This gives some great ideas for safer cleaning. I had heard vinegar mentioned before as a good shower screen cleaner.
Laynie H from Bend, Oregon on December 04, 2018:
Synthetic air fresheners give me migraines—crazy to read they can be carcinogenic. I really love your wood polish idea. Nice article.