Most of us generally enjoy having a clean house. Even if you’re one of those people who pushes the limits by only giving it a good once-a-month once over, it still needs doing at some point. Unfortunately, many of the cleaning products that are currently on the market contain synthetic ingredients and fragrances that can be harmful to the health of you and your family. Many common cleaners are toxic to the environment, can cause dry skin and allergies, and can even wear down the surfaces or fabrics you are using them on. Thankfully, there is an alternative option! Essential oils are natural, affordable (as a little goes a long way), and much more eco-friendly. This list of the best essential oils for cleaning offers a variety of different oils you can choose from to help keep your home looking—and smelling—its best. Furthermore, we’ve thrown in a few essential oil cleaning recipes to get you started!
The Top 5 Best Essential Oils for Cleaning
Lemon essential oil usually tops the list of the best essential oils for cleaning in most people’s eyes. This is due in part to its antibacterial properties, but we also have to give a shoutout to lemon oil for its fresh, fragrant aroma! It is also excellent for getting rid of dirt and grime, making it great for cleaning kitchens. Other uses for lemon oil include multipurpose sprays, citrus scrubs, wood polish, and even room freshening sprays.
For Sparkling Windows:
- 4oz White Vinegar
- 4-5 Drops x Lemon Essential Oil
- Combine in a spray bottle and shake before using
DIY Citrus Scrub:
- 2tbsp Baking Soda
- 1.5tbsp Water
- 5 Drops x Lemon Essential Oil
- Create a paste, and apply it to the stained area. Scrub, then rinse off
In spite of being famous for its herbaceous, floral aroma, lavender is also great for disinfecting. It works as an effective antimicrobial agent, ridding surfaces of germs and bacteria while leaving behind its soothing fragrance. One of our favorite way to use lavender is as a linen mist. It not only helps to maintain the cleanliness of your sheets in between washes but can also promote better sleeping patterns at night. Lavender is well-known for its ability to help reduce feelings of stress and help treat symptoms of insomnia.
Lavender Linen Mist:
- 2 cups of Water
- 2tbsp of Witch Hazel
- 15-20 Drops x Lavender Essential Oil
- Add to a spray bottle and shake well before generously misting linens
Tea tree essential oil has all the properties to make it one of the best essential oils for cleaning. It is antibacterial, antiseptic, antifungal, and insecticidal. These properties make using tea tree oil for cleaning the perfect choice in areas that tend to collect moisture, such as bathtubs and showers. Tea tree is also a common air purifier, with many products on the market that are meant to go into air filtration systems. To make an all-purpose cleaner with tea tree essential oil, use the following recipe:
Tea Tree Oil Multi-Purpose Cleaner:
- 3 cups of Water
- 0.5 cup of Vinegar
- 10 Drops x Tea Tree Essential Oil
- Combine in a spray bottle and mist on the area you wish to clean. Make sure to thoroughly wipe, and keep tea tree oil away from pets and small children
You are likely familiar with peppermint oil, especially as a herb or a flavoring. However, what you might not know, is that peppermint essential oil can be a great addition to your natural cleaning arsenal! Not only is it another excellent antimicrobial, but you can also use peppermint essential oil to repel insects and rodents. This includes wasps, spiders, mice, rats, and more. The scientific reasoning behind this is to do with scent. As much we love the invigorating smell of peppermint, it’s too strong for other insects or creatures and messes up their own sense of smell. As a result, they stay far away!
No More Unwanted Guests:
- 16oz Spray Bottle
- 5-10 Drops x Peppermint Essential Oil
- Dash of Dishwashing Liquid
- Fill with Water
- Spray the edges of windows, door cracks, or other areas you see unwanted guests congregating
No More Soap Scum Shower Spray:
- ¼ cup of Rubbing Alcohol
- ¾ cup of Water
- 10 x Drops of Peppermint Essential Oil
- Glass Spray Bottle (8oz)
- Combine together in the spray bottle. Shake before use, and mist walls and basin after showering - no rinsing necessary!
Similar to other citrus oils like lemon and grapefruit, sweet orange essential oil works as an antibacterial agent. However, its smell is on the sweeter side, and it is one of the best fragrances to use when you need a little something to lift your mood. You can use sweet orange oil to create all-purposes sprays, air fresheners, drawer sachets, and of course, wood polishing oil.
Wood-n’t You Like to Know My Secret?
- 2/3c White Vinegar
- 1/3c Oil (Olive, Jojoba etc.)
- 10 Drops x Sweet Orange Essential Oil
- Combine in a spray bottle and shake before use. Spray onto a soft cloth and use it to buff wood
What Essential Oil Kills Viruses?
Unsurprisingly, these days people want cleaning products that can add killing viruses to their list of benefits. As it currently stands, there are only a handful of drugs out there that can kill viruses. Research indicates that many essential oils contain antiviral properties that can be effective against viral infections such as herpes simplex (cold sores), influenza, and other viruses. Clove oil and oregano are notorious for their antiviral activity, as well as eucalyptus, and tea tree oils. However, more human trials are needed to get a better indication of bioavailability and how to safely use oils to treat viruses.
Antiseptic Essential Oils: Why We Love Them
If you are unsure of the difference between a disinfectant and an antiseptic, you are not alone! To sum it up, an antiseptic is simply a material or substance that helps to slow or stop microorganisms from growing. A disinfectant has the same job, but instead of being used on the body, it is used on inanimate surfaces such as those around the house! Now, when it comes to essential oils, some are antibacterial and some are antiseptic. Antibacterial oils can kill off certain bacterias, whereas oils that are antiseptic can also cause the destruction of microbes such as fungi. Antiseptics are also usually astringent, which means they can cut down on grease while also killing off the fungus that causes conditions like itchy scalp and dandruff. For this reason, many people use antiseptic essential oils to treat the skin and scalp. The most common antiseptic oil out there is likely tea tree oil, which you will see in many shampoos, conditioners, and ointments.
Using Essential Oils for Cleaning: Precautions
While essential oils are 100% pure, coming from the essence of plants, there is still some care that needs to be taken when using them. Never ingest oils, and keep them far out of reach of inquisitive pets or children. Even a small amount can be toxic. Always make sure to follow proper dilution rates, and avoid coming into direct skin contact with oils. They are very potent, and cannot be put directly on the skin. Additionally, if you or anyone else notices any sensitivities or allergies it is best to discontinue use.
We hope our list of the best essential oils for cleaning gives you the inspiration to make the switch to more natural products! There are many toxins and chemicals present in commercial cleaning supplies that can worsen asthma, cause health issues, and even cause hormone imbalances. Using essential oils for disinfection and cleaning offers antibacterial benefits without having to worry about the presence of synthetic chemicals and fragrances.