The Internet is filled with people selling essential oils, often through multilevel marketing channels. If you buy your oils this way, you’ll also be paying for commissions. There might be several layers of commissions to fund. That’s what keeps MLM networks afloat.
These predominantly female sales reps frequently promote these oils for general household use. But I’m not sure that’s the best advice.
These are high-end oils. I don’t want to buy them only to end up putting them on my floor, if I decide to use them in a homemade cleaning solution. And I certainly don’t want to flush them down the toilet, if I choose to make an aromatic toilet bowl freshener. (You can make incredible toilet bombs with essential oils.)
Using Essential Oils for House Cleaning
(This post contains affiliate links, and if you purchase a product I receive a commission, at no extra cost to you.)
Nearly all of the time I don’t find a reason to buy MLM oils. This is yet another example.
Many other companies sell pure essential oils. These can be used for personal care, as well as for cleaning. I use the term “therapeutic grade” with a caveat. It’s just a marketing phrase. There are no official standards that determine whether an oil meets this criteria. However, it’s come to mean an oil that’s free from additives and adulterants, and is suitable for massage and inhalation.
Essential oils make great cleaning agents. Thanks largely to these highly concentrated plant extracts, we’ve gotten rid of every chemical cleaner we once owned. Instead, we use natural aromatic oils. They seem to work every bit as well. (Actually, I think they often work better than the questionable compounds we used to use.)
Essential Oils for Cleaning Your House
In general, you don’t need to buy the best-known oils on the market, especially if you’ll be using them for cleaning and disinfecting.
Although I love the useful recipes I often see on Pinterest and other social media networks, the ingredients can easily be replaced with non-MLM oils. Here is the brand of peppermint oil I’ve been using for cleaning, and for discouraging ants from invading my kitchen. (Insects hate the smell of peppermint.) Incidentally, mice hate the smell of peppermint oil as well.
This peppermint essential oil is sold by Now Foods, a company that sells good quality oils. On its website, it notes that its oils are derived from plants “grown free of pesticides, synthetic fertilizers and chemical residue.”
Parabens in Household Cleaners
A growing number of people are getting wise to the fact that common household cleaning products may contain potentially dangerous chemicals.
Some of these are known endocrine disruptors, which may increase the risk of certain hormone related cancers. A class of chemicals known as APEs, an acronym for alkylphenol ethoxylates, found in some detergents, are of special concern. One type of APE has been shown to spur the growth of malignant breast cancer cells in a laboratory dish, according to the Organic Consumers Association.
How to Make Homemade Cleaning Products With Essential Oils
At the same time, there’s increased awareness that you don’t need to use chemicals to get your house really clean. It’s very easy to whip up homemade detergents, shampoos and floor cleaners with just a few simple ingredients. A few drops of essential oils gives it a nice fragrance, as well as additional cleaning power. Aromatic oils contain natural antibacterial and antiviral compounds.
As someone who now uses natural cleaning products almost exclusively, I can honestly say that, most of the time, they do a better job than anything made from chemicals. You can even make your own dish washing liquid with natural Castile soap, with essential oils added.
I also make my own kitchen spray cleaner with Castile soap and a few drops of lavender essential oil.
- 1 empty spray bottle. Glass is greatly preferred because it won’t degrade in the presence of volatile essential oils. But if you have a clean empty plastic bottle that will do.
- Fill a 24 ounce bottle 3/4 of the way with warm water.
- Add 1/8 cup of liquid Castile soap.
- Add 5 drops of lavender essential oil.
Essential Oils for Cleaning and Disinfecting
Essential oils are highly concentrated plant extracts. They have strong antiseptic properties, so they lend themselves to household use. If you look at the label of commercial organic cleaning products, you’ll notice they are powered by essential oils. However, you can save a lot of money if you make your own aromatic cleaning supplies.
Some types of oils are used more than others for cleaning. That’s largely because they are abundant and relatively inexpensive. It doesn’t make sense to use a precious oil, such as rose, sandlewood or myhrr, on your kitchen floor or bathroom fixtures, when a readily available oil will do the job.
In general, the following oils are the ones most often used when making a homemade soap, detergent or spray cleaner.
- Lavender. Even the name suggests clean, as the Latin root name is “lavare,” which, translated, means “to wash.”
- Peppermint. The fresh aroma of peppermint essential oil will also drive bugs away, as insects hate the smell of this herb.
- Tea Tree. This oil is derived from the Australian melaleuca plant. Tea tree can very easily remove spots of mold.
- Lemon.Lemon essential oil is very effective at fighting grease, which is why it’s added to many chemical cleaners.
Lavender Oil for Cleaning Wood
For cleaning, lavender essential oil is one of my go-to aromatics. Since I also use it for personal care, it’s the oil I need to replace most often. At one point, when I decided to get rid of all of my chemical cleaning agents, I sadly realized my favorite hardwood floor cleaner had to go, despite the fact that it made my floors look so nice.
I can’t claim that lavender oil and olive oil gives the exact same results. But this combination does a pretty good job at bringing the shine back. It does a better job, compared to my former chemical cleaner, at healing and repairing any areas that are scuffed.
To clean my floors, I simply place an old rag over a rectangular mop head, and moisten it with 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Then I sprinkle a few drops of lavender essential oil on top.
- Add 1 tablespoon of olive oil to a clean rag. Fasten over the head of a rectangular floor mop. If there’s enough material, rubber bands can be used to fasten the rag to the head of the mop. You would use one on each of the underside of the mop, so the elastic would not drag along the floor when you mop. Or you could just mop with the rag flat against the floor.
- Add 3 drops of lavender essential oil to the olive oil covered rag on the mop.
- You may have to add more olive oil/lavender if you have a large area to cover.
- Be careful walking on the floor until it is dry.
Lavender Essential Oil for Cleaning
Here is a very easy way to make your own non-toxic scouring solution, which you can use in stainless steel sinks and fixtures to remove grime. (You can also use this exact mix as a relaxing bath salt recipe.)
- Take an empty Mason jar and fill it to the 3/4 mark with Epsom salt.
- Fill the rest of the jar with baking soda, leaving enough room to shake the mixture.
- Add 10 drops of lavender essential oil. If you don’t own any, it’s available online, as you can see below.
Now Foods Lavender OilPeppermint Oil as Disinfectant
Peppermint grows like a weed, so essential oil made from this plant is abundant. Because you only need to add a little essential oil to your cleaning solutions, a one-ounce bottle of peppermint oil will last a long time. I bought my bottle of Now peppermint essential oil more than a year ago. I still have plenty left, even though I use it for many household projects, including rodent control. (Mice hate the smell of peppermint.)
Peppermint oil contains natural antimicrobial compounds. That’s why, if I’m cutting chicken, and some juice on the counter, I put a drop or two of this oil on a kitchen sponge before I wipe up the spill.
- Wet a kitchen sponge with warm water. Squeeze out extra water.
- Add two drops of peppermint essential oil to the wet sponge.
- Use it to wipe down counter.
- Test this solution on a small patch first, if you have a high gloss counter. Make sure it doesn’t disturb the finish.
Peppermint Oil for Getting Rid of Ants
During the warm weather, I also wipe down my counters with peppermint essential oil to keep the ants away. During ant season, I also place some straight peppermint essential oil along the edges of my counter.
Peppermint oil seems to have 101 other uses. For instance, it contains natural analgesic compounds, so it’s a good alternative to over-the-counter pain medications, and a lot safer as well. If I have a headache, I dilute a couple of drops in a neutral carrier oil. Then I rub this mixture on my forehead and temples.
Does Tea Tree Oil Get Rid of Black Mold?
A couple of years ago, I noticed some unsightly mold had grown in back of my sink. I’m surprised at how much was easily removed with an application of straight tea tree oil. This oil is readily abundant, so it’s very suitable for cleaning products.
However, I do need to caution that tea tree essential oil has a very strong smell. It stays in the air for hours. So, if you plan to address some bathroom mold, you may want to do this when the weather is warm, so you can open up a window.
Again, I’m going to recommend the Now Foods brand of tea tree oil, which comes in various sizes, including the one-ounce bottle you see below. This should last awhile, since a little bit of tea tree oil is usually all you need.
Fabulous Frannie Four Thieves Oil for Cleaning
There are a number of similar formulas on the market, sold by different companies, that use a blend of oils supposedly left to us by a band of Medieval thieves. These men came from a family that traded spices, so they were well aware that certain recipes could be used to ward off sickness.
According to the story, this knowledge allowed them to rob corpses during the Black Plague, without getting sick themselves. Once they were caught, they divulged their secret.
Anyway, various Mommy bloggers recommend their own brands of germ busting oils. The germ-fighting blend I use to clean my own house is sold by Fabulous Frannie. It does an excellent job. (This product is now called Protect, but it used be named Four Thieves.)
Last summer, I noticed a funny mold-like smell in my basement dehumidifier. Now, every time I run it, I put a few drops of Fabulous Frannie Protect into the water well. That nasty smell is gone.
This is the brand I also use liberally during cold and flu season. It also makes a great general disinfectant. Some people also use this blend of clove, lemon, rosemary, cinnamon and eucalyptus oils to make homemade disinfectant soap.
These statements have not been approved by the FDA. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. Women who are nursing or pregnant should not use essential oils unless directed to do so by a healthcare professional.
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