It’s that time of year again for spring cleaning, but if you want to ditch the store-bought, chemical-laden cleaning products, what can you use? Essential oils are a great place to start to make your own cleaning products that clean effectively without the harsh chemicals.
Did you know that the average household has approximately 60 hazardous products in it, from solvents to household cleaners? Eliminating harmful household cleaners is an easy way to rid the inside of your house from these chemicals, which can affect breathing in both young children and adults and cause other potentially serious health problems.
1. Lemon. Lemon essential oil is antibacterial and antimicrobial, which makes it a great oil to use in the kitchen as it cuts through grease and grime. In a measuring cup, combine 5 ounces distilled water, 5 ounces white vinegar, 1 teaspoon baking soda and 20 drops of lemon essential oil. Combine and pour into a glass spray bottle. Use wherever you need to cut through grease. Not only will your cleaning be chemical-free, but lemon lifts the spirits, hopefully making your cleaning tasks a little more enjoyable.
2. Sweet orange. Another uplifting essential oil to the spirits, sweet orange also has been shown to inhibit salmonella and E coli in a 2011 study. This makes it a great cleaner for refrigerators, cutting boards and countertops. For an easy dishwashing liquid, add 1/2 teaspoon sweet orange essential oil to a 22-ounce squeeze bottle that is three-quarters full with liquid castile soap. Fill the remaining space with distilled water, and shake to combine.
3. Melaleuca. Also known as tea tree oil, melaleuca essential oil can be used on its own or combined with a citrus-scented essential oil to make an effective cleaner. Melaleuca is great to use in the bathroom as it has antibacterial properties and has shown promise in fighting the flu virus, staph infections and the herpes simplex virus. For a tub-and-tile cleaner, mix 1 2/3 cups baking soda and 1/2 cup liquid castile soap in a bowl. Dilute with 1/2 cup water and 2 tablespoons white vinegar. Add 30 drops of melaleuca oil. Stir until there aren’t any lumps, and pour the mixture into a container. Shake before using.
4. Peppermint. This essential oil has been shown to help with alertness, but it also makes a great addition to DIY household cleaners. An easy tub and sink scrub combines 1/4 cup baking powder, 1/2 cup vinegar and 2 drops of peppermint essential oil. Mix everything together, and use on a sponge to clean sinks and tubs.
5. Lavender. Known for its calming and relaxing properties, lavender essential oil is also a great disinfectant, and it has been used for centuries in cleaning agents. For an all-purpose cleaner, mix 2 teaspoons distilled white vinegar with 1 teaspoon borax in a 16-ounce bottle. Fill the bottle three-quarters full with hot distilled water, and shake until the borax is dissolved. Add 1/4 cup liquid castile soap, 10 drops lavender essential oil and 1 teaspoon lemon juice. Shake well before using.
The author is a Midwestern homesteader, budding herbalist and gardener who tries to live a natural life. For more information about essential oils and other related topics, contact her through her website.