So you’ve heard that essential oils can be handy around the house, but there are so many of them! How do you know which ones you should use? It’s tough to go wrong—so many of these highly concentrated oils have useful traits, from antiseptic properties to a relaxing scent. But if you’re just not sure how to start cleaning with essential oils, check out these five easy additions to your lineup.
1. Tea Tree Oil
Also known as Melaleuca, tea tree oil is made from a shrubby Australian tree. Laboratory tests have confirmed what aboriginal Australians had known for generations: tea tree oil has antiseptic properties that make it useful against bacteria, fungi, and other potentially harmful microscopic critters. Mix with vinegar for an all-purpose surface spray perfect for kitchen counters, bathrooms, and other high-traffic areas.
With a clean, fresh scent, you might want to throw a dash of peppermint into all your home cleaning mixes! As appealing as we might find the scent of mint, pests like ants, spiders, and rodents absolutely hate it. Spray diluted oil along window sills and baseboards to keep pests out.
The scent of lavender has been proven to help reduce stress and promote relaxation, which is why so many candles, sleep masks, and spa treatments are lavender scented! Why not add a little relaxation into your home cleaning routine while you’re at it? Add a few drops of lavender oil to felted wool dryer balls and toss them in with your next load of laundry. Dryer balls help clothes dry faster by improving air flow, which also helps distribute the lavender scent throughout the entire load. As an added bonus, scenting your fabrics with lavender can help keep pests like moths and mice out of stored linens.
There are a wide range of specific pine extracts available, but when it comes to cleaning, they have one thing in common: they get the job done. Pine-based ingredients are frequently found even in commercial cleaners, and adding a bit of essential oil to your cleaning solution is a great way to give it an added boost. Use it to wipe down drawers and cupboards as well as floors, countertops, and fixtures. Pine is naturally an antifungal and keeps away pests like mites.
The spicy scent of cloves may remind you of holiday cooking or festivities, but did you know it’s also one of the most effective antibacterial oils? It’s safe to use on all food surfaces, and has even been considered for application directly to fruits and vegetables post-harvest to keep them fresh for longer.
Let’s Get Started!
Ready to spice up your cleaning routine? Now that you’ve got an idea of where to start, it’s a simple matter of mixing up your new favorite cleaning solutions. Always pay attention to the recommendations that come with your oils. Just because they’re natural doesn’t mean they don’t have risks! These are highly concentrated and very active compounds, and applying them directly to skin, or inhaling undiluted fumes can cause serious injuries. Once properly mixed with water or vinegar, though, cleaning with essential oils will be your new secret weapon.