Essential oils are often used as fragrances in cleaning products, but they are also effective natural cleaners. Many essential oils are antibacterial and antiseptic, and they can be used as natural disinfectants and deodorizing agents. Lemon, pine, peppermint, and tea tree oils remove bacteria and add a fresh scent to home cleaning solutions – mix them with warm water or add a few drops of essential oil to a natural cleaning product for extra disinfecting power and fragrance.
Essential Oils for Green Cleaning
Lemon essential oil is antiseptic and antibacterial, and has a refreshing scent. Lemon oil is also deodorizing, which means that it is ideal for getting rid of any unpleasant odors, and it is an effective natural cleaner for greasy surfaces.
Pine essential oil is a familiar fragrance. Many commercially available cleaning products are pine-scented – sometimes with actual pine oil, sometimes with synthetic pine fragrance. A few drops of pine essential oil in your cleaning product/water creates a much more natural pine scent.
Tea tree oil is antiviral, antibacterial and antifungal – an ideal natural disinfectant for surfaces in the bathroom and in the kitchen. Because of its antifungal properties, tea tree oil is great for bathrooms that suffer from mold – it fights the mold/mildew and leaves a clean scent in the bathroom.
Peppermint essential oil is antibacterial and it also keeps mice, cockroaches and other unwanted house guests away. Add it to household cleaning solutions, or use a couple of drops of peppermint oil in a few cups of warm water to wipe floors and other surfaces. Fresh peppermint leaves or a few drops of the essential oil help to keep mice away from the kitchen and the pantry.
How to Use Essential Oils for Cleaning
- For a basic floor cleaner, use a bucket of warm water, add a little vinegar if you wish, and add around 10-20 drops of pine, tea tree, lemon or peppermint essential oil. Eucalyptus and rosemary are other good options.
- For a general household cleaner, add 5-10 drops of essential oil into warm water in a spray bottle, add a little bit of dishwashing liquid, and use for cleaning the kitchen or bathroom surfaces. Shake the bottle well before use, as the oils do not disperse in water.
- Make a disinfectant spray with approximately 1 oz. of water and a few drops of tea tree or lemon essential oil in a small spray bottle. Shake well and spray on any surfaces that need disinfecting, for instance during the flu season. Use the same method for an anti-mold spray: add around 5-6 drops of tea tree oil into 1 oz. of water and spray surfaces that are prone to mold or mildew.
- Try the natural method for carpet cleaning with baking soda in this article: Non-Toxic Carpet Cleaning Solutions, and add 10-20 drops of essential oils for each cup of baking soda you’re using. Follow the instructions in the article – sprinkle the powder on the carpet, leave overnight, and vacuum in the morning.
Don’t use essential oils without diluting them – neat essential oil could damage some surfaces. Always dilute the oils into warm water and mix well, or add a few drops into your natural cleaning solution (try these ideas for cleaning with vinegar.)