With the desire to keep our homes clean and safe for our families, along with wanting to protect the environment, more people are turning to essential oils to accomplish both tasks. But what exactly are essential oils, and how can they be used to clean and disinfect our homes?
Essential oils are concentrated liquids that contain the “essence” and aroma from the plants from which they are made. Essential oils are used in perfumes, making incense, flavorings, and in cleaning products. However, it must be noted that one should never use essential oils directly on the skin. They are too concentrated and must be combined with a carrier oil such as olive oil, or mixed with another product.
One of the most popular essential oils of late is Tea Tree Oil. This oil is taken from the Melaleuca tree, native to Australia, but found in other areas as well. Tea Tree oil can be used in a variety of ways:
• Add tea tree oil to water to use as a cleaner, disinfectant, and purifier during cold and flu season.
• Add a few drops to the laundry when washing cloth diapers to help clean and disinfect them.
• Dilute with water to clean and disinfect your floors, toilets, and all areas of your kitchen
Eucalyptus is another essential oil that has disinfecting properties. When added with lemon oil and distilled water, it is an effective antibacterial spray that can be used throughout your home.
Orange essential oils, pressed from the peels of ripe oranges, can be used in a variety of ways in your home.
• When added to a carrier oil like olive oil, orange essential oil is great for cleaning your wooden cutting board.
• Use it as a deodorizer. Put a few drops of the essential oil on a cotton ball and leave it in your cooler after you’ve finished using it for the season. When you open it the following season, you’ll find a fresh orange scent instead of a musty odor.
• Orange oil is often added to furniture polish to clean, polish, enhance, and protect wood with out leaving a wax build-up.
Another essential oil that is good for household cleaning is lavender. Not only does it help clean your house, the aroma is very pleasant and relaxing.
• You can make a laundry softener that will rival anything you can purchase at your local store. Carefully combine 32 ounces of white vinegar with 32 ounces of baking soda over a sink (the mixture will bubble). Stir in 64 ounces of distilled or purified water and a half ounce of lavender essential oil. Use one-fourth cup in each per laundry load. Rinse as usual.
• If you add a few drops of lavender essential oil to your dishwashing liquid, not only will you add the fragrance, but you’ll also improve the antiseptic quality of the soap.
When cleaning your home, there are many products on the market. However, if you add an essential oil to things you already have, such as vinegar, water, or economically friendly dish soap, you will increase their effectiveness and leave a nice smell throughout your home.