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Essential Oil Cleaning Recipes

Green your spring cleaning routine this year with essential oils.
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Green your spring cleaning routine this year with essential oils.

Whether you want to fortify your home against germs or simply embrace your space with green cleaning habits, tasking essential oils in your housekeeping can help to build a powerful, all-natural defense against germs. (And the aahh-inspiring aromas might even make cleaning house something to look forward to!)

Begin by stocking your cleaning bucket with a bottle of grease-zapping white vinegar and a box of nature’s exfoliator, baking soda. Diluted with water, vinegar cleans soiled surfaces, and when mixed with baking soda, it can tackle even the messiest kitchens (including that annoying food splatter in the microwave), leaving your kitchen fresh and sparkling.

Best Antibacterial Oils: Lemon & Sweet Orange

Citrus oils such as zesty lemon (Citrus limon) and cheerful sweet orange (Citrus sinensis) are natural disinfectants that zap bacteria. And their bright, invigorating scents will energize you and lift low spirits. You’ll wonder why you ever relied on harsh, cough-inducing chemicals to clean.

Keep a small glass bottle filled with a dilution of distilled water and lemon essential oil to treat cutting boards after use and to wipe down laminate kitchen counters and fridge handles at day’s end. Sweet orange essential oil will also freshen smelly sinks and garbage disposals—simply shake a few drops into the sink and rinse with hot water. With each change of the garbage can liner, shake a drop or two of lemon or orange in the bottom of the can to dispel odors. And try the following mixtures to keep your home clean and green.

Pregnant? On Medication?

Check with your physician before cleaning with essential oils. Avoid spraying near the face, and keep out of reach of children and pets. Wear gloves and wash hands thoroughly after cleaning to prevent possible skin irritation from vinegar or essential oils.Check with your physician before cleaning with essential oils. Avoid spraying near the face, and keep out of reach of children and pets. Wear gloves and wash hands thoroughly after cleaning to prevent possible skin irritation from vinegar or essential oils.

All-Purpose Household Cleaner

  • 3/4 cup distilled white vinegar
  • 1 cup distilled water
  • 10 drops lemon essential oil
  • 10 drops sweet orange essential oil

In an 8-oz. spray bottle, mix ingredients and shake well to blend. Spray generously on surfaces, including non-copper faucets and hardware, and let sit for several minutes. Wipe with a clean cloth.

This mild solution can also double as a green cleaner for smart phones and computer keyboards where germs collect. First, power down (and unplug) your gadgets. Spray a clean cotton cloth with your solution and gently wipe down keyboards and screens. Use a Q-tip lightly misted with the solution to reach crevices and in between keys. Since vinegar has antistatic properties, cleaning your electronics with this solution will also help keep dust from collecting on surfaces.

For common areas around a home with small children, forego the vinegar and make a simple spray of distilled water and orange essential oil—its antiviral properties and light scent are safe for kids. Spray toys, crib, and playroom surfaces, then wipe with a clean cloth rinsed in warm water.

Microwave Cleaner

  • 1/4 cup baking soda
  • 3–4 Tbs. water
  • 10 drops lemon essential oil
  • 10 drops sweet orange essential oil

In a glass bowl, mix baking soda with warm water to form a paste; add essential oils and stir well. Apply baking soda mixture on the sides and floor of the microwave and spray with All-Purpose Household Cleanser. The vinegar will cause the soda to bubble slightly. Dampen a clean cloth with fresh water, and wipe surfaces. Rinse cloth, and wipe surfaces again.

This mixture is also a fragrant cleanser for refrigerators and stoves. Pour any unused soda mixture down the garbage disposal, and run it with cold water to clean the blades.

All-Purpose Bathroom Cleaner

For tougher surfaces in the bathroom, choose hardy tea tree (Melaleuca alternifolia) and clarifying eucalyptus (Eucalyptus globulus) essential oils.

For tougher surfaces in the bathroom, choose hardy tea tree (Melaleuca alternifolia) and clarifying eucalyptus (Eucalyptus globulus) essential oils. Shake a few drops of each into the toilet bowl several times a week to disinfect and deodorize. Mixed with white vinegar, these oils help fight fungus and bacteria, and help prevent mildew growth in the tub and shower. Scientific studies report that the antibacterial and antifungal properties of tea tree and eucalyptus are effective in stopping the spread of influenza, pneumonia, and staph germs. 

  • 1 cup white vinegar
  • 4 tsp. fragrance-free dish soap
  • 10 drops tea tree essential oil
  • 10 drops eucalyptus essential oil

In an 8-oz. spray bottle, mix ingredients and shake well to blend. Spray generously on tile, sinks, tub, shower, and bathroom surfaces. Allow the cleanser to sit for several minutes, then wipe with a clean cloth. Rinse with hot water. 

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