Essential oils are one of the best-smelling, naturally antibacterial options for homemade cleaning recipes. Add oils to green your laundry routine, sanitize the kitchen and nix mold in the bathroom – all while making your house smell ‘clean’ – no scary fumes needed! I’m inclined to add lemon, tea tree and lavender to just about every cleaning recipe, but there are lots more you might want to have on hand. Ready to go green for spring? Here are my 10 essential oils for cleaning.
Loved for its light, clean scent, this essential oil is also a powerhouse in homemade cleaning recipes. Naturally antibacterial and antiviral, lemon is commonly used to degrease stubborn stains as well as freshen the air. Use it to deodorize your fridge, clean the floor or combine 10 drops with 1/2 cup olive oil for a natural wood or leather polish.
2. Tea Tree (Melaleuca)
Is there anything tea tree oil can’t do? It fights germs, bacteria and viruses in everything from homemade wipes to hand soap to daily shower spray. Tea tree oil is a handy weapon against bugs, too. Add tea tree to a spray bottle with water, shake well, and spray outside and inside the home to deter lice and other pests.
Rosemary’s natural antibacterial and antiseptic properties make it a great addition to homemade dish soap and laundry detergent. Essential oils are perfect for homemade air freshener sprays, and the combination of peppermint and rosemary is perfect when when you need to stay focused and on task.
4. Wild Orange
Not only does orange oil have a happy scent, but, like lemon, it’s great against grease. Use 1-2 drops to lift grease or glue from surfaces or combine 12 drops with 1/4 cup castile soap and water to wipe down stovetops and counters. There are tons of ways to use orange oil (we rounded up 21 uses here), including homemade fabric softener crystals, natural floor cleaner, and an energizing kitchen spray.
One of the best-smelling naturally antibacterial essential oils is lavender. Lavender pairs well with another common natural cleaner, vinegar. Just add 4-5 drops of lavender to your vinegar cleaning mixture for its natural antibacterial properties – and for a more bearable scent. Harness lavender’s soothing scent in homemade dish soap and linen spray to elevate washing dishes and laundry day.
This natural germicide is a powerful dust mite buster. Use it with baking soda to deep clean your mattress and in a dry wash for stuffed animals or just put a few drop in your next wash cycle. And with its clean smell, eucalyptus is great for stinky jobs in the kitchen and bathroom. Eucalyptus leaves and essential oil are great in cupboards to deter pests.
There are countless uses for peppermint oil around the home. Its cool, invigorating scent and antibacterial properties make it a great addition to spray cleaners and natural deodorant spray. For an air freshener that also deters ants and spiders mix 10-15 drops of peppermint essential oil with 1 cup of water in a spray bottle. Shake well and spray along cracks and crevices or wherever ants are seen.
Cinnamon is naturally antibacterial and antiseptic. Powerful against mold, it’s a great addition to homemade mold and mildew spray. Ground cinnamon and its essential oil are both effective against pests. Sprinkle the ground cinnamon anywhere that pests are seen or apply pure undiluted cinnamon essential oil to the areas with a cotton swab.
Already a common ingredient in cleaners (Pine-Sol anyone?) pine oil is effective at killing yeast spores, E.coli and other household germs. Pine is perfect for ridding the bathroom of mold and mildew and cleaning hard floors while leaving a natural fresh scent.
Thyme is one of the most powerful essential oil weapons against germs. Thyme is effective against salmonella so you can add it to homemade dish soap and use it to clean cutting boards that have come in contact with raw meat.