How many chemicals have you come into contact with today? 10, 20? A hundred? Maybe even hundreds? There are over 80,000 chemicals used in the United States and not even 10% have actually been tested for their safety (1).
And let’s not be cheeky here. There’s inevitably someone that will read an article like this and say, “Chemicals aren’t harmful. Don’t you know that water is a chemical formula?” Yes, I do. I took loads of biology and chemistry in college on my way to a “pre-med” degree (which I later decided not to pursue) and that kind of chemical is not what I’m referring to.
I’m talking about the synthetic kind- the kind mixed up in a laboratory. The potentially harmful (and especially the proven-to-be-harmful) chemicals that we find ourselves bombarded with on a day to day basis.
These chemicals fuel the fire of chronic issues that are becoming more and more common, such as: hormone disruption, adrenal fatigue, low energy, weight loss resistance, autoimmune conditions, inability to focus, low productivity and performance – even cancer! Yes, there are still carcinogens in products that many people come into contact with daily.
Household chemicals and cleaners are a primary exposure to toxins and chemicals that are completely avoidable. In fact, this is one of the reasons why indoor air quality can be 10 times more polluted than the air outside (1)!
This is why our family makes it a priority to use natural cleaners as much as possible. For a fresh, invigorating smell without the hormone disruption that comes from synthetic fragrances and chemicals, I recommend cleaning with essential oils.
Why You Should Start Cleaning with Essential Oils
1- Cleaning with Essential Oils Makes the House Smell Amazing!
Have you ever wondered what Martha Stewart’s house might smell like? Okay, probably not. But even still, you know it probably smells like fresh cut flowers or lavender fields along the French countryside. You could create a gorgeous garden of hydrangeas and beautiful flowers and have fresh cut arrangements on your kitchen table daily- but if you’re like me, you don’t have time for that.
So a great way to get that fresh “signature aroma” in your home is to start cleaning with essential oils.
Besides their intoxicating aroma, essential oils are extremely capable of destroying microbes (viruses, bacteria and fungi). They are obtained from different parts of plants including leaves, flowers, petals, roots, woods, barks, seeds and also the peels of different fruits. All of these plant essences are well recognized for their antimicrobial qualities.
2- Cleaning with Essential Oils is Better for Your Health
The other reason you should start cleaning with essential oils is because it’s beneficial to your health! If you’re using conventional products with harmful, hormone disrupting chemicals you can totally get rid of them by making your own cleaners with essential oils.
The other thing is that essential oils are potent antioxidants with versatile health benefits. As you’re cleaning your home, you’ll be inhaling the aroma of these powerful drops. You can increase your energy, improve circulation, support respiratory health, bust bacteria, boost your immune system, improve your mood, support your hormones and the list goes on! All by cleaning with essential oils.
3- Cleaning with Essential Oils is Better for Your Wallet
I don’t know about you, but if you’ve looked at the prices on natural cleaners in health food stores, they can get pricey. Six or $7 for a bottle is not uncommon. You can get a lot of mileage from just a few bottles of pure essential oil and inexpensive supplies like a glass spray bottle, water and vinegar.
Not only can you make household cleaners (and really you only need a few to cover all the bases), but you can also have those bottles of essential oil for other uses.
Can you say versatility?
The same Lemon Essential Oil that can be used to scrub out the sink is also perfect to add to your water bottle throughout the day to increase hydration and gently stimulate the lymphatic system to flush toxins.
Score! How’s that for killing 2 birds with one stone? And with essential oils it’s like killing a dozen birds with one stone- they just have so many uses!
The Art of Choosing the Right Essential Oils for Cleaning
To be honest, there is no magic formula to choosing the best essential oils for cleaning. Everyone has their own favorites. It all depends on which scent you enjoy the most or what type of cleaning you intend to do.
Even though I will be listing some essential oils that I personally enjoy, feel free to experiment and try what resonates with you. Just make sure that you choose oils that are pure and potent.
Lemon essential oil – The Refresher
I call it “Mr. Clean.” Lemon oil carries all the nutritional and cleansing benefits of the fruit it is extracted from. When diffused it purifies the air, clearing the room of pathogens. It’s also great for getting rid of bad smells and infusing a fresh, invigorating aroma.
Lemon has a bright and beautiful scent which is why it’s always a key ingredient in my bathroom and kitchen cleaners. I also use it when cleaning countertops, dishes (it gets rid of stuck on grease), cutting boards (it gets rid of the smell of onions or garlic), faucets, grout, garbage disposal, laundry, water storage containers and bottles.
It’s also perfect for removing sticky residues and works well as a furniture polish. It blends well with other citrus oils like Wild Orange, Lime and Bergamot and I like to add Melaleuca (aka Tea Tree Oil) for even more powerful antibacterial effects.
Peppermint Essential Oil – The Bug Buster
The aroma of peppermint essential oil is refreshingly minty. It’s actually known for improving the ability to focus and concentrate. So, as you’re working on cleaning the house you can stay focused and get the job done!
Some good news for people suffering from Katsaridaphobia (fear of cockroaches) like me, peppermint oil is also a natural insect repellent and pesticide (I mean, seriously. Who doesn’t suffer from Katsaridaphobia?). It is one of the best essential oils in the business of battling insects.
Wild orange is fantastic for blending with peppermint, too. It’s uplifting and boosts your mood, and insects hate citrus oils so it helps increase the repellant power. So when those pesky fruit flies are making the rounds in your kitchen, put some peppermint and wild orange in a diffuser and turn that bad boy on high!
You can also make a bug busting spray with peppermint and spray into the corners of the room. Anywhere that spiders may be tempted to make a web. This is also a great strategy for a newly constructed home.
Since insects get trapped inside once the walls are built they often start creeping and crawling around once you’ve moved in. No thank you! Spray some peppermint and enjoy your new home without those 6-legged visitors.
Melaleuca Essential Oil – The Bacteria Buster
Obtained from the Australian Melaleuca bushes, Melaleuca (or Tea Tree Oil) is antiseptic, antifungal and antibacterial in nature. This is my go-to oil for getting rid of mold and mildew and trust me, it does a very good job!
Tea tree oil has a purifying scent and you can apply it to all your cleaning accessories. You can add just a few drops of it to your bucket of water before mopping your floor. You will notice its distinctive aroma in the entire room. It also boosts the immune system. I just love that 1-2 punch that you get from using essential oils!
Spraying Melaleuca in the shower or bathtub to prevent mold and mildew is also a great idea. It has powerful anti-fungal properties. I also like to include this as an ingredient in my all purpose cleaners because it’s so good at fighting bacteria.
Lavender – The Fresh Smelling Laundry Essential Oil
I love the smell of freshly washed clothes. Sometimes I like folding them. But I love smelling them more.
Before I started living the high performance lifestyle, I would add fabric softener or dryer sheets to the dryer. This was after I had washed my clothes with some liquid detergent full of synthetic, hormone disrupting fragrances. If you’re still using conventional detergent, it’s okay. I used to as wel! You can make a change.
I now use a completely clean and clear laundry detergent called Charlie’s Soap. You can find it here. And when I dry my clothes, I skip the dryer sheet and use Wool Dryer Balls instead. These help to decrease the drying time for my clothes, reduce static cling and when I add drops of lavender to each ball it infuses the laundry with a divine freshness that you just can’t replicate in any other way.
I open the dryer and it smells like a lavender field. That’s just one way I use essential oils in the laundry.
If I have a particularly funky set of clothes to wash- like one of the kids had an accident or we’re talking about funky gym clothes- I’ll also add a purifying, freshening oil like this one. It has a fresh, airy aroma and it’s great for getting bad smells out of clothes. A deep water soap with this essential oil can really do wonders!
Here are a couple of my favorite DIY recipes with essential oils:
DIY Kitchen Sink Scrub
This fresh smelling kitchen sink scrub is perfect for killing bacteria and freshening up
your kitchen in minutes.
1⁄2 cup baking soda
1⁄4 cup white vinegar
5 drops lemon essential oil
5 drops lime essential oil
5 drops wild orange essential oil
Combine all ingredients in a bowl to make a paste. Apply to a sponge or scrubbing pad and wipe out the sink. Rinse away with warm water.
Disinfecting All Purpose Cleaner
1⁄4 cup white vinegar
1 1⁄2 cups distilled water
10 drops of lemon essential oil
10 drops of wild orange essential oil
Add all ingredients to a 16 oz. glass spray bottle. Spray the surface and wipe with a clean cloth. For extra cleanliness, I let it sit on the surface for a few minutes to kill any bacteria. Smells great and works like a charm!
What are your favorite essential oils to use for cleaning? Sound off in the comments section below!
1- Our Toxic World by Dorris Rapp, M.D.