Your Complete Guide to Cleaning With Natural Oils
Today’s cleaning chemicals are powerful reagents capable of dissolving caked soils in minutes. Such cleaning power requires them to be super strong, but it also makes them dangerous. Despite being found in almost every household, cleaning chemicals are some of the most dangerous chemicals around.
According to Lung.org , they are responsible for respiratory diseases, allergic reactions, headaches, and even cancer. With such a long list of negatives, I wonder why people have never shifted to the wonderful benefits of cleaning with natural essential oils. These organic compounds are extremely potent and effective against soils and dirt while adding loads of therapeutic, physiological, and psychological benefits.
That is why I have set out to debunk the myths surrounding essential plant oils to help you understand what they are, what their benefits are, how to use them, and any risks associated with using them.
What Are Essential Oils
Also called natural oils, essential oils are plant extracts drawn from various aromatic herbs, shrubs, and trees for their potent properties. They are called essential oils because they capture the plant’s essence or flavor, aroma, and many other desirable properties.
Some of the plants from which essential oils are extracted include peppermint, lavender, rose, bergamot, eucalyptus, tea tree, jasmine, lemon, and many others. There are over 90 types of essential oils drawn from various plants, and each has unique benefits in aromatherapy, cleaning, and healing.
How Essential Oils Are Made
Unlike those artificial scents and sprays you find in the stores which claim to have ‘essence of lavender’ or ‘essence of juniper’ or whatever other marketing gimmicks the companies use, essential oils are the real thing. They are obtained without any chemical manipulation or processing to retain their natural purity.
One way they are extracted is through steam distillation. Extremely hot steam from pure water is forced through the leaves, roots, bark, or whatever other parts the oils are being extracted from. The steam dissolves the oils from the plants, then deposits them again as it cools down due to the different condensation temperatures involved.
The other way to extract natural oils is through extremely high mechanical pressure which forces the oils from green plants and plant parts out. In either case, the oils are collected and bottled as-is. Since they are usually sold as 100% pure oils, they are super potent. Usually, only a few drops are needed in whatever you are using them for.
You can buy natural oils from a local health foods store near you. Various manufacturers sell these amazing natural plant products in tiny bottles. They come in different concentrations designed for various uses, but for now, we will assume that you will be using 100% natural oils.
Best Natural Oils for Cleaning
A lot of essential oils are useful for cleaning at home and are effective against all kinds of stubborn soils including food spills, caked soil, chemicals, wine, sweat, pet soils, among others. Most people fall into the trap of thinking that these nice-smelling oils don’t work well for cleaning purposes. The truth is that natural oils are highly potent, over 75 times more powerful than dried herbs. Each kind of essential oil has unique benefits when used in cleaning, as we shall now look into:
Lemon has long been known to have powerful effects when it comes to cleaning and killing harmful bacteria. Its microbial properties are shared by the citrus fruit family. Apart from the refreshing citrusy scents of lemon oils, this natural cleaner is great at cutting through grease and grime. Fresh lemons are easily used to clean up oily pots, pans, plates, cook-tops, and other greasy surfaces.
It is also a wonderful deodorant, which both chases away odors and kills the bacteria producing them. You can use lemon oils to keep your fridge smelling nice and fresh.
Using Lemon Oil:
To use lemon oil as a deodorant, mix 4-6 drops of pure lemon essential oil with baking soda in a glass jar. Cover the jar with breathable fabric and put it inside the fridge without the lid. You can also dilute a few drops of the oil with distilled water and spray it in your washroom to keep it smelling fresh.
To use is a powerful natural cleaner, pour 1 part olive oil and 1 part vinegar, then mix in 15 drops of lemon oil. Spray the mixture on leather, wood, and other surfaces to clean them and make them shine.
To clean stubborn soils, add a few drops of the oil directly onto the residue and rub it in – make sure you’re wearing rubber gloves while doing this. After a few minutes, wipe away with a damp cloth.
2. Tea Tree Natural Oils
Essential oils from the tea tree are a true all-rounded Eco cleaning agent with amazing antimicrobial, anti-fungal, antiseptic, and insecticidal properties. You can use it at home as an all-purpose cleaner with different applications such as:
- Washing hands to sanitize them
- Clean the shower, kitchen, loo, and other sensitive areas prone to odors and bacterial
- An all-purpose cleaner you can use around the house
Using Tea Tree Oil:
To use as an all-purpose cleaner, mix ½ cup of white vinegar and 3 cups of water, then add 10 drops of tea tree oil. You can spray this effective mix onto any dirty surface and wipe away for a powerful clean in seconds.
To use as a hand cleaning solution, combine a squirt of castile soap, 12 drops of tea tree oil, and distilled water in a reusable soap pump.
To use as a shower or toilet cleaner, a more powerful solution of 2 cups white vinegar, 2 teaspoons of liquid non-Castile dish soap, and 20 drops of oil are needed. A simple spritz-and-wipe procedure is all you need to clean your shower.
Lavender has long been known for having such a lovely smell. The sheer number of lavender-scented cleaning chemicals is a testament to this, but lavender is also a powerful cleaning agent.
A bottle of lavender essential oil with fresh lavender twigs on a dark background
Lavender is a powerful antibacterial, antiviral, antifungal cleaning agent. The best way to use lavender is by adding a few drops of lavender essential oils with distilled water into a spray bottle which you can use to spritz a bit of the powerful spray onto a surface.
Lavender spray is particularly good for cleaning linens used in bed because the scent has amazing calming properties that help people sleep soundly every time.
Peppermint is a well-known essential oil that gets the strength and energy back in tired people, but this same power works great at cleaning stubborn stains. It is an aggressive cleaning agent that works great against biological stains, and it is also highly insecticidal, which means it repels and even kills bothersome bugs.
A cup of distilled water combined with 10-15 drops of peppermint oil in a spray bottle is great for keeping off both flying and crawling bugs. Spray the mix into cracks, crevices, under furniture, behind the fridge, and anywhere else these critters love to hide.
House Cleaning Services With Natural Oils
Cleaning your house with essential oils is a natural and effective way of keeping your home fresh and clean without resorting to any toxic chemicals. You will notice that adding a few safe household cleaning agents to natural oils makes them more effective. These include baking soda, vinegar, and castile soap.
- Baking soda – is an amazing cleaning agent that is effective at absorbing odors and as a non-abrasive cleaner for counter-tops and other sensitive surfaces.
- White vinegar – white vinegar has effective anti-fungal and antibacterial properties. It is also effective in cutting grease and dissolving mineral deposits. Adding it to essential oils adds extra punch, although it shouldn’t be used on marble.
- Castile soap – Castile soap is an amazing soap made from vegetable oils with no synthetic chemical substances involved. Adding it to your cleaning solution improves its effectiveness without adding any harmful chemical substances.
For best results, you should stick to a weekly house cleaning schedule using natural means with essential oils and the agents listed above. It helps keep harmful biological agents at bay while making your house smell heavenly 24/7.
For a complete deep clean, get professional house cleaning services that will restore your house to its naturally fresh state. The same also applies when you have unexplainable odors that no essential oil can seem to mask.
Benefits of Cleaning With Essential Oils
The benefits of cleaning with essential oils extend beyond their effectiveness in sanitizing and removing dirt. As we have stated, lavender is a powerful calming agent that helps people sleep peacefully.
The other essential oils used in cleaning also have various benefits for all those living in the house.
A whiff or two of lavender, frankincense, sandalwood, or sweet orange helps to relieve stress and ease tension. Cleaning your house with these oils means that everyone in the house can experience their calming and healing effects all the time.
Other essential oils that are great for easing stress are rose, sage, bergamot, lemon, geranium, chamomile, marjoram, and vetiver.
Have you heard that essential oils improve performance during workouts? Well, it’s true. Citruses are good at enhancing not only the mood but also adding extra energy to get you through tough days.
These oils include those derived from eucalyptus, peppermint, ginger, grapefruit, orange, rosemary, jasmine, and black pepper. They also help to reduce fatigue and enhance continuous performance and stamina.
3. Mental Boost
For those late nights and early morning study sessions, you don’t have to drink liters of coffee to boost your alertness and improve memory. Rosemary and peppermint face sprays give you instant alertness and memory boost, up to 75% more.
Other natural oils which are good for improving memory are basil, helichrysum, vetiver, grapefruit, cedar, pine, and juniper.
4. Soothe inflammation on the skin and heal acne
If you are affected by skin problems such as eczema, acne, itching, among others, essential oils used properly can help relieve the symptoms. Tea tree oil and lavender oil are one of the most effective solutions to skin problems, and the former is the only that can be safely applied to the skin. The rest have to be properly diluted and blended with other compounds to make them safe enough for topical use.
For acne and skin irritations, a misting of rose water, oregano, bergamot, rosemary, helichrysum, and tea tree oil works wonders. You will need to prepare such a solution properly to ensure it’s safe.
For muscle tension, peppermint, eucalyptus, wintergreen, chamomile, nutmeg, ginger, cayenne, rosemary, and black pepper works wonders. However, always be on the watch for skin sensitivity and let your doctor know before you start using any of these natural solutions.
Risks of Cleaning With Essential Oils
Essentially need some level of safe handling due to their potency. Because of their purity, direct contact with skin or ingestion can cause harmful effects and long term allergies.
As such, you must always dilute essential oils properly before using them. Dilution takes place using jojoba, olive, or almond oil as a carrier oil, after which you can dilute them with distilled water.
The only occasion you can use essential oils directly out of the bottle is in cleaning extra tough stains, as in lemon. In such cases, you should be wearing gloves to protect your skin.
For inhalation, you should only use 1 or 2 drops in plenty of boiling water. For facial spray mists, dilute only a few drops of oil with plenty of distilled water.
Tea tree oils are sensitive to high temperatures and direct light, so do not store them in clear bottles or hot places. They can break down into harmful compounds that have adverse reactions to the skin.
Finally, remember that what seems mild to use might be overpowering to pets. Use essential oils very sparingly around them and prevent them from touching or licking bottles with such oils. Store them in safe places where no curious cat or dog can reach them.
If you are pregnant or have a baby, there are also various safety precautions you should follow. Ask your doctor about this.