When you think of essential oils what comes to mind? Adding them to DIY skincare products? Diffusing them? Cooking with essential oils? But what about cleaning with essential oils?
In today’s highly toxic world filled with chemicals at every turn, it is important to do what you can to reduce the toxic load in your home as well as what you release into the environment. This is where cleaning with essential oils comes in.
You see, you can get rid of all your toxic cleaning products and enjoy natural cleaning with a few basic essential oils plus a few special ones for those less frequent cleaning needs.
7 Benefits of Cleaning With Essential Oils
Before we dive into the best essential oils for cleaning, let’s take a quick look at the 7 benefits of cleaning with essential oils.
- They are plant based and non-toxic to humans (some essential oils should not be used in a home with animals). Did you know that according to the Poison Control Center, 11.1% of poison exposure cases are caused by cleaning substances?
- They really work and have for centuries.
- They will save you money – a little goes a long way
- They leave behind a clean, crisp, naturally fresh scent
- They have cleaning superpowers and many are antibacterial, antimicrobial, antifungal, and antiviral
- The eliminate the cause of the odor as opposed to just making it like conventional air fresheners and room sprays
- They deter pests so you get an added benefit of using essential oils for cleaning
What Are The Best Essential Oils For Cleaning?
Let’s start with this handy little overview shall we?
Best antibacterial essential oils
- Tea Tree
Best antifungal essential oils
- Tea Tree
I would like to caution you that just because an essential oil is antifungal, doesn’t mean that is actually kills mold. Please read my detailed article on essential oils for mold. It’s eye opening!
Best antiviral essential oils
- Tea Tree
Now we can get into some specifics about MY favorite essential oils for cleaning.
Lemon Essential Oil
- brightens and helps to remove stains
- antiseptic, antimicrobial, and antibacterial
- great for cutting through grease and grime
Tea Tree Oil
- can be used in all sorts of applications
- it’s antimicrobial, antifungal, antiseptic, bactericidal, and insecticidal
- makes a great deodorizer
- powerful antiseptic that makes it great for bathrooms and kitchens
- revitalizing and stimulating
- kills dust mites
- exhibits natural antibacterial and antiviral properties
- helps to eliminate fungal growth from surfaces and in fabrics
- is effective at killing yeast spores, E.coli and other household germs.
- is antiseptic, with demonstrated antifungal and antibacterial properties
- a great degreaser
- not too harsh on skin
- helps to prevent the development of fungal growth on surfaces and in fabrics
- helps to deodorize stale and musty odors
- antibacterial, antiviral, and antifungal
- an effective deodorizer as well
- helps to guard against mold and mildew
- helps to ward off pests
Best Essential Oil Blends For Cleaning
Some essential oils clean better with other essential oils. Some don’t play nice with certain essential oils. I took the guess work out of blending for you! Below you will find a helpful guide to the best essential oil blends for cleaning.
Lemon blends well with:
- Tea Tree
Tea Tree blends well with:
Peppermint blends well with:
- Tea Tree
Pine blends well with:
Orange blends well with:
- Tea Tree
Lavender blends well with:
- Tea tree
Essential Oil Cleaner Tips
- Whenever you’re adding water to essential oils, use distilled water if possible. It has fewer impurities and will help your cleaners last longer.
- Bacteria and viruses can grow resistance to antimicrobial agents. It is recommended to use a mix of different essential oils for cleaning purposes to prevent this immunity. Instead of sticking to one essential oil, try using multiple oils.
- Use glass spray bottles like these for your homemade cleaning products with essential oils.
- Store all your homemade essential oil cleaning products in a cool, dark place, out of reach and sight of children.
- Before applying a cleaning product that contains essential oils, shake the bottle well to encourage thorough mixing between all the ingredients
- It is always recommended to wear rubber gloves when cleaning.
VERY IMPORTANT NOTE! If you have pets, avoid using essential oils in cleaning recipes unless you have educated yourself about the relative safety of the particular oil for your particular type of pet. Although some oils are considered generally unsafe for pets, they may be fine to use in cleaning products that pets would not come into direct contact with. Toilet bowl cleaners, sink cleaners, shower cleaners, and essential oils added to laundry products are examples of this. Essential oil safety for pets also depends on how diluted the essential oils are in the specific cleaner.
Multi-Purpose Homemade Cleaning Products With Essential Oils
While you can use essential oils “straight up” in some situations, you typically want to turn those essential oils into a homemade cleaning product. To do this, you need to keep three other base ingredients on hand. These are:
Cleaning Vinegar – contains acetic acid which has the power to kill bacteria. You can use a stronger cleaning vinegar like this one or stick with your basic cleaning vinegar like this one.
Baking soda – it is alkaline and is excellent at removing stains. I prefer to use this baking soda because it is tested for contaminants.
Castile soap – produces a natural lather that is non-toxic and can be used on any surface. This is the castile soap I like best and it is the cheapest I can find.
Multiple Purpose Essential Oil Cleaning Spray
To make a multi-use all-purpose essential oil cleaning spray, simply add vinegar to a spray bottle of water along with some cleansing essential oils of your choice. The amount you use depends on how much fragrance you prefer, but even a few drops can boost the cleaning power of water and vinegar.
Use the spray on counters, stovetops, the sink, floors or any surface you wipe. Be sure to use gloves and shake well as the essential oils won’t be fully dispersed.
Essential Oil Scrubbing Powder
To make a replacement for scrubbing and scouring type cleaners, mix together water and baking soda with a few drops of unscented castile soap to make a paste. Then add around 20 drops of essential oils and mix. The paste is a great alternative to traditional bleach-based cleansers used on toilets and tubs. It can also be used as a sink cleaner and oven cleaner.
Using Undiluted Essential Oils For Cleaning
There are quite a few “special” cleaning needs where using an essential oil undiluted comes into play. Let’s take a look at these scenarios.
You can use lemon essential oil to remove permanent marker stains from many surfaces! Just place a drop of lemon oil on the marker stain, then use a cloth to rub the mark away. Be sure to use a little elbow grease.
Use a few drops of eucalyptus essential oil or orange essential oil to remove sticky residues from surfaces.
Add a few drops of sweet orange essential oil to remove gum from carpet.
Drop a few drops of thyme essential oil on a cutting board that has been used for raw meat and poultry preparation. Rub the oil around the cutting board then wash as usual. Thyme essential oil fights salmonella that may have found a home on your cutting board.
Add an undiluted drop of lemon essential oil to a grease stain on a shirt before running it through a wash cycle.
To get rid of odors in garbage cans, shoes, gym bags and the like, place 2-3 drops of your favorite essential oil on a cotton ball and put inside the offensive item overnight.
To get rid of stinky garbage disposal odors, drop 1-2 drops of lemon oil down the hatch and turn on the disposal.
When you change the furnace filters in your home, place a few drops of your favorite scented essential oil on the new filter. It will kill microbes within the ducts as well as deliver a great smell throughout the whole house.
My DIY Essential Oil Cleaning Recipes
While it is great to have some basic multi-purpose essential oil cleaners, I also like to keep some very specific natural cleaners on hand. You can check out all my DIY essential oil cleaning recipes below. I will continue to add to this list as I post more non-toxic cleaner recipes on this site.
Essential Oil Cleaner Recipes
Cleaning your home naturally is an easy and affordable thing to do! Not sure where to start? Grab Hybrid Rasta Mama’s personal recipes here.
The World’s Best DIY Non-Toxic Floor Cleaner
This easy-to-make floor cleaner is safe for all surfaces, cost effective, and works so well you will never want to use another cleaner again!
Non-Toxic DIY Disinfecting Wipes
Want to keep your home germ & bacteria free without using harsh chemicals. Try this super easy DIY disinfecting wipes recipe I created. It really works!
DIY Fabric Softener
Have hard water? Is is killing your laundry? Try this DIY fabric softener to solve all your laundry woes. It is so simple to make and only costs pennies.
Dishwasher Liquid Detergent, Dish Soap, and Hand Soap (3 in 1 Soap)
You are going to love this multi-use soap recipe. It's a hand soap, dish soap, and dishwasher liquid all in one!
DIY Linen Spray - AKA "Scented Romance Spray"
Wondering how to make your own linen spray and room spray? Well look no further because this is the best homemade linen spray recipe around! It not only makes things smell fresh but it also can add a little romantic inspiration.
DIY Poo-Pourri Spray For a Fresher No. 2
Don't let the aftermath of a visit to the bathroom linger. Knock it out fast with this DIY poo-pourri spray.
Neem Tea Tree Soap For Camping
Got camping on the brain? If you're like me, you prefer to pack all-in-one products that get the job done without nasty chemicals. You are going to love my neem tea tree soap for camping. This powerhouse not only keeps all the people, pets and things clean but bugs loathe the smell! Win win!
Natural Ways To Clean Mold and Remove Mold
Leanr how to use natural ingredients to clean and remove mold.
What Are My Go-To Brands of Essential Oils?
- My hands down favorite brand is Rocky Mountain Oils (also known as Native American Nutritionals). These are seriously the BEST brand I have ever used. They are strong. And I mean strong. I have seen some amazing things happen when using this brand.
- I am really enjoying Plant Therapy essential oils as well. They are easy on the budget as well as being a high quality oil.
Abdul Aziz says
Such a great article
Moksha Lifestyle says
Oh, I love this, and need to read it again! you have the basics laid out so clearly! Great job,