As we become more aware of substances that are harmful to both us and our surrounding environment, more people are choosing to find natural solutions to everyday tasks.
This includes reducing the amount we pollute by choosing greener modes of transport, and eating clean to fuel our bodies with nutrients rather than toxins.
Yet another change that can be made to reduce the amount of chemicals used on a daily basis is by swapping out normal household cleaning products for essential oils.
Essential oils such as lemon, cinnamon and peppermint can all be put to use around the house, reducing bacteria and dirt and leaving a clean and fresh environment behind.
Citrus essential oils
Citrus-based essential oils are multifunctional, but are particularly beneficial when used in kitchen cleaning.
With one of the most common fragrances for chemical cleaners being lemon, it is unsurprising that using lemon essential oil can prove to be a very useful product to have in the household. The antibacterial power of lemon oil makes it perfect to be used all over the home, but it really comes into its own when used in the kitchen.
With its fresh scent, lemon oil is great for cleaning large surfaces whilst simultaneously adding fragrance to a room. Mixing lemon oil with vinegar also makes a great window cleaner, cutting through any kind of grime and leaving a naturally clean fragrance.
Recommended lemon essential oil: Absolute Aromas Lemon Essential Oil – £4.15 on Amazon.co.uk
Wild orange purifies, and can easily tackle the kitchen grease that lemon essential oil may struggle with. Either using it directly on greasy spots in the kitchen, or by diluting in water to wash kitchen surfaces, wild orange oil will clean even the dirtiest of hobs.
Adding wild orange and lemon oils to warm water to clean the kitchen floor has a number of benefits. Lemon essential oil will not only provide antibacterial and antiviral benefits, but will efficiently clean as it is fantastic for brightening surfaces, and its tough cleaning power is great on dirty marks.
Whilst the lemon oil brightens, wild orange essential oil will cut through any grease left on the floor from cooking. The combination of oils will give the same powerful effect of any chemical cleaner, whilst remaining fresh and natural.
Recommended wild orange essential oil: Freshskin Sweet Orange Pure Essential Oil – £1.99 on Amazon.co.uk
Another great essential oil for cleaning in the kitchen is thyme. Thyme has powerful antibacterial properties, and can be used effectively to rid worktops and cooking utensils of salmonella. Thyme essential oil can work in place of the strongest chemical cleaners, without the toxic ingredients. Using thyme essential oil in the kitchen is a great way to fight food bacteria, and could easily be used when washing up kitchenware to really defend against germs.
Recommended thyme essential oil: HealthAid Thyme – £6.49 on Amazon.co.uk
Essential oils for the bathroom
In the bathroom, antiseptic essential oils are perfect for cleaning, as not only to they break up dirt and freshen the room, but also they assist in reducing bacteria, fungi and viruses, making them excellent to use in rooms that can suffer from mildew. Two great essential oils for tackling bathroom grime are cinnamon leaf and pine.
Cinnamon leaf oil
Cinnamon leaf oil is very effective when used against mold. It has antibacterial and antiseptic properties, which make it perfect to use where damp can cause the spread of bacteria and fungi.
It could be used on its own on patches of strong mold, or diluted into water to make an effective overall bathroom cleaner. Mixing it in with vinegar would create a great anti-mildew cleaner to use on shower screens and tiles.
Recommended cinnamon leaf oil: Naissance Cinnamon Leaf Essential Oil 30ml 100% Pure – £3.99 on Amazon.co.uk
Pine is a scent often used in bathroom and toilet cleaners, as its natural freshness is great for killing odors. Pine essential oil is effective against E.coli and yeast spores, which like cinnamon leaf, makes it ideal to use in the bathroom.
Using pine in conjunction with cinnamon leaf fights against the bacteria that can grow in bathrooms, and could be diluted to clean tiles, wooden floors and bathroom surfaces, or used on its own to fight patches of mold or the grime that builds up on grout and sealant.
Recommended thyme essential oil: Natural by Nature 10 ml Pine Needle Pure Essential Oil – £4.34 on Amazon.co.uk
Combining essential oils
Layering essential oils with different properties can cut cleaning time in half, whilst resulting in a thorough clean and unpolluted household. For example, lavender has antibacterial properties, and encourages a good night’s sleep.
Eucalyptus is fantastic against dust mites and bacteria that can build in your mattress. Using them together to clean bed linen or to deep clean your mattress will not only ensure that bacteria is eliminated, but will also leave a soothing scent in the bedroom.
Both peppermint and rosemary are great household cleaners, deterring bacteria, but when used together, the fragrance is invigorating, and encourages productivity, making it a good combination for an antibacterial room spray.
Using essential oils around cats
It must be noted that some essential oils can be toxic to cats, and whilst each animal will vary in sensitivity, the following essential oils are known to be harmful to your feline friends:
- Citrus oils
- Tea Tree
These oils contain phenols, which when exposed to your cat – either through being used on a surface or dispersed into the air – can cause them to become very ill.
Some animals will be more sensitive than others to essential oils, with some only reacting upon ingestion. Citrus and pine are both perfectly safe to dogs, however, before using essential oils for cleaning purposes, it is advised to discuss your planned usage with your vet.
Essential oils are the perfect addition to any household, and a great way to rid yourself of the toxic chemicals used in everyday cleaning products. Their multi-functional natures and natural fresh scents mean that you can either use a different one for each task, or use your favourites all over to create a unique and sanitary environment.
If you love the smell of essential oils, consider getting an essential oil diffuser so you can enjoy their relaxing aroma even when you’re not cleaning!