While embracing the idea of simple living and saving money, you might have decided you like the idea of making more natural cleaning products for your home that include essential oils. So, which oils are the best essential oils for cleaning? In this post we will tell you which essential oils we think are the best to use in your natural cleaning products, and what makes them so amazing!
Natural Cleaning and Essential Oils
We often talk about the many benefits of making your own natural cleaning products, and even shared recipes. Our amazing DIY Glass Cleaner is super popular because of how well it works. Then there’s the Ultimate Guide for Making Your Own Natural Cleaning Products which has six recipes to clean your home.
In both of those posts there are recipes that will say; you can add essential oils if you wish. But there are so many different essential oils, what essential oils are best to use?
What works best in which recipes? Should certain oils be used in certain spaces? Can you use essential oils if you have pets or kids? This post will address all of those questions, and help you decide which essential oils are best to use in your own natural cleaning products.
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Why You Should Make Your Own Cleaning Products
You might be asking yourself why should I make my own cleaning products? There are a lot of reasons:
- Chemicals! There are some very harsh chemicals found in cleaning products. They can be harmful to your family and pets. Using store bought cleaning supplies may put your family, especially small children, at risk of long-term health issues like – skin irritations, respiratory issues, headaches, nausea, and even damage to the central nervous system.
- Homemade cleaners aren’t just better for the home but for the environment. A lot of store bought cleaners get rinsed down the drain and released into the air. Nitrates and phosphorus can’t be removed at water treatment centers and are a threat to our local ecosystem.
- Homemade cleaning products save money. The ingredients used in green cleaning recipes are quite inexpensive. Most recipes use the same ingredients so you don’t need to buy a ton of stuff making it easy and cheap to get started.
- Less clutter in your home. This is an often overlooked benefit of making your own cleaning products. You have to store your cleaners somewhere. Tons of people have cabinets and under sink storage that is crammed with store bought products because you need a separate product for all your cleaning needs. This is not the case when making your own cleaning products. So many of them can be used on multiple surfaces, reducing your storage needs.
The Best Essential Oils for Cleaning
What makes an essential oil good for cleaning? There are a couple of factors to consider.
When you are cleaning you need to consider disinfecting properties. You’re looking for essential oils with antibacterial, antimicrobial, anti-fungal, and antiviral properties. These are most important.
You need some essential oils that cut grease and really clean. You don’t want to spend the time making your own cleaning products only to find out they don’t work. Knowing which essential oils work hard for you is crucial for making a good cleaning product.
You also want essential oils that smell good. You want people to walk into a freshly cleaned space and enjoy the smell. Not everyone can handle the smell of vinegar and it’s found in a good amount of green cleaning recipes. Adding great smelling essential oils can really help.
Tea Tree, One of the Strongest Essential Oils for Cleaning
Tea Tree oil is by far one of the strongest essential oils for cleaning. It has antimicrobial, anti-fungal, antibacterial, and antiviral properties! This makes it great for everyday cleaning, but especially good to use during the cold and flu seasons.
Because this oil has so many great properties, you can use it in so many ways. Here are just a few suggestions.
- Put some Tea Tree oil on a cotton ball and place it in your shoes that stink
- Mix 10 drops of Tea Tree oil with a cup of water to make an after shower spray
- Make a good all purpose cleaner by mixing one cup of vinegar, with one cup of distilled water, and then adding 10 drops of tea tree oil
So what is Tea Tree oils one downside? It is NOT an oil that is safe to use around pets. So do not use or diffuse in areas with animals, pick one of the safer oil options if you have furry friends in your home.
Best All Around Essential Oils for Cleaning – Lemon & Orange Oil
Lemon and Orange oil are two of the most basic, and most used essential oils. They are both citrus oils and so they share some similar properties.
- Both oils have a clean, fresh scent.
- Lemon and Orange oil both work well in most natural cleaning products, and in diffusers to deodorize the air.
- They are both good grease cutters.
- Both Lemon and Orange oils are usually some of the most affordable essential oils.
- Unlike citrus juice, citrus essential oils do not contain citric acid, which makes them safer to use than straight juice on more delicate surfaces (like natural stone).
Citrus oils are 50/50 when it comes to pets though. They are both considered safe to use around dogs, but not safe to use around cats. So if you have cats in the home, these are oils you might want to refrain from using both in cleaners and in diffusers.
But both oils also have things that make them unique and special.
Lemon oil contains both antibacterial and antiviral properties, which make it an excellent addition to natural cleaning products.
It is probably the most popular oil used when you want to deodorize a space. It is a little stronger than orange oil so it works well in especially stinky spaces. Because it works on smelly spaces, and as a grease cutter, it is an excellent choice for cleaning and deodorizing your garbage disposal.
Orange oil also has a clean scent, but is not as strong as lemon. So if you have someone that is more sensitive to strong smells in your home, this might be a great choice for you.
Orange Oil has Vitamin C enzymes in it that help keep harmful bacteria from growing. This makes it a great choice to use when cleaning and deodorizing your cutting boards. It can help keep bacteria from growing, while not being a really strong oil that could affect the taste of food prepared on that surface.
Best Mold and Mildew Fighters – Eucalyptus & Pine
Both Eucalyptus oil and Pine oil are cleaning power houses. We have grouped them together because they are both great mildew and mold fighters.
This means they are great oils to use in areas that tend to be germ havens. Which makes them perfect additions to natural cleaners you would use in your bathrooms or kitchen.
The one downside is both of these oils are known to be toxic to pets, both when used on surfaces or diffused. So if you have pets, these are not the two oils for you.
Eucalyptus oil has both antimicrobial and antiseptic properties. It is also a natural antibacterial and disinfectant. So not only is it great at fighting mildew and mold, it would be an amazing choice for cleaning areas where you would normally use a more toxic antibacterial.
Eucalyptus oil can even help deodorize and purify the air when diffused.
Pine oil has a clean smell. It has not only been shown to be a good mildew and mold fighter, but in some studies has even been shown to be a powerful agent against yeast spores and E. coli. Therefore, Pine oil would be a great oil to add in your cleaners you would use in your kitchen.
Peppermint oil is an amazingly diverse oil. It has antibacterial and antifungal properties. It is a great oil for keeping areas pest free without making those areas smell like harsh chemicals. This oil is good to add to cleaners that you want to be streak free, like glass cleaners.
Peppermint oil is also great as a non-flowery, more gender neutral scent. In our home we add this oil to our foaming hand soap because my husband wants his soap to smell good without smelling “girly”. This oil is perfect for that.
Peppermint oil is another oil though that is not safe to use around your pets. So if you have dogs or cats in your home, do not use or diffuse this oil around them.
Cinnamon, Rosemary, and Thyme
Cinnamon, Rosemary, and Thyme essential oils are great disinfectants because they all have antibacterial and antiseptic properties. But what makes each one special?
Cinnamon oil is one of the best antibacterial oils to use if you want a “warmer” scent. If you like scents that align more with fall and winter than spring and summer, Cinnamon might be the right choice for you.
Cinnamon oil is also known to help fight unwanted pests because it is a “hot oil”. So spray in areas where uninvited guests are entering. But because it is a hot oil, try not to get it on your skin or it can burn you.
But if you have pets or young children that are crawling, this is NOT the oil for you! This hot oil can not only burn your youngster, but it is another oil that can be toxic for your furry friends.
Rosemary oil is one of the best essential oils for cleaning for a lot of reasons besides having antibacterial and antiseptic properties.
- It has a fresh clean scent.
- Rosemary is a natural disinfectant.
- The scent of Rosemary oil works well with Lemon oil, so it is great for combining with lemon oil to get the benefits of both in one cleaner.
- Rosemary is an oil that is considered safe to use and diffuse around your pets.
Thyme oil, like Rosemary and Cinnamon oils, is a great disinfectant. Thyme oil is especially good at fighting food-borne bacteria. This makes it the perfect oil to use in the kitchen.
You can add a little to your dish soap when you need to deep clean dishes or cutting boards that have had raw meat on them.
But unlike Rosemary, Thyme is not an oil you want to use around your pets. You can use it on dishes but want keep it off of floors (and counters if you have a cat). Do not diffuse it around them.
Lavender oil has antibacterial and anti-odor properties, making it an excellent oil to diffuse and use to freshen the air in your home. It is also a more calming scent, so it is easier on the nose for those that have sensitivities to strong smells.
You can use it to make a linen spray. Add a few drops to a load of laundry you want deodorized. Or you can even put a few drops on your vacuum filter to freshen the air while you vacuum.
But what else makes Lavender oil one of the best essential oils for cleaning? It is considered one of the safest oils to use around young children, and pets. So you can both use it and diffuse it in all areas of your home.
The Best Essential Oil Blends for Cleaning
Some essential oil companies make bottles of already blended oils that work well together. Some of these blends are especially good for cleaning. The following are my three favorite blends for adding to your natural cleaners.
Purify is a cleansing blend made by Doterra. They suggest this blend is especially good for eradicating odors in a natural way. It contains Lemon, Lime, Siberian Fir, Citronella, Tea Tree, and Cilantro oils.
If your space is stinky, this would be the oil you would want to diffuse. You can put some on a diffuser vent clip to make your call smell amazing. Or add it to the laundry rinse cycle of a load of smelling towels.
Because of the combination of oils in this blend, I would not recommend diffusing this if you have pets.
Doterra On Guard
On Guard by Doterra is their immune supporting blend. This is a great blend to use during the cold and flu season, as it is made to support immune system function. So starting in the fall, this oil would be great to add to surfaces that are touched a lot, like faucets, door knobs, light switches, and counter tops.
This blend is one of my personal favorites. I like to add this oil to our foaming hand wash during those seasons (and the scent is warmer, so it works well during the holiday season).
Its blend includes Cinnamon, Wild Orange, Eucalyptus, Rosemary, and Clove oils. Again, like with most blends, this combination includes some oils that should not be used around pets.
Young Living Thieves
Thieves is the blend that is most used in the cleaning products made by Young Living. Their website says this oil gives wellness support for the immune system. Like the On Guard has a warmer scent that works well in the fall and winter when you would want the most immune support.
This oil is part of a ton of products that Young Living sells including: toothpaste, dish soap, hand soap, all purpose cleaner, and more! The price is high when compared to other essential oils.
The blend includes Clove, Lemon, Cinnamon Bark, Eucalyptus Radiata, and Rosemary essential oils. Again do not use this around pets.
Using Essential Oils to Clean
There are things to remember when using essential oils around your home. First, these are highly concentrated, so make sure you are always diluting them before using them.
Also, different surfaces will react differently to substances. It is always best to test new cleaners on small areas of a surface before using them all over. Especially if the area is porous or a natural element like stone.
And just one more reminder to always check if an oil is safe to use around babies or pets before adding it to a cleaner, and especially before diffusing. The diffusing process can send little droplets all around the area and pets and babies could crawl or walk through that space.
How to Start Using Essential Oils for Cleaning
If you are looking to start using essential oils in your cleaning, there are some inexpensive ways to start. They are affordable groupings you can get from Amazon.
This essential oil set includes 4 organic versions of the best basics listed above (lemon, Peppermint, Tea Tree, and Lavender) with child resistant caps.
Now that we have explored some of the best essential oils for cleaning, which one will fit your needs? Do you live in a humid area, and want to try one of our mold and mildew busters? Is your home full of furry friends, and so you are excited to try some Lavender?