Many people know about the benefits of using essential oils on their body or in the air for relaxation or health benefits; but essential oils also play a valuable role in cleaning and freshening the home and assisting in the garden. Check out the simple ways we use essential oils around the home and garden.
Feel free to click the names of the oils below to learn more about each one. A note for any of the sprays listed below: a glass bottled sprayer is best for holding essential oil based sprays, PET is a second choice.
#1 Replacing Dryer Sheets in the Laundry
Dryer sheets are one of the most toxic things in a home. Not necessarily because it has the harshest chemicals, but because it is the most likely to be absorbed into our bodies. Dryer sheets are designed to reduce static by coating the clothing with a thin layer of chemicals so that they don't stick to each other and cause static. Static is primarily caused by different materials moving around in the dryer together, but since today most things are made of a cotton/poly blend static isn't nearly as much of an issue. When the chemical coating is on our clothes and we wear them we absorb all of those chemicals through our skin and into our body. Fun right!?! Instead, try using a wool dryer ball with some lavender or peppermint essential oil on it. Your clothes will smell great and your body will thank you!
#2 Polishing wood floors and furniture
I remember growing up my grandma always had a can of lemon Pledge within arms reach for whenever any of her lacquered furniture got dusty or had finger prints (which with grand-kids happened all the time!). Today we don't have as much lacquered wood, but it is still important for our wood surfaces to get the oil and cleaning that they need. Instead of an aerosol can of pledge, I like to combine 1 part vinegar, 2 parts fractionated coconut oil, and several drops of lemon essential oil to a sprayer bottle. The vinegar cleans, the oil hydrates, and the lemon essential oil cuts through residue and adds a delightful smell. Use on your wood furniture, floors, counter tops, and utensils.
#3 Room Freshening Spray
Even with the best cleaning rooms get stale and odorous. There are lots of air fresheners around, but they are mainly made out of synthetic fragrances and tend to add more toxins into the air and mask the scent rather than getting rid of it. Making a simple, natural room freshening spray can get rid of toxins quickly and provide aromatic benefit in the space. After years of trying different combinations, I found an unlikely combo to be my favorite for eradicating smells and leaving behind a very neutral scent - rosemary and lemongrass essential oils. Simply combine 2 oz of a cheap base alcohol (vodka works great) to assist the essential oils in even distribution through the spray, add 5-10 drops of each essential oil, and about 12 oz of distilled water. Pour all of the ingredients into a spray bottle and mist to your hearts content.
#4 Clearing Smoke Smell
There are very few odors that the recipe for the room freshening spray will not eliminate, but the smoke smell from a chain smoker is one of them. I have discovered that diffusing doTERRA's Purify blend will knock it out overnight though! It is amazing! I moved into an apartment in Los Angeles that had been inhabited for 13 years by a chain smoker. They had changed the carpet and repainted, but the smoke smell still lingered. The day before we were set to move in we placed a couple diffusers throughout the unit, turned on the furnace fan, and let them run overnight. The next day the smoke smell was gone and it was quite habitable. The property manager was so impressed with how well it worked that they picked up a diffuser and a bottle of Purify for the complex that afternoon.
#5 Home Air Filter Diffusion
In most homes there is a system of duct work that is hard to reach and difficult to clean. In the cracks and crevasses dander and dust builds up just waiting for us to turn on the air circulation. I used to work in HVAC and believe me, it is not pretty what some old ducts have in them. This dust and dander build-up also tends to trap in smells so we get a blast of them each time the furnace kicks on. One really simple fix to this issue is adding a few drops of your favorite essential oil to your furnace filter and placing it back in position. That way each time the furnace kicks on you get the essential oils running through the ducts, clearing the existing odors, and adding a pleasant scent to each room. The oils will last for a couple weeks this way and you simply add a couple more drops when you stop noticing the essential oils in the air. If you use a window unit you can add the essential oils to its filter if it has one or to a piece of gauze placed in the air flow.
#6 Cleaning Carpet Odors
Carpet and carpet pad traps a lot of debris and odors, especially if you have kids or pets! There are many healthy options these days for getting your carpets professionally cleaned using natural and family friendly products, but for those in between times this is a great solution for pulling odors out of the carpets. Simply mix baking soda and some essential oils (I like citrus for just about anything cleaning) in a container and let stand for 2 days to incorporate the essential oil evenly. I actually like to add the essential oil to a fine powder like corn or arrowroot starch and then mix it into the baking soda. I find that allows it to spread more evenly throughout the mixture. After the mixture has rested, stir it one more time and sprinkle around the carpets of your home. Allow it to sit for several hours (a great time to put it out is on the way to work) and vacuum it back up to eliminate odors and refresh your carpet.
#7 Family Friendly Cleaning Spray
We often have those messes that need more than water to clean up, but a lot of the cleaning sprays on the market today are full of such harsh chemicals that they are almost too strong for residential use to be recommended, in my opinion. This simple cleaning spray is strong enough to knock out those heavy duty messes, but gentle enough to be safe for our hands and families. I mix 2-4 ounces of a cheap alcohol (again, bottom shelf vodka works great) with a cleansing essential oil - usually lemon or doTERRA On Guard. I pour this mixture into a trigger sprayer and fill the rest of the bottle with distilled water. Voila! You have an effective, family friendly all purpose cleaner just waiting for the next mess to be made!
#8 Pest Repellent
Pests are a pain in the home and in the garden. Whether it is a mouse in the pantry or a deer eating your tomato plants, any animal where you don't want it would be nice to have gone. To effectively and kindly keep these pests away I combine peppermint, cinnamon, and lavender essential oils in a sprayer bottle with water. Shake well each time you go to spray and mist around the garden perimeter, garage, doors, windows, and crawlspaces. I will also spray my storage unit or anything that I have outdoors that mice tend to get into. Be sure to reapply after several weeks or any heavy rain. I have even had this combination be useful for keeping predators away from chickens, plus the chickens were all in a great mood after having the essential oils sprayed around their coop.
#9 Reducing Plant Fungus
Plants in a wet climate, such as here in Washington, tend to be prone to fungus and growths. A quick and easy way to avoid this is to add a bit of melaleuca to a sprayer and mist on the leaves and soil. Melaleuca is photo sensitive so it is best to do in the evening so it has a chance to be absorbed before being in full sun so as to avoid burning the plants and leaves. I do a combination of about 10 drops of essential oils to about 16 ounces of water. Remember, a glass bottled sprayer is the best for holding an essential oils!
#10 Pollinator Attractant
Butterflies and other pollinators love rosemary and lavender. Creating a spray or applying these essential oils to the terracotta pots or cotton balls around the garden will attract these pollinators and will also keep many of the garden pests away. You will not only have butterflies flying all around your garden, but because the pests wont be there you will also have a garden to enjoy too! Win-win!
Get these oils in your collection today. Click the names of each oil to learn more about them or order them now.