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Education » Cleaning with Essential Oils

Cleaning with Essential Oils

All-Purpose Household Spray Cleaner Recipe

Use as you would any other all-purpose household cleaner.

The following essential oils are excellent cleansers for work areas, cupboards, bathroom fixtures, sinks, tiles, woodwork, carpets and more. They clean, kill bacteria and freshen, deodorize and disinfect the air.

Citrus oils and Lemon Myrtle (as a stand-alone oil) are a couple of our family favorites for cleaning.

Water-based Cleaner
Mix into 1 quart water:
2 drops Rosemary
4 drops Lemon
3 drops Eucalyptus
4 drops Lavender
Shake well and put into a spray bottle. Shake before each use.

Another recipe:
Mix into 1 quart water:
3 - 4 drops Lavender
5 - 6 drops Purify Blend

Combine equal parts of warm filtered water and cleaning vinegar. Add essential oils of your choice. Shake vigorously before use.

Hydrogen Peroxide
Use hydrogen peroxide (3%) in a spray bottle and add essential oils of your choice. For best results, spray on the surface and leave for several minutes before wiping clean.

Castille Soap
Add a small amount of Castile soap to any of the above. Shake gently to avoid suds.

Carpet Freshener

1 cup Baking Soda
15-20 drops of essential oils of your choice
Mix well and place in a glass covered container (quart jar works well) overnight so that the oil can be absorbed. 
Sprinkle over your carpet the next day, and then vacuum the powder up.
Fresh Citrus in the living area is nice, as is Peaceful for the bedrooms.

Disinfectant Natural Pine Cleaner

2 cups Distilled Water (We use purified or distilled because minerals in water will inhibit cleaning and might clog the sprayer over time.)
2 tsp Borax
8 drops Pine essential oil
4 drops Cedarwood essential oil


22 oz. bottle of liquid Castille Soap
20 drops of Fresh Citrus essential oil blend
Shake the bottle gently before each use.

22 oz. bottle of liquid Castille Soap
15 drops Lemon essential oil
6 drops Lavender essential oil
5 drops Bergamot essential oil
Shake the bottle gently before each use.

Very Greasy Dishes
Add ½ cup vinegar and extra citrus oils

Drain Cleaner

Sprinkle baking soda down the drain then add apple cider vinegar and let it bubble for 15 minutes. Rinse with hot water. This is a safe alternative to dangerous drain cleaners.

Drawer Freshener

You can put a sachet in your drawers to keep your clothes freshly scented. Lavender and rose are classic scents. For children's sleepwear, our Peaceful blend is especially fragrant and relaxing.

Dust Mites - Some Facts

Dust mites are small microscopic arachnids, members of the spider and tick family. There are approximately 40,000 dust mites in an ounce of household dust. These spidery creatures live off the dead skin that fall off of our bodies at a rate of about 50 million cells or so per day, giving the mite plenty to feast on, and each dust mite produces about twenty fecal pellets per day. Dust mites are so small that they can actually linger in the air for about eight hours. When an allergy sufferer breathes in these pollutants it can trigger asthma, watery eyes, eczema, runny noses and a host of other allergic conditions. One double bed mattress can easily house 2 million mites, and a 6 year-old pillow can get one-tenth of its weight from mites, dead mites and mite droppings.

Dust mites have sticky feet that cling to surfaces and cannot be easily vacuumed up, and just regular washing will not get rid of many of them either. A study done at the University of Sydney in Australia by Dr. Tovey used Eucalyptus Globulus essential oil when washing wool, sheets or linens. The study indicated that wool washed with a mixture of detergent and eucalyptus oil actually eliminated up to 95% of the dust mites in the wool. The study, published in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, concludes that the method is effective, simple, inexpensive and eliminates the need for very hot water.

Dust Mite Control:
Regularly remove all bedding / coverings / washable toys etc. for washing. In laboratory experiments, more than 80% of mites were killed after immersion in 0.2% and 0.4% solutions of eucalyptus oil for 30 and 60 minutes. Based on Dr. Tovey 's research (from the University of Sydney Australia's Institute of Respiratory Medicine), the following protocol is suggested:

Add one part detergent to three to five parts Eucalyptus oil (the less detergent the better, because biocide activity is reduced by the emulsifier). Mix one teaspoon of this emulsion into a glass of a bit less than seven ounces of water. A milky, opaque solution that is stable (does not "break oil") for at least 10 minutes should form. We are not aware of significant problems with the use of this formula. The undiluted emulsified oil can function as a solvent and should not come into direct contact with the plastic drum of a washing machine, so it is suggested that the drum be filled with water before the emulsified oil is added. Agitate briefly; stop the machine, and let soak for 30 minutes before continuing the laundry cycle. The aroma is generally regarded as pleasant, and it does not stain. Washing in diluted eucalyptus oil does leave a faint characteristic odor for 2 to 3 days despite rinsing and drying.

Tovey ER, McDonald LG. Clinical aspects of allergic disease: A simple washing procedure with eucalyptus oil for controlling house dust mites and their allergens in clothing and bedding. J Allergy Clin Immunol . 1997;100:464–467.

Dust Mite Spray:
1 quart Distilled water (we use water without minerals so as not to clog the sprayer)
15-20 drops Eucalyptus Globulus essential oil
Add to a spray bottle and shake before each use.
Spray rooms including mattresses, pillows, curtains, soft furnishing and toys and then leave for 2 hours. (Test a small unseen patch on delicate fabrics.)

Carpet Dust Mite Powder
1 cup Baking Soda
15-20 drops of Eucalyptus Globulus
Mix well and place in a glass container with a tight-fitting lid (quart jar works well) overnight so that the oil can be absorbed. 
Sprinkle over your carpet the next day and leave for at least 2 hours, and then vacuum the powder up preferably with a strong suction and very fine filter bag. Repeat monthly.

Floor Cleaner

1/4 cup White Vinegar to a bucket of water
5-10 drops Lemon, Pine, Spruce, Tea Tree (Melaleuca), Purify or other oil

Grout Cleaner

7 cups Water
1/2 cup Baking Soda
1/3 cup fresh Lemon Juice
1/4 cup Vinegar
10-15 drops of Essential Oils (optional)

Combine in a spray bottle - Shake well.
Spray on grout.
Wait a couple of minutes then scrub.

House Paint

When painting, add a 5 ml bottle of your favorite essential oil such as Purify, to 1 gallon of paint. Mix well. The oil will counteract the unpleasant smell of paint. Because essential oils are not fatty oils, they will not leave oil spots on the wall.

Insecticide and Repellents

Dust Mites, Fleas, Ticks, Ants, Spiders, etc.
Essential oils and oil blends such as Lavender, Lemon, Peppermint, Lemongrass, Cypress, Eucalyptus Globulus, Cinnamon, Thyme, Basil, Plague Defense and Purify effectively repel many types of insects, including mites, lice and fleas. Peppermint placed on entryways prevents ants from entering. Keep in mind that essential oils may dissolve material made from petrochemicals, so always test an area first before applying the oils. Diluting the oils and using them in moderation are usually very effective. A good ratio of oils to water is 15 drops per quart. We use purified or distilled because minerals in water will inhibit cleaning and might clog the sprayer over time.


Gelled Laundry Soap
2 gallons rainwater
1 bar homemade soap - grated
- Dissolve in pot on low heat
1/2 cup Washing Soda (Arm & Hammer)
1/2 cup Borax (Mule Team)
1 TB Essential oil of choice
-Add to dissolved soap and stir gently but well
-Use 1/2 cup per load of laundry

Use 1 cup vinegar in the wash cycle to prevent fabrics from fading.

Natural Dryer Sheets
Cut up an old T-shirt into 4" squares.
Fill a dropper bottle with Fresh Citrus Blend or another oil of your choice
Label the bottle.

You may want to experiment with this. We also like Lavender essential oil mixed equally with Benzoin essential oil (absolute resin). Equal amounts of Lavender and Spearmint are nice too. The possibilities are limitless. When there is sickness, you may want to use Plague Defense. Eucalyptus Globulus is said to kill dust mites.

Take 10-15 4-inch cloths and put 4-5 drops of essential oil base on each one. Put into an airtight container (not plastic since essential oils dissolve plastic; we use a glass quart jar) that you can easily get your hand into to take one out at a time as needed for the dryer.

Use as you would a normal dryer sheet. The airtight container will help hold the scent in the dryer sheets.

Mineral Buildup

Put a few drops of citrus oils like Fresh Citrus blend directly on the buildup and scrub with an old toothbrush. Add some Baking Soda if necessary.

Mirror / Window Cleaner

1-1/2 cups Vinegar
1/2 cup Distilled Water
8 drops citrus essential oil of choice (Fresh Citrus is economical and very pleasant)

Combine all ingredients in a spray bottle and shake well before use. Spray solution onto mirror and wipe with a dry cloth. Some commercial window cleaners contain butyl cello solve -- a toxic ingredient that is not listed on the labels; vinegar and water are safe.

Mold & Mildew

Use Mold Buster essential oil blend with water and vinegar in a spray bottle. We allow this to coat surfaces in the kitchen and bathrooms, especially the grout behind the sinks and around the tubs, overnight to deter mold and mildew.

Moth Repellents

Moth repellents for your linens and woolens are usually made of toxic mothballs made of naphthalene. Natural essential oils such as Lavender, Lemongrass, Canadian Red Cedar or Rosemary can just as effectively repel moths and other insects.

You can make a sachet by placing several drops of essential oil on a cotton ball. Wrap and tie this in a small handkerchief or square of cotton. Hang this cloth in storage areas or add it to your linen drawers. Refresh as often as necessary.

Oven Maintenance

Remove racks and any crumbs from the oven.
Preheat the oven to 250ºF for 15 minutes, then turn off and leave the door open.

2 TB Baking Soda
2 TB Liquid Castille Soap
10-15 drops Fresh Citrus essential oil blend
½ cup Hot Distilled water (We use purified or distilled because minerals in water will inhibit cleaning and might clog the sprayer over time.)
Combine baking soda, soap and oils in a spray bottle, and then add the hot water. Shake to combine well.

Spray oven walls and wait about ½ hour and wipe until clean and no residue remains.

Oven "Disaster" Cleaning
Remove racks and any crumbs from the oven.
Preheat the oven to 250ºF for 15 minutes, then turn off and leave the door open.

½ cup Salt
¼ cup Washing Soda or Borax
1 box (16 oz) Baking Soda
10 drops Plague Defense or Fresh Citrus essential oil blend
Scant ¼ cup Water
Combine dry ingredients and essential oils in a glass or metal bowl, and add just enough water to make a thick paste. Protect yourself from getting burned, and spread the paste on the oven walls with a cloth. Allow to set for ½ hour or more - overnight is fine.

¾ cup White Vinegar
Add to a spray bottle and spray the oven walls, and let set for ½ hour then wipe clean (we use an old cotton wash cloth). Repeat until the oven is residue free.

Paper Towel Alternative

Old wash cloths or 6" squares cut from old T-shirts
1 cup Water
1 oz Liquid Castile Soap
10 drops of your favorite essential oil or blend
Store in a ½ gallon canning jar with tight fitting lid.
Cloths can be washed when soiled and added back to the jar. 
Add more "recipe" as needed.
TIP: Tape the recipe on the side of the jar

Scouring Powder

1 cup Baking Soda
6 drops Fresh Citrus essential oil blend or oil of your choice

Baking Soda makes a great scrub for your bath and kitchen. Keep it handy by putting some in a glass, grated-cheese container with a stainless steel top that has holes in it. You may want to add a few drops of your favorite essential oils to make it even more effective. Our favorite is Fresh Citrus blend. Most essential oils have anti-bacterial qualities, so experiment and enjoy the variety. Just sprinkle the baking soda on the surfaces and scrub with a damp cloth or sponge. Rinse.

Store in a sealed glass canning jar to preserve the freshness of the essential oil.

Personal Care

Bath Salts
3 cups Bath Salts or Epsom salt
1 TB Vegetable Glycerin
15-25 drops of essential oil of your choice
Mix together in a glass or metal bowl.
Add 1/2 cup or more of the mixture into the hot bath.
Store the rest in a glass jar with a tight-fitting lid.

Bath Soak
Baking soda and apple cider make a wonderful spa-like bath for soaking away aches and pains and detoxing. It also cleans the tub and the drain.

Glycerin Skin Softener
Mix 2 parts vegetable glycerin and one part water. Add a couple of drops of your favorite essential oil.

Silver Polish

Fill your kitchen sink or bowl with hot water, add a sheet of aluminum foil and about ¼ cup baking soda. Let the silver pieces soak until clean.

Stain Remover

Use a drop or two of Lemon oil on a stain. Let it sit a few minutes and rub off with a clean cloth or throw into laundry.

Fruit: Immediately blot stain with a towel and add cold water, continuing to blot.

Grease: Pour boiling water on stains and follow with dry baking soda.

Blood: Soak in cold water or remove with hydrogen peroxide. For more stubborn stains, apply a paste of cornstarch, cornmeal or talcum powder. Allow to dry, brush away.

Rust: Saturate with lemon juice and rub with salt. Place in direct sunlight until dry, then wash.

Mildew: Pour soap and salt on spots and place in sunlight. Keep moist and repeat as often as necessary.

Perspiration odor: Add one cup vinegar or baking soda per wash load.

Toilet Bowl Cleaner

We like to use this just before going to bed so that it can work all night long, and the scent freshens the house as well. I mix a large batch of the borax and essential oil and store it in a bucket with a tight fitting lid. Then all that is needed is to add the vinegar when ready to use.
1 cup Borax
15 drops Fresh Citrus essential oil blend (or essential oil of your choice)
1 cup Vinegar

Combine borax and essential oils. Sprinkle into the toilet - don't dump in - distribute it.
Add the vinegar and scrub. If possible, let set overnight.

Toxic Products

Below is a list of common household products from Safe Shopper's Bible that contain known irritants, carcinogens and / or neurotoxins. Carcinogens are chemicals that cause cancer. Neurotoxins are chemicals that adversely affect the nervous system reducing emotional well begin, mental alertness, coordination and other functions associated with intelligence.

Lysol Disinfectant (all scents)
Renuzit Air Deodorizer
Bon Ami Foam Cleaner
Fantastik All-Purpose Cleaner
Formula 409
Pine-Sol Multi-Action Spray
Pledge Household Cleaner
Simple Green
Spic & Span Cleaner
Scotts Liquid Gold
Lemon Pledge
Tilex Soap Scum Remover
Glass Plus
Ajax Cleaner
Gillette Foamy Skin Conditioning
Speed Stick Deodorant
Soft Soap
Secret Deodorant     
S.O.S. Ammonia Glass Cleaner
S.O.S. Vinegar Cleaner
Joy Dishwashing Liquid
Windex Glass Cleaner
Shout Aerosol & Stick
Sunlight Dishwashing Liquid
Spray & Wash Stain Remover
Kleen King Alum.& Copper Clnr
KR2 Spot Lifter
Behold Furniture Wax
Depend-o Blue Toilet Cleaner
3M Aerosol Spot Remover
Formby's Lemon & Almond Spray
Most Home & Garden Pesticides
Old English Furniture Spray
Dove Soap Bars     
Right Guard Deodorant
Ponds Dry Skin Bar
Palmolive Skin Bar
Lady Speed Stick
Lever 2000
Irish Spring Deodorant
Lifebouy Soap
Jergens Liquid Soap
English Leather Deodorant
Ban Roll-on
Caress Body Bar
Ultra Brite Toothpaste
Cepacol Mouthwash
Crest Tartar Control
Listerine Original & Cool Mint
Arm & Hammer Toothpaste
Colgate Toothpaste
Scope Mouthwash

Tub and Tile Cleaner

1 2/3 cups Baking Soda
1/2 cup Liquid Castile Soap
2 tablespoons Vinegar
1/2 cup Distilled Water
a few drops of essential oils (Tea Tree or Cleansing for fungal issues, Plague Defense and Fresh Citrus are all nice, cleansing blends.)

Mix soda and soap. Add water, then add vinegar and oil. Store in a squirt-top bottle and shake before using. Rinse thoroughly to avoid leaving a residue.

Vacuum Cleaner

Saturate a disposable cloth or tissue with several drops of essential oil and place it into the collecting bag of your vacuum. This will diffuse a pleasant odor as you vacuum.


Many commercial cleaning products contain dangerous chemicals.



Google search "Monsanto Cancer" and see what you turn up.
Follow this link for more on Monsanto: http://pwp.lincs.net/sanjour/monsanto.htm

The Naturally Clean Home
By Karyn Siegel-Majer
A lot of the recipes our family uses came from this wonderful, inspiring book.

Safe Shopper's Bible
By David Steinman and Samuel S. Epstein M.D., 1995
A Consumer's Guide to Nontoxic Household Products, Cosmetics and Food
The link above has some good information on it.