Chemicals and toxins are in everything from our toilet cleaner to our wood floor polish. Not only can these chemicals be extremely harsh on your body, but they are also destructive to our ecosystem. Usually classified as a “Volatile Organic Compound,” chemical cleaners can harm people, plants, and animals. Although the majority of waste chemicals that are rinsed down the drain make it to treatment facilities, the plants cannot remove every harmful contaminant. Eventually, the small amounts of chemicals that make it through build up and cause toxic reactions with the nearby ecosystem.
So how can we make a difference? By switching to non-toxic cleaning products or making your own DIY products at home! Making your own products ensures that you know exactly what is going into them and how they will affect your family and home life. Jane Wilson from Fantastic Cleaners has been using a more "natural" cleaning methods for years. "Some essential oils are widely used in DIY cleaning mixtures, and not only because they provide a nice smell, but because some oils have proven disinfecting, whitening and antiseptic abilities. Additionally, many of the DIY cleaning solutions contain vinegar, which has a very strong smell, and the essential oils counteract it very nicely, leaving a fresh and clean feeling to the surface."
Radha Beauty’s collection of the best essential oils of cleaning includes:
Lemon Essential Oil
Tea Tree Essential Oil
Lavender Essential Oil
Eucalyptus Essential Oil
Orange Essential Oil
While there are certainly more essential oils you can use, these are the most versatile and widely used oils for household cleaning products.
Lemon oil is perhaps the star of essential oil cleaning. It leaves behind a pleasant citrus scent that is often associated with cleanliness. It’s known to be antiviral and antibacterial, making it a great oil to tackle large surfaces and high-touch areas.
Wood Polish Recipe
¼ cup olive oil
¼ cup vinegar
5 drops lemon oil
5 drops orange oil
Add to a spray bottle and shake well before use. Apply using a soft microfiber cloth to wipe down wood furniture. Store in a dark place.
Tea tree oil is often used in hair routines to fight off dandruff, but those same fighting powers are known to be useful for household cleaning as well. It’s been known to have antibacterial, antimicrobial, and antifungal properties.
1/2 cup baking soda
5 drops tea tree oil
Mix together and sprinkle over your skin. Scrub with a damp sponge and rinse clean.
Jeneva Aaron with The House Wire swears by using this recipe while cleaning. "Tea tree is a very strong oil with a very strong scent, so it not only kills germs and fungi but it also eliminates odors. It works better than any bathroom cleaning product I’ve found in the grocery store!"
Although lavender is best known for its calming, relaxing properties, it is also known to be a great antibacterial and works to fight smelly odors. Lavender is a relatively gentle essential oil, so it's safe to use (diluted) around kids – making it perfect for cleaning toys!
Natural Toy Sanitizer
1 cup white vinegar
1 cup distilled water
30 drops of lavender essential oil
Combine in a spray bottle and soak toys with the solution. Let sit for 1-2 minutes and wipe clean with a damp towel.
Eucalyptus is known to be antibacterial and antimicrobial. It carries a wonderfully fresh scent that is perfect for home cleaning. This oil is also known to be great for purifying the air, so using eucalyptus in your home during spring allergies is smart and healthy.
Shower Cleaner Spray
16 oz of water
10 drops of eucalyptus oil
Spray liberally in your shower after every use to prevent mold and leave a fresh, airway opening scent. Allow to air dry.
Orange oil is known to be filled with enzymes that eat bacteria and clean many surfaces. It’s a great degreaser, perfect for cleaning dirty stovetops and ovens. The strong aroma of orange can help to cover up lingering odors when added to the laundry or sprayed on stains.
1 ½ cups white vinegar
½ cup distilled water
8 drops of orange oil
Shake well in a spray bottle. Spray all over the glass and wipe down with a microfiber towel.
Essential oils are very powerful to help clean the home. Used properly diluted, they are completely safe to use. Made from natural plants, fruits, and flowers, they do not harm the environment and are a great natural alternative to harsh chemicals. Start small – you don’t have to completely flip to non-toxic products overnight, but each change you make can make a big difference in the health of both your family and our planet.