15 December 2021 / Caitlin Devlin
The best essential oils for cleaning your home
Make cleaning less of a chore by finding your perfect blend of essential oils.
There are a huge number of essential oils that have cleaning properties.
Some are antibacterial, some are antifungal, some are pest repellent, and some just help to neutralise unpleasant odours. Combining a few drops of essential oils with a spray bottle of water is an easy way to make an effective and entirely natural cleaning spray, and with so many oils to choose from you can customise these sprays so that the scent is exactly to your taste. We’ve narrowed down the long list of options to ten of the most effective essential oils to use when cleaning your home.
Citrus oils all have famously strong cleaning properties and lemon is one of the most powerful. Able to fight bacteria and fungi in all areas of the home, lemon is many people’s first choice when it comes to natural cleaning ingredients, and its sharp, hygienic scent helps your home to smell as clean as it looks. A study in 2019 suggested that it is the presence of the constituent d-limonene that gives lemon oil its strong antimicrobial properties.
Used for centuries for its antiseptic abilities, tea tree is well known for its ability to protect against infections. A large review of tea tree’s antimicrobial ability found that the oil was able to combat a very high number of bacteria, viruses and fungi. These powerful effects are commonly attributed to the constituent terpinene-4-ol, one of tea tree’s main active components.
Eucalyptus is a highly antifungal oil, helping to prevent the growth of fungi in the home. A study in 2012 found that the oil was also effective against staph and E.coli infections thanks to its protective abilities. Eucalyptus is one of the most widely used oils in cleaning and has been used for this purpose for centuries.
Pine needle is known as a purifying oil, able to improve air quality and guard against airborne pathogens. A study in 2004 found that it could fight against thirteen species of bacteria, fungi, and other toxins in the air, making it safer to breathe. It is also a great natural carpet cleaner due to its deodorising effects.
A gentle oil, myrtle is ideal for use around those with sensitive skin, and shouldn’t irritate like other cleaning sprays so long as it is properly diluted. It has strong antibacterial properties thanks to its constituent cineole, and a study in 2018 found that it was particularly useful in combatting a staph infection.
A few drops of essential oils in a diffuser is a great final touch to a big clean.
Peppermint is a bright, hygienic oil that has antimicrobial and antifungal properties. It is also a renowned spider repellent due to monoterpenoids in the oil that are said to act as fumigants. Spraying it in corners may help to deter spiders from spinning cobwebs in those places.
Not only does grapefruit oil have an uplifting, cleansing scent, but a study in 2004 found that grapefruit oil can combat sixty-seven distinct microbial biotypes. This makes it an incredibly powerful cleaning agent, and one of the most effective citrus oils to use in cleaning sprays.
Antibacterial, antiviral and antifungal basil has lots of uses in home cleaning. It is particularly useful for cleaning kitchens, as a 2013 study found that it can decrease bacteria and food-borne pathogens and ensure that the food we eat is safe.
Lemongrass is 70-80% citral, a component which gives it strong antimicrobial abilities. A study in 2008 also showed that lemongrass has powerful antifungal abilities, making a great all-round solution. It is considered an effective pest repellent, particularly for mosquitos.
Earthy carrot seed has extremely strong antibacterial abilities, and many studies have been conducted to investigate carrot seed’s effectiveness against a range of harmful microorganisms. Just one example is a study in 2013 that found it to be effective against E.coli. A few drops of carrot seed go a long way, and can help to protect the health of your household.
Whether you're trying to get the house in order for Christmas or already thinking ahead to your spring clean, essential oils can help. Spend some time discovering your favourites.
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