Cleaning with Essential Oils

So here’s a total deviation from my usual posts: some cleaning tips I’ve discovered!

If you’ve known me for any amount of time at all, you know that I’m pretty crunchy, as in, I love to keep things in my life as natural as possible. OK, yes, I do have an issue with refined white sugar, but one thing at a time, right?  Since we have three young kids, and I have asthma, we try to stay away from harsh cleansers (although this isn’t always possible). Enter (dum-duh-da-daaa!) Essential Oils!

I was introduced to essential oils when I was a kid and my parents became Young Living distributers. Young Living sells therapeutic-grade essential oils, meaning that they extract their oils in such a fashion that it can be used in clinical settings, on the skin, and, in some cases, can be ingested. The benefits of using essential oils for home remedies quickly became apparent, and I was the resident oil expert in our home, pulling out my oily first aid kit at the first sign of any injury, ache or complaint. However, the cost of Young Living’s oils made me cautious to use them for any other purpose than on humans, although I did see that they could be used as household cleansers.

When we arrived in Arizona, my brilliant cousin pointed out that, when using oils for housework, you don’t have to use the high-end essential oils, the cheaper quality oils work just fine. Now why didn’t I think of that?

So, off she went to Sprouts Farmer’s Market, and returned armed with empty spray bottles and Lemon and Citronella essential oils from the inexpensive (but non-therapeutic-grade) Aura Cacia line.  We mixed 50 drops of Lemon with 25 drops of Citronella and added it to the almost-full spray bottle and used that mixture to attack the smokey smelling walls and blinds in our new apartment.  Now, this wasn’t a cure all, but after two applications of spraying and wiping down, the grime was dissolved and the smoke smell was significantly lessened. Now I keep a bottle with this same mixture under the kitchen sink, and use it to spray down the table and counters. The oils do a great job of loosening grease and sticky stuff, so I’m hardly ever needing to scrub at stubborn spots; they’re already being dissolved by the oils! The other perk is that I’m not worried about my kids getting this stuff on their skin, so I’ve been able to make cleaning the table my 2-year-old’s morning chore. Obviously, she still needs supervision, but she loves to spray and wipe!

The other blend that I use every day is my linen spray.  I added 75 drops of Peppermint, 25 drops of Rosemary and 25 drops of Eucalyptus to the water in the spray bottle and use it to spray down the beds before we make them every morning. The wonderful thing about this blend is that it smells so fresh and lovely, I generally want to get back in bed after I’ve sprayed! Plus, this blend is specifically hated by bed bugs (not that we have those). Also, I pour a little of this blend in the medicine cup of the kids humidifier at night, since all three of these essential oils are known to be beneficial to the respiratory system.

My third bottle contains a 50/50 mixture of water and white vinegar.  Although not an essential oil, I figured I couldn’t leave out my other secret weapon.  I use this mix to wash windows and do my FlyLady Swish and Swipe of the bathrooms.  It isn’t a lovely smell like my other sprays, but it cleans marvelously, and I just turn the fan on before I leave the bathroom and the smell evaporates quickly. White vinegar is known for it’s awesome powers as a “green cleaner“, and I can get a gallon of it for about $1, so it is totally worth checking out!

What tips have you discovered when cleaning with kids in the house?


About daniellaindie

I'm Anthony’s wife, and mother to Jonathan, Hannah, Joshua, and Isabella. When not making PBJs and cleaning, I like to write, immerse myself in a good book, play my piano, or plan epic couponing trips.

Posted on April 8, 2010, in Cleaning and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 11 Comments.

  1. This was really informative, Dani. Thanks for sharing it. I’m going to try this stuff. Any suggestions on where to find what I need in my neck of the woods?

  2. daniellaindie

    Susan, I would try The Natural Alternative, Trader Joe’s, or the Natural Foods store that is along 101 (you can see it before the Curbaril Exit ) for the Aura Cacia oils. =)

  3. Ahhh, thanks. I’m on it!

  4. Beth Piepenburg

    You said you added lemon and citronella drops to an almost full spray bottle. Ok, what was in the spray bottle?

    I sell essential oils and am rather new at ideas.

  5. Beth! Leave it to my tutor to catch my mistake! The bottle was full of pure water… just add the oil to the water and shake it up!

  6. This blog is going into a file! Excellent! Thank you.

  7. daniellaindie

    You are welcome!

  8. Hello fellow Santa Cruz flower child 😉
    Love your tips… use many of them myself. Another great one is baking soda. You can use it in place of a more abrasive scrub like Comet or Ajax. It works wonders. You can even use it to unclog a drain (one cup vinegar, one cup baking soda …. soak about 30 min, then pour a tea kettle of boiling water).
    Lemon Juice and olive oil rule too. You can polish floors and even furniture with them.
    You inspired me to stock up on some new oils this weekend and get to cleaning 😉
    I suppose “Green cleaning” is the balance of progressive, granola eating feminist and housewife in me. Ha.

  9. Thanks for the baking soda tip, flower child Bethany! Does the vinegar/baking soda drain unclogger do the volcano thing? My kids would LOVE that! I hadn’t even thought of lemon juice and olive oil. Our co-op is offering 1 gallon containers of olive oil this week and we’re totally stocking up. Congrats on finding the balance as a feminist housewife… I’m still trying to find mine! 🙂

  10. We use vinegar to clean basically everything in our house. You’re right that it doesn’t smell lovely, but it is so cheap and works wonderfully. I use it full strength; I hadn’t thought about diluting it. I wonder if I’d notice a difference in its cleaning power . . .

  11. we do a lot of commercial cleaning so im not sure it would be cost effective but at home, I will try some of these suggestions as I love essential oils. thanks for the tips

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