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Almost all household cleaning supplies have some sort of ‘fragrance’ in them and most store-bought products can and often do cause serious health problems. One way to ensure you, your family, and anyone you invite within the home or workplace are not breathing and ingesting formaldehyde or other toxic chemicals is by making your own cleaning products. It’s actually rather simple and easy, and even cost-effective. Many terpenes have antimicrobial qualities making them great for cleaning, as they can kill bacteria, fungus, and viruses. An essential oil like citrus can provide antimicrobial properties, effectively break down grease and grime, and provide a natural and flavorful aromatic citrus scent.
I’ve had discussions with maids and people who clean for a living and are exposed to these chemical products frequently. It is common for their chest to hurt and their airways to feel congested after they’ve been using these products. Also, the skin on their fingers peels and flakes and the chemicals damage their nails, sometimes permanently. For more information about the current state of ‘fragrances’ and how all the active ingredients do not have to be included on the label, click here.
You can make your own granite cleaner, all-purpose cleaner, glass cleaner, even laundry detergent with ylang-ylang or other oils for relatively little investment. When you’re thinking of your family, your kids, and your animals as well, it’s important to choose the right products when you’re cleaning. We know how sensitive we are to chemicals, but imagine cats and dogs walking across the floor. They’re so much smaller and much closer to the source. They breathe in and absorb everything that is used on the floor.
Also known as Melaleuca, this essential oil is a cleaning powerhouse. It may take some getting used to the scent, but you may come to love it over time. Tea tree oil contains pinene and terpinene making it antimicrobial, antibacterial, antifungal and antiviral. It is great to use this for an all-purpose kitchen spray and in the bathroom to fight mildew in the bathtub or toilet. It mixes wonderfully with bergamot, clary sage, clove bud, eucalyptus, lavender, peppermint, and rosemary.
What can’t lavender do? Many people associate lavender with tranquility and sleep, but it is also perfect for laundry. Lavender oil contains terpineol, linalool, and borneol, which make it anti-bacterial, antimicrobial, and anti-septic. Just add 5 drops to unscented (or scented) laundry detergent after it’s been portioned out. The lavender helps keep musty odors from building up in the washing machine and in forgotten loads of laundry. Lavender also helps prevent mold and mildew from building up. It’s also a great essential oil to use for bedroom and linen sprays and it mixes well with many other oils including peppermint, cedarwood, lemongrass, grapefruit, lime, orange, peppermint, rosemary, and ylang-ylang.
Known for its antibacterial properties, thyme is used in many natural cleaners for its powerful properties. Many antiseptic and bactericidal terpenes are found in thyme oil, such as menthol, humulene, cymene, and borneol. It’s properties and scent make thyme great for a kitchen or bathroom cleaner and should be used in a higher concentration. It blends well with bergamot, grapefruit, lemon, lavender, and rosemary.
When it comes to adding multiple scents to your recipes, you can play around with what you love and start creating mixtures which please your nose and olfactory receptors. This is a very satisfying part of using essential oils for cleaning because it’s fun to see how different terpenes and different oils affect the mix. Want something uplifting? Use peppermint or grapefruit. Want something cooling and calming? Use geranium or eucalyptus. There are endless possibilities and infinite scent combinations.
Not only are these recipes safer than many common household products but are more economical. Once you have the oils, vinegar, cheap vodka, etc. on hand, each formula costs only pennies to produce.
Obviously, you do not have to go through your cabinets and throw away all of your cleaning products and make the switch to essential oils after reading that last section, but homemade essential oil products are always an option. I’ve been using store-bought cleaners for the majority of my life and personally have not seen any adverse effects, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t potentially harmful. As more and more research is published and the prolonged effects of using certain cleaning products become more apparent, I am a firm believer that we will shift our focus toward holistic, natural, and safer options.
Here is a list of all the DIY cleaning products you can make with safe, all-natural ingredients to keep your home clean and smelling great: