A common complaint about homemade, all natural cleaning products is that scents are limited and sometimes a little…well, blah. Powerful conventional cleaning products make your home feel clean, essentially because it smells clean. But remember, the source behind the strong clean smell is a whole host of dangerous and toxic chemicals that we’ve been trained to associate with cleanliness. It’s generally nothing more than a marketing ploy by the manufacturers.The good news is that choosing products that are harmful to your health isn’t the only way to get effective cleaning products that smell great. Natural cleaning products that make use of essential oils can smell wonderful and the right oils will help in disinfecting, purifying or removing stains.
Which essential oils can help in cleaning?
Essential oils are oils made from extracting the liquid from inside a plant via the leaves, stem, flowers, bark or roots. From tea tree to lemon, and grapefruit to vanilla, you can find a whole host of 100% natural oils being used in some of the top, most effective cleaning products. Among the most popular are:
Made by cold pressing the rind of fresh lemons, lemon essential oil smells deliciously intoxicating and offers a strong sense of freshness in the home. Lemon essential oil will also help brighten and remove stains.
How to use: Add a few drops to a bucket of water when mopping tiles or add a couple of drops to your white wash to help brighten clothes.
Peppermint essential oil has a fresh, lively scent that perfectly compliments homemade cleaning products. Peppermint has strong antibacterial properties, making it ideal for cleaners used on the kitchen bench or bathroom. It’s also a natural way to help keep the pests away.
How to use: Add a few drops to a homemade spritz cleaner for areas that need particular antibacterial attention.
Made from the Australian Melaleuca tree, tea tree essential oil offers powerful antibacterial, antifungal and antiseptic qualities. It works particularly well when trying to remove mold or mildew and can quickly rid the home of musty smells.
How to use: Mix two teaspoons of tea tree oil with two cups of water in a spray bottle. Spritz on moldy, mildewy areas, such as the shower or spritz curtains to rid bad smells.
Lavender has great antibacterial, antifungal, and antiviral properties and offers a lovely, “homely” scent that’s both calming and warming. Lavender is a great deodoriser and can keep the linen cupboard smelling wonderful and fresh. It can also be used as an insect repellant.
How to use: Add 3-5 drops on cotton balls and place in areas susceptible to ants and cockroaches or add 10 drops of oil to a small piece of cloth and store in the linen cupboard. Alternatively you can add to homemade washing up liquid or bathroom cleaner.
Sweet orange (also referred to as citrus sinensis) is a great antiseptic and degreaser. It has been thought that sweet orange essential oil can dramatically reduce the risk of E.Coli and Salmonella, therefore is recommended for use in areas where raw meat has sat.
How to use: Apply to chopping boards and countertops or add a few drops of oil to soapy water for cleaning stoves, permanent marker off the wall or sticker residue.
Why create your own cleaning products?
When you create your own cleaning products, not only do you know you are using safe, natural products on your home, you can also adapt the scent to match the smells you love. Try mixing different essential oils that not only smell great together, but help you utilise their different properties, creating a highly effective and beautifully smelling product.
5 creative homemade cleaning products to try
Pine floor cleaner
Step 1: Mix ¼ cup distilled white vinegar with 4 cups of water.
Step 2: Add 5 to 10 drops of pine, lemon or spruce essential oil.
Lemon vacuum cleanser
Step 1: Soak a small tissue in 5 drops of lemon essential oil.
Step 2: Allow the vacuum to suck up the tissue to take away dusty smell.
Step 1: Fill a 650ml bottle with castile soap.
Step 3: Shake the bottle before each use and add 1-2 tablespoons of mixture to a sink of hot water.
Comb and brush cleaner
Step 1: Fill a container with 1 ½ cups of water and ½ cup distilled white vinegar.
Step 3: Soak brushes and combs for 20 minutes.
Step 1: Fill a spray bottle with two cups of water.
Step 2: Add 2 teaspoons of tea tree oil and shake.
Step 3: Spritz along the inside of the toilet rim and let sit for 30 minutes before scrubbing.
(Note: You can also add a few drops of your favourite oil to the inside of a toilet paper tube for sweet smelling paper every time you go.)