Volatile organic compounds, formaldehyde, carcinogenic fragrances: if any of these terms make you cringe, you might want to take a serious look at the products you’re using around your home.
Many store-bought products fill your home with toxic substances that can wreck your body and health. These common products include:
- Countertop cleaners
- Drain cleaners
- Dryer sheets
- Air fresheners
- Laundry detergents
- Dish soap
Luckily, it’s easy to make your own natural household products free of dangerous toxins. By using essential oils and other natural ingredients, you can make anything from DIY dryer sheet to your own all-purpose cleaner. Read on to see how you can use these 100 percent natural oils to replace your store-bought household products.
What Are Essential Oils?
Essential oils are extracted from various plant leaves, roots, flowers, and barks through distillation and other methods. They have been used for thousands of years for their powerful medicinal benefits, with many having antibacterial properties that make them excellent natural alternatives for common household products.
Types of Essential Oils
If you’ve ever browsed the essential oil section of your local health food store, you’ve probably noticed there seems to be an essential oil for every situation.
When it comes to your home, you’ll want to focus on antibacterial and cleansing oils, along with deodorizers, such as:
- Tea tree
Some of these oils are so effective as cleansers that they can even kill antibiotic-resistant staph bacteria. (3)
You can also experiment with freshening and feel-good essential oils like peppermint, cinnamon, frankincense, and rosemary to make your home more inviting. Studies have shown that many of these fragrant oils can stabilize your mood and provide relaxation, making them a truly essential (pun intended!) addition to your home. (4)
13 Ways to Use Essential Oils Around the House
Here are easy, natural ways to use essential oils around your home!
1. Air Freshener
One of the great things about essential oils is their ability to freshen the air without the dangerous chemicals found in commercial fragrances.
For a simple air freshener, combine 1 cup of water in a spray bottle with 2 drops each of tangerine, sandalwood, and clove for a light citrus scent, or lemon and eucalyptus for a bright, fresh fragrance.
2. All-Purpose Spray
Combine 7 drops each of tea tree and lemon essential oil in one cup of water. Add these to a spray bottle and use to clean countertops. You can also add a few drops of lavender or peppermint if you want to alter the overall scent.
3. Mold Remover
There are several essential oils that are extremely effective at killing molds, such as tea tree, clove, and cinnamon. You can combine 15 drops of any one of these with ½ cup distilled vinegar in a spray bottle, shake, and apply directly to moldy surfaces. This also works as a mildew prevention spray in the bathroom or other humid places.
4. Dishwasher Freshener
Add 3-4 drops of lemon or orange essential oil to your dishwasher before running. By doing this once a month, you can avoid the stale smell that some dishwashers get.
5. Carpet Deodorizer
The days of tossing chemical-laden powders on your carpets to “clean” them are over. Instead, deodorize with non-toxic lavender essential oil and baking soda.
Combine two cups of baking soda with 20 drops of lavender essential oil in a Mason jar. Shake well to combine. To use, sprinkle over carpets and wait two hours before vacuuming. You get fresh carpets with no toxic residue left behind, and the result is pet- and child-safe.
6. Air Purifier
Essential oils naturally disinfect the air in your home, which is especially helpful if you or one of your family members is sick (or if it’s cold season and you want to keep viruses and bacteria out). In fact, one of the essential oils in the blend below—eucalyptus—has been shown to inactivate the airborne spread of virus. (5)
To cleanse the air in your home, combine a 1-2 drops each of eucalyptus and lemongrass oil in an essential oil diffuser. If you don’t have a diffuser, you can boil a pot of water and add the oils to it.
7. DIY Dryer Sheets
Avoid the host of carcinogenic chemicals hiding in commercial dryer sheets and make your own instead. (6)
Grab a glass jar and cut up old towels or shirts into dryer sheet-sized squares. Mix ½ cup vinegar with 8 drops of your favorite essential oils or blend (lavender and germanium are excellent) and pour over the cloths in your jar. When your load is ready to dry, wring out a couple squares and toss them into the dryer. Reuse your squares by putting them back in your oil solution until it’s used up, then repeat the recipe.
Alternatively, if you don’t want to make dryer sheets, you can add a few drops of your favorite essential oil to your wash cycle.
8. Trash Can Deodorizer
Put 2-3 cotton balls with two drops each of lemon and tea tree essential oils at the bottom of your trash can to keep it smelling fresh.
9. Residue Remover
Use lemon essential oil to remove oil, wax, glue, label adhesives, or chewing gum from surfaces. Simply place two drops on what you’re removing, then rub away with a cloth.
10. Pest Repellent
Pests like spiders, flies, roaches, and other insects find peppermint essential oil extremely irritating. Because of this, you can use it to repel them by filling a spray bottle with one tablespoon peppermint oil and water and spraying along baseboards and other pest-prone areas.
11. Tub Scrub
Combine ½ cup baking soda, ½ cup vinegar, and 5 drops of bergamot or lemon oil and use it as a scrub to make your tub sparkle.
12. Fruits and Veggie Wash
Easily cleanse produce by rinsing them in a bowl filled with water and two drops of lemon essential oil.
13. Pillow Spray
For a relaxing effect, combine a few drops of lavender oil with water in a spray bottle and mist your pillowcase. Alternately, diffuse lavender in your room while you sleep.
Use Essential Oils with Caution
Even though essential oils are 100 percent natural, they are also extremely potent. This is why most of these recipes involve diluting with water. If you experience any skin irritation after using essential oils in your home, try lowering how many drops you’re adding to your products. A little truly goes a long way.
Also, while you might see other sources recommending internal ingestion, we at PaleoPlan do not endorse this, and believe it can offer more disruption than benefit to the microbiome and digestive system due to the potency of the oils.