About Essential Oils and Their Uses in an Eco-Friendly Home

essential oils

We’ve all heard of essential oils, and how they’re used in aromatherapy. These oils can also be used around the home and to help calm and relax you for better sleep, as well as to help you clean your home using natural, chemical-free products.

Here we take a look at some of the best ones to use around your home, as well as discover exactly what essential oils are.

What are Essential Oils?

Essential oils are naturally found and extracted via compression, steam distillation, or a solvent process from the roots, leaves, bark, nuts, seeds, flowers, berries, and nuts of plants. Essential oils are what typically give a particular plant its distinctive smell/aroma. These oils are commonly found in personal care and green cleaning products.

There’s a difference between essential oils and fragrance oils though, as the latter are often synthetic and are therefore not eco-friendly. The essential oils you need to look for are ones that are made entirely from plants with no other ingredients added.

Uses in the Home

Two of the most common uses for essential oils in the home are for aromatherapy (to promote calmness, relaxation, and sleep naturally) and cleaning (to clean the home naturally).

  • Aromatherapy, Relaxation, and Sleep. Essential oils are aromatherapeutic, so they can affect you on both a physical and mental level. Essential oils that are used to help promote sleep are Vetiver, Valerian, Ylang Ylang, Majoram, and Cedarwood, and Roman Chamomile, to name a few.

Lavender is one of the most well-known essential oils for its sleep-inducing properties, and backed by some research. You can simply spray a few drops on a tissue and tuck it under a pillow, use a lavender infused pillow, or purchase lavender-infused sleep masks and/or bed pillows.

  • An essential part of green cleaning, essential oils are a useful and natural way to destroy mildew, mold, viruses, germs, bacteria, and fungus. For this reason, they’re often found in eco-friendly cleaners, disinfectants, and air fresheners, and are also often used as preservatives in said formulations.

Which Essential Oils are Good for Cleaning?

You can create your own green and safe eco-friendly cleaning products using natural and inexpensive ingredients from the store, as well as with essential oils. Not only will your home smell great, but it’ll be clean too. Popular oils for cleaning purposes include:

  • Not only does lavender smell amazing, but it’s also an anti-bacterial insect deterrent.
  • Pine. Pine has a very clean scent, is deodorizing., and has disinfectant qualities.
  • Tea tree oil. This essential oil works very well on mildew and mold. It’s also excellent for destroying musty smells.
  • Eucalyptus is a very good surface and air sanitizer.
  • Lemon removes stains, and is excellent for cleaning floors due to its antibacterial properties. Simply add a few drops to your water and mop as usual. Grapefruit and orange oil are also good for cleaning floors.
  • Peppermint oil can help to repel insects and purify the air.

Essential Oil Cleaning Product Recipes

Now you’ve read all about how great essential oils are for cleaning your home, here are a few recipes to get you started.

  • Toilet cleaner. Mix a cup of liquid Castile soap, a cup of water, and 20 drops of lemon essential oil in a spray bottle, and simply spray the mixture onto your toilet bowl as required.
  • Carpet cleaner. Mix 20 drops of the essential oil of your choice into a cup of baking soda. After letting the mixture sit overnight, so the oil is completely absorbed by the powder, sprinkle it onto your carpets before you vacuum.
  • Dryer sheets. Cut up some old cotton cloths, an old tee shirt will do, and pour a mixture of seven drops of an essential oil of your choice, mixed with 110mls of vinegar on top of the fabric, until it’s damp, but not soaking. Place the dampened fabric in an airtight container, and use them whenever you need to. The vinegar makes your clothes soft, and the essential oil with give them a lovely fragrance.
  • Insect repellent. Take two ounces of sweet almond oil and add eight drops of cedar oil, five drops of eucalyptus, two drops of eucalyptus, two drops of lavender, and two drops of peppermint, and apply to exposed areas of your body, keeping away from your eyes.

How to use essential oils for cleaning? There are so many ways you can utilize essential oils for cleaning and freshening your home, including these simple ways to create your own eco-friendly and aromatic cleaning products.

  • Cleaning your bathroom. Add some drops of an oil, like tea tree, into your cleaning solution. This adds extra germ fighting power, as tea tree is considered to have insecticidal, bactericidal, antiseptic, antimicrobial, and antifungal properties.
  • Cleaning your kitchen. By adding a few drops of lemon essential oil into your dish soap, you can give it an extra germ-fighting kick. Lemon oil also enhances your mood, as well as having bactericidal, antimicrobial, and antiseptic features. You can also deodorize your refrigerator by adding grapefruit or lemon oil directly into your fridge’s baking soda box.
  • Freshening the air. Add a few drops of your favorite essential oil to your oil burner to make your home smell amazing.

Are Essential Oils Safe for Cleaning?

You should never use essential oils on your body or to treat a health issue without first researching your chosen oil or seeking advice from your doctor. That said, in eco-friendly cleaning terms, essential oils are generally considered to be safer than synthetic fragrance oils.

There are certain atmospheric conditions that essential oils should not be used in, specifically on smoggy days when high levels of ozone are present. According to a recent study published in the Journal of Epidemiology, the terpenes within essential oils have the potential to interact with ozone and create formaldehyde.

For this reason, it’s important never to use essential oils when levels of ozone are high, and to always use good ventilation.  If you’re concerned about the specifics of any essential oil, the International Chemical Safety Card database contains more information.

How to Choose the Right Oils

Not all essential oils are created equally. The composition and quality of essential oils can vary, so it’s important to look for the following when you’re looking for high quality oils:

  • Reputation. Only buy from brands that have a good reputation in their field.
  •  Purchase only oils that are extracted through mechanical cold pressing or distillation, as these will have been changed the least by the process of extraction.
  •  Purchase only oils that contain no synthetic oils or additives. Good quality oils usually have the botanical name of the plant on the label. Look for certified pure therapeutic grade if possible.

The uses of essential oils are practically endless. They can be used in the form of one single essential oil or they can be blended together for desired experience and benefit. The tips above offer you plenty to get started with to enjoy the amazing benefits of essential oils.

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