Clean Sweep: Surprising Ways to Use Essential Oils at Home

updated May 3, 2019
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(Image credit: Faith Durand)

When you think of essential oils, you probably think about aromatherapy. Sure, they smell amazing, but essential oils can also come in quite handy when it comes to cleaning your home.

From degreasing your stove to de-germing your kids’ stuffed animals, here are 7 ways you can clean your home with essential oils—their uses might surprise you!

Disinfect surfaces with lavender oil

Lavender does more than just smell and look lovely—the purple plant has natural antibacterial properties, too. From the kitchen to the bathroom, you can use lavender essential oil to disinfect any questionable surfaces in your home, with an added bonus: It’ll leave your apartment with a fresh floral scent. Try almost-filling a spray bottle with water and adding about 10 drops of lavender oil. Shake the mixture (since oil and water separate) and spritz it around, letting it disinfect while it dries.

Degrease your kitchen with lemon oil

Lemon essential oil is actually an effective natural degreaser, so you can use it to clean any greasy grossness in your kitchen, like oily dishes and that pesky film on your stovetop. Mix one cup water with one cup vinegar in a spray bottle and add 10 drops of lemon oil for an easy, green cleaning spray. For stubborn stuck-on food on your stovetop, sprinkle baking soda on the affected areas, then spray with the mixture until it fizzes and wipe clean.

Fight roaches with peppermint oil

Found a roach in your apartment? Good news—peppermint oil is an easy, natural way to keep them away. You can spray a peppermint oil mixture directly onto a roach to use it as an insecticide, otherwise, prevent them from returning by spraying a mixture of two parts water, one part white vinegar, and 10 drops of peppermint oil. You can also mix peppermint oil with soap, spray it around the exterior of your home to keep them from getting in.

Spritz your shower with tea tree oil

Tea tree oil is an important tool to keep in your essential oil arsenal, but it’s especially good for keeping shower soap scum and mildew at bay. Mix two cups of distilled white vinegar, two teaspoons of non-castille based liquid dish soap, and 20 drops of tea tree oil in a spray bottle, then spritz your shower with it daily after use.

Clean brushes with eucalyptus oil

Can you remember the last time you actually disinfected your hair tools? If not, you can clean your combs and hairbrushes easily with eucalyptus oil. Combine one and a half cups of water, a half cup of distilled white vinegar, and 20 drops of eucalyptus oil (you can also use tea tree oil or lavender oil) in a container, then allow your combs and brushes to soak for 20 minutes. Once they’ve soaked, rinse them off thoroughly and let them air dry.

Remove gum with orange oil

If you’ve ever accidentally gotten chewing gum stuck to your clothes or any other surface in your home, you know how annoying it is to remove. Orange oil is great at handling sticky situations, so apply it to the affected area with a cotton ball to loosen it up, then launder fabrics it’s come in contact with.

Clean stuffed animals with an oil mixture

Need a quick way to clean stuffed animals before your kids notice they’re gone? Essential oils can help. Mix two tablespoons of baking soda (more for larger stuffed animals) with one drop each of eucalyptus, tea tree and lavender oils. Combine the baking soda and oils in a small bowl, place the stuffed animal in a Ziploc bag, and shake in the mixture, and pop it in the freezer for 30 minutes to freshen it up and keep the germs away.