Most cleaning products you can purchase are full of harsh chemicals that can be dangerous to use or inhale. Manufacturers of these products do not have to disclose all of their ingredients, which means there are ingredients that are not listed on the label.
According to the Environmental Working Group (EWG), “Government agencies and independent research institutions have not adequately evaluated the safety of numerous substances found in cleaning products.
Although government scientific and regulatory agencies have focused considerable attention on chemicals suspected of causing cancer, they have devoted far fewer resources to evaluating substances that may be toxic to the brain and nervous system, the hormone system and other organs.” Mass produced cleaning products can be dangerous for your health.
To learn more about the cleaners you currently use you can go to: https://www.ewg.org/guides/cleaners to search more than 2500 products.
Essential oils are a great alternative to commercial cleaning products.
WHAT ARE ESSENTIAL OILS?
Essential oils are oils that have been distilled from plant materials with a strong scent such as the petals, leaves, or bark of a plant. Essential oils are concentrated and volatile (or easily evaporated) at room temperature. The oil is usually named for the plant from which it was distilled such as: lavender essential oil or peppermint essential oil.
Essential oils are generally safer to use than chemical cleaning products, but there are some precautions you should know.
Essential oils should never be used directly on skin or in the body. They are concentrated plant essences, and are not safe without diluting. Oils should be diluted in water, a carrier oil, or in a cleaning product mixture (such as vinegar and water).
In general, add essential oils to your solution with small amounts first, based on your personal preference for scent. 5 to 20 drops scents an entire bottle of cleaning solution. Some people will want more scent and some will want less. Start with the smallest amount in the recipe, and test the product before adding more.
There are some essential oils that can be excellent for cleaning, but may be irritating or cause allergic reactions in some people. For example, Tea Tree essential oil is distilled from the Melaleuca alternifolia tree from Australia. This essential oil is antifungal (kills fungi), antiviral (kills viruses), and antimicrobial (kills microbes, including bacteria).
It is excellent for cleaning! However, people with allergies or asthma are advised to use this oil with caution, as it can be irritating to the skin and lungs. Always read about essential oils before buying and using them. Test small amounts in your home to begin to check for any allergic reactions.
WHAT OILS ARE GOOD FOR BEGINNERS?
For beginners, start with established recipes and add the smallest recommended amount of oil. 5 drops may not sound like much, but remember that essential oils are concentrated and a little goes a long way!
Some oils that are good for beginners include: lavender, lemon, orange, and peppermint.
Lemon scent is of course the standard in most commercial cleaning products for good reason. Lemon essential oil is antimicrobial, and can help eliminate bacteria, fungi, and viruses. Most commercial cleaning products do not use real lemon oil, however. They use chemical substitutes that smell lemon-like.
Why settle for a chemical substitute when you can have the real thing?
Lemon oil and orange oil have been shown to have antidepressant properties.
Lavender essential oil is also antimicrobial and antidepressant. It has a calming scent that is safe to use around even young children and babies.
The combination of peppermint and orange essential oils deter pests like ants from entering your home. Both peppermint and orange essential oil also are antimicrobial.
These oils make you feel good as you use them. How wonderful to have your cleaning routine make you feel better!
A few cautions for beginners…
- Always research each essential oil before you use it. Learn for yourself what the benefits and precautions are for each type of oil. Don’t be afraid to try new oils, but do your research before using them.
- Never use any essential oil directly on skin or ingest the oil. Essential oils should be stored in a cool, dry place away from children. Use rubber or nitrile gloves when dispensing the oil to reduce the chance of getting the oil on your skin.
- Use the smallest amount of essential oil drops given in the recipe first (or reduce it further), and try the recipe on a small area before adding more.
SIMPLE CLEANING RECIPES TO MAKE YOURSELF:
The following recipes come from Karyn Siegel-Maier’s book ‘The Naturally Clean Home.’ It is an excellent book filled with easy recipes for cleaning with essential oils.
COUNTRY SPICE SCRUBBER
1 cup baking soda
3 tsp cinnamon
3 drops sweet orange oil
Combine all ingredients in an airtight container and shake well to blend. To use to clean kitchen sinks, sprinkle a small amount of the powder into the sink and scrub with a damp sponge.
CITRUS FLOOR CLEANER
1 gallon hot water
2 tablespoons liquid castile soap
5-15 drops of sweet orange
3-8 drops lemon essential oil or 1/4 cup lemon juice
Combine all ingredients in a large bucket. Dip a mop into the bucket and squeeze out excess liquid. Clean the floor by working in sections, using short strokes and dipping the mop as needed. Rinsing is not needed.