Simply put, essential oils are extracts from plants. They can come from the plants’ petals, stems, barks, seeds, trunks and roots. They contain specific chemical components that work together to create therapeutic benefits.
You’re probably most familiar with using essential oils for aromatherapy purposes—spa treatments, relaxing massages, helping to clear your congestion when you have a cold—but they have many other uses you probably never even thought of. Not only are essential oils anti-inflammatory and anti-spasmodic, they also have antibacterial, antifungal and sedative properties.
“I know people that now find they don’t mind washing the dishes and doing some household cleaning because the oils they’re using not only smell delicious, but also have mood-boosting properties,” says Jessica Klingbaum, certified aromatherapy specialist.
Here are six surprising essential oil uses at home.
Use essential oils from orange, lemon or grapefruit for cleaning everything from glass to counters in your home. Mix with distilled water and/or vinegar to make an all-purpose cleaning spray.
“I love that it’ll leave the kitchen smelling great and there’s nothing toxic in what I’m using,” says Klingbaum, founder of BeHipandHealthy.com. Essential oils can also fight germs and help keep our immune systems strong.
You can make your home smell nice with essential oils—that’s a given. But did you know you can use it to specifically deodorize the inside of your stale-smelling refrigerator, your stinky trash bins, the bathroom, and even the inside of your shoes?
“Instead of getting some kind of plug-in air freshener for the bathroom, try putting a drop or two of lemon essential oil on the inside of the cardboard roll of toilet paper,” Klingbaum suggests.
Use essential oils derived from cinnamon, cardamom and clove for the kitchen, and jasmine, sandalwood and rose for bathrooms.
Geranium, basil and lavender oil work best to deodorize smelly shoes and shoe closets.
Over time, your floors can start to smell stale. Freshen up your carpet or rug with essential oils made from mandarin or lemon. You can add two drops onto a cotton ball and put it right into your vacuum cleaner bag or put a couple drops on a small piece of newspaper and vacuum it up. Breathe a sigh of relief as your vacuum releases a fresh scent into the air while you clean.
You can also mix 10 drops of an essential oil into 200 grams of baking soda. Store it in an airtight container for a couple of days. When ready, sprinkle it directly onto your carpet before vacuuming.
Essential oils can also be your solution for sticker residue or even stubborn price tags on household items that you want to remove. Just a drop or two of lemon essential oil on the sticky spot you’re cleaning up will do the trick, says Klingbaum.
Bugs like mosquitoes, ants and beetles are not fans of peppermint, lavender, citronella, lemongrass and rosemary. Use three to four drops per cotton ball and leave them near or around windows and doors to keep little critters at bay.
You can also create a spray using 10 drops of the same essential oils diluted in 8 ounces of water or rubbing alcohol. Shake and use on your skin or clothes to repel insects.
Dust Mite Remedy
Just add a few drops of eucalyptus oil into the water while washing your bedding to rid sheets and pillowcases of mites. You can also mix the essential oil with water in a spray bottle to use on upholstered furniture for the same purpose.