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Essential Oils for Cleaning

Updated: Jan 5

We all clean, but cleaning doesn't mean you need to use bleach, chemicals, and fragrances to create a synthetic "clean smell." Instead, you can use all-natural solutions, such as essential oils, with disinfecting properties to ensure you're home looks and smells clean.

peppermint essential oil for toxin-free cleaning

If you read my blog, 10 Swaps Towards Toxin-Free Cleaning, you know cleaning is inevitable; but thankfully, you can choose what you'd like to clean with. Personally, I choose an all-natural route because I have studied the ingredients of many products, like laundry detergent, and I am simply not comfortable using mainstream options that are often greenwashed.


If you're new to toxin-free cleaning, I highly recommend Earthley's downloadable guide, The Clean Home Project, which I co-wrote. In this digital guide, you’ll learn how easy and affordable it is to ditch toxic cleaning products and make the switch to natural cleaning. We’ll discuss the harmful chemicals in many mainstream cleaning products, how harmful they are to your health, and natural alternatives that are just as effective and truly safe for your home and family.

10% off earthley wellness promo code

Speaking of Earthley, their cleaning line is the only company I trust to use in my home. I have successfully used their Laundry Detergent, Dishwasher Detergent, Cleaning Spray Concentrate, Cleaning Paste, and Dish Soap Bar.


One of my stables for toxin-free cleaning is essential oils. When I have the time to make homemade cleaning supplies, I often use essential oils not just to scent them but for their cleaning and disinfecting properties. Some of my homemade cleaning recipes are:


 

Before you proceed to read this post, let’s discuss some dos and don’ts when it comes to essential oils.


DO dilute all essential oils as directed on the bottle.

DO NOT ingest essential oils.


DO use essential oils topically and always dilute them.

DO NOT apply directly on the skin.


DO use caution around pets and children

DO NOT disregard safety information


This is just a brief run down, but I recommend reviewing my full list of essential oil safety tips.


Regarding essential oil brands, I recommend, my top three are Plant Therapy, Simply Earth, and Earthley Wellness. With that said, I want to start by saying Plant Therapy’s Kid-Safe Essential Oils are specifically formulated for children ages two and up as a safety precaution.


plant therapy eucalyptus globules essential oil for cleaning

#1 Eucalyptus Globulus Essential Oil

Eucalyptus Globulus Essential Oil is typically made from the leaves of the eucalyptus plant. This essential oil has antimicrobial and antifungal properties, making it a useful ingredient for cleaning and disinfecting (1,2).


Trusted aromatherapist Wendy Robbins cautions that due to its 1,8 cineole content, Eucalyptus Globulus Essential Oil may cause CNS and breathing problems in young children. She cautions against using Eucalyptus Globulus on or near the face of children under ten, and a dermal maximum of 20% is recommended for everyone else (3). Plant Therapy lists their eucalyptus globulus as safe for pregnancy, dogs, and horses, but not kids or while breastfeeding. If you’re looking for a kid-safe eucalyptus, I’d recommend Eucalyptus Dives.


plant therapy lemon essential oil for cleaning

#2 Lemon Essential Oil

Lemon Essential Oil is typically made from lemon peels that are often discarded. Despite the peels often being discarded, studies have determined that lemon peels are full of bioactive compounds that provide antimicrobial and antifungal properties often used for cleaning (4,5).


Trusted aromatherapist Wendy Robbins cautions that cold-pressed lemon essential oil is phototoxic while steam-distilled is not. A dermal maximum of 2.0% for the cold-pressed lemon essential oil is recommended to avoid the risk of a phototoxic reaction. Additionally, topical use of oxidized lemon essential oil is cautioned against regardless of the distillation method (6). Plant Therapy lists their lemon essential oil as safe for kids, pregnancy, breastfeeding, dogs, and horses.


plant therapy orange essential oil for cleaning

#3 Orange Essential Oil

Sweet Orange Essential Oil is typically made from orange peels that are often discarded. Despite often being discarded, studies have determined that lemon peel is full of bioactive compounds that provide antimicrobial and antifungal properties making it an effective household cleaner (7,8).


Trusted aromatherapist Wendy Robbins does not indicate any special precautions when using sweet orange essential oil. However, she does caution about avoiding the use of this oil if it has oxidized (9). Plant Therapy lists their sweet orange essential oil as safe for kids, pregnancy, breastfeeding, dogs, and horses.


plant therapy oregano essential oil for cleaning

#4 Oregano Essential Oil

Oregano Essential Oil, not to be confused with oil of oregano, is typically made from the dried aerial parts of a flowering plant. Oregano Essential Oil has antibacterial, antimicrobial, and antiviral properties, all ideal for cleaning (10,11,12).


Trusted aromatherapist Wendy Robbins states there are indications that oregano essential oil may cause embryotoxicity and a moderate risk of skin sensitization. She also recommends a dermal maximum of 1.1% (13). Plant Therapy lists their oregano essential oil as unsafe for kids, pregnancy, breastfeeding, dogs, and horses.


plant therapy spearmint essential oil for cleaning

#5 Spearmint Essential Oil

Spearmint Essential Oil is an excellent alternative to Peppermint Essential Oil, which is not kid-safe. Spearmint essential oil is typically made from the leaves of the spearmint plant, which has antibacterial properties, making it ideal for cleaning and disinfecting (14).


Trusted aromatherapist Wendy Robbins warns that spearmint essential oil is a potential mucous membrane irritant. Wendy Robbins also cautions that there is a low risk of skin sensitization and recommends a dermal maximum of 1.7% (15). Plant Therapy lists their spearmint essential oil as safe for kids, pregnancy, breastfeeding, dogs, and horses.


plant therapy tea tree essential oil for cleaning

#6 Tea Tree Essential Oil

Tea Tree Essential Oil is typically made from narrow-leaved paperbark or tea tree plant leaves. Tea tree essential oil has antimicrobial and antifungal properties, which are important when cleaning (16,17).


Trusted aromatherapist Wendy Robbins indicates a low risk of skin sensitization when using tea tree essential oil. Wendy Robbins also recommends a dermal maximum of 15% and precautions against using oxidized tea tree essential oil (18). Plant Therapy lists their tea tree essential oil as safe for kids, pregnancy, and breastfeeding but not for dogs and horses.


Remember, many oils are not kid-safe at any dilution. Plant Therapy is a reputable online resource dedicated to practicing essential oil safety. Plant Therapy has a list of constituents in oils that should be avoided with children, plus even more kid-safe oils in their article Essential Oils for Kids: What’s Safe and What’s Not.


⚠️ Warning: The Holistic Hipppie is not a functional medicine practitioner. The FDA has not evaluated these statements. This content is not medical advice and should not be used to diagnose, treat, cure, or replace medical guidance. The Holistic Hipppie assumes no liability for the application of the information discussed.


What's your favorite essential oil to use for cleaning?

Sarena-Rae Santos

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