Here’s Zoe Popper’s third Green Cleaning Tip: Essential oils are a natural way to bring freshness and beautiful aromas into your home. Many commercial cleaners use essentials oils, but they also contain lots of harsh chemicals which you really don’t need or want. Here’s a quick rundown of some of things you can do with essential oils.
To get rid of mould and mildew you can make this great anti-mould cleaner. You will need:
- Tea Tree Essential oil
- Spray bottle
Mix 2 teaspoons of tea tree oil with 2 cups of water in a spray bottle. Spray the cleaner onto mould and mildew, and leave for 10 minutes. Then rinse with warm soapy water. Or you can just leave it to dry, depending on where the surface is. I often just put a few drops of tea tree oil on a cloth and wipe it over the affected areas then leave it – works wonders. You can also do this to clean kitchen and bathroom surfaces.
For a natural air freshener put a few drops of essential oil in a bowl of hot water and let it evaporate, or you can use an oil burner (or vaporiser). Choose any scent you like, but to freshen the air you could try eucalyptus, lemon, or lavender.
Many essential oils are naturally antibacterial. See the list below for details. You can also add essential oils to your other green cleaning products to give them a lovely smell and boost their antiseptic properties.
If you get a lot of flies in your house during the summer, it’s useful to know that they absolutely hate the smell of lavender. Wipe a few drops of lavender oil around the windows and this should stop them coming in. Add lemongrass to make it even more effective.
Talking of bad smells, you can get rid of nasty cooking smells by boiling a pan of water containing a cinnamon stick or some cloves.
Finally, you can create different moods in your home by burning various oils. Some are energising, while others are more relaxing. Here’s a brief guide to some of the essential oils and their properties:
Bergamot: antiseptic, relaxing and uplifting. Bergamot balances moods and is a powerful antidepressant. Its antiseptic qualities make it good for treating skin problems, and it also works as an insect repellent.
Cedarwood: antiseptic and stimulating. Cedarwood is emotionally grounding and is often used to aid meditation. It can help control the production of oil in the skin, and also has diuretic qualities so it’s useful for urinary infections.
Eucalyptus: antiseptic and stimulating. Eucalyptus is a decongestant so is good for colds and coughs. It can help inflammation and infections, and can also reduce fever. It stimulates the immune system, has strong antiviral qualities, and works as an effective local painkiller. Use it to reduce the pain of burns and help wounds to heal. It also works as a deodorant.
Frankincense: calming and soothing. Frankincense can create a profound spiritual atmosphere, it slows the breathing and calms the nervous and digestive systems. Excellent for anxiety and depression. It also has antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties.
Geranium: antiseptic, uplifting and refreshing. Geranium balances the nervous system so is good for stress, depression, and anxiety. It’s anti-inflammatory so can help skin problems, and its antiseptic qualities make it good for cuts and infections. It’s also diuretic so can help with fluid retention, blood circulation, and a sluggish lymphatic system.
Juniper: antiseptic, balancing and cleansing. Juniper is physically and emotionally cleansing, so is good for detoxifying the body and clearing the mind. It’s good for skin problems, healing wounds, hair loss, and eliminating toxins. It can relieve exhaustion and soothe nervous tension, and stimulate the appetite.
Lavender: antiseptic, calming and relaxing. Lavender balances the emotions and makes a soothing antidepressant, so it’s good for stress, headaches and insomnia. It lowers blood pressure and can ease digestive problems. It’s great for treating cuts, bites, and infections due to its antiseptic and antibacterial qualities. It’s also a decongestant making it good for colds and flu.
Lemon: antiseptic, refreshing and stimulating. Lemon can help the body to fight infection and is good for treating inflammation. It tones the circulation and balances blood pressure, relieves indigestion and reduces fever. It’s also good for depression and confusion.
Lemongrass: refreshing, tonic. Lemongrass tones the nervous system and also works as a painkiller and antidepressant, so it’s good for headaches and stress. It can reduce a fever and help fight infection, and also works well as an insect repellent. Lemongrass makes an effective deodorant too.
Patchouli: antiseptic, stimulating and uplifting. Patchouli is an antidepressant and is good for nervous tension, anxiety, and stress. Its anti-inflammatory and antiviral qualities can help skin problems and infections, and it can rejuvenate aging skin and heal wounds. Some say it’s an aphrodisiac.
Pine: antiseptic and refreshing. Pine is expectorant and antiviral so it’s good for colds, congestion, coughs, and sore throats. It stimulates the circulation and helps relieve muscle aches. It’s also a good deodorant and insect repellent. Pine can dispel mental fatigue so is good for stress and nervous exhaustion.
Rosemary: antiseptic, stimulating and refreshing. Rosemary is an effective antidepressant and can clear the mind making it good for exhaustion and stress. It stimulates the circulation and can soothe digestive problems. It’s antibacterial and antifungal, so is good for infections, skin problems, and colds.
Tea Tree: antiseptic and stimulating. Tea tree can fight all kinds of infections due to its antibacterial, antifungal, and antiviral qualities. It’s good for skin problems and cleaning wounds, and can clear dandruff. It can stimulate the immune system and help fight inflammation or fever.
Ylang Ylang: soothing, balancing and comforting. Ylang ylang is a sedative and good for depression, anxiety and insomnia. It can help to reduce blood pressure and balance oil production in the skin. Another possible aphrodisiac.
You can find out more about essential oils here:
**Important: If you have sensitive skin, please be careful using essential oils on or in the body because they can cause reactions. Test a little first before you use them, and always use them diluted in a carrier oil, such as almond or jojoba oil.**
See all Zoe’s Cleaning Tips
Disclaimer: this is for information purposes only and is not meant to replace medical advice. Please seek professional help with any health problems in the first instance