The best essential oils for cleaning and disinfecting
Essential oils are incredibly diverse. Not only do they have their own signature scent that stems from the distilling process they undergo, but they can be used to treat a variety of emotional, mental and physical ailments too.
However, their uses don’t stop there. You can also use essential oils for cleaning and disinfecting your home - while leaving your home smelling naturally clean, fresh and amazing!
If you’re looking for an all-natural way to keep your home clean and fresh and want to reduce your impact on the environment, using essential oils for cleaning is an excellent alternative. There are no harmful chemicals or additives included if you use oils that are organic and 100% natural, so you can keep your family safe - and protect the planet too.
Here’s everything you need to know about using essential oils for cleaning and disinfecting.
- How to use essential oils for cleaning
- In your laundry
- For cleaning
- The best essential oils for cleaning
- Tea Tree
- What the research tells us
- Eucalyptus essential oil’s antibacterial properties
- Essential oils for cleaning in the hospital setting
- The antimicrobial properties of essential oils
- Using essential oils to clean your home safely
- Effective blends of essential oils for cleaning
- The herbal mint blend
- The kid-friendly blend
- Spicy citrus
- Volant’s Clean Air
- Using essential oils for cleaning FAQs
- Is using essential oils for fresh air and cleaning safe?
- What are the best essential oils for cleaning and disinfecting?
- What safety factors should I bear in mind when using essential oils for cleaning?
- How long do essential oils last on surfaces?
- How do I make a spray of essential oils for cleaning and disinfecting?
- A chemical-free cleaning solution
How to use essential oils for cleaning
Your aim when using the best essential oils for cleaning will determine how exactly you use them. If you want to use them in your laundry, for example, the method you use will be different from using essential oils for fresh air or for using essential oils for cleaning and disinfecting.
In your laundry
Eucalyptus, lemon, lemongrass essential oil, lavender, peppermint and tea tree are good choices for your laundry because of their fresh scent. These are just guides, however, since you can use whatever oil you desire, according to its aroma and your particular preferences.
Put a few drops of your chosen essential oil in your washer when you’ve added your clothing, or create a blend using several oils to enjoy maximum benefits, and add this to your detergent dispenser before you start the laundry.
If you use fabric dryer balls, you could also add several drops of your chosen essential oils to the dryer balls before turning on the dryer. This is a great alternative to chemically scented dryer sheets.
When you’re using the best essential oils for cleaning, you’ll need to stock up on a few other products too. You’ll need to add bicarbonate of soda and white vinegar to your shopping list. The exact solution you create will depend on what surface you’re dealing with:
The best essential oils for cleaning
You can use essential oils for fresh air and to clean the space around you in many different ways. These include using diffusers and creating your own disinfectant sprays.
When you use diffusers, you will be able to let these essential oils clean and “disinfect” your body from the inside out as you breathe them in, too. There are many that are highly recommended for respiratory illnesses and other physical ailments like sore throats, headaches, aching muscles and even inflammation of joints.
This is recommended because not only do essential oils have an array of antimicrobial properties, but they can also help with anxiety, depression, insomnia, nausea and stress. Self care should be as much of a priority as a clean and welcoming home. Using the best essential oils for cleaning and disinfecting gets you the best of both worlds.
Clove oil is a remarkably effective antibacterial agent. It’s composed of between 80% and 95% eugenol, a phenol that kills bacteria by disrupting their cell membranes. It is effective against germs like Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Salmonella typhi and Staphylococcus aureus, to name a few.
Cleaning your kitchen with clove oil will make it smell like fresh baking while cleaning away food-borne germs.
Eucalyptus essential oil is an excellent essential oil for cleaning. Its active chemical components (primarily eucalyptol aka 1,8-cineol) are well known for their clarifying, cleansing and purifying properties that eliminate bacteria from the air and surfaces.
Its clean, earthy, minty scent will soothe and refresh you and leave the room it's used in smelling wonderful to boot.
With a bright, uplifting aroma that has many antibacterial properties, lemongrass essential oil is an excellent option.
Lemongrass not only helps kill bacteria but also breaks through the biofilm that some of the tougher bacteria produce. And it will leave your home smelling like a tropical paradise while putting you in a bright mood too.
Put lavender essential oil on your list of the best essential oils for cleaning. It has antibacterial and anti-odor properties as well as calming ones. This makes it a good choice for use in and around the home. It’s a particularly good idea to use it in bedrooms because it works to reduce stress and can induce sleep, all while keeping this area fresh and free of bacterial build-up.
Famous for its invigorating, refreshing scent, lemon essential oil boasts antifungal, antiseptic and disinfectant properties. One of the most highly recommended essential oils for fresh air, using it will freshen up your home while helping to eliminate germs.
A popular ingredient in a range of different products, you will find peppermint in cosmetics, food, mouthwashes, soaps and toothpaste. Peppermint essential oil is not just awakening and stimulating, either. It is one of the best essential oils for cleaning and disinfecting because it prevents the growth of potentially harmful bacteria.
Because it contains several compounds that kill bacteria, fungi and viruses, tea tree oil has been used as a natural disinfectant for hundreds of years. It is one of the best essential oils for cleaning and disinfecting particularly because of the terpinen-4-ol compound which works powerfully against bacteria.
What the research tells us
Science backs up the premise that it’s a good idea to use essential oils for cleaning. Industry, researchers and even hospitals are commissioning studies to discover antimicrobial essential oils in the face of growing drug-resistant bacteria. The results have supported what many people have seen to be true in their own homes for many years now.
Eucalyptus essential oil’s antibacterial properties
Eucalyptus essential oil is capable of antibacterial activity against E. coli and S. aureus bacteria, as revealed in this 2012 study. This makes it ideal for use in both the kitchen and in the bathroom.
Essential oils for cleaning in the hospital setting
Interestingly, even diffusing essential oils can help you keep your home cleaner. A study looked at the effect of the vapors of a 1:1 blend of orange and bergamot essential oils on the growth of two bacteria on stainless steel surfaces. After 24 hours of exposure, colony and biofilm growth were largely reduced.
In a study that isolated virulent and drug-resistant Acinetobacter bacteria from common surfaces in the hospital setting, they discovered that cinnamon, geranium and lavender essential oils were the most potent in killing this bacteria that can form biofilms and cause hospital-acquired infections.
Thyme oil was also shown in another study to be effective against Acinetobacter bacteria isolated from hospital patients. And because oil of oregano is similar to thyme but often more potent, we can assume that oregano essential oil would be similarly effective.
A commonly used chlorhexidine solution in hospital setting showed little effectiveness against drug-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, vancomycin-resistant Enterococcus, multi-resistant Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Escherichia coli and Klebsiella pneumoniae. However, eucalyptus, lemongrass and tea tree essential oils have shown effectiveness in killing all three, with lemongrass being more effective against gram-positive bacteria and tea tree oil being more effective against gram-negative bacteria.
The antimicrobial properties of essential oils
It was revealed in a 2016 review that cinnamon, clove, rosemary essential oil, sandalwood and vetiver, to name a few, were powerful tools against a range of pathogens. The component alpha-caryophyllene is considered to be the best antiviral agent found in essential oils, with oregano and clove oil being top antiviral oils. Carvacrol and thymol, compounds found in oregano and thyme oil, are among the best antifungal agents. Clove oil is considered the most effective antibacterial oil, and active compounds carvacrol, thymol, cinnamic aldehyde, eugenol and p-cymene are the best antibacterial agents according to this review.
Various essential oils, including cajuput (in the tea tree family but rich in eucalyptol), eucalyptus, lavender, peppermint, cinnamon, clove, sage and thyme, demonstrated potential in terms of their antimicrobial properties in this study. The main active compounds seem to be phenolic, aromatic or alcohol groups, and Gram-positive bacteria seem more susceptible than Gram-negative bacteria. Some oils also demonstrate antifungal and antiviral activity. Finding ways to prolong their presence before they evaporate and thus prolong their effectiveness would be useful.
Using essential oils to clean your home safely
It’s becoming more common than ever for people to limit the amount of commercial, chemically-based products they're using in their homes. With more attention being paid to the practice of using essential oils for cleaning and disinfecting, it’s come to light that there are some factors that you should always keep in mind:
- Stick to using pure essential oils. You’ll need to use less of the product and the results will be more predictable.
- Store your blends in glass containers. Not only does plastic potentially leach into and contaminate the oils, but it also makes them less effective. Dark glass is recommended because sunlight can speed up oils’ expiration. Store them in a dark, cool space.
- Make small batches of cleaning solutions unless you intend to use a preservative such as vinegar.
- Be careful when using essential oils. They're very powerful organic substances and should always be diluted before they come into contact with your skin. Not doing so properly could lead to skin irritation.
Effective blends of essential oils for cleaning
You can have a lot of fun creating different mixes when you start using essential oils for cleaning and disinfecting. Because each one has its own unique scent profile, you can really customize them to meet your family’s preferences and needs.
Combine the following recipes in a spray bottle with water (distilled is best). If you intend to use vinegar as a preservative, use equal parts vinegar and water. Shake well before each use.
The herbal mint blend
Combine 4 drops of eucalyptus oil with three drops each of tea tree and spearmint oils. The spearmint essential oil in this recipe sweetens the herbal, medicinal scents of the eucalyptus and tea tree.
The kid-friendly blend
This combination is safe to use around children and combines the best essential oils for cleaning to create a charming aroma reminiscent of springtime. Simply mix 7 drops of lavender with 3 drops of lemon oil and you’re good to go.
This blend’s bright, warm scent is a go-to recipe all year round but will come in particularly useful over the Christmas season because of the clove it contains. Combine 4 drops of sweet orange essential oil with 2 drops of lemon oil and 2 drops of clove oil.
Volant’s Clean Air
The Clean Air Blend by Volant Aroma will leave whatever room it’s used in smelling sweet and fresh. A combination of tangerine, myrrh and lemon, you can put this blend in your diffuser or add it as necessary to your cleaning routine to reap these oils’ particular benefits.
Myrrh also clears bacteria while stimulating the immune system. The limonene in tangerine essential oil, present in Volant’s Clean Air Blend and Ocean Blend, is also an excellent deterrent for insects and helps purify the air. Volant’s Clean Air Blend is also found in our Energising Set.
Using essential oils for cleaning FAQs
Is using essential oils for fresh air and cleaning safe?
As long as you’re doing so responsibly, using essential oils is 100% safe.
What are the best essential oils for cleaning and disinfecting?
Eucalyptus, grapefruit, lavender, lemon, sweet orange, peppermint, tea tree oil, geranium essential oil, clove and lemongrass are all excellent options.
What safety factors should I bear in mind when using essential oils for cleaning?
All essential oils require dilution to make them safe for contact with your skin. Use a maximum 5% concentration level of oil for your mix as a general rule.
How long do essential oils last on surfaces?
This depends on whether they're top, middle or bass notes. Bergamot essential oil is a top note and will last an hour or two. Roman chamomile essential oil is a middle note and will last between two and four hours. And cedarwood, a base note, can last for upwards of six hours.
How do I make a spray of essential oils for cleaning and disinfecting?
Mix a few drops of your chosen essential oil/s with equal parts white vinegar and water.
A chemical-free cleaning solution
Even though the planet is becoming more aware of the long-term effects of using harmful chemicals on not just our environment but our bodies, minds, emotions and spirits, most household cleaners are still jam-packed with toxins. These chemicals could be causing serious harm to you and your family.
As much as you want a clean house, you don’t want one that adds even more unwanted substances to your home because of the cleaning process.
When you start using the best essential oils for cleaning, you’ll find that they offer a natural, non-toxic and safe way to clean your house. They're cost-effective and versatile and offer aromatherapy benefits as well as antibacterial, antifungal and antiviral ones. They're a truly organic, earth-friendly solution to a long list of issues in the home.
Maybe start by learning about using essential oils for fresh air and then broaden the scope of your research to learn about the other advantages essential oils offer. They go far beyond just leaving your house smelling amazing. You never know, you may even find yourself starting to enjoy the cleaning process more than you did before!
Starting your collection of the best essential oils for cleaning and disinfecting will offer you multiple benefits. You’ll be replacing caustic, potentially harmful cleaners with more-than-effective, greener alternatives that are better for the environment - and with natural and therapeutic scents rather than harmful artificial scents to boot!
You’ll also be able to treat a range of mental and emotional ailments in the bargain. And you can enjoy the uplifting or soothing, calming or invigorating and refreshing scents while they do the work of ridding your house of germs. For a home that smells clean and is clean, Volant has the 100% pure, organic oils you need. Banish dirt and germs for good the all-natural way and you’ll never want to use harsh, synthetic scented cleaning products again.