The Secret Ingredient Your Cleaning Routine Needs Right Now

You may have seen essential oils listed in more than a handful of homemade cleaner recipes, but their scented superpowers do more than hide vinegar's acidic stench. If you haven't tried essential oils yet, now's the time! Pick up a starter set and read on for how to use them.

By Caylin Harris | Updated Apr 25, 2016 6:03 PM

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Uses for Essential Oils - Citrus


While there are plenty of products on the market that promise a fresher-smelling home, just looking at the long list of unpronounceable ingredients is enough to make you wary about spraying them where you eat and sleep—yikes! Instead, try a natural alternative: essential oils. Found online or even at your supermarket, these come in a variety of scents, each with its own appealing properties. If you’re not sure what scents you might enjoy, get an essential oil starter set. It will help you by offering scent-mixing suggestions until you get the hang of it. You’ll quickly find ways to dab them everywhere, giving yet another meaning to the term “essential.” To get started, check out these eight around-the-house uses for essential oils.

Uses for Essential Oils - Eucalyptus


1. Don’t let the bugs bite. Repel household pests like mice, spiders, and other bugs using a minty alternative to scary poisons or traps. Just place a few drops of peppermint essential oil on a cotton ball and put them wherever you see bugs or signs of mice. While it sounds too good to be true, these unwanted critters can’t stand the scent and should stay away.

2. Get a good night’s rest. There’s nothing like crawling into a lovely smelling bed at the end of a long day. To bring a spa-like calm to your own bed, fill a clean, empty spray bottle with a cup of water and add a few drops of an essential oil. Lavender is a proven soother, but be wary of citrusy scents; they are invigorating and might keep you up!

3. Freshen the bathroom. While it can be one of the harder areas of the home to keep smelling good at all times, there’s a simple trick to freshen the bathroom with very little effort. Simply squeeze a few drops of essential oils onto the inside of your toilet paper roll and get a scent boost every time someone unrolls squares before flushing.

4. Clean house. An essential oil that packs a punch? You’ll find tea tree oil in a lot of green cleaners for a reason. Mix one teaspoon of the essential oil with a cup of water in a spray bottle, spritz over the tile in your shower, and let it dry. Don’t rinse and it will help fight mold and mildew.

5. Mask food smells. Got guests on the way? Make your cooking space smell amazing by adding some of your favorite essential oils to a simmering pot of water on the stove. It will help banish those less-than-welcoming odors like fish or intense spices left over from your last meal.

6. Scent laundry on your own. Everyone loves the smell of clothing fresh from the dryer. Personalize your scent even further by adding a few drops of essential oil to a piece of old (but clean) towel, and toss it in with your wet clothes before you start your dryer. It will add subtle scent, without harsh chemicals, to your favorite outfits.

7. Freshen carpets. Vacuuming can be a pain, but doing it with a vacuum that smells old and musty is even worse. To give your machine a refresh, place several drops of lemon essential oil on a small piece of tissue and suck it up. It will give off a refreshing scent every time you vacuum your carpets and rugs.

8. Save yourself from itching. Bug bite season is on its way, and we know how much you’ve missed dousing yourself with stinky bug spray. For a less offensive alternative, though, you can rub lavender essential oil on pulse points and down near your ankles to keep mosquitoes away.