I don’t know about you, but I sure am ready for spring weather. To me, spring means warm sunshine, sweet smelling flowers, and beautiful bird songs. I love to sit on my deck in the morning (with coffee) to enjoy the peace and warmth of the day to come.
One of my favorite things to do when spring arrives is to open all the windows in my house to bring in the fresh air. It feels so good to air out the “winter”. Do you know what I mean? It also motivates me to spring clean EVERYTHING.
When it comes to cleaning, nature has given us what we need. Essential oils can be used as a healthy alternative to standard cleaning supplies. The items you bring in your home to “clean” it shouldn’t be toxic. Have you ever read the warning label on cleaners? Why use a cleaner that says DANGER, POISON, CAUTION or WARNING on the label? When they’re toxic, it is bad for you, your family, your pets, and the planet.
Below is a list of essential oils (that are perfect to use in cleaning), and their health benefits.
Lavender essential oil is calming, has anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, and antibacterial properties. It is immune boosting and antiviral. It can also improve sleep quality, and promote better concentration.
Eucalyptus oil is antimicrobial, insecticidal (kills insects), herbicidal, acaricidal (kills ticks and mites). Inhaling eucalyptus steam can help alleviate a cough or congestion. The aroma of the oil acts as an expectorant, helping to loosen phlegm in the nasal passages and lungs. Aside from clearing up chests and colds, when sprayed into the air at fifteen-second intervals for one hour, it also kills 99 percent of influenza virus particles. Wow!!
Peppermint oil is a stimulant, antispasmodic, antiviral, antimicrobial, anti-fungal and antioxidant. It is an effective treatment for headaches. It can help soothe nausea, improve concentration and memory, and is an analgesic, which means it numbs and kills pain on the skin. It can also alleviate upset stomach, gas, indigestion, and anxiety.
Tea Tree Oil
Tea tree oil is antiviral, anti-inflammatory and exhibits anti-cancer activity. It kills oral bacteria for up to two weeks, treats gingivitis, heals mild to moderate dandruff, and kills the influenza virus. Tea tree oil also works like benzoyl peroxide to treat acne. It takes longer, but causes fewer side effects, while being less drying than benzoyl peroxide. It’s a great spot treatment and can even help heal rosacea.
Lemon oil is a powerful antibacterial, astringent and antiseptic agent, which makes it a great ingredient in DIY home cleaners. It has a lovely, refreshing smell.
Sweet Orange Oil
Sweet orange essential oil can help reduce anxiety levels. It has anti-inflammatory, antiseptic,antimicrobial and antioxidant properties.Orange oil is widely used by organic farmers to repel ants. It can wipe out an entire colony of ants, as well as erasing the ants’ scent trail used to recolonize a nest. What a great non-toxic method of pest control!
Spearmint oil is often used in aromatherapy to help ease fatigue, headaches, migraines, nervousness and even digestive problems. It also has antibacterial, anti-fungal, and antiviral properties.
Lime essential oil is often used in aromatherapy blends due to its stimulating and refreshing scent, but that's not all it is good for! Lime essential oil is an astringent, antiviral, antiseptic, antibacterial and a disinfectant.
Frankincense is a common type of essential oil used in aromatherapy. It can help relieve chronic stress and anxiety, reducing pain and inflammation, and boost immunity.
Chamomile oil can help relieve digestive issues, promote skin health, and help reduce stress. It also has antibacterial, anti-inflammatory properties, and contains potent antioxidants.
Such remarkable health benefits. Not only do we reap the health benefits of essential oils, it’s also a huge money saver to make your own cleaning supplies. It costs a fraction of the price of traditional cleaners (lasts longer too), and the best part is you know what’s in it.
All-Purpose Cleaner with Lemon
2 cups white vinegar
2 cups water
1 teaspoon natural dish soap (NOT castile soap)
30 drops lemon essential oil
20 drops melaleuca essential oil
Mix all ingredients in a quart-sized spray bottle. Shake to combine. Spray and wipe on counters, cabinets, sinks, toilets, and anywhere else.
Fresh Mint Window & Mirror Cleaner
3 cups distilled water
1/4 cup rubbing alcohol or vodka
1/4 cup vinegar
20 drops peppermint or spearmint essential oil
Combine all ingredients in a quart-sized spray bottle. Shake to combine, then spray on mirrors, windows, or stainless steel. Wipe off with paper towels or old newspaper for streak-free shine.
Simple Citrus Soft Scrub
1 cup baking soda
1/4 cup liquid castile soap
10 drops lemon essential oil
10 drops lime essential oil
10 drops wild orange essential oil
Mix ingredients together to form a paste (add more castile soap if needed). Apply with rag or sponge, then rinse with clean water. I especially like to use this on my stove top and on grimy sinks.
Deep Clean Toilet Scrub
1/2 cup baking soda
1/3 cup liquid dishwashing soap
1/4 cup hydrogen peroxide
30 drops eucalyptus essential oil
3/4 cup water
Mix together in a squeeze-type bottle, then squirt into toilet. Scrub and let stand 20 minutes.
Daily Shower Spray
1.5 cups water
1 cup white vinegar
1/2 cup rubbing alcohol
1 teaspoon natural liquid dish soap (not castile soap)
15 drops lime essential oil
15 drops melaleuca (tea tree) essential oil
Combine in a quart-sized spray bottle. Spray daily on shower door and walls after use (this is a preventative spray, designed to help prevent build-up)
Lemon Carpet Refresher
1 cup baking soda
30 drops lemon essential oil
Combine in a small container, and cover tightly with a lid. Shake well and allow to sit for 6-8 hours. Sprinkle on stale or smelly carpet and allow to sit on it overnight. Vacuum up the next morning.
Goo & Crayon Remover
Lemon essential oil
1-2 tablespoons fractionated coconut oil or almond oil (optional)
Mix together, then apply directly to sticker residue, random goo, gum, crayon marks, etc. (Test in an inconspicuous place first, if needed) Rub in with your fingers, then wipe away with a clean rag. Repeat as needed.
Fresh Linen Spray
1/4 cup distilled water
3 tablespoons witch hazel or vodka
20 drops lavender essential oil
15 drops frankincense essential oil
Add all ingredients to a small spritzer, shake well, and spray on sheets, pillowcases, and linens.
Sweet Lavender Air Freshener
3/4 cup water (I use tap water, but distilled is fine too)
2 tablespoons vodka, rubbing alcohol, or real vanilla extract
10 drops lavender essential oil
5 drops chamomile essential oil
Combine in an 8 oz. spray bottle, shake to combine. Spray throughout the house to eliminate odors or stale smells.
Tub and Shower Gel
1 cup white vinegar
1/2 cup natural dishwashing liquid (not castile soap)
Heat the vinegar in a small saucepan on the stove until hot (but not boiling). Carefully stir the dishwashing soap in until combined, then pour into the squeeze bottle. Squirt onto shower and tub, and allow to sit for 1-3 hours. Wipe off with a scrubber or sponge.
ADDITIONAL TIPS FOR SPRING CLEANING
- Make a Plan. You first need a well-planned schedule. Scope out your home and list what rooms and areas need the most work. Try to remember what areas of your home you usually skip during routine cleaning and thus will need some extra attention during your big spring cleaning job. When you focus on one room at a time, you’ll be able to stay focused and work more efficient - making your spring cleaning a whole lot easier.
- De-Clutter Your Home. One of the most important things to do during your spring cleaning is to de-clutter. Get rid of old and useless items and tidy up your home. De-cluttering does not only make your home more livable, but it also helps you stay organized giving you peace of mind.
- Work from Top to Bottom.When you start cleaning, work from the ceiling down. By doing so, left-over debris will fall downward which you can then clean again while you’re working your way down. This method will save you a lot of time and cleaning stress. So, get yourself a vacuum with an extension hose, and start cleaning your ceiling, fans, and high closets first. After this, work your way down and dust off your regular furniture and items before vacuuming the floor.
- Don’t Forget the Walls. Most people clean their floors and furniture, however, they forget about their windows and walls. It’s important to realize that not all dust settles on the floor. Simply use a damp cloth and wipe them down.
- The best refrigerator cleaner is a combination of salt and soda water. The bubbling action of the soda water combines with the abrasive texture of the salt to make a great cleaner.
- The best way to get rid of lime buildup around the faucet it is to lay paper towels over the fixture, soak it with vinegar and let it set for an hour. The deposits will soften and become easier to remove.
- Clean screens with a scrap of carpeting. It makes a powerful brush that removes all the dirt.
- Clean windows with a rag (reuse old clothes that are not good enough to send to the thrift store) and soapy water, and then dry them with another rag.
- If drapes are looking drab, take them out of the window, remove the hooks and run them through the air-fluff cycle in the dryer along with a wet towel (to draw off the dust) for 15 minutes. Hang them back in the windows immediately.
- Clean the blades of a ceiling fan by covering them with a coat of furniture polish. Wipe off the excess and lightly buff.
- Sometimes comforters, blankets and pillows don't need to be cleaned, but they do need to be aired out after a long winter in your closed-up home. Take them outside and hang them on a clothesline for a day.
Imagine this: The windows in your house are open (and clean), and a soft breeze is blowing. Scents of lavender and lemon float through the air. You hear birds singing. Dogs are barking in the distance. Kids are laughing and playing outside in the sun. Every single thing in your house is clean and fresh. You are at peace.
This is a picture I’d like to experience. Very soon. Happy spring cleaning everyone!