Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Cleaning with Essential Oils (Part 1- Which Oils to Use?)

     Since you're here reading this blog post, chances are you're wondering how you can reduce your family's exposure to the many toxic chemicals in commercial cleaning products. There are many essential oils that contain chemical components that are antibacterial, antifungal, antimicrobial and/or antiviral. These are all natural, made by nature, not made in a lab.  Essential oils that contain such components are great for adding to your household cleaning and germ fighting arsenal.    

     By no means is this a full comprehensive list of essential oils with antibacterial, antimicrobial, antifungal, or antiviral properties, however it is a good place to start for those wishing to move towards more "green cleaning" practices and rid your homes of chemical laden commercial cleaners.

Surface Antimicrobial & Antibacterial
Balsam Fir (Abies balsamea)
Sweet Basil (Ocimum basilicum ct. linalool)
Bergamot (Citrus bergamia)
Black Spruce (Picea mariana)
Clary Sage (Salvia sclarea)
Clove Bud (Eugenia caryophyllata)
Cypress (Cupressus sempervirens)
Douglas Fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii)
Eucalyptus (E. citriodora, E. dives, E. globulus, E. radiata)
Fennel (Foeniculum vulgare)
Geranium (Pelargonium roseum x asperum) 
Gingergrass (Cymbopogon martini var. sofia)
Grapefruit (Citrus paradisi)
Hemlock (Tsuga canadensis)
Honey Myrtle (Melaleuca teretifolia)
Ho Wood (Cinnamomum camphora ct linalol)
Juniper Berry (Juniperus communis)
Juniper (Utah) (Juniperus osteosperma)
Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia)
Lemon (Citrus limon)
Lemongrass (Cymbopogon citratus)
Lime (Citrus aurantifolia)
Green Mandarin (Citrus reticulata)
Sweet Marjoram (Origanum majorana)
May Chang (Litsea cubeba)
Melissa (Melissa officinalis)
Neroli (Citrus aurantium var. amara)
Norway Pine (Pinus resinosa)
Nutmeg (Myristica fragrans)
Sweet Orange (Citrus sinensis)
Oregano (Origanum vulgare)
Palmarosa (Cymbopogon martini var. motia)
Palo Santo (Holy Wood) (Bursera graveolens)
Patchouli (Pogostemom cablin)
Peppermint (Mentha x piperita)
Pinyon Pine (Pinus edulis)
Ponderosa Pine (Pinus ponderosa)
Ravintsara (Cinnamomum camphora ct. 1,8 cineole)
Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis ct. 1,8 cineole)
Sandalwood (Santalum album or Santalum paniculatum)
Scotch Pine (Pinus sylvestris)
Siberian Fir (Abies sibirica)
Spike Lavender (Lavandula latifolia)
Tangerine (Citrus tangerina)
Tea Tree (Melaleuca alternifolia)
Thyme ct. linalol (Thymus vulgaris ct. linalol)
Thyme ct. thymol (Thymus vulgaris ct. thymol)
White Fir (Abies concolor)
White Pine (Pinus strobus)
White Spruce (Picea glauca)

Airborne Antimicrobial & Antibacterial
Sweet Basil (Ocimum basilicum ct. linalool)
Cardamom (Ellettaria cardamomum) 
Cinnamon Bark (Cinnamomum zeylanicum)
Clary Sage (Salvia sclarea)
Eucalyptus (Eucalyptus globulus and Eucalyptus radiata)
Geranium (Pelargonium roseum x asperum)
Ho Wood (Cinnamomum camphora ct linalol)
Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia)
Laurel Leaf (Laurus nobilis)
Lemongrass (Cymbopogon citratus)
Melissa (Melissa officinalis)
Neroli (Citrus aurantium var. amara)
Palmarosa (Cymbopogon martini var. motia)
Ravintsara (Cinnamomum camphora ct. 1,8 cineole)
Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis ct. 1,8 cineole)
Siberian Fir (Abies sibirica)
Spike Lavender (Lavandula latifolia)
Thyme ct. linalol (Thymus vulgaris ct. linalol)
Thyme ct. thymol (Thymus vulgaris ct. thymol)
Ylang Ylang (Cananga ordorata)

     The first list of oils (Surface Antimicrobial & Antibacterial) are perfect for using in scrubs and sprays for sinks, counter tops, bathtubs and showers.  The second list of oils (Airborne Antimicrobial & Antibacterial) would be great for using in a diffuser, whether it be an electric diffuser or as simple as putting a few drops in a bowl of steamy water.
     While some of these essential oils can be on the spendy side, I wouldn't necessarily choose or suggest those particular oils.  After all, we are making cleaning products with these and don't want to send hard earned money down the drain.  I recommend choosing 3-5 oils that are on the less expensive side and to also use up oils that may be nearing the end of their shelf life.

     After making a few recipes (which I'll share in the next few blog posts), you will likely decide on some favorite essential oil scent combinations, but to start with, these are a few oil combinations that work well-

I like to combine a citrus or two with a conifer oil- ex: Lemon, Orange & White Pine
I also like a citrus with Peppermint & Tea Tree- ex: Mandarin, Peppermint & Tea Tree
Another great combination is- Lavender, Geranium & Tea Tree

     Since our focus here is to make cleaning products,and some of these essential oils can be quite irritating to the skin, I do recommend wearing gloves while cleaning.  Especially if you are using oils such as Clove Bud, Gingergrass, Lemongrass, Melissa, Thyme ct thymol, and some of the conifer oils.

     As always you will want to keep all cleaning products out of children's reach.

*This is Part 1 of a Spring Cleaning Series using essential oils.  Recipes will follow in subsequent posts.

Click (here) to read some basic safety guidelines to using essential oils.

Click below to read the other posts in this series:
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4

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