We think of our home as a haven, a place to prepare for the day, relax when day is done. We care about the health and well-being of our family and pets. We want our home to be a place where all the stress of life is washed away in a feeling of safety which, for most, includes a clean, peaceful space. But what about the toxins that are found in commonly used commercial cleaning products? Are our best efforts at creating cleanliness also creating side effects that are a health hazard?
Researchers tell us that the air inside our tightly sealed home and office is often more polluted than the air outside due to trapped fumes from these products, and from scented candles, chemical air ‘fresheners’ or fragrances. Fortunately, using essential oils and a few natural, inexpensive products can change all that. We can create a happy, healthy home that is clean and toxin free.
Essential oils have many properties that help the body and the mind, but some are known to be antiseptic, antibacterial, antiviral and one has earned some notoriety for being able to remove dust mites from fabrics. Many people are sensitive to dust mites and experience an ongoing allergic response. These microscopic creatures are prevalent in bed linens and will survive through the regular laundry cycle. A good place to start green cleaning with essential oils is with laundry and hand soaps.
Eucalyptus (Eucalyptus globulus) added to unscented liquid laundry detergent (to emulsify the essential oils) was proven to be effective in greatly reducing the number of dust mites in laundry¹. Tea Tree (Melaleuca alternifolia) is also suggested for this purpose. A wonderful blend for laundry could use both, and add an antimicrobial, like Lavindin (Lavendula hybrid) which derives from combining Lavender and Spike Lavender, and is effective, aromatically attractive, and less costly. Pine (Pinus sylvestris) is another good choice for antiseptic purposes. If desired, the blend can be ‘sweetened’ with the aroma of Rose Geranium (Pelargonium graveolens)—which has been seen to have antibacterial and antifungal properties.²
The combination of Lavindin, Eucalyptus and Geranium in distilled water creates a pleasant, effective fine-mister spray for pillows, mattress, blankets, spreads and even fabric furniture and drapes.
Lavindin with Tea Tree and Geranium added to unscented soap and distilled water makes a safe and effective ‘antibacterial’ hand soap that is kind to skin.
Some suggested blends:
Laundry Blend – 1 oz
- 15 mls Lavindin
- 4 mls Pine
- 4 mls Geranium
- 4 mls Eucalyptus
- 3 mls Tea Tree
Add 1 to 2 mls to unscented laundry detergent and mix. Add to laundry.
Linen Spray Blend—10 mls
- 4 mls Eucalyptus
- 3 mls Lavindin
- 3 mls Geranium
Add one ml to one oz of distilled water in fine-spray mister bottle.
Blend for Hands—10 mls
- 6 mls Lavindin
- 2 mls Geranium
- 2 mls Tea Tree
Soap: Add one ml to 6 oz of unscented hand/body soap and mix to an 8 oz pump bottle. Then add 4 oz of distilled water and shake thoroughly to blend.
Spray: Add one ml to distilled water in a one oz fine-spray mister bottle.
Next time, we’ll look at green ways to clean with essential oils for surfaces and floors.
² Journal of Essential Oil Research, 1996; 8(3): 281-290