You Never Knew You Needed This Secret Ingredient to Clean Your Home

Essential Oils
credit: Ana Stanciu

Essential oils are having a moment — they're a cure for our age of anxiety! A plan B for dealing with drug-resistant bacteria! But there are also more humble aims — like helping you clean and refresh your home without all the toxic chemicals.

Essential oils don't necessarily clean in and of themselves, but they make all those DIY products made with things like vinegar, salt, or baking soda smell a lot better — and work a bit harder. (Some oils —like lemon, tea tree, and eucalyptus — are naturally antibacterial.)

1. As a natural carpet cleaner.

Lemon and tea tree oils help this natural baking-soda based carpet cleaner smell bright.

2. As a spring-scented room spray.

Lavender, bergamot, and ylang ylang oils lend a sophisticated floral scent to this room spray.

3. As an all-natural spray cleaner.

Lemongrass oil and lime oil, together with some stalks of fresh lemongrass, help this straightforward, all-purpose 1:1 vinegar cleaning solution smell bespoke.

4. As an air freshener.

Baking soda + the essential oil(s) of your choice = a natural, long-lasting air freshener and odor absorber.

5. To clean your bed pillows.

You're supposed to clean your bed pillows? Well, yes — and at least every three months. A few drops of lavender essential oil when you do will help them smell of sweet, sweet slumber.

6. To deodorize your mattress.

Lavender oil also helps keep your mattress smelling great while you deodorize. Because you are deodorizing it, right?

7. In your dishwasher.

Sure, you can just toss a cup of vinegar in your dishwasher for a quick, easy clean — or you can take it to the next level by adding a few drops of lemon oil to this simple DIY recipe.

8. In the diaper pail.

If any household item was in need of serious aromatherapizing (is that a word?), it's the diaper pail. These DIY disks call for something substantial — the recipe calls for lavender but something citrus might be necessary.

9. As reusable cleaning wipes.

Move over Clorox. These DIY bathroom cleaning wipes leverage lemon and lavender oils for quick clean-ups. And they're reusable, too.

10. In the shower.

Vinegar, dish soap, and tea tree oil join forces to keep the mildew at bay in your shower. To be used daily.

11. On your floors.

This DIY Pine Sol recipe, featuring rosemary, citrus, balsam fir, and tea tree oils, is divine.


Laura Lambert

Laura Lambert

Laura Lambert is a Los Angeles-based writer and editor who covers lifestyle, design, and women's health.