I am not really into cleaning, and despite pictures of my somewhat ‘pristine’ home I don’t spend hours and hours cleaning. People often assume I am a clean freak, which I am most defiantly not. I have an issue with clutter not dust… although living clutter free does greatly reduce the dust in my home!
I started cutting down on the chemicals I use in the home and my beauty regime since we moved house and I was pregnant with my second baby. Over the last two years I have made numerous positive changes in my home and life. I still have a long way to go, but I believe in making steps and changes where you can and where you want to, it doesn’t have to be all or nothing.
In addition to the chemicals, I begrudge spending money on cleaning products. I typically spend no more than a £1.00 a week. I’m more interested in using my food shopping budget to buy actual food! Lastly, throwing away endless empty plastic bottles just kills my soul.
I only use Neal’s Yard Remedies essential oils, they are a UK based company and have been a World leader in aromatherapy for 40 years. Their oils are GMO free and organic (where possible) and fair trade providing you with the purest and safest essential oils on the market. Care should be taken when buying oils from an unknown source.
Below are the top ways I use essential oils in the home for a clean fresh smelling home, without the plastic waste and synthetic chemicals that tend to give me a headache.
Bathroom Cleaning Spray –
In a glass spray bottle mix together 50% water and 50% white vinegar, shake then add your chosen oil adding between 5 – 15 drops depending on the size of your container. Use just like a normal surface spray, shaking before each use to activate the oils – store in a cool dark cupboard. Vinegar is naturally anti-bacterial and is also great for any pet or potty-training accidents as it neutralises smells. (*avoid using this on stone or granite which don’t like vinegar cleaners!). I use these glass cleaning bottles, and have a selection of 500ml and 300ml sizes. If using clear glass make sure the bottles are kept in a dark safe place and always label them clearly.
My oil of choice for this is Organic Defence, this is clinically proven to kill 99.9% of germs. This is also my go-to oil when people start coughing and sneezing, as it purifies the air killing flu bugs. If you like cleaning products because they ‘smell clean’ this one is for you. Alternatively, just add a couple of drops onto a damp clean microfibre cloth and wipe over door handles etc – no mixing required.
This cleaner is made with a soap base so can be used anywhere in the home for more general cleaning. I find this mixture fab for removing sticky marks. I have used different oils in this cleaner but my favourite has been a combo of citrus oils for a light refreshing scent, plus these oils help cut through grease and grime. For a 500 ml bottle I used around 10 drops of orange, 5 lemon and 5 of grapefruit and 2tbsp of soap base, mixed with cool boiled water. Different people prefer different strengths.
If you aren’t quite ready for a DIY antibacterial spray check out this concentrated cleaner by Ecco Egg– it’s a bit of a half way house in terms of green cleaning. One bottle makes up to 80 bottles, thus saving 80 wasted plastic bottles. The ingredients also rate low in terms of harmful toxins.
Mix 1 part white vinegar to 2 parts cool boiled water and add your essential oil of choice. I use a 300ml spray bottle and I am happy with 15 drops of peppermint. Windows are a work out and I prefer breathing in something refreshing and invigorating! Citrus or lavender would work well too.
Empty you dishwasher, then use a hot soapy sponge/cloth to clean around the door edges. Rinse out the filter (see your machine instruction booklet). Replace the filter. In a glass dish pour in 1 cup of vinegar and place this in the top rack, run the dishwasher on a hot cycle. This will clear the machine of grease and dirt build ups. To give a final flourish, when the cycle is done sprinkle 2 – 3 tablespoons of baking powder and 4-5 drops of essential oils onto the inside floor of the machine and run a quick wash. This will not only make your machine sparkle and smell nice – your whole kitchen will smell gorgeous! Any citrus oils work well in the kitchen.
Washing Machine –
Empty the machine and use a hot soapy sponge/cloth to wipe around the rubber rim and to check for any foreign objects (hair pins, buttons etc). Remove the laundry detergent drawer (see your machine instruction booklet). Clean this is the sink with hot soapy water, you will be surprised how grimy this gets! Replace the tray back into the machine and add 1 cup of white vinegar to the detergent drawer. In the fabric conditioner drawer add ¼ cup of water with 3-4 drops of essential oil. Lavender is a fab choice, and is great for deterring moths in the winter months. In the drum add 3 tablespoons of baking powder. Run the machine on a hot wash, when complete give the rubber rims another wipe around and leave the door open to air fully. It is worth getting into the habit of leaving the door open to allow the machine to dry fully between each wash.
Tumble Dryer –
If you want to give your clothes an extra scent without synthetic chemicals (I don’t use fabric conditioner or conventional washing powder), all you need to do is add a few drops of essential oil to a damp clean cleaning cloth (one that you don’t mind if it gets oil marks) and add it to the load. Again – this will scent your whole kitchen too.
In a glass dish mix 3 heaped tablespoons of baking powder with 5 drops of lavender or Calming Blend essential oil. From a great height sprinkle (either with a spoon in sweeping motions or add to a mini sieve) a thin layer all over your mattress. Allow this to sit for 1 hour and then use your vacuum cleaner nozzle to suck up the powder. You will sleep amazing AND the vacuum cleaner gets deodorised at the same time!
Carpet Freshener –
To remove any smells first treat the carpet with a light spray of the bathroom (vinegar based) spray, allow to dry and then follow the same cleaning process as the mattress method.
Room Spray –
In a glass spray bottle add 25ml of alcohol (I use cheap vodka) and 25 drops of your favourite oil, shake, top the bottle with 25ml of boiled and cooled tap water, shake. Spray liberally whenever a room needs an extra boost! You can also make your own linen sprays and ‘sleepy sprays’ using this same recipe.
Vacuum Deodoriser –
If you have a bagless vacuum cleaner add a cotton ball with a few drops of essential oil added. The scent will disperse around the home every time you use it.
Steam mop –
Simply add a couple of drops to the water tank – voila! Or if you prefer add the drops directly to the pad instead.
I have a few microfibre cloths, however I prefer using these bamboo re-useable cloths, they are softer, lint free and are quick drying – I just wash them and reuse over and over!
*As with all cleaning products to test a small area first and always follow your appliances instructions. Care and common sense should be taken when using essential oils, I am by no means an expert so please do your own research. Take care with pets – avoid peppermint if you have cats and avoid tea tree oil if you have dogs – ask your vet for further advice. Label all your cleaning bottles and store in a dark safe place. Allow all areas to dry prior to allowing pets/children to touch the areas. Overall, I feel safer using essential oils in the home compared to chemical cleaners.