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There are so many great ways to use essential oils in the home, from cleaning supplies to body care. If you’re looking to add more essential oils to your daily life, read on for recommendations.
Safe Use of Essential Oils in the Home
Before we get too deep into the different ways to use essential oils, let’s take a quick minute to talk about safety.
Essential oils are highly concentrated extracts made from plants, but just because they’re natural doesn’t mean they are safe in all applications. Your level of comfort and experience using essential oils may vary, but for me, I never use essential oils internally and I always dilute them when using topically or for any other purpose.
There is some debate as to whether essential oils can be used safely by pregnant women, infants and children, so always consult with a professional before using them in these situations.
If you want to use an essential oil on your body, do a patch test: dilute the essential oil with a carrier oil like almond or olive oil (5 or 6 drops to 1 ounce of carrier oil) and apply a few drops to your forearm. Cover with a bandage and leave for 24 hours. If you experience any irritation, wash it off and do not use that oil topically.
Because these uses for essential oil in the home always involve dilution, and most are not applied to the body, they should be safe to use, but if you ever have a question about the particular essential oil you want to use in a recipe, check a reputable source for information on its safety. If you plan to do a lot of work with essential oils, find a reputable book to use as a reference for safety and recipes.
Making your own essential oil room spray is super quick and easy to do, and you can use lemongrass, eucalyptus, orange or peppermint oils to give it a boost of antiseptic strength.
In my DIY essential oil room spray I like to use a mix of scents from whatever I have on hand. Because we always have rubbing alcohol in the house, this is something I can make any time and spray on soft furnishings, curtains or in laundry hampers (my favorite use!) when things aren’t smelling super fresh.
Easy Air Freshener
If the whole room needs more of a long-term fix for nice smells, combine baking soda and essential oils in a jar with a porous lid for a simple room freshener.
For this one you’ll probably want bright citrus or floral smelling oils, or whatever you like to smell in places that don’t normally have a great smell.
The great thing about this one is you can just keep adding oil when the smell dissipates, and replace the baking soda once a month or so for an inexpensive refresh.
DIY Cleaners with Essential Oils
Another easy way to add essential oils to your everyday routines is to use them in cleaning products. If you’re already making cleaning products with baking soda, vinegar, etc., you can add a few drops of essential oil to the mix to make it smell a little better (and to use some of the properties of the oil as well).
For example orange oil or lemon oil are great to add to cleaning products with vinegar because they help cut through the strong smell, and we’re just trained to think that citrus smells clean, right?
Plant Therapy recommends a general all-purpose cleaner be made from vinegar, baking soda and water with a combination of tea tree, lemon and lavender oils, which has antiseptic properties and just smells good.
It’s popular to use different essential oil blends in diffusers, and many different blends of oils are sold for different purposes such as relaxation, making your house smell clean or even imparting the scent of fall.
If you don’t have a diffuser but still want to spread a nice scent through your home with essential oils, just add five or 10 drops of your favorite essential oil or blend to a pan of simmering water. You can try your own recipes or check this list from The Prairie Homestead for ideas.
DIY Body Scrubs
One of my favorite ways to use essential oils in the home is in body scrubs and other treats to use in the bath or on the body. I’ve shared my simple brown sugar and coconut oil scrub before, which calls for vanilla essential oil, but anything you like with coconut would work (or just thrown in some tea tree oil for antiseptic purposes; you won’t really be able to smell it).
I also like to do a foot scrub that includes pieces of rosemary as well as essential oils, but if you don’t have fresh rosemary on hand you can just use extra essential oil to make it more fragrant.
Essential oils are great to add to homemade bath salts, salves, massage oil, shampoo, soap or anything else you’re making that could use a little extra natural fragrance. If you need a good reference for these kids of recipes, I love Organic Body Care Recipes by Stephanie Tourles.
Citronella is well-known as a repellent for mosquitoes, and you can buy citronella essential oil to use in your own homemade insect repellent (or add it to candles you’ll burn on the porch to help keep bugs at bay).
There are lots of different essential oils thought to be helpful at repelling different kinds of bugs, including citronella, lemon, eucalyptus, cedar, rose, lavender and lemongrass, to name a few. Tasty Yummies recommends a blend of several oils added to an ounce of witch hazel or vodka, to the point of about 50-75 drops total of all your oils combined.
Spray on your clothes or skin and reapply every couple of hours.
Add to Laundry
Another way to use essential oils in the home is to add them to your laundry. You don’t have to make your own detergent to do this, just add a few drops in with the detergent if you use liquid detergent, or sprinkled into the powder (don’t spray neat oils directly on clothes as they may cause discoloration).
Essential oils can be used just for scent, such as adding citrus oils to your teen’s funky clothes, or consider their properties, such as adding lavender to your sheets to help you sleep (more on sleep below) or tea tree oil and rosemary when you need a disinfecting boost. Just a couple of drops per load is enough to get the good effects.
Essential Oils for Sleep
As mentioned above, lavender is a great essential oil to use on sheets or pillowcases to help you sleep. You can make a room spray with lavender and other essential oils to spray on your bed or diffuse essential oils in your room before bedtime.
The National Sleep Foundation collected studies on the value of lavender and found that it can help people with insomnia, allow students to wake feeling less sleepy, improve sleep quality and even help improve sleep and reduce anxiety among heart patients in the hospital.
Other great essential oils that may help with sleep include bergamont, chamomile, cedar and clary sage.
How do you use essential oils in the home? I’d love to hear your tips!