There's nothing more gratifying than entering a clean, fresh, and pleasant smelling home - especially after a long and arduous day, or after being away for any length of time. Having a clean smelling home not only makes you and your family or roommates feel good, it makes your visitors and guests feel welcome and at ease.
The trick to having a consistently sweet smelling home, especially if there are pets or smokers who live there, is to use a number of different essential oils as part of your ongoing care and maintenance. This includes using them to clean everything from surfaces, floors, and windows, to washing and drying your laundry, cleaning and deodorizing your carpets, drapes, or window covers, to neutralizing cooking odors and disinfecting kitchen appliances and counter tops.
The essential oils you choose for these various tasks can be the same or different and can vary depending on the season or even the time of day. Whichever ones you choose most often, collectively make up your distinct "aroma style."
Here are 5 ways to use essential oils to transform your home, and create your own aroma style:.
1. Diffusing Essential Oils (EOs)
Diffusing essential oils is one of the healthiest and most efficient ways to fragrance a room or space, and depending on the type of diffuser you use, it can be the most effective, non-toxic way to eliminate odors and airborne bacteria too.
But even without a diffuser, there are other ways to achieve a similar effect. For example, you can use a humidifier as a diffuser simply by adding a few drops of EOs into it before using it. You can pour boiling water into an oven-safe glass bowl and add a few drops of EO to it, allowing its aroma to rise with the steam and fill the air, until the water temperature cools off.
You can also saturate a cotton ball or small cloth with EOs and stash it behind a radiator. You can even add a couple of drops of an EO to the logs in your fireplace to release scent into the room when you light a fire. Some good oils to try there are Cedarwood, Pine, Cypress or Fir, and remember to use only a drop or two per log.
The easiest and least expensive way to use EOs in the home, is to create your own aromatherapy misters. Add 8-10 drops of an EO or blend for every 2.5 cups (or 20 ounces) of water and place in a plant sprayer bottle. Shake thoroughly and use it to spray the air, your furniture and furnishings, even the walls, on a regular basis to keep them smelling clean and fresh.
Diffuse essential oils of Lemon, Lavender, or Geranium in bedrooms and hallways to brighten them up. Hallways are often neglected spaces where odors can collect and linger, and benefit most from light pleasing scents, rather than the heavier herbal and spice scents more commonly associated with the kitchen or dining areas.
2. Essential Oils for Cleaning Surfaces
All essential oils are anti-bacterial to some extent but some also have antiviral and antifungal properties. These are the best to use for cleaning. Not only will they out-perform their chemical and synthetic counterparts but in the long run, they will also be safer and more pleasant for you, and everyone in your home.
Essential oils that have these properties include Lemon, Eucalyptus, Pine, Clove, Juniper, Rosemary, Thyme, Oregano and Tea Tree. Many of these oils have the added benefit of acting as insect repellents, keeping your home free of unwanted pests.
Citrus essential oils leave a clean, fresh scent that is not as overpowering as some of the oils extracted from herbs, and are also useful for cutting through grease. Combine 15 to 20 drops of your favorites with 1/2 cup of distilled white vinegar and 1.5 cups of water for a general purpose cleaner you can use on counters, floors, cabinets and even windows. For small areas, apply 2-3 drops of an individual EO or EO blend directly to a damp cloth. When using citrus oils, be careful not to apply them directly to appliances as they can damage plastic surfaces.
The kitchen is also an ideal spot for a nebulizing diffuser - one that can diffuse oils that effectively kill odor-causing airborne bacteria and quickly neutralize the heavy odors that linger after cooking - especially when you sauté or fry.
3. Essential Oils for Deodorizing Carpets & Drapes
An easy way to deodorize rugs and carpets is to make your own carpet powder by combining baking soda with a couple of drops of essential oil (the proper ratio is 16-20 drops of EO per cup of powder). Sprinkle liberally and let it sit for about 10 minutes then use a vacuum to clean it up. For drapes you can use the aromatherapy mister technique. Or you can add a cotton ball or small cloth saturated with essential oils to the collection bag of your vacuum cleaner. This will diffuse a pleasant scent while you clean!
4. Using Essential Oils in the Laundry
The laundry is one of the simplest ways you can use essential oils to freshen up the smell of your clothes, towels and linens. Just add 5-10 drops to your laundry detergent or directly to the water for a light scent. To disinfect the laundry use up to 25 drops of Eucalyptus (which has been shown to kill dust mites) or a general purpose, disinfecting blend (see recipe below).
When you're ready to use the dryer, simply apply 5-7 drops of an essential oil or blend to a small washcloth, and toss it in with your load. You can also make your own laundry sachets with large sized press' n 'brew tea bags. Fill them with the herb or herbs of your choice. I usually recommend lavender buds or chamomile flowers. Add a couple of drops of a similar or complementary essential oil and throw it in the dryer with your laundry. You can also use these sachets in your drawers to keep lingerie, socks, and linens smelling fresh. Use a blend that includes Chamomile, Lavender, Marjoram, Neroli or Petitgrain on sheets and bedding for a scent that promotes restful sleep.
5. Essential Oils in the Kitchen & Bathroom
Here's a recipe for a good general all-purpose disinfecting blend whose proportions can be varied so it can be used on surfaces, as a floor cleaner, a disinfecting soak or spray, or in a diffuser:
Disinfecting General Purpose Essential Oil Cleaning Blend Concentrate