Aromatherapy recommended essential oils are an effective way of keeping the home environ clean in a natural way, says SHARMILA CHAND.
Aromatherapy, a wonderful therapy using essential plant and flower extracts to promote health and wellbeing, has been prevalent since time immemorial. These oils work in perfect harmony with our most powerful sense, i.e scent. Hence, we subconsciously seek to create good aroma around us. Can you resist the soothing smell of lavender or the citrus freshness of orange and lemon? Or the earthy, fruity scent of patchouli?
It is a well known fact that when properly diffused, essential oils help in seeking relaxation, relieve tension, clear the mind, and improve concentration. Aromatic plant oils can stimulate, balance, uplift, soothe and calm.
The very word ‘essential oils’ gives an idea of the pleasing scents but pure essential oils have remarkable cleaning properties too. If the basic principles of aromatherapy can be applied to our everyday task – like cleaning, it helps us in many ways. They are known for their antibacterial, disinfectant, anti fungal and antiseptic cleaning properties. For example, the eucalyptus oil helps in keeping pests and insects away.
Our day to day exposure to hazardous chemicals found in ordinary household products not only increase the toxic elements but these products also create tons of toxic waste which is disposed of in the environment in the form of air and water pollution and solid toxic waste. Essential oils neutralise the unpleasant odour and airborne bacteria that linger in our homes, cars, workplaces etc. Hence it is often referred to as “Nature’s pharmacy” having the cleansing properties of the botanical origin.
Many essential oils have been clinically proven to kill bacteria, viruses and fungi and help people stay healthy, avoid illness and boost the immune system. Oils that are best for cleaning are: Lemon, grapefruit, eucalyptus, peppermint, tea tree, lavender, and rosemary.
Tea Tree Oil is used in many cleansing formulas, it is a must-have in mop water or counter sprays. Likewise Pine oil is known for its deodorising effect. This oil is great to have in room sprays and air fresheners instead of the fragrant synthetic ones we often purchase.
Blossom Kochhar, a well known expert on aromatherapy says, “Many of us have noticed that when we tackle our household chores, the smell from the chemicals of many products can be pretty overwhelming, and if we use them without proper ventilation we may end up making ourselves sick. Even the cleanest of kitchens are susceptible to unwanted visitors.”
Kochhar suggests a few of the most effective bacteria-killing essential oils to use for natural cleaning, and some recipes for making your own products.
For Ants: Wipe cabinets with a damp sponge and 6 to 8 drops peppermint essential oil. Then place 3 to 5 drops of the same oil on windowsills, doorway cracks and in the corners of cabinets under the kitchen sink.
For Centipedes, earwigs, silverfish:Place drops of citronella essential oil in areas that collect moisture such as basements, garages and cabinets that house plumbing fixtures.
For rats: Place sprigs of fresh peppermint between pantry items in your cabinets, or make a solution of 2 cups water and 3 teaspoons of peppermint essential oil and spray it wherever you find mouse droppings.
Mites and weevils: Place a few whole nutmegs in flour containers.
For Other insects: Place loose bay leaves in kitchen cabinets.
Germs-be-gone toilet cleaner: This antibacterial spray cleaner is specially formulated for cleaning the general surface area of the toilet, and under and behind the seat.
l 2 cups water
l 1/4 cup liquid soap
l 1 tablespoon tea tree essential oil
Combine all ingredients in a spray bottle and shake well. Spray on toilet surfaces and wipe clean with damp cloth or sponge.
Herbal disinfectant:A super disinfectant formula that’s incredibly easy to make.
l 2 cups hot water
l 10 drops thyme essential oil
l 1/4 cup washing soda
Combine all ingredients in a spray bottle and shake well. Spray on surfaces and wipe clean with a damp cloth or sponge.
Sink Scrubber for stains:For stubborn stains, allow this formula to rest on the stain for several minutes, then scrub and rinse with vinegar and hot water.
l 1/4 cup washing soda
l 1/4 cup baking soda
l 8 drops rosemary, eucalyptus
l3/4 cup vinegar for rinsing
Combine washing soda, baking soda and essential oil in an airtight container and shake well to blend. Sprinkle a small amount into the sink and scrub with a damp sponge. Rinse the sink with vinegar, then with hot water.
Glass and mirror cleaner: Take 1 cup Water, add 1 cup white vinegar and 10 drops lemon or lime oil.
Combine ingredients in a spray bottle and shake well before every use. Spray on surface to be cleaned and wipe until dry with a soft cloth or crumpled newspaper. You will get a clean shiny surface.
Treating pet urine stain and smell: Essential oils also eliminate the smell of dog urine. Add five to 10 drops of essential oil to 1 cup of water and put it in a spray bottle. After blotting and rinsing away dog urine, shake the spray bottle and saturate the area with the solution. The oils will eliminate the dog urine odour and leave a pleasant scent behind. According to experts, some essential oils like eucalyptus or cinnamon will deter your dog from revisiting the spot to urinate on again. When you clean your home with natural aromatherapy products, you not only create a clean and healthy home, but you also contribute a little to clean environ.
(Image: Wikimedia Commons)