Go the scented way...

Clean homes

Go the scented way...

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 well-being, 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 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 tasks like cleaning, it helps us in many ways. They are known for their antibacterial, disinfectant, antifungal 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.

Herbal disinfectant

A super disinfectant formula that’s incredibly easy to make. Take 2 cups hot water, 10 drops thyme essential oil and 1/4 cup washing soda. Combine all the ingredients in a spray bottle and shake well. Spray on surfaces and wipe clean with a damp cloth or sponge.

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. Take 2 cups water, 1/4 cup liquid soap and 1 tablespoon tea tree essential oil Combine all the ingredients in a spray bottle and shake well. Spray on toilet surfaces and wipe clean with 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. Take 1/4 cup washing soda ,1/4 cup baking soda, 8 drops rosemary, eucalyptus oils. Keep aside 3/4 cup vinegar for rinsing.Combine washing soda, baking soda and essential oils 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 all the 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 stains 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 environment.  The aromatic way l Rose, ylang ylang, jasmine, geranium, and lavender for a calming and romantic environment in the bedroom. l Basil, rosemary and lavender in office for concentration. l Eucalyptus for washing machine load.l Scent the pet pillow with flea-deterring lavender and peppermint.

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