Winter means forced-air heating and closed windows. Which can mean more dust, more germs, and more stagnant air that can make you feel … blah. Here are our fave essential oils that go beyond the classic lavender essential oil – these oils pull double-duty taking care of yourself (mood and energy) and your home (natural cleaning products? Yes, please!). Plus, you’ll get 8 easy DIY recipes using these essential oils Canada – so you can happily fill your heart and home with the scent of clean asap. Use ‘em yourself, and leave them out for your professional house cleaner to use while they scrub and clean – they’ll get a wonderful mood boost, as well!
Mood-boosting and stress-reducing essential oils with cleaning superpowers (recipes included)
Aromatherapy has been around for centuries, tapping into the deep connection between the olfactory senses and the amygdala, aka, the emotional centre of the brain. And many also boast effective and natural cleaning properties, so let’s break this down into some key families of essential oils and their known benefits in traditional aromatherapy. Recipes for eco friendly essential oil house cleaning recipes are included!
The citrus family
Essential oils from citrus fruits are bright and crisp, as if happiness had a smell. This includes lemon, lime, grapefruit, bergamot and orange, all of which are used in aromatherapy to reduce stress and help beat winter blues. They are said to also reduce anxiety and boost energy levels.
Wild orange essential oil
Orange oils are rich in vitamin C and enzymes that munch away at bacteria and break down grease. It works much like lemon oil, perfect for wiping down appliances. And, like other citrus oils, it’s known to boost mood and help create a more uplifting environment.
Lemon essential oil
Get all the citrus scent plus bacteria-fighting power of lemon, perfect for floors, toilets and kitchens. You can also use lemon oil to clean and polish your leather furniture without fear of damage. Plus, lemon is a great mood-booster that can offer a sense of positivity.
The mint family
Mint is the epitome of fresh, like a welcome blast of cool, crisp air. We’re talking spearmint, peppermint, and just plain mint here, and they all create a sense of cool and calm. This can be helpful bringing the brain back into the body in moments of intense anxiety or stress. Peppermint oil can also help ease headaches.
Peppermint essential oil
Peppermint oil does two great things in your home: It gives your windows and mirrors a streak-free finish and it repels pests! Us humans love that fresh scent of mint but rodents and creepy crawlies can’t stand it. Does peppermint oil repel spiders? You bet. You can even use it in your garden and indoor plants to eliminate aphids and other buggy pests.
The spice family
Oils derived from spices include cinnamon, cassia, ginger, cardamon, black pepper, and clove, to name a few. This “warm” group is known for its anti-inflammatory properties as well as relieving sadness and boosting focus and memory.
Cinnamon essential oil
Cinnamon smells wonderful but it’s also antibacterial and antiseptic, like a super-smelling, virus- and bacteria-killing super oil. It’s perfect for bathrooms and sink areas thanks to its gunk-fighting powers. It also throws off serious warm-and-cozy vibes that bring an instant sense of comfort.
The flowering shrub family
Although these are also spices, they have a different flavour and flair than their “warm spice” friends. Lavender essential oil as well as thyme have relaxing properties, and both have a rich history as a sleep-inducing or relaxing scent.
Thyme essential oil
Thyme isn’t just a great spice. Its oil is antiseptic and antibacterial, and has overall calming effects. In the kitchen, it’s said to be particularly effective fighting against food-borne pathogens like salmonella. Try a thyme oil spray for cleaning your cutting boards and cooking utensils.
Lavender essential oil
Cheers to a good-night’s sleep. Use a lavender essential oil linen spray to clean your mattress with naturally antibacterial and anti-odour lavender, also famous for its calming and sleep-inducing effects. It’s a great addition to any bedtime routine.
The forest family
This means essential oils that come from conifers like pine, balsam fir, spruce, or cypress. These forest-fresh oils are quite stimulating, helping invigorate the senses. And, we’re also talking about essential oils from flowering trees like eucalyptus and tea tree, which aromatherapists use to help with anxiety, chronic stress, and insomnia.
Pine essential oil
Ever heard of Pine-sol? Pine is a long-used ingredient in cleansers to kill germs, yeast, mold, and mildew, as well as odours. A pine oil-based cleanser is great on large surfaces like walls, counters and floors. Pine oil can also help with inflammatory conditions and can help lift your mood.
Tea tree essential oil
Tea tree oil could be your flu-fighting friend this winter (this study found it can kill influenza two hours after exposure). It’s antifungal, antiviral, antibacterial, and antimicrobial. It’s also a rejuvenating and refreshing scent that will clear the air and give you that “opening your lungs” feeling.
What’s the best way to use essential oils?
The most popular way to use essential oils is through diffusion using a vaporizer. Diffusers release a cool-air mist of essential oily-goodness. But …
According to Johns Hopkins, diffusers aren’t always the safest way to go. This isn’t because diffusers are ineffective – actually, it’s the opposite. Since essential oils can be used to target specific symptoms, what can be good for one family member may not be great for other family members. Example: You have a headache so you pop in some peppermint diffuser scents. Your headache eases, but your 2-month-old gets irritated.
Johns Hopkins also advises against ingesting essential oils for one simple reason: The industry isn’t regulated and quality really varies. So what’s an essential oils fan to do? Here are 3 safe ways to use them:
Stylish aromatherapy accessories. Think necklaces, bracelets and keychains made with absorbent materials so you can drop your oils on and inhale throughout the day. This might be a nice way to use a lavender essential oil to fall asleep.
Luxurious body oil. You can find roller sticks with your favourite oil already mixed in, or you can buy empty rollers and make your own mixes. Just be sure to combine your essential oil with a carrier oil like coconut, olive or jojoba oil. Using essential oils at full-strength might cause skin irritation.
Effective and safe cleaning solutions. Cleaning solutions dilute the pure strength of essential oils without compromising on its efficacy. You’re also not inhaling harsh chemicals as you clean.
Essential oils can be pricey (see the last section of this blog to find out how to assess brand quality and price). But this short-list gives you double the value. Because, yes, most of the essential oils we love as mood-boosters and invigorating air fresheners are also awesome for cleaning solutions.
How to sort the cheap stuff from the higher quality pure oils
If you’re relatively new to the essentials oils thing, you might be wondering if higher prices reflect better-quality oils. It’s a great question. There is no regulatory body overseeing what’s on those ingredients lists or how a given company produces its oils, so here are a few helpful tips to make sure you get the best bang for your hard-earned buck:
- Latin on the label
You should see the Latin name of the plant on the label or on the website description of the product, including which country the plant comes from and information about its purity.
- Dark-coloured glass containers
Pure essential oils will break down plastic bottles over time so dark-coloured glass bottles protect both the quality of the product and the container itself.
- Pricing variation within a brand
Certain oils are more expensive to harvest and produce than others and should be priced differently. If you find sandalwood or rose oil for crazy-low prices, it probably isn’t pure.
- One oil to rule them all
Avoid “fragrance” or “perfume oils” and instead look for bottles with a single essential oil in its purest form – one with no other fillers.