Aromatherapy Spring Cleaning
Updated: Sep 18, 2020
Spring is the time to open the windows, clean out the closets and clean your home environment. Using essential oils in household cleaning is the safest and healthiest way to enhance your health and environment. Commercial cleansers contain ingredients that are toxic and pose many health hazards.
Some commercial cleansers can cause acute, or immediate hazards such as skin or respiratory irritation, watery eyes, or chemical burns, while others are associated with chronic, or long-term, effects such as cancer. When consumers buy commercial cleaning products, we expect them to do one thing: clean! We use a wide array of scents, soaps, detergents, bleaching agents, softeners, scourers, polishes, and specialized cleaners for bathrooms, glass, drains, and ovens to keep our homes sparkling and sweet-smelling. But while the chemicals in cleaners foam, bleach, and disinfect to make our dishes, bathtubs and countertops gleaming and germ-free, many also contribute to indoor air pollution, are poisonous if ingested, and can be harmful if inhaled or touched.
Fragrances that are added to many cleaners, most notably laundry detergents and fabric softeners may cause acute effects such as respiratory irritation, headache, sneezing, and watery eyes in sensitive individuals or allergy and asthma sufferers. The National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health has found that one-third of the substances used in the fragrance industry are toxic. Because the chemical formulas of fragrances are considered trade secrets, companies aren't required to list their ingredients but merely label them as containing "fragrance." * Please note that fragrances are NOT true essential oils.
Other ingredients in cleaners may have low acute toxicity but contribute to long-term health effects, such as cancer or hormone disruption. Many commercial all-purpose cleaners contain the sudsing agents diethanolamine (DEA) and triethanolamine (TEA). When these substances come into contact with nitrites, often present as undisclosed preservatives or contaminants, they react to form nitrosamines - carcinogens that readily penetrate the skin. 1,4-dioxane, another suspected carcinogen, may be present in cleaners made with ethoxylated alcohols. Butyl cellosolve (also known as ethylene glycol monobutyl ether), which may be neurotoxic (or cause damage to the brain and nervous system), is also present in some cleaners.
A few safe, simple ingredients that essential oils can be added to are soap, water, baking soda, vinegar, lemon juice and dryer sheets, this can take care of most household cleaning needs.
Tips for adding essential oils in your spring-cleaning:
Damp Mop- add 2-3 drops of a favorite essential oil to a wet mop. Lemon (Citrus limon)- a powerful anti-bacterial, antioxidant, anti-viral, and immune stimulant. Eucalyptus (Eucalyptus radiata)-anti-viral, anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, anti-infectious, antiseptic, deodorant, and insecticidal.
Carpets- add 2-4 drops of an essential oil to ½ cup of baking soda and sprinkle on carpets before vacuuming. Peppermint (Mentha piperita)- anti-fungal, anti-parasitic, antibacterial, antiviral and respiratory support. Eucalyptus (Eucalyptus radiata)-anti-viral, anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, anti-infectious, antiseptic, deodorant, and insecticidal.
Furniture dusting- add 2-4 drops of essential oil to a soft, damp cloth. Lemon (Citrus limon)- powerful anti-bacterial, antioxidant, anti-viral, and immune stimulant.
Closets- packing away your winter clothes? Instead of using something like mothballs, use 1-3 drops of cedarwood essential oil on a cotton ball.
Cedarwood (Cedrus atlantica)-anti-fungal, antibacterial, antiseptic, astringent, and an insect repellent.
Diffusing- After a good house cleaning, diffusing any of the essential oils above will enhance and cleanse the environment.
May you enjoy a Happy and Healthy Springtime!