Essential Oils for Natural, Healthy Cleaning

We know that essential oils are wonderful for energetic and medicinal healing, but what about doing double duty and experiencing the health benefits while doing the necessary chore of cleaning? 

By adding essential oils to a few accessible ingredients, you can easily make bathroom and kitchen cleaners, carpet powder, glass cleaner, stain remover, laundry detergent and more. These homemade cleaning agents offer naturally powerful cleaning and disinfecting without any of the toxic preservatives, additives and unnecessary ingredients. 

Since cleaning products cover our homes and are inhaled by ourselves, our children and our animals, it’s important to eliminate harmful chemicals. And a bonus of making them yourself is that you minimize the carbon footprint from the long-distance transport and extraneous packaging of commercial cleaning products. 

The Best Essential Oils to Use

Essential oils vary in their benefits – some are better for sleep or relaxation, others for mood lifting or energy, and yet others for pain mitigation, hormonal regulation or digestion. For cleaning, we’re looking for oils that have a strong profile of anti-bacterial, anti-microbial and deodorizing properties. Use just a couple or purchase an assortment to have your own in-house cleaning repertoire at your fingertips. 

As I cover in my audio course, The Art of Aromatherapy, and in my book, Essential Oil Recipes for Home & Body Care, essential oils are comprised of 10 chemical families, each offering a unique benefits profile. Most oils are a combination of chemical families, offering layered benefits and a few are predominantly one family. 

For cleaning, we’ll want to use oils that have the strongest antibacterial, antimicrobial and disinfecting properties, which include these families:

  • Monoterpenes – Pines, spruces, firs and, citruses like lemon, lime, bergamot, tangerine, as well as juniper, nutmeg and marjoram.
  • Monoterpenols – Includes geranium, basil, peppermint, rosemary and tea tree.
  • Phenols – These very powerful oils include clove, cinnamon, oregano and thyme. They’re very strong and never to be used directly on the skin or near the eyes, but they offer anti-fungal in addition to anti-microbial benefits.
  • Aldehydes All lemon-y scents are in the Aldehyde family, including lemon, lemongrass, citronella, lemon verbena, lemon myrtle, melissa and may chang. This family lends a wonderful scent profile, while also being natural airborne deodorizers.

So why just clean when you can clean and reap aromatherapeutic benefits? 

Let’s get cleaning! 

Sample Recipes

Ginger Lime disinfectant spray 

Makes 16 oz (500 ml)


  • 16 oz (500 ml) glass spray bottle
  • Funnel
  • Pipette
  • Measuring cups/spoons


  • 1 cup (250 ml) water (luxurious substitute: lemon verbena hydrosol)
  • 1 cup (250 ml) white vinegar
  • 2 tbsp (30 ml) rubbing alcohol

Essential oils:


  1. Pour your water, vinegar and alcohol through the funnel into your spray bottle.
  2. Drop in your essential oils and add the top. Swirl to mix. 


Essential oils will not permanently disperse into water or alcohol, so shake before each use, or add a teaspoon of turkey red castor oil, which helps to bind the oil and water. Spray onto countertops, sinks or anywhere that needs cleaning. 


Tea Tree Toilet Scrub

Makes 8 oz (250 ml)

Salt and baking soda make a scrubby texture while the tea tree essential oil adds antibacterial and anti-fungal properties.

This scrubby little cleanser keeps your toilet area clean and disinfected, naturally.  


  • 8 oz (250 ml) glass or ceramic jar 
  • Mixing bowl
  • Mixing spoon
  • Measuring spoons
  • Pipette


  • 3/4 cup (175 ml) baking soda
  • 1/4 cup (60 ml) Castile soap (a natural, vegetable-based liquid cleanser)
  • 1 tbsp (15 ml) fine salt
  • 1 tbsp (15 ml) water

Essential oil:

12 drops tea tree (wonderful substitutes: yuzu, lemon and/or rosemary)


  1. Add all ingredients to your mixing bowl and stir. Press with the back of your spoon to smooth out clumps and fully incorporate all the ingredients. 
  2. Transfer to your jar and cap. 


Place a tablespoon or so into your toilet bowl or onto your scrub brush. Clean as normal, flushing to rinse. 

Additional Resources

For many more recipes, including wood polish, stain remover, carpet powder and laundry detergent, check out my book, Essential Oil Recipes for Home & Body Care.  

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Stephanie Ariel

Stephanie Ariel is a certified aromatherapist, author, yogi and marketer who lives and offers classes in Santa Fe, New Mexico...Stephanie's Full Bio

2 thoughts on “Essential Oils for Natural, Healthy Cleaning”

  1. These DIY cleaning recipes are fantastic! I love using natural ingredients and essential oils to keep my home clean and toxin-free. The ginger lime disinfectant spray leaves everything smelling fresh, while the tea tree toilet scrub ensures my bathroom stays germ-free. Making these myself is not only eco-friendly but also promotes a healthier living environment for my family and pets.

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