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Green Cleaning—Essential Oils

By Diane Bass, Assistant Marketing Manager

If you’ve been following this series, you’ve probably already replaced all of your commercial cleaners with baking soda, liquid castile soap, earth-friendly dishwashing liquid and white distilled vinegar (if you haven’t, archives are available online here). But what about those other items like essential oils? Why are they such an important green cleaning ingredient, and which ones should you use? Luckily for us, there are tons of resources on the web.

Aura Cacia, a popular aromatherapy company, offers a number of green cleaning recipes in a web article titled, “Green Cleaning with Aura Cacia.” The article points out that aside from their beneficial aromatherapy effects, “[e]ssential oils have potent antimicrobial effects.” Using their directory, I’ve compiled a handy list of oils useful for cleansers.

Clarifying
Camphor (White), Lavandin, Marjoram (Wild), Myrtle, Rosemary, Spruce

Purifying
Camphor (White), Citronella, Cypress, Eucalyptus, Hyssop, Lavandin, Lavender Spike, Lemon, Eucalyptus, Marjoram (Wild), Oregano, Tea Tree, Thyme (Red), Thyme (White)

Cleansing
Lemongrass, Myrtle, Tea Tree, Thyme (Red), Thyme (White)

The Learning Channel also has tips.

“Eucalyptus oil has antibacterial and disinfecting powers—a few drops added to your mop water can make your floors smell and look better.

Lavender oil…not only freshens rooms and closets, it keeps away mosquitoes, flies, gnats, and other biting insects. It is also bothersome to moths; when combined with cedar chips or slivers, lavender oil makes a powerful moth repellent.

Lavender is also a highly effective disinfectant with antibacterial properties and can be used in garbage and diaper pails.

Citrus oils such as lemon, lime, and grapefruit oils, as well as our fantastic friend lemon juice, can be used in a variety of applications, even as polish for wood floors and wood furniture. Depending upon how severely dry the wood is, citrus oils can be either applied directly or suspended in another inert oil medium. Do not use citrus oils on cooking utensils, however.”

New Leaf Market carries a large variety of essential oils. Harder to find oils may be special ordered at the service desk.

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