Did you know that the market for essential oils is valued at a whopping $8 billion and it’s expected to increase by approx. 10% each year and worth $13 billion in 2024? But, why is the demand for these aromatic extracts soaring across the world…well, for good reason.
Is there any other substance, natural or manmade, that can be used to make candies, wipe the ravages of age from your skin, keep the house clean of germs, drive away emotional distress, clear your sinuses, relieve pain and sore muscles from your body, stop migraine headaches, put you to sleep, and much more?
Believe me, I am talking about just one substance here, and yes, it is an essential oil. Can you tell which one? No? Stick with me and I’ll give you the answer at the end of this article. But first, let me welcome you to our newest edition of “Back to the Basics”!
I am Olivia and as always I am happy to be your guide through the world of essential oils. Today, we are going to talk about the innumerable ways in which you can use essential oils in your life, in and around your home and outdoors too.
Even if you have been using essential oils therapeutically for a long time, you will be surprised at the sheer multi-tasking potential of these little soldiers of Mother Nature. Sit back and enjoy this ride because you will be traversing through superhero territory.
Each of these oils has super powers that can be used in multiple ways to make your life happy, healthy and easy. So, without further preamble, let’s get right down to business of being healthy and happy…
Household Cleaners: Stains, Dirt And Grime Don’t Stand A Chance In Front Of Essential Oils!
There is no area of your home that essential oils cannot clean; from the kitchen to the bathroom and from the living area to the closets, these aromatic extracts can be used to pull out the dirt, dust, grime and objectionable odors from every nook and cranny of your house.
The best part is that unlike commercial cleansers which infuse the air with toxic chemicals, essential oils are 100% safe and natural and will leave a lasting impression on everybody who walks into your home. Here is how:
1. No more carpet stink
Pets, wet weather and kids can leave the carpets dirty and stinky and a round of vacuuming does not always work to drive away the smell. Let essential oils come to your rescue in this case.
Start with some borax and tea tree oil. For each cup of borax, you will need 20 drops of tea tree oil. Use a sieve to drop the powder on the carpet. Allow it to work its magic for 30 minutes and then vacuum the treated area to get cleaner and fresh smelling carpets.
2. The same trick for your couch and mattress
The recipe given above can also be customized for the couch and mattresses that have picked up an obnoxious odor. Instead of borax, use baking soda in the recipe along with 10 drops of lavender for each cup. Other instructions are as above.
3. For rubber mats and curtains
These can get just as stinky and dirty as the floor, in fact more so, given the kind of exposure they get. But an easy all-purpose cleansing spray does the trick. You will need a cup of warm water and 10 drops of sweet orange essential oil. Mix in a spritzer bottle and spray lightly on the curtains with the windows open, allow the fabric to air dry.
For the yoga mat, you will need to change the recipe a bit. Instead of warm water, start with white vinegar and for the oils, add 10 drops of lemon and 10 drops of eucalyptus oil. Mix in the spritzer bottle and drench both surfaces with the liquid. Wipe the yoga mat with a clean towel and hang it out to dry, preferably in sunlight.
4. Sparking clean toilets
For a natural toilet cleaner that is tough on stains and germs, mix together ½ cup of baking soda with ½ cup liquid dish wash soap and ¼ cup hydrogen peroxide. To this paste, add 10 drops eucalyptus, 15 drops of tea tree and 10 drops of lemon essential oil. Store in a glass container and use as you would any other toilet cleaner.
When you need a quick cleaning session, mix 1 cup of baking soda with 2 tbsp of citric acid. To the dry ingredients, add 10 drops each of lemon and eucalyptus oil. Store the powder in a glass jar. To use, toss a heaped tbsp of the mixture into the toilet. You will see a lot of fizz, after about 4-5 minutes, lightly brush the toilet bowl and flush.
5. For a clean and inviting shower
Keep the scum and mold off the shower walls and door by using a spray made by combining 1 cup white vinegar, ½ cup rubbing alcohol/vodka, 1 cup water, 1 tsp natural, liquid dish wash soap, 10 drops each of tea tree and eucalyptus oils. Store in a spray bottle and use on shower walls and door every day to prevent the build-up of grime.
6. The freshest and cleanest load of laundry ever
Make an effective and all-natural fabric softener by combining ½ cup Epsom salts with 2 drops each of ylang ylang and lavender.
7. Keeping the kitchen clean and healthy
There are innumerable ways in which you can use citrus and other essential oils to keep the kitchen clean and germ free, here are a few favorites:
- Disinfect kitchen sponges by adding 4 drops of grapefruit oil to a cup of warm water and dipping the sponge in the liquid. Squeeze and allow to dry.
- For the cutting board, use 10 drops of lemon oil in 1/4th cup of water. Soak a kitchen sponge in the mixture and wipe the cutting board with it, drenching the surface with the liquid. Don’t wipe; instead, leave the board in an open area to sun dry.
- Add 3-4 drops of bergamot oil to your dishwasher load or dish soap for a spot and germ-free rinse.
- Use 3 drops each of lemon and grapefruit essential oils with boiling hot water to remove grime and burnt food from pans. Let the boiling hot liquid remain in the dirty pot or pan for 5-7 minutes and then use a spoon to easily scrub out the burnt matter.
- Keep the countertops clean by using a mixture of 1 tsp liquid dish wash soap, 1 cup warm water and 10 drops mandarin oil. Mix and store in a spray bottle, spritz on the countertops and wipe clean.
Natural Deodorizers: Create A Soothing And Inviting Environment In Your Home
Diffusing essential oils is just one way to use their fragrance to chase away mental problems. A few drops on a ball of cotton wool or a natural essential oil air freshener can offer the same benefits.
There are also a multitude of other ways in which you can harness the power of these aromatic extracts to remove germs and negativity from your inner space. Here are a few:
8. Faux flowers
Faux flowers look fabulous and you don’t have to change their water or discard their wilted remains. But, they don’t smell as good as the real thing.
Change this by adding 3 drops of your favorite floral essential oil (rose, jasmine, neroli and palma rosa are hot favorites) to a cup of water and spray the liquid lightly on the silk flowers.
9. To create a warm and festive environment
When Christmas is still a few weeks away, make a blend with 10 drops each of pine and sandalwood essential oils. Store in an amber glass bottle.
To use, put a few drops on a log of wood, half an hour before burning it. Another way is to add a few drops of lavender or neroli to a new furnace filter. This will give you a lingering fragrance that spreads all over the house.
10. For stinky shoes
Put a few drops of eucalyptus oil on a cotton ball and place it in the shoe. Remove before wearing.
11. To kill kitchen odors
Particularly fishy odors, use a combination of 3 drops wild orange and 3 drops lime in the diffuser.
12. For the stench of cigarettes
Opt for a spray made by combining 4 drops each of lavender, eucalyptus and rosemary with a cup of warm water. Put in a spritzer bottle and shake well before spraying it around the house.
13. If you are dealing with ripe gym bags, cleats, jerseys and sports gear
Try a spray made by combining 1 cup warm water, 2 tbsp baking soda and 2 drops each of tea tree and grapefruit essential oil.
14. Home cleaning
Get more from your weekly home cleaning session by putting a few drops of lime and lavender on a cotton ball and placing it in the canister of the vacuum cleaner.
Lower the germ spreading capacity of trash by putting a cotton ball saturated with eucalyptus and citronella (combine both in equal measures and use 4 drops of the blend) in the garbage bag before using it.
16. For refrigerator stenches
Nothing works like bergamot and grapefruit essential oils. Add these to the rinsing water when cleaning the fridge.
17. Kill germs
Use the germ killing properties of cinnamon oil by diffusing 2 drops of this oil in your home once a day. This hack works exceptionally well in winters.
18. Toilet paper
Place a drop of lavender oil on the inside of the cardboard tube of the toilet paper roll. The fragrance will be released every time the roll is used.
Adding 3-4 drops of lavender, neroli or lime to the potpourri bowl in the bathroom is one way to keep the area smelling clean and fresh. Another option is to simply put a few drops of this blend on a cotton ball and place it behind the flush tank.
Cannot stand the smell of fresh paint? Add 5 drops each of lemon and eucalyptus oil to a pint of paint to mask the offensive odor.
And this last one is a personal favorite. Add a drop of your favorite essential oil to the envelope that holds a card or a letter from you. I know people seldom send cards and letters these days, but if you do, I can guarantee that the fragrance will leave as much of an impact as the words.
The Surprisingly Powerful Solvent
This category comes as a shocker even for the most loyal essential oil fans. After all, it is hard to imagine something that smells so good to be effective against sticky stuff. Well it is!
In fact, lavender spike and rosemary oils were often used as oil color solvents by artists, before turpentine gained prominence. They are now making a comeback in studios across the world. Artist or not, nobody likes the smell of turpentine nor the health hazards that it can cause.
So, that’s one way to use essential oils as solvents, let’s talk about a few more…
22. Stubborn stains
When dealing with stubborn stains caused by the use of crayons or a permanent marker on white boards, furniture, tiles and even walls, all you need is lemon or rosemary oil. Wear protective gloves because you will be using these oils without dilution.
To use, pour several drops on a cotton ball and rub on the stains, 3-4 times. Let the solvent work on the ink/dye and then use some good ol’ elbow grease and a rough fabric or brush, depending on the surface, to get rid of the stains or marks.
23. Chewing gum
Got chewing gum stuck on your clothes, carpet or worse yet in your hair. Fret not! Essential oils can save the day for you. This time, use some wild orange essential oil. Saturate a cotton ball with the oil and soak the sticky stuff and the surrounding area with it. Wait for 2-3 minutes and then start the rubbing to get the gum off easily.
24. Gardening tools
Use a combination of rosemary and lemon oils to remove the gunk from gardening tools that is attributed to sticky tree sap.
25. Sticky Labels
For sticky labels, a mixture of lemon and orange essential oil works the best. Plus, it will leave whatever surface it is used on with an amazing smell.
The Motivators: Make Things Go Your Way Without Spending Words On The Acts!
Telling people what you want them to do or what they ought to do is rarely an easy conversation, even if the people in question are your offspring.
So, you can imagine the conundrum you can find yourself in when you have to get your employees, partners and clients to do your budding, so to speak. What if I tell you that essential oils can make your life easy on this front as well?
I know it sounds too good to be true. But, I assure you, it is true! You already know that these aromatic extracts can significantly influence moods and emotions as well as cognitive functions.
It is this very power of essential oils that you can rally to get people to do what you want them to do. The best part is that they will never know that you were responsible for motivating their behavior. Behold the mind altering powers of essential oils…
26. Calm down your kids
When your kids refuse to quiet down or if you have a munchkin who has gone overboard with his candies and the sugar has turned him/her into a bouncy rabbit, diffusing a drop each of lavender and chamomile will calm the child down.
27. Monster Be Gone Spray
Make a “Monster-Killer” spray by mixing 2 drops each of vetiver and chamomile with a cup of water and spraying it lightly on the sheets and soft toys. If you are not a fan of vetiver, sandalwood is just as good. Do not use these around kids who are younger than 2 years.
When you wake up tired, fatigued or feel that you just can’t get through the day, put a drop of lemon and rosemary on a handkerchief or tissue and inhale deeply for about a minute.
29. Keep energy levels up at work
If you have to get brain-intensive work done or just need top notch performance from your employees, try a 2:1 blend of orange and rosemary for the office diffuser.
30. Mental awareness
A blend of peppermint and rosemary works exceptionally well when everybody has to put in long hours, but you need mental alertness and performance to be at their peak.
31. Own a shop and want to attract customers
Spray or diffuse a bergamot and sweet orange combo to create an inviting and cheerful environment for your customers if you are into retail sales. This is a tried and tested trick for boosting sales.
32. Need to negotiate hard
Diffuse lavender oil in the meeting room if you are expecting fierce negotiation. People were found to be more trusting of others, more amenable and willing to give more money when exposed to the calming aroma of lavender.
33. For gym
At the gym, when you think you can’t go on anymore, a few whiffs of peppermint oil will reduce the sense of fatigue. Use it in a salve to deal with the pain and the fatigue in one fell swoop.
If you need to get to your Zen space on the double, diffuse sandalwood and frankincense when meditating.
The Germ Killers That Put Your Personal Hygiene Products In Fourth Gear!
They smell good, control inflammation and they have killer abilities to hunt and eliminate germs.
So, of course, you can make your personal hygiene products by using essential oils, or you can simply add a few drops of the right oil to your existing batch and get more from those commercial offerings. Here is how…
Mix coconut oil and lemon essential oil in equal quantities and store in an amber glass bottle. Put a drop of this blend on your tooth brush to get more from your teeth whitening toothpaste/gel.
A blend of walnut oil and tea tree oil in equal proportions used in a similar way with your regular anti-acne cleanser, will get you the germ busting and skin clearing power of essential oils. All you will need is one drop of the blend and your regular face cleanser.
Scared of the dangerous effect of the aluminum in your regular deodorant? Make a natural deodorant of your own. You will need ½ cup of virgin coconut oil, ¼ cup each of arrow root and baking soda, 7 drops tea tree and 10 drops of any essential oil that you like in terms of fragrance.
Melt the coconut oil in a double boiler. Stir in the powders and whisk gently till you get rid of all the lumps. Let the mixture cool to just a few degrees above room temperature. Then, add the essential oils and whisk well. Pour into a deodorant dispenser. If you have sensitive skin, reduce the amount of baking soda to 1.5 tbsp.
38. Head lice
How to deal with these lousy critters? Simply mix 2-3 drops of thyme, lavender and eucalyptus oils with 2 tbsp of sweet almond or olive oil and apply to scalp. Cover your head with a shower cap and leave on for 30-45 minutes. Wash with your regular shampoo.
Keeping Pests Out Of Your Home Without Resorting To The Use Of Toxic Chemicals!
The ability of essential oils to eliminate critters goes well beyond just bacteria and viruses. Household pests also find it hard to handle these extracts.
Although you may not be able to deal with an infestation solely with essential oil, they work exceptionally well as a preventative measure to keep bugs and other pests out of your home.
For ants, add 20 drops of peppermint and cedar wood essential oils to a cup of water in a glass spray bottle and spray in areas prone to infestation and on the traffic flow of the insects. This spray also works on beetles, caterpillars, chiggers and aphids. You can use citronella instead of peppermint if required.
To deal with the buzzing problem of summer, read flies, diffuse 3-4 drops of a blend that contains peppermint, lemongrass, rosemary and tea tree essential oils.
41. Ticks and Fleas
Mix 3 drops each of lemongrass, orange and lavender and 5 drops each of eucalyptus and peppermint with 30 ml carrier oil. Apply on your skin to prevent bites. Use the neat essential oil blend as spray, mixing 20 drops with a cup of warm water for dealing with an infestation in your home. Do not forget to concentrate on the corners and crevices that harbor these pests.
Make your very own mosquito killer blend with equal parts of citronella, eucalyptus and peppermint. Use 3 drops of this blend for diffusion and only diffuse for 15 minutes to get rid of mosquitoes.
43. Snails and slugs
For garden pests like snails and slugs, combine patchouli with pine and cedarwood in equal proportion and spray.
44. Roaches and Mice
Roaches and even mice can be kept away by using peppermint and eucalyptus/cinnamon essential oils. Soak cotton wool with a mixture of these and keep in shelves and cabinets that play home to roaches and also around the drain hole.
Suffer from arachnophobia? Essential oils have you covered against the 8 legged critters. Make a spray with orange, citronella and peppermint to remove spiders from your home.
Essential Oils For The Small Problems Of Life!
Yes, physical ailments, mental health concerns, personal and professional issues are the big problems that can literally change the course of your life.
So, dealing with them should be your first priority. But, this does not mean that solving the small problems shouldn’t be on the cards at all. The good news is that essential oils are there to lend a helping hand on this front, so you won’t have to do much. Here is how…
46. Teeth grinding
Keep those pearly whites safe from being ground into obscurity by treating teeth grinding with a 3% blend of lavender (18 drops in 30 ml carrier oil). Apply the mixture behind your ears and on the soles of your feet before bed time. You will only need a few drops to cover both areas.
47. Poison Ivy/Oak itching
Mix 4 drops of peppermint oil with a teaspoon of carrier oil and use the blend to treat itching caused by exposure to poison ivy/oak.
Forget all about the dog hair remedy for a hangover. Instead, diffuse 3-4 drops of a blend made by combining grapefruit, juniper berry, rosemary, lavender and lemon essential oils. Alternatively, mix 6 drops of this blend with a tbsp of milk (plant or dairy) and add the mixture to a warm bath. Soak yourself in it for 20 minutes.
49. Motion sickness
To deal with motion sickness, make yourself a personal inhaler with a blend that contains ginger, lemon and peppermint essential oils.
To bring down fever, add 2 drops each of lavender, peppermint and eucalyptus to a bowl of cold water. Soak a face wash cloth in it, wring gently and sponge the body of the patient with it.
51. Cracked and brittle nails
Suffering from cracked and brittle nails? Add 5 drops each of lemon and frankincense and the contents of 2 capsules of vitamin E oil to 1 tbsp of almond oil. Mix and store the blend in a small glass jar. Massage your nails and cuticles with it to strengthen them.
52. Suppress appetite
Put a drop each of peppermint and cinnamon oil on a paper towel and breathe in the aroma for 1-2 minutes. Do this right before meal time to curb your appetite and to keep blood sugar levels in check.
53. Local anesthetic
Mix 5 drops each of peppermint and eucalyptus oils with 1 tbsp of any carrier oil. Store the blend and use it as a local anesthetic for finger prick blood checks, bikini area waxing or epilation in general.
Apply the blend and give it about 2-3 minutes on your skin to start working. As soon as you feel the combined heating and cooling sensation of the oils, wipe your skin clean and then prick, remove ingrown hair or epilate.
54. Inflamed Earlobes
If heavy earrings have left you with red and inflamed earlobes, combine 3 drops each of tea tree and lavender with 1 tsp of coconut oil. Apply in and around the earlobe piercing with a Q-tip.
55. Lack of pollination
Don’t seem to have a green thumb? Perhaps it’s the lack of pollinators that is stopping your garden from thriving. Remedy this by using a spray that contains neroli, jasmine, fennel and lavender essential oils. Spray on the plants and in the air and watch the bees and butterflies fly right in.
Other Uses of Essential Oils!
Those are just a few of the unusual ways in which you can use essential oils in your life and home. I assure you that these magic potions can make a big splash in scores of other areas as well.
For instance, if you are into organic gardening, consider using a spray made by combining the essential oils of rosemary, neem, thyme and clove as a natural pesticide. Similarly, a combination of tea tree, citronella and neem is strong enough to tackle any kind of fungus.
Apart from this, your essential oils can also replace hard-to-get ingredients in your culinary creations. For example, if you can’t get your hands on fresh or dried lavender blooms, you can always work with a drop of lavender essential oil. Yes, it will give you the same flavor as 1-2 tsp of dried lavender flowers; ditto for lime, rose and cardamom and almost all the spices and herbs out there. I have a whole article dedicated to this. Check it out to learn more about quantities and ways in which to ingest these oils safely.
You already know that these oils can give most commercial fragrances a run for their money, even if you blend just 2-3 of them. In fact, if the people at your place of work are not big fans of strong perfumes, add 2 drops of neroli, palma rosa, lavender or geranium to unscented body lotion or coconut oil and use all over to pamper your skin and smell delightful, without giving people a headache…or simply use perfume oils.
I have already told you a lot about the health benefits of essential oils. A lot of people harbor the misconception that essential oils are merely band aids and that they do not offer long lasting relief. Well, this could not be further from the truth!
These aromatic extracts have the power to curb inflammation, eliminate stress, impact the neurochemicals linked to stress, depression and other negative emotions and kill infectious microbes. Aren’t these often at the root of most, if not all, health issues? So, go ahead and use these oils to eliminate the internal and external factors that cause illnesses.
The Parting Shot
And with that, we have come to the end of this edition. So, did you figure out the name of that multipurpose essential oil described at the beginning of this article? If not, as promised here is the answer – Ladies and Gentleman, give it up for Lemon Essential Oil!
This one can honestly do it all, so it’s no wonder that lemon is the most popular of all essential oils and enjoys the largest share of the market?
But, don’t stop at just this invigorating oil! Go ahead and build a natural first aid kit for your loved ones and your home with tea tree, peppermint, lemon, lavender, eucalyptus, geranium, frankincense, cinnamon, rosemary and fennel. The $100 or so that you spend on these oils will be the best investment that you ever make because these oil will serve you for years. Here is wishing you all a healthy, happy and fragrant life and home!
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