Household Cleansers

Lavender and Tea Tree Oil for Bug Bites and Much More

Tea Tree and Lavender make an amazing combination of essential oils. They’re especially effective on itchy bug bites, but their benefits go far beyond that.

Tea tree oil is a fantastic essential oil, which actually began to come into more popular use in World War II, when Australian soldiers carried tea tree oil in their first aid kits as treatment for skin injuries. Tea tree oil has natural antibacterial and antimicrobial properties, which can help with a variety of skin problems, but can also help with reducing the itching of insect bites.

The only trouble with tea tree oil is that it has a bit of a medicinal smell. Lavender oil is another wonderful therapeutic essential oil which when combined with tea tree oil, helps to mask the scent as well as increase the blend’s effectiveness. 

Lavender is best known as a relaxing oil that can help with sleep, but it has many other benefits, including being very beneficial for skin issues. It is very soothing to the skin, and can also speed healing as well as having pain relieving properties.

Interestingly, both tea tree oil and lavender oil are two of the very few essential oils that can be used directly on the skin without diluting (though we would still recommend mixing with a carrier oil for use on the face or on people with sensitive skin).

NOW Foods has a nice combination of tea tree and lavender oil that we would recommend since it’s so easy to use, being a premixed blend of the two oils.  Give it a try on insect bites to help relieve the itching and help them to heal faster (however, it’s not recommended to use the oils on broken skin or open wounds).

The combination of lavender and tea tree oil is also great for cleaning around the house. Both have antibacterial properties, so a few drops on a damp washcloth works great for cleaning around kitchens and bathrooms.

 

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Lemon Oil: A Miracle Cleaner for Stubborn Dirt

I wanted to share about my new secret cleaning weapon- lemon essential oil.  Essential oils are great as an ingredient in homemade cleaning products (usually combined with vinegar, baking soda, or a little castile soap), but I wanted to say how amazed I’ve been lately on using a few drops of straight lemon essential oil on stubborn stains and dirt- things that I’d tried everything else on without success.

If you have any adhesive residue, a couple drops of lemon oil removes it in seconds.  I’ve even used it on stubborn scuff marks and old scratches, that had been cleaned with other products without success, and a bit of straight lemon oil (and a little elbow grease) made them look better than I ever thought possible.  

I even spilled some of a medicine for my daughter’s fish tank on a table, which was dark blue and seemed very much like ink.  I tried wiping it up with a wet towel or glass cleaner, but it seemed to be soaked in to the finish of the table and wasn’t going anywhere.  I thought of lemon oil and was worried it might ruin the finish on the table, but thought even if it did, I thought it would be better than the dark blue blotches I’d made.  A few drops of lemon oil took the inky blue stains right out of the table, and the shine on the table didn’t look like it had any damage!

I’ve been using lemon oil all the time now on stubborn dirt and stains around the house, and I really can’t recommend it enough!  

Straight essential oils are very strong, so be sure to wash your hands well after using or use cleaning gloves.  Also, since lemon oil is so potent, I’d recommend testing a patch on surfaces first to see if it damages the finish.

Generally, essential oils are best as part of an ingredient in a homemade cleaning solution (here is a link to a site with a lot of great simple recipes for making household cleansers with lemon oil), but for those times when nothing else works, a few drops of straight lemon essential oil can work like a miracle!

 

DIY Essential Oil Home Cleansing Recipe Roundup

Natural cleaners are very easy to make using essential oils.  Ideally, they should be stored in an amber glass bottle, however, to keep the essential oils from degrading.  We sell empty 8oz and 16oz amber spray bottles at the store, and for the month of April we will be having them for 50%!

Aura Cacia, one of the fantastic essential oil brands we carry at the store, has a fantastic index of DIY cleansing recipes using essential oils on their website.  They’re simple to make and use readily available natural ingredients.
 

Also, a see a few of our other favorites from around the internets are below.

 

This is a great All Purpose Cleaner from Mommypotamus:

•    1 cup water
•    2 teaspoons castile soap (like Dr. Bronners)
•    20 drops essential oil  

 

Homemade All Purpose Cleaner from Detoxinista:

1/2 cup white vinegar
3 cups water
1/4 teaspoon tea tree oil (about 10 drops)

 

Another similar recipe is this DIY Lavender Tea Tree Surface Cleaner by Free People:

1 Cup Water
¼ Cup Distilled White Vinegar
10 Drops Tea Tree Oil
10 Drops Lavender Oil

 

DIY Citrus Window Cleaner from The Hippy Homemaker:

3 cups water
1/4 cup + 2 Tbsp. rubbing alcohol
1/4 cup + 2 Tbsp. distilled white vinegar
1/2 tsp. orange oil

 

Homemade Glass Cleaner that Smells Awesome from New Nostalgia:

1 cup distilled white vinegar
2 cups water
1/2 tsp dish soap
15 drops essential oils

 

Almost all of the above blends would benefit from the addition of tea tree oil, a potent antibacterial and antimicrobial oil.  Most essential oils do have antibacterial qualities however, so find an oil or blend of oils that you like the best and experiment making your own blends!  I like using a combination of bergamot and lemon, since it's so nice and springy smelling, while still being a great antibacterial cleaning blend.