Us­ing es­sen­tial oils IN CLEAN­ING

Es­sen­tial oils are widely used in aromatherapy, but they make an ex­cel­lent ad­di­tion to clean­ing prod­ucts and sani­tis­ers too.

Herbs & Superfoods - - Using Herbs In The Home -

Es­sen­tial oils are one of the best nat­u­rally an­tibac­te­rial op­tions for home­made clean­ing prod­ucts and can be used to sani­tise your kitchen and bath­room. Stud­ies have also shown that they can halt air­borne mi­crobes, which are eas­ily spread by cough­ing, sneez­ing, even talk­ing or turn­ing the pages of books. A trial at Wythen­shawe Hos­pi­tal Burns Unit in the UK found that us­ing a va­por­iser to dif­fuse a blend of oils (clove, cin­na­mon bark, eu­ca­lyp­tus and rose­mary) into the air com­bated cer­tain bac­te­ria, in­clud­ing MRSA, a con­ta­gious and an­tibi­otic-re­sis­tant staph bac­te­ria. In the nine-month study, in-air bac­te­ria di­min­ished by more than 90 per cent.

An­other study looked at gera­nium and lemon­grass oils, and their an­tibac­te­rial ac­tiv­i­ties against MRSA and other an­tibi­otic-re­sis­tant su­per­bugs. The oils were dif­fused in an office sit­u­a­tion, and af­ter 15 hours of use, these germs had been re­duced by 89 per cent.

You can use dif­fusers at home, of course, but don’t con­fuse a dif­fuser with an oil burner. An oil burner heats the oil, which can dam­age or al­ter the oil’s prop­er­ties. A dif­fuser is a spe­cial pump de­signed to dis­pense es­sen­tial oils into the air with­out harm­ing their prop­er­ties. Fol­low the man­u­fac­turer’s in­struc­tions as to how much oil to place in your dif­fuser.

As well as halt­ing air­borne mi­crobes, you might want to con­sider us­ing es­sen­tial oils in your laun­dry, for clean­ing coun­ter­tops and for sani­tis­ing floors. But remember that nat­u­ral does not nec­es­sar­ily equal gen­tle. Even plant prod­ucts can be toxic. Just one drop of pep­per­mint oil is as po­tent as 30 cups of pep­per­mint tea, and the cit­ric acid in citrus oils can be highly al­ler­genic. Undi­luted es­sen­tial oils that come in con­tact with the skin can cause ir­ri­ta­tion or al­ler­gic re­ac­tions. Take the same pre­cau­tions you would for other herbal uses, such as skin prod­ucts, when mak­ing any home­made herbal clean­ing prod­ucts.

Over time, es­sen­tial oils break down plas­tic, so clean­ing prod­ucts that con­tain es­sen­tial oils are best stored in glass con­tain­ers un­less it’s for short-term stor­age. Choose con­tain­ers with dark glass to help pro­tect the oils from ex­po­sure to light, which causes de­te­ri­o­ra­tion. Store your bot­tles in a dark, cool place.

In gen­eral, it’s not rec­om­mended to keep es­sen­tial oils for more than three years, af­ter which ox­i­da­tion may oc­cur, which can lead to the for­ma­tion of al­ler­gens that cause ad­verse re­ac­tions. There are some ex­cep­tions to this: patchouli, san­dal­wood and ve­tiver ac­tu­ally improve with age.

Make sure you use 100 per cent pure es­sen­tial oils rather than fra­grant oils; the lat­ter is syn­thetic and does not con­tain the same ben­e­fits as pure es­sen­tial oil.

Sim­ple DIY cleaner

For a su­per quick cleaner, mix 10 drops lemon­grass, sweet orange, berg­amot, pep­per­mint, oregano, thyme or tea tree es­sen­tial oil, or a mix of these, with 2 cups of warm water and use to clean sinks and bath­room sur­faces. For ex­tra clean­ing oomph, add ¼ cup wash­ing soda to the mix. You can also soak your clean­ing cloths in this mix each day to dis­in­fect them.

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