A Guide to Cleaning Your Entire House Using Essential Oils

Susannah Shmurak

by | Read time: 5 minutes

If you’ve switched to green cleaners made with everyday ingredients like vinegar and baking soda, you can kick your homemade cleaning solutions up a notch with some delicious-smelling and germ-fighting essential oils.

Here’s everything you need to know about making safe and effective DIY cleaners supercharged with the power of essential oils.

Woman Cleaning Kitchen Shelf with Homemade Natural Essential Oil Cleaner | Vitacost.com/Blog

Why use essential oils for cleaning?

Essential oils concentrate plant compounds into powerful essences that offer numerous benefits, from killing germs to boosting our mood.

Lavender, for example, is antimicrobial and its relaxing scent can help you unwind and possibly sleep better.  has disinfecting properties and can improve brain function, while the uplifting scent of bergamot can lift your spirits as it makes your home smell amazing.

Some essential oils have additional useful properties in cleaning, like repelling rodents and insects, making them a great choice for counters and floors. Peppermint oil is especially unpleasant smelling to many pests, while giving the humans in the house an energy boost. Win-win!

Citrus oils like lemon and orange can help your DIY cleaner cut grease while brightening your mood as you inhale their scent. Tea tree oil is a top choice when you want to kill viruses and bacteria.

Here’s a list of essential oils and their benefits to help inform your choice of oils to add to your homemade cleaners.

Top essential oils for homemade natural cleaners

You can also purchase oil blends that combine essential oils, like lemon, lime and lemongrass or tea tree and spearmint. Some are formulated especially for cleaning, while others are targeted for different purposes, such as uplifting mood or inspiring calm. A blend of pine, juniper, frankincense and myrrh can bring the scent of the outdoors inside.

Cautions using essential oils

Many people assume that since they come from plants, essential oils must be harmless. It’s important to respect these powerful plant essences and understand that they must be handled with appropriate caution.

When diluted in cleaners as indicated below, these essential oils are very safe to use unless you have a sensitivity to one of them. Undiluted, some essential oils can irritate the skin, so you should avoid getting them directly onto unprotected skin or in your eyes or mouth. Citrus-based oils like lemon and bergamot are phototoxic, meaning if they get on your skin and you expose that skin to sunlight, unpleasant burns can result.

How to use essential oils for cleaning

Once you have your go-to green cleaning supplies ready, you can add your preferred essential oils. Recipes for homemade cleaners with essential oils typically call for about 10-15 drops of oil per cup of liquid or baking soda, so you can develop your own favorite cleaning recipes by following those proportions, or use the recipes for cleaners supercharged with essential oils below.

You can use essential oils in your cleaning projects all over the house, including the kitchen, bathroom, and laundry, as well as on floors and carpets.

For general cleaning, an all-purpose cleaner made with vinegar diluted in water, plus your favorite essential oil, can be used to clean surfaces of all sorts, including counters and windows. You can make a homemade furniture polish for wooden surfaces as well.

How to clean floors with essential oils

You can clean most flooring materials with homemade floor cleaners. Add a few drops of lemon, rosemary or peppermint essential oil for extra cleaning power and scent.

You can also make an easy DIY carpet deodorizer using baking soda and your favorite essential oils. Bergamot is a lovely-smelling choice that will help freshen your carpet and add a pleasant scent to your home.

How to clean your kitchen with essential oils

Cleaners with essential oils can come in handy for disinfecting surfaces and cleaning grime from sinks, refrigerators, ovens, and microwaves.

Note that vinegar shouldn’t be used on materials sensitive to acid, like granite, where you should use a cleaner made with soap or alcohol instead.

You can add a few drops of lemon essential oil to a small dish of baking soda to absorb odors in the refrigerator, while a DIY trashcan refresher can help with garbage-related odor issues.

How to clean your bathroom with essential oils

In the bathroom, essential oils can help clean, disinfect, and deodorize. Tea tree oil is especially helpful for shower cleaners to inhibit mold growth, while oils like peppermint, bergamot, rosemary, or lemon can help combat odors.

Some possibilities to consider in the bathroom:

  • Add bergamot or lemon oil to your homemade toilet cleaner
  • Drop a few drops of your favorite essential oil in the toilet tank to fight odors
  • Add rosemary oil to your homemade tub and sink scrub

Adding essential oils to laundry

In the laundry room, essential oils can take the place of chemical-laden fabric softeners and dryer sheets. You can make your own fabric softener or DIY dryer sheets using a cut-up old t-shirt or dryer balls with a few drops of your favorite essential oil.

A homemade linen spray (which can also work as an air freshener) is another option for adding scent to your sheets.

Outdoor cleaning with essential oils

Essential oils can help with outdoor cleaning projects as well. Try an outdoor cleaning spray or a scrub made with baking soda plus lemon and tea tree essential oil to clean up outdoor furniture. A furniture refreshing spray can be used on upholstered furniture either inside or out.

How to stock the best essential oils for cleaning

You don’t need to buy every single essential oil mentioned here in order to have an effective arsenal of oils to add to your homemade cleaners. You can start by getting a small collection of your favorite essential oils to keep on hand for cleaning as well as lots of other uses, such as aromatherapy or relaxing bath soaks.

Lavender, lemon, and peppermint would see you through many cleaning projects and have plenty of other uses as well.

If you’d rather buy than DIY your cleaners, you can also get green cleaning products with your favorite essential oils in them already.

Seventh Generation Disinfecting Bathroom Cleaner | Vitacost.com/Blog

Seventh Generation Disinfecting Bathroom Cleaner

Try a plant-based disinfecting bathroom cleaner infused with lemongrass and thyme.

Better Life All-Purpose Cleaner | Vitacost.com/Blog

Better Life All-Purpose Cleaner

This all-purpose cleaner cuts through grease and grim with with clary sage and citrus essential oils.


Earth Friendly Ecos® Furniture Polish & Cleaner | Vitacost.com/Blog

ECOS Furniture Polish & Cleaners

Powered by olive oil to clean and protect wood (and much more!) this furniture polish is scented with orange.

Armed with this information and a basket of essential oils and natural cleaners, you can reap the benefits of these powerful additions to your green cleaning toolkit.