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Winter is a dirty month. Open fires, heater dust and walking dropped Autumn leaves through the house, not to forget the extra germs laying about form all those extra colds and flues. Essential oils should be an essential (pardon the pun) part of the green living home cleaning kit.
Here are 8 life-hacks for keeping your homes fresh and bacteria free.
1. Flies, Spiders and Insects
During the colder months flies can go into hiding, though not everywhere, and with flies, spiders and insects comes dirt, spider webs and bacteria. Citronella has always been a popular product for deterring mosquitoes and flies in Australia but did you know that it comes from the same family as Lemongrass? Lemongrass is made up of Neral and Geranial which when compounded together make Citral. Like Citranellol (found in Citronella) Citral can have a powerful effect on warding off unwanted pests. Add a few drops to water in a diffuser to protect a room or add to water in a spray bottle and spray around entrances and windows of your house.
2. All-Natural Fabric Softener
So many of our store bought fabric softeners are packed full of harmful chemicals. Fabric softeners can also act as an anti-microbial and what better anti-microbial than Tea Tree Oil. Add 2 drops of Tea Tree to a cup of white vinegar and pour into your next laundry load.
3. Slug Life
Wet winters can bring out the slugs and where there are slugs there are suffering gardens. Essential oils can help your struggling plants by creating a ring of protection around them. Add 5 drops of Cedarwood Atlas Oil or Australian Peppermint Oil to one cup of water, mix away for a few minutes until the oil is mixed well with the water and then spray in a ring around effected plants. The slugs will stay away. Alternatively try our ready made Peppermint Floral Water - pre-mixed and ready for the garden.
4. Soap Scum and Mould in Showers
If you live in extra cold climates during the winter months, like I do, you'll be familiar with the conflict of opening windows to dry out your bathrooms. If it's too cold or rainy I put off opening up the space until the sun comes out which can sometimes take days. The moisture builds up in the shower and next thing I know there's a new chore on the list - remove the soap scum and mould. Rather than tackling with Ajax or Easy-Off Bam which, when I was young and lazy, were my go-to products, I now mix up a bowl of natural mould remover and it works just as well (if not better), plus smells much nicer. Take 4 tablespoons of Baking Soda and 4 tablespoons of sea salt. Add 5ml of Lemon Oil and 2ml each of Peppermint and Tea Tree Oil. Use straight away by applying to mould on tile and grout, let sit for up to 10 minutes and then scrub away.
5. Counter Grease
Winter is the best time for hot soups, casseroles, home cooking in general and with it an increase in counter grease. If you find you've got some extra sauce on your bench tops try a few drops of Lemon Oil or Orange Oil in a small cup of vinegar for a green friendly cleaning solution.
6. Floors So Clean You Could Eat Off Them
All that extra dirt coming into the house can hold extra bacteria making it much harder to guard your family against winter colds and flues. Make up a floor cleaner by taking a bucket of warm water, one cup of white vinegar and 2ml each of Eucalyptus Oil, Lemon Scented Tea Tree Oil, Clove Oil and 1ml of Mandarin Oil. Use a mop to sanitise your floors and keep them smelling so fresh and so clean.
7. Carpet Cleaner
Tiled and wooden floors are easy to clean but we often forget about carpeted areas. A regular vacuum is great for tidying up our rooms but sometimes we need to go above and beyond to keep them fresh, free of dirt and grime and smelling sweet. If you've got problem carpets make up a deodoriser by mixing 1ml each of Lavender Oil to about 500g of baking soda.
8. Anti-Bacterial Hand Sanitiser
Hand Sanitiser is always handy to have around the house and in your bag for a quick clean and to prevent germs from spreading. Make a blend of 2mL Lavender, 1ml Eucalyptus, 1ml Cedarwood and 1ml Rosemary. Add to 200g of Aloe Vera Gel and pop into a pump bottle. For a spray version top with purified or filtered water into a 500ml spray bottle.
We'd love to hear from you if you have any other great home hacks for green living with essential oils. Get in touch if you have some great ideas.