A big part of my transition to a zero waste lifestyle has been ditching store-bought cleaners and making my own. There are a lot of ingredients I rely upon to do this, but deodorizing and disinfecting essential oils are one of my favorites. These are my picks for the best essential oils for cleaning your kitchen and some ways that I use them in my home.
(A quick note: the cost of essential oils can add up quickly, but since you’re only using a few drops at a time, they’ll last you a while. Some trustworthy brands are NOW, Aura Cacia, Edens Garden, and Plant Therapy.)
My Favorite Essential Oils for Cleaning the Kitchen
When you’re choosing essential oils for cleaning your kitchen, you’re looking for two main things: essential oils that deodorize and essential oils that kill germs. I’m not a fan of flowery scents in the kitchen, so when it comes to deodorizing, I stick to herbaceous and citrus scents. Most disinfecting essential oils kill bacteria only, but there are some essential oils that have antiviral components too.
Lemon Essential Oil for Cleaning
What It Does – If you are going to invest in one essential oil for cleaning your kitchen, make it lemon oil. It’s antifungal, antiseptic, anti-infective, antiviral and the fresh lemony scent is great for deodorizing too.
How to Use It – Add 10 drops of lemon essential oil to 2 cups of unscented castile soap for a delightfully effective dish soap. To make a lemon floor cleaner for tile, combine 1/4 cup of Borax with 1 gallon of hot water and 10 drops of lemon essential oil.
Buy It – NOW Foods Lemon Essential Oil, $6.30
Tea Tree Oil for Cleaning
What It Does – Tea tree oil is another powerhouse when it comes to essential oils for cleaning, but I use it judiciously in the kitchen because the scent is so strong. Tea tree essential oil is antibacterial, antifungal, antimicrobial, antiseptic, and antiviral.
How to Use It – To make a disinfecting kitchen spray, combine 10 drops of tea tree oil with 2 cups of hot water and 1/2 cup of vinegar in a spray bottle and shake well. (Don’t use on marble or granite though!)
Buy It – Aura Cacia Tea Tree Oil, $5.04
Clove Oil for Cleaning
What It Does – Oil of clove is strong stuff and when it comes to stubborn odors, nothing works quite like it.
How to Use It – Combine 2 tablespoons of vinegar, 1 1/2 cups of water, and 5 drops of clove oil in a spray bottle. I spray this in the garbage can to prevent odors.
Buy It – Plant Therapy Clove Bud Oil, $8.50
Grapefruit Essential Oil for Cleaning
What It Does – The bright, citrusy scent of grapefruit makes it ideal for freshening the air in your kitchen and it’s antiseptic too.
How to Use It – In a glass mister bottle, combine 1 cup of distilled water with 1/2 cup of vodka and 15 drops of grapefruit essential oil for an uplifting air freshener.
Buy It – Edens Garden Grapefruit Essential Oil, $10.45
Peppermint Essential Oil for Cleaning
What It Does – Peppermint oil is antibacterial, antifungal, antiseptic, and antiviral. Just be sure to use it sparingly or it will make your whole kitchen smell like mint!
How to Use It – Peppermint essential oil is my favorite for dealing with ants. I put it on cotton balls and place them wherever ants are coming into the kitchen; the scent deters them from entering.
Buy It – Aura Cacia Peppermint Essential Oil, $4.42
Rosemary Essential Oil for Cleaning
What It Does – If you want the all-purpose strength of tea tree essential oil for cleaning, but you’re not a fan of the smell, try rosemary essential oil instead. It’s antibacterial, antifungal, anti-infective, antimicrobial, and antiseptic.
How to Use It – If the outside of your microwave is smeared with fingerprints and grease, try wiping it down with a combination of 1/4 cup vinegar and 5 drops of rosemary essential oil.
Buy It – NOW Foods Rosemary Essential Oil, $8.27
Lavender Essential Oil for Cleaning
What It Does – Don’t let its mild scent fool you–lavender essential oil is antifungal, antiseptic, and anti-infective.
How to Use It – You can make your own dishwasher powder by combing 2 cups of washing soda with 1 cup of Borax and 20 drops of lavender oil; use 2 tablespoons of powder for every load of dishes you wash.
Buy It – NOW Foods Lavender Essential Oil, $7.29
Disinfecting Essential Oil Blend for Cleaning
What It Does – Most essential oil brands have their own disinfecting essential oil blend, the most well-known being Thieves Oil. I recommend Nature’s Shield from NOW and Cleaning from Edens Garden.
How to Use It – To make a germ-fighting all-purpose cleaner, combine 1/4 cup vinegar with 1 3/4 cup distilled water and 20 drops of your disinfecting essential oil blend.
Buy It – Edens Garden Cleaning, $18.45
Do you use essential oils for cleaning your kitchen? Which are your faves?
Note of caution: Essential oils are highly concentrated liquids that can be harmful if not used carefully and properly. Keep essential oils out of reach of children.