No matter how often you scrub, mop and spray during the winter months, by the time spring rolls around it always feels like the house needs a good top to bottom cleaning.
You know the one where you finally get to throw open the windows, let the fresh air in and blow the winter blahs away.
Spring cleaning usually means hauling out the heavy-duty, chemical filled cleaners. But do me a favor. Put the spray bottle down for a moment and keep reading.
I’ve written to you about the superbug problem many times before. So you know overusing antibiotics is bad news.
But what you might not realize is many common household cleaners are contributing to the problem too.
Commercial cleaners make spring cleaning risky
When researchers at the National University of Ireland tested benzalkonium chloride, a disinfectant found in many name brand cleaning products, on a common germ something shocking happened.
When it was exposed to small amounts of the cleaner, the bug grew stronger and stronger. Eventually the bacteria earned superbug status by becoming 400 times more resistant to the disinfectant than the original strain of the bug.
Even worse, the mutated bug turned out to be resistant to the “last resort” antibiotic Ciprofloxacin.
And bacterial resistance isn’t the only problem. Common cleaning products often contain chemicals which are linked to respiratory problems, environmental issues and even cancer.
In other words, that chemical disinfectant you’re about to use is bad news.
Essential oils make spring cleaning a breeze
Not cleaning your home isn’t an option of course. But don’t worry there’s a much safer and still effective alternative. Natural plant extracts, or essential oils.
And if you’re worried about them not getting the job done, don’t. Scientists say they’re the real deal. In fact, they’ve even held their own in a head to head test against an antibiotic. And have been proven effective against salmonella.
So for this year’s spring cleaning why not go ahead and make the switch?
Following are our top five picks for the best essential oils for cleaning your home.
1. Tea tree oil:
If you’re only going to use one essential oil for cleaning, make it tea tree oil. According to the University of California, this plant extract is antibacterial, antiviral and antifungal. Plus it’s effective at killing dust mites.
Add 30 to 40 drops of tea tree oil to two cups of distilled water, white vinegar, or a combination of both. Shake and spray. No matter what the job tea tree oil can handle it. Kitchens, bathrooms, linoleum floors, even windows (especially if you’re using a vinegar mixture), this spray will get it done.
2. Lemongrass oil:
A study published in the Tropical Journal of Pharmaceutical Research reports that lemongrass oil is powerful enough to fight staph bacteria, a common cause of infections.
To take your all-purpose tea-tree cleaner to the next step add 30 to 40 drops of lemongrass essential oil to the mix.
3. Peppermint oil:
Some folks find the scent of tea-tree oil to be a little strong. If you prefer something a little softer, try peppermint oil. A natural antibacterial, peppermint oil makes an excellent household cleaner. Researchers from Brazil proved that peppermint is especially effective against salmonella, bacteria that can cause serious food poisoning.
For a deep spring cleaning, use a mixture of peppermint oil and vinegar on all of your kitchen surfaces including the countertops, stove and microwave. Spray on and allow the mix to sit for 20 minutes before rinsing with clean water.
4. Cinnamon oil:
It’s been a particularly rough flu season this year, so it’s important to disinfect as well as remove dirt. Cinnamon oil can help you do that. Researchers have found that cinnamon oil a powerful weapon against E.coli, staph, strep and flu bugs. Experts say it’s even effective against resistant superbugs.
To make an antimicrobial cleaning spray mix 25 drops of cinnamon oil with one cup of distilled water and one cup of white vinegar.
5. Lavender oil:
For a home that smells springtime fresh and is springtime clean, go with lavender oil. The American College of Healthcare Sciences recommends it for cleaning, disinfecting and deodorizing everything from your carpets and laundry to your kitchen and bathroom.
It’s a natural antibacterial, so it can kill the germs you need it to. And it will give your house a fresh springtime scent to help shake off the winter doldrums.
Kick those chemical cleaners to the curb and switch to essential oils instead. You’ll get all the cleaning power you need without the dangers. For the best results, mix things up and rotate your essential oils.