Summer has arrived. It’s time for barbeques and beach trips, visiting family, backyard cricket and picnics. Along with the heat comes a few challenges for those of us who don’t like using commercial, chemical-filled products on our skin and in our homes. It seems like every product on the supermarket self is full of ingredients that have an equally long list of potential side effects.
Don’t worry! These 5 great uses of essential oils will help you get through this summer without opening your home up to a concoction of chemicals from the supermarket shelves.
1. Keep the Mosquitos Away
There are a few top contenders for the worst thing about summer. Some people say the heat, others hate flies, or having a car full of sand after a trip to the beach. For me, it’s the mozzies! And my second least favourite thing is mozzie spray. I’m not a fan of the harsh chemicals in commercial mosquito repellent. Who hasn’t had the experience of inhaling bug spray when someone has sprayed it a little too close to the picnic table? Not fun!
Luckily, there’s a natural alternative. There is a whole list of essential oils that mosquitos just can’t stand! Lavender, mint, lemongrass and citronella are some of the best oils to keep the tiny vampires at bay. There are a few ways to make use of this knowledge: The easiest way is to add a few drops of lavender or mint, or lemongrass and citronella to your rinse cycle when you do laundry. Or, for a DIY mosquito repellent, follow this recipe.
2. Protect Your Wooden Furniture
Summer can be tough on your outdoor wooden furniture. The combination of heat and summer storms can leave your tables and chairs looking worse for wear. Did you know that certain essential oils can help hydrate and protect wooden furniture? Lemon, Sweet Orange or Cedarwood essential oils can be added to a DIY furniture polish to keep your furniture fresh and safe.
You will need:
• ½ cup sweet almond oil
• ⅛ cup of beeswax pastilles or grated beeswax
• 10-15 drops lemon or orange essential oil
See the full instructions here, to make a DIY wood furniture polish.
3. Deal With Sticky Stuff
The after-Christmas period often involves a lot of clean up, and sometimes it’s all just a bit… sticky. Getting stubborn stickers or labels off presents can be a nightmare that ends with either scratched gifts or chipped fingernails. And if you’ve opted for a real pine Christmas tree, the sticky pine residue can get everywhere. While the pine smell may fill you with peace and joy, trying to get the sticky sap off your furniture will not!
The good news is, Orange essential oil is excellent at dissolving sticky substances. Because orange is acidic, this essential oil will let you remove sticky residue with ease. Just dip a cloth in some orange essential oil and rub it on the residue. Give it a few minutes to soften, and then you should be able to wipe it off.
4. Neutralise Road Trip Smells
For many, summer is a time for road trips. Travelling to see family, camping, beach trips, or trips to the airport. If you’re stuck in the car with kids or pets, smells are bound to happen, and the heat will only make things worse. Buy a car diffuser that plugs into the cigarette lighter, and add your essential oil of choice. As well as being less overwhelming than standard car fresheners, essential oils can also help you stay alert and relaxed on long or stressful car trips. Use lavender for a calming scent, peppermint to stay alert, and lemon or eucalyptus to neutralise odours. Eucalyptus has the added benefit of being great at clearing your sinuses and helping you breathe easier if you’re travelling with a cold.
5. Clean Your Bathroom the Natural Way
It’s likely that during the Christmas/New Year/School holiday period you tend to have more guests visiting your home than at other times. That means it’s super important to make sure your bathroom is clean and tidy. Here are some DIY recipes to help you keep your bathroom fresh and clean.
This spray is great to give your toilet a thorough clean – the natural way. You’ll need the following:
• 1/2 cup baking soda
• 1/3 cup liquid dishwashing soap
• 1/4 cup hydrogen peroxide
• 30 drops eucalyptus essential oil
• 3/4 cup water
Mix it all together in a spray bottle. To use, simply spray the toilet bowl, scrub with a brush and leave the mixture to soak for 20 minutes. Once it's had some time to sit, just scrub the toilet and flush.
Everyday Shower Spray
This shower spray is great to prevent the buildup of soap scum in your shower. Cleaning the shower is my all-time least-favourite chore, so this shower spray is a lifesaver!
• 1/2 cup vodka or rubbing alcohol
• 1 cup water
• 10 drops peppermint essential oil
• glass spray bottle
Just mix and store in the spray bottle, and spray the shower or bath daily after use.
Easy Bathroom Freshener
This simple air freshener just uses the toilet roll! So easy. Here’s what you’ll need:
• Your favourite essential oil scent
• A roll of toilet paper
Seriously, that’s it! Just add a few drops of essential oil to the inside of the toilet roll. When the roll is turned, it will release more scent into the air, keeping your bathroom smelling fresh and clean.
There you have it! 5 ways to use essential oils to get your home and your family through summer without resorting to chemical-laden products.
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