Refresh Your Home and Pet-Friendly Space: Spring Cleaning Hacks with Essential Oils
Spring is in the air, and with it comes the perfect opportunity to refresh our homes and create a clean, inviting space for both ourselves and our dogs. As pet owners, it's essential to consider the products we use during our spring cleaning routine, as many conventional cleaners can contain harmful chemicals that may negatively impact our pets' health. That's where products like vinegar and essential oils come in handy, offering a toxin free and pet-friendly alternative to traditional cleaning products. Plus you'll benefit from some aromatherapy too!

Also, let me share a little secret with you: you don't necessarily need to use essential oils in your cleaning routine, you can invest in a few products and get cleaning with out them, but why not? Essential oils not only add a delightful aroma to your cleaners, but many of them have also been studied for their germ-fighting capabilities. So, why not boost your cleaning with some extra power and a pleasant scent? Whether you're using lemon for its fresh fragrance and natural wellness properties or tea tree oil as its been studied for antifungal and antiviral qualities, essential oils can elevate your cleaning experience. So go ahead, add a few drops of your favorite essential oil to your homemade cleaners and enjoy the benefits of a fresh, clean home with a touch of aromatherapy.

My top natural cleaning substitutes include baking soda, vinegar, hydrogen peroxide, Castile soap, and of course, essential oils-lol! 

-Baking soda, with its gentle abrasive properties, is commonly used for scrubbing surfaces and absorbing odors. 

-Vinegar is prized for its acidic nature, which makes it effective at cutting through grease and disinfecting surfaces. 

-Hydrogen peroxide is known for its antibacterial and antifungal properties, making it a powerful disinfectant. 

-Castile soap, made from vegetable oils, is a versatile cleaner that is gentle yet effective on a variety of surfaces, as well as your hands. 

-Essential oils add a fabulous aroma and many have been studied for properties that go hand in hand with cleaning. This review on titled 'Essential Oils as Antimicrobial Agents-Myth or Real Alternative?' states that "According to available papers and patents, EOs seem to be a potential alternative to synthetic compounds".

These natural alternatives are popular choices for eco-conscious individuals seeking safer and more sustainable cleaning solutions.

Hands down, the number one thing to do when it comes to cleaning is to start with the basics: soap and water. It's simple, effective, and readily available. Many times, we underestimate the power of this duo. Interestingly, many labels on harsh chemical cleaners advise you to clean the surface first with soap and water, which effectively removes organic matter. This step alone can significantly improve the efficacy of any cleaner that follows. 

Ah, let's talk about Castile soap, my absolute favorite when it comes to soap. Originating from the Castile region of Spain, this gentle soap has been prized for centuries for its purity and versatility. What sets Castile soap apart is its simple yet effective formula, typically made from 100% plant-based oils like olive oil or hemp oil.

Unlike many commercial soaps that contain harsh detergents, synthetic additives, and artificial fragrance, Castile soap is incredibly gentle on the skin, making it suitable for even the most sensitive individuals. Its moisturizing properties leave your hands feeling soft and nourished, without any drying or irritation. Plus, it's biodegradable and environmentally friendly, making it a sustainable choice for both your home and the planet. 

Whether used for handwashing, body cleansing, or household cleaning, Castile soap is a true multitasker that's as gentle as it is effective. Once you try it, you'll wonder how you ever lived without it!

However, if you do feel the need for something extra, my next choice is vinegar. Vinegar is a versatile, natural cleaner that can tackle a variety of surfaces and stains with ease, making it a staple in my cleaning arsenalTo make your own vinegar cleaner, simply mix equal parts distilled white vinegar and water in a spray bottle. Super easy-right?!

Of course, I would then also add one of my favorite essential oils, such as tea tree oil or lemon oil, for added cleaning properties and a pleasant scent. Shake the bottle well to mix the ingredients, and voila! You have a homemade cleaner that's safe, effective, and eco-friendly. Use it to clean surfaces throughout your home, from kitchen countertops to bathroom sinks. With this simple recipe, you can clean your home with confidence, knowing that you're using a natural cleaner that's tough on germs but gentle on the environment and safe for you and your pets!

However, there are a few surfaces where vinegar should be avoided. It's not recommended for use on natural stone countertops like granite or marble, as the acidity can dull or etch the surface. Plain ol' soap and water is fine for those surfaces. 

Avoid using vinegar on unsealed grout, as its acidic nature can weaken and deteriorate the grout over time. Instead, opt for a gentle yet effective solution like a baking soda paste. Simply mix baking soda and water until a paste forms, then apply it to the grout lines for safe and efficient cleaning.

Additionally, vinegar should not be used on electronic screens such as TVs or smartphones, as it can damage protective coatings. Simply use a damp microfiber cloth instead. 

Say goodbye to harsh chemical bleach and hello to a safer, more eco-friendly alternative. Enter hydrogen peroxide, a powerful yet gentle bleach alternative that's perfect for brightening whites, disinfecting surfaces, and tackling tough stains. Unlike traditional bleach, hydrogen peroxide breaks down into water and oxygen, leaving behind no harmful residues. It's particularly effective for removing stains from clothing, whitening grout, and disinfecting kitchen and bathroom surfaces. Plus, it's safe to use around pets and won't harm the environment. 

If I had to choose just one product to eliminate from my cleaning routine, it would undoubtedly be bleach. I always wondered why I got a headache when I would use bleach. Then I noticed my dogs would avoid the area like the plague. Then I started reading my labels, and, well- its scary stuff on the back of your bleach bottle! Not only is bleach harmful to our health and the environment, but its harsh chemicals can also cause respiratory issues and skin irritation. Moreover, bleach releases toxic fumes, posing a serious risk to indoor air quality. It's easy to opt for a safer and more eco-friendly alternative like hydrogen peroxide. 

I love creating my own bleach alternative recipe using hydrogen peroxide and the uplifting scent of lemon essential oil. It's simple yet effective, providing a safe and natural way to disinfect surfaces. To make this recipe, I mix equal parts hydrogen peroxide and water in a spray bottle. Then, for an extra boost of power and a delightful fragrance, I add 20 drops of lemon essential oil for every 2 cups of the solution. 

Before we dive into my favorite essential oils for cleaning, let's have a chat about the quality of essential oils. It's true, not all essential oils are created equal. A recent study published in the Journal of Essential Oil Research (JEOR) sheds light on this issue. The study analyzed 41 authentic lavender essential oil samples from trusted producers and research partners worldwide. Comparing these findings to 12 commercially available samples, the study made a startling discovery: 9 out of 12 (75 percent) of the commercially available samples were adulterated. 

This means they showed signs of potential dilution or the addition of another oil as a substitute. Now, our goal here is to clean our homes with safe and natural products, right? We're aiming to rid our living spaces of harmful chemicals, not add more to the mix. That's why choosing a high-quality and pure essential oil is absolutely paramount. 

Sure, it might cost a bit more upfront, but here's the kicker: these oils are super concentrated plant extracts, so a little goes a long way. Investing in quality ensures that you're getting the real deal and maximizing the benefits of these powerful natural extracts. It's all about quality over quantity when it comes to using essential oils.

My Favorite Essential Oils for Spring Cleaning

1. Lemon Essential Oil: Lemon oil is well known as a powerful ingredient for cleaning. Lemon essential oil has even been studied for cleaning! Plus, its fresh citrus scent helps to uplift the mood and leave your home smelling clean and fresh.

2. Tea Tree Essential Oil: Tea tree oil, also known as melaleuca oil, has been studied as a potent antiseptic and antifungal agent, making it an excellent choice for cleaning surfaces in bathrooms and kitchens. Tea tree oil has been mentioned in many articles about helping to combat mold, mildew, and bacteria, making it a versatile choice for household cleaning.

3. Lavender Essential Oil: Lavender oil not only has a calming and relaxing aroma, perfect for a multiple dog household, but it also has been studied for its antifungal properties. It's great for freshening up laundry, deodorizing carpets, and adding a pleasant and relaxing scent to homemade cleaning products. 

4. Pine Essential Oil: Pine oil has a fresh, forest-like aroma and is synonymous with the aroma of cleaning (think Pine-Sol™). It has also been studied for its antimicrobial and anti fungal properties, making it an excellent choice for adding to DIY cleaning products and freshening up the air in your home.

5. Eucalyptus Essential Oil: Eucalyptus oil is known for its fresh, clean aroma and its ability to help support breathing and purify the air, making it another ideal choice for DIY cleaning products and freshening up your home.

Let's take charge of our health and environment by gradually replacing conventional products with safer, natural alternatives. Making small adjustments to our daily cleaning routine allows us to reduce exposure to harmful toxins and prioritize overall well-being. It's a simple yet impactful way to safeguard our health and the planet. Safety is key, especially in homes with pets. Many commercial cleaning products contain harsh chemicals that pose risks to both humans and animals. In contrast, safer products like vinegar, hydrogen peroxide, and essential oils can provide a gentle yet potent solution for cleaning without endangering us or our fur kids!

By the way, remember the importance of quality when it comes to essential oils? I invite you to check out my go-to source for essential oils, Young Living. With their Seed to Seal™ guarantee, there's no chance of adulteration here. I've also curated a bundle of these essential oils, making it easy for you to revamp your cleaning routine with natural ingredients. And if you're not one for DIY projects, be sure to check out Thieves™ Cleaner . It's incredibly concentrated, yielding up to twenty nine 16 oz. cleaning bottles from just one concentrate, actually making it cheaper than what you'll find in the store—wow! Click HERE to learn more and start your journey to a healthier home. 


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