There's something satisfying about a clean environment and knowing that you've taken care of bacteria and viruses that can be found on many surfaces in your home. It can be as simple as choosing the best essential oil for chemical-free cleaning. There are many recipes that can take care of the same germs as commercial cleaners, but skip chemicals for something much healthier.

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There’s something satisfying about a clean environment and knowing that you’ve taken care of bacteria and viruses that can be found on many surfaces in your home. It can be as simple as choosing the best essential oil for chemical-free cleaning. There are many recipes that can take care of the same germs as commercial cleaners, but skip chemicals for something much healthier.

The Top 8 Essential Oils for Chemical Free Cleaner

1. Lemon

Just about every cleaning product comes in a lemon scent. It isn’t just the smell that reminds people of clean, but lemon oil itself is also a cleaning agent. Lemon oil is actually pressed from the outer peel, not the fruit. It has antibacterial properties and can be used to kill food-borne bacteria, fungus and other microbes that can live on surfaces in our homes and particularly our kitchens. Adding 40 drops of lemon oil with 20 drops of tea tree oil in water with a bit of vinegar can be a kitchen cleaner to replace bleach and alcohol. (1)

2. Wild Orange

Increasing recognition of the harshness of chemicals has led to testing out what has been occurring naturally around us and how we can use essential oils in cleaning our homes and protecting ourselves from germs. Wild orange oil is one of the citrus family oils which can clean away grease as well as possessing antimicrobial and antifungal properties. This is due to a substance called terpenes which are a natural occurrence in many plants. Orange oil has been found to have a significant effect on inhibiting the growth of bacteria, both as an oil and as an aromatic mist. (2)

3. Peppermint

Choosing peppermint oil to clean around the kitchen can not only help keep surfaces bacteria free but help repel common pests like ants. It has long been used as a breath freshener and to help kill the bacteria and fungus that grows in the mouth. (3)

Using it as a part of a mix for cleaning allows the menthol in the peppermint to work at preventing the spread of viruses and bacteria on surfaces in your home. The scent has also been shown to increase energy and mental clarity, so the smell may give you the energy to clean some more. (4)

4. Cypress

Not only do the cypress trees make beautiful hedges with a mild and pleasant evergreen smell, but oil produced from their needles has also been found to have significant antiseptic and antibacterial properties. (5) This oil can be used to kill foodborne pathogens in the kitchen, but also other bacteria found in other parts of your house. (6) This oil blends well with lemon and lavender, creating a mix that invigorates and calms while it cleans. Combine equal parts water and cleaning vinegar with 10-20 drops of each oil to create a cleaning solution for the solid surfaces in your home.

5. Eucalyptus

Eucalyptus is one of my favorite oils. It was used to treat fungal infections and disinfect wounds. Studies show that it is effective against all types of bacteria, so it is versatile when it comes to being used as a cleaning ingredient. (7) Adding 20 drops to water can create a freshening spray that kills airborne bacteria as well as a smell that energizes. (8) Eucalyptus is a popular oil to relieve breathing and help with decongestion. Misting it in the air will not only kill the germs that cause infections but help you breathe easier during the cold season.

6. Tea Tree

Over 70 years of research has been done testing all the myriad properties of tea tree oil. It has the documented ability to kill bacteria and fungus. (9) I think tea tree oil may be one of the most versatile oils I’ve ever used. I’ve used it to treat acne caused by bacteria and to help wounds heal faster. When used in conjunction with eucalyptus, the solution can clean away the most common bacteria in your house. It can be mixed with water to create a spray that can be sprayed directly on counter surfaces or on floors before mopping.

7. Rosemary

This herb was considered sacred in parts of the ancient world. In the modern world, it is part of many cleaning products, including those for skin and hair, due to its antiseptic properties. Because of its long time use, researchers have studied its antibacterial properties. (10) Mixing with other oils that share the same properties can be helpful in taking care of all the possible germs you might have in your home. Mix 10-20 drops of rosemary and clove oil with water to create a spray that can be used on counters and carpets. The scent is also energizing as well.

8. Black Pepper

This spice not only flavors your food, but it has well-researched effects on viruses like e. coli, salmonella, and s. aureus, viruses which cause a whole host of health issues, especially for digestion. It has been used to treat infections both internally and externally for centuries. (11, 12) Much like its flavor, its aroma is spicy as well, but it can be mixed with other antiseptic essential oils to make the smell milder. Mix 10-20 drops with water to make a spray that you can use directly on solid surfaces and wipe clean.

My Experience for Essential Oil Chemical-Free Cleaning

I’m working on teaching my children that helping to clean the house is a part of being family, not just an extra chore we ask them to carry out every so often. This cleaning often includes the least favorite, but most germ-filled, rooms in the house: the bathroom and the kitchen.

I have no problem with expected my kids to do some work. My problem comes from the chemical-laden cleaning products I’d been using myself. Most of them contain things with words that are 20 more syllables long and require full hazmat clothing to use. And it seems that everything contains bleach, which is a fairly strong acid. That makes it good at killing things that cause illness, but it also irritates the eyes, the skin, your lungs with hazardous fumes, and can be a significant poison to have sitting around on your bathroom shelf.

Water is a universal solvent and completely neutral, unlike acidic bleach or those other chemical irritants. You can also use a bit of vinegar mixed with it to create a super mild acid for more germ-killing ability. My cleaning spray for the kitchen and bathroom is just filtered water and 20 drops each eucalyptus, peppermint, and tea tree oil. Safe enough for my kids to work with and some of the best antibacterial oils available. Sometimes I even use more peppermint, so my kitchen ends up smelling like a candy cane factory.

I don’t have to scrub any harder than I do with other cleaners either. I let touch spots soak a little longer and then wipe it right up. My kids love the scent and don’t even realize that all that wonderful peppermint aroma is also helping to energize them to clean a bit more. I call that a win-win.

Cleaning Products with Essential Oils Recommended

1. Plant Therapy Germ Fighter Synergy Essential

Plant Therapy Germ Fighter Essential Oil Blend 100% Pure, Undiluted, Natural Aromatherapy,...
  • DEFENSE SHIELD FOR YOUR IMMUNE SYSTEM: Germ Fighter essential oil is a...
  • 100% PURE OIL CRAFTED BY EXPERTS: Our Aromatherapists use only 100%...
  • BATCH SPECIFIC GC-MS REPORTS ON EVERY OIL: Every bottle of oil from...

If you want a pre-prepared mix of some of the best germ-fighting essential oils, then this may be the way to go. A synergy of lemon, rosemary, clove, eucalyptus, and cinnamon, it can easily be mixed with water or vinegar for a spray that can be used on the solid surfaces of your house. It can also be added to a carrier oil for body applications. It is usually recommended to use a ratio of 1 drop oil to 1 tsp of carrier oil. The product is recommended for application to the feet to prevent illness.


2. Thieves Household Cleaner

Thieves Household Cleaner by Young Living, 14.4 Fluid Ounces
  • NATURAL CLEANING SOLUTION: A natural alternative to cleaners with...
  • PLANT-DERIVED FORMULA: We’ve combined plant-based wetting agents...
  • VERSATILE CLEANER: This ultra-concentrated, non-toxic formula can be...

Made to be gentle enough to use around the house with kids and pets, this oil contains clove, lemon, cinnamon, rosemary, and eucalyptus. I can only imagine how good that must smell after spraying it on your counters. It is advertised as a concentrate so you will have to make your own mixes to use in a spray bottle. The top essential oils are already together in this one bottle so just use a little with some water or a water/vinegar mix and spray away. You can even use it in your diffuser to kill any germs in the air.


3. Artizen Cleaning Blend Essential Oil

Artizen Cleaning Blend Essential Oil (100% Pure & Natural - Undiluted) Therapeutic Grade - Huge 1oz...
  • 100% Pure & Natural Cleaning Blend Essential Oil - What sets Artizen...
  • Don't Fall Victim To Cheap Diluted Cleaning Blend Oil - Most of the...
  • Most 4 Ounce Cleaning Blend Oils Contain Less Than 1/3 Of Natural Oil...

A synergy pre-made with some of the best oils for germ killing in the office or at home. Lemon and lemongrass leave behind that familiar clean smell that you associate with commercial cleaners without any of the chemicals you can’t pronounce. Additional rosemary, eucalyptus, lavender, and tea tree oils contribute their antiseptic ability as well. This is a concentration that can be added to water in your own spray bottle and ready to help keep your home germ free. A few drops in your diffuser can help prevent those airborne germs from spreading further as well.



I hope that this list has given you the inspiration needed to change out some of those harsh chemical cleaners in your house and to try making your own with a few drops of essential oil and just a bit of water. You’ll kill germs and leave behind the benefits of many oils. Please be sure to share this if you want your friends and family to enjoy a cleaner home with a more pleasant scent and the same germ-killing ability. Good for you and for your environment at the same time.