8 Natural Cleaning Recipes With Essential Oils (That Actually Work!)

Potent essential oils make for powerful, germ-killing cleaners without nasty chemicals.

May 3, 2017
DIY household cleaning sprays and essential oil bottles
Janine Lamontagne/Getty

Here's a dirty little secret: The standard way of cleaning your home has a pretty murky health record. The majority of cleaners on store shelves contain hazardous materials you won't always find on the label, which is probably why more and more people are opting for DIY cleaning recipes, specifically, those with essential oils.

(Whether you're starting your first garden or switching to organic, Rodale's Basic Organic Gardening has all the answers and advice you need—get your copy today!)


For sparkling rooms that also deliver a little aromatherapy treatment, try making easy household cleaners from herb-based essential oils like lemon and tea tree. Lemon essential oil is a potent deodorizer, and is great for countertops. Tea tree is one of the best multipurpose oils for air sprays and works wonders on high-traffic floors. Peppermint can be used as a mild pest repellant, and lavender adds a calming air to the cleaning process. These essential oils are plants in their purest, distilled form, and can help get a room clean and deliver a soothing scent. (Keep in mind to avoid potential pitfalls, too. Here are 7 mistakes you're making with essential oils.) 

It's importan to clean up our cleaning habits, because the ironic twist of modern-day cleaning is that when we use most store-bought cleaners, we're unknowingly polluting our indoor air—oftentimes creating indoor air quality worse than that around a polluted highway! (Read more on the steps you should take to detox the air in your home.) It's not just our lungs that at risk, either. Using the antibacterial chemicals found in soaps and sprays can actually encourage pathogens to colonize in our noses, according to a study published in the journal mBioForget all of the bleach, ammonia, triclosan, and harsh solvents. For most households, Mother Nature is powerful enough to handle the scum and germs that plague our tubs, countertops, and floors.

We turned to the good folks at Mountain Rose Herbs, an herb and pure essential oils provider recommended by Rodale herbal experts, to share some of their herbal wisdom and favorite essential oil DIY cleaning recipes for every room. 


Related: The Only 10 Things You Need To Buy To Make All Of Your Own Cleaning Products

lavender oil

Super Surface Spray

Use this aromatic and disinfecting solution for cleaning kitchen counters, cabinets, refrigerator shelves, blinds, painted wood surfaces, painted walls, molding, fan blades, and more.


7 ounces distilled white vinegar 
7 ounces water
7 drops tea tree essential oil
7 drops lavender essential oil
7 drops lemon essential oil

Mix all of the ingredients together in a 16-ounce spray bottle (We recommend a glass bottle like this one to cut down on some of the plastic.)

Antibacterial Soap Spray 

Use this cleaning spray to disinfect your bathroom surfaces. You can use the Super Surface Spray (mentioned above) to rinse away any residue left behind by the castile soap.


14 ounces water or rosemary hydrosol
3 Tablespoons castile soap (We recommend Dr. Bronner's
15 drops tea tree essential oil
15 drops oregano essential oil

Mix all of the ingredients together in a 16-ounce spray bottle.

Related: Natural Cleaning Products That Actually Work

Refreshing Linen Spray

Spray to refresh your mattress, pillows, bed linens, couches, and fabric-covered chairs, or spritz clean winter blankets before storing them for the year. It also makes a wonderful ironing spray!

3 ounces unflavored vodka
12 drops lavender, ylang ylang, peppermintorange, or another favorite-smelling essential oil
12 ounces organic hydrosol of your choice

Mix all of the ingredients together in a 16-ounce spray bottle.

Related: 3 DIY Natural Home Cleaners Just Like Grandma Used To Make

cleaning supplies

Herby Soft Scrub

This clean-scented earthy scrub is perfect for cleaning the bathroom, including your bath tile and toilet. 

½ cup baking soda
½ cup castile soap
15 drops essential oil such as sage or rosemary,which has natural disinfecting and antibacterial qualities

Mix ingredients into a 12-ounce glass jar until you have a nice consistency like cake frosting. If you have leftovers, add 1 teaspoon of vegetable glycerin to keep the blend nice and moist. Be sure to put a lid on the glass jar between uses.

Related: 3 Essential Oils That Can Ease Your Allergies

Tropical Carpet Deodorizer

This handy carpet powder, with its powerhouse of citrus and pungent, disinfecting ginger, will freshen things up in 30 minutes flat. It works wonderfully as a mattress deodorizer, too.

1 cup baking soda
10 drops lemongrass essential oil
10 drops mandarin essential oil
10 drops ginger essential oil

Mix together and sprinkle the aromatic blend onto your carpet, let sit for 30 minutes, and vacuum as normal.

Natural Lemon Furniture Polish

This formula is a natural way to make your furniture shine. 

1 cup organic olive oil
25 drops pure lemon essential oil
¼ cup distilled white vinegar
Purified water

Mix the olive oil, essential oil, and white vinegar together in a 16-ounce spray bottle and fill the remainder of the bottle with purified water. Shake well before each use. Spray onto your rag or directly onto furniture. Buff surfaces dry immediately.


Lemony Wood-Floor Mop Formula

Spray, mop as usual, and quickly buff dry to protect your floors. They will be glossy and clean with a lovely lemon scent. 

½ cup distilled white vinegar
1 teaspoon vegetable glycerin
20 drops lemon essential oil

Mix all the ingredients together in a 20-ounce spray bottle and clean away. 

Mop-It-Up Formula

This is the perfect liquid cleaner for tile floors, vinyl, or linoleum. 

¼ cup castile soap
½ cup distilled white vinegar
20 drops tea tree essential oil
20 drops orange essential oil

Mix the solution with 2 gallons of hot water and mop away the dirt and grime.