Essential Oils: One of the most concerning things about commercial cleaners is their use of synthetic fragrances, which almost always contain toxic ingredients that aren’t required by law to be listed on the bottle. That doesn’t mean that your natural alternatives have to be unscented, though—this is where essential oils come in!
Essential oil are an easy and nontoxic way to make your home smell amazing, and some oils even have antibacterial, antifungal, and therapeutic properties and can be used as natural and effective pest repellents. The use of essential oils in natural cleaning is completely optional. While oils do have benefits, all the DIY recipes in this article will work just fine without them.
Ten Essential Oils Most Commonly Used in Natural Cleaning
Use essential oil safely: do not ingest essential oils, and be careful using them around children and pets, especially birds and cats. Most of the oils recommended in this book, including lemon, lavender, and tea tree, are safe for children. Peppermint and eucalyptus oils may cause breathing issues in children under 6 years of age. Citrus essential oils, including lemon, lime, orange, grapefruit, and bergamot, can cause photosensitivity in children and adults, which means they can cause skin to be sensitive to UV rays for hours after coming in contact with your skin.
Birds shouldn’t be around essential oil at all, and cats are extremely sensitive, as they cannot metabolize certain compounds in essential oils. Even diffusing certain oils around cats can be harmful. If the oil gets on their bodies, they will ingest it when they clean themselves. Essential oils that are known to be toxic to cats include cinnamon, citrus (lemon, grapefruit, orange, etc.), clove, eucalyptus, pennyroyal, peppermint, pine, sweet birch, tea tree (melaleuca), wintergreen, and ylang-ylang, though other essential oils may also be unsafe.
Symptoms of poisoning include drooling, vomiting, difficulty walking, tremors, and respiratory issues. If your cat accidentally ingests any essential oil, contact your veterinarian immediately. If you have a cat, it may be best to avoid using any essential oils in your home. Simply omit the oils in the cleaning recipes in this book, or use safe alternatives such as vanilla extract or citrus juices and peels. Dogs may also be sensitive to certain essential oils. Oils known to be toxic to dogs include cinnamon, citrus, pennyroyal, peppermint, pine, sweet birch, tea tree (melaleuca), wintergreen, and ylang-ylang. The safest oils are cardamom, chamomile, lavender, spearmint, and thyme. Please consult your veterinarian for more guidance on using essential oils around your pets.
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