Maybe you’re a neat-freak, or maybe your tendency toward clutter makes you a candidate for an upcoming episode of “HOARDERS.”  Most of us tend somewhere toward the middle, and essential oils for cleaning can make housekeeping healthier and happier.

Essential oils for cleaning have been part of human culture for centuries. The Romans, for example, added essential oil of Lavender to the water when visiting the public baths, not only for the delightful floral aroma but also for the flower’s mild antibacterial properties. The word “lavender” is derived from the Latin verb, “lavare”, meaning to wash.

Lavender is beloved universally as a gentle botanical cleanser, which is why it’s a core ingredient in many Essio aromatherapy blends. It’s also a traditional choice for massage therapists and other wellness practitioners. When inhaled as microparticles, the purifying floral essence of Lavender is also considered to have a calming, restorative effect, making it one of the most popular essential oils for cleaning as well as a classic ingredient for bathing and personal toiletries.

In the past couple of decades, science has made us aware of the fact that our world is a seething, teeming stew of microbes– bacteria, viruses, fungi, yeasts and more. This awareness, and our consciousness of disease transmission, has upped the ante when it comes to cleaning. For instance, powerful antibacterial hand-wipes and gels are part of daily life now. Today, our hands are probably cleaner than the hands of surgeons a century ago.

No one wants to tangle with strep or staph or any of the other nasty bugs which may proliferate on public surfaces and shared objects. So our commercial household cleansers have become more and more aggressive, more effective– and potentially more toxic.

Killing germs is a noble thing, and of course you want to blast those wriggling, wiggling, jiggling microscopic carriers of ill will into that big Petri dish in the sky. But essential oils for cleaning offer a kinder, gentler approach that won’t make your eyes water and won’t put harsh chemicals into the water supply when you dump it down the drain.

Peppermint, Eucalyptus, Lavender and Citrus essential oils for cleaning all have refreshing and mildly antibacterial properties. When used daily, these natural cleansers can keep your home, office and car sparkling and smelling fresh, and leave a smaller, greener “footprint” in terms of eco impact.

Another green tip: use newspapers instead of paper towels when cleaning your windows. But– wait until the newspapers are at least TWO DAYS old.  In this sense, a bit of hoarding may be good!  Keep those old newspapers for a while, since the ink is not completely set, or dry, for at least two days. It’s a great way to recycle yesterday’s news.

Basket coffee filters made from recycled paper (unused, nach) are also another product which can be used to clean windows. And to make sure that you’re not wasting paper, cleanser, or your time and elbow-grease, touch your windows before you start cleaning. If the pane is hot– i.e., if there’s direct sun streaming in– the window is too hot to clean. Clean your windows when they are cool to the touch, to prevent streaking.