Using Essential Oils in the Home

My Introduction to Essential Oils
I first started using essential oils about 1 1/2 years ago when our youngest was getting sick frequently and ending up on breathing treatments. My aunt suggested I use some essential oils to help him because it seemed that every time he "just had a cold" he was having such difficult times breathing that we'd end up in the Urgent Care in the middle of the night. After several trips of having to take him in, it was decided we should just get our own breathing treatment machine at home.  

The breathing treatments seemed to help the symptoms for awhile, but couldn't help his body fight the virus.

On the other hand, once we started using the essential oils, they not only helped with the symptoms, but they seemed to help him recover faster.

I then started exploring essential oils a little bit more and began incorporating them into my laundry detergent and disinfectant counter sprays.

I'm still so new to all the endless possibilities and uses for essential oils that awhile back I asked my friend Karen to share some of her knowledge about essential oils with us. She's going to share why she got started using Essential Oils and some uses for them.

PLUS, at the bottom of the post you can sign up for a webinar through Wellness that will cover the top 12 ailments and health concerns that are common with children and how you can use essential oils to address their illnesses and owies. Brianna and Christy will also give a little background information on essential oils, why purity is so important, and how to start using essential oils in your home.

Contributing Writer, Karen

When I sat down to being this post, the first thing that came to my mind was, "When did I start the change to natural products?"  To answer that question, I need to share a quick story with you. Soon after I was married, my sister’s mother-in-law was diagnosed with breast cancer.
She was told by her doctors she would need to undergo surgery, radiation, and chemotherapy right away, but instead, she and her husband sought after a medical doctor that also specialized in holistic medicine.

After a year of natural treatments, she was given the diagnosis of cancer free, much to the amazement the first doctor who recommended surgery, chemo, and radiation.

After this life changing event, she began to live a more “natural” lifestyle.  It was around this time that my sister challenged me to do a search on conventional cleaners versus homemade cleaners to compare the end result.  I realized after searching that most of the essentials oils used in the natural cleaners were used many years ago before these chemicals were created.  It was through my sister encouraging me that I realized that I wanted to do everything I could to keep my family free of harsh, unnatural chemicals. 

Why Essential Oils?

Essential Oils are a great replacement for modern day cleaners and medicines.  Before I get ahead of myself I should probably give a definition for essential oils!  Essential Oils are simply a concentrated scent extracted from a plant in the form of 100% oil. 

Do not be fooled by the term fragrance oils because they are not the same.  There are many ways of extracting oils from plants.  I typically try to buy oils that are extracted by distillation and extraction because there are no solvents or chemicals used in this process.  It is important to find a good reliable source when purchasing essential oils.

When I sat down and thought about the way I use essential oils, I came up with three different categories: Cleaners, Medicine and Personal Care.

Have you ever had a coughing fit while cleaning your bathroom?  When I used harsh chemicals to clean our bathroom it always resulted in a coughing fit and me opening the windows to help air out the fumes.  I once read that once you smell something it has already arrived in your blood stream.  Could be an old tale, but what became important to me was getting those toxins away from my family.  
There are lots of options for Natural Safe Cleaners. You can find them at Trader Joes, Wholes Foods and even some super center stores!  As a cost saving measure, I have always made my own cleaners with ingredients found in my pantry and a few added essential oils. My favorite oil for cleaning is Tea Tree Oil.  Tea Tree oil kills bacteria, fungus and viruses.   For those of you who are just starting out, Tea Tree oil is a great first oil to buy!

Essential Oil Cleaner Recipes

Here are a few recipes that I like to use, but always remember you should set aside bowls and spoons just for this mixing purpose. 

Stainless Steel Appliances- Olive Oil and Sweet Orange Oil work great to get those impossible streaks off.

Scrubbing- Scent some Baking Soda with Lemon Essential Oil and follow up cleaning with vinegar and water mixed in a spray bottle (The baking soda is mixed with a few drops of lemon oil poured in a glass Parmesan cheese shaker like the kind you see at some pizza places!)  This works great in the toilet bowl, as well. 

Greasy Messes- Vinegar mixed with a few drops of lemon oil in a spray bottle.  Spray and let it sit for a few minutes before cleaning.  Vinegar is a great degreaser. 

All Purpose Disinfecting Cleaner- 2 cups of distilled water (I have hard water at home), 4 tablespoons of liquid castile soap, and 30 drops of tea tree oil.  I use this spray on the counters, tub and shower, door knobs and once even in my car after a family of mice found its way in- yuck!  I have a couple of these spray bottles made in my home with different oils added in depending on where I am using them.  My favorite blend is 20 drops of lavender oil in addition to the tea tree oil.  One of my sisters uses pine oil mixed with hers because it reminds her of Pine Sol.  Other oils I have used are eucalyptus, lemon, peppermint, and thyme. (If you look on the spray bottles of alcohol free natural hand sanitizers, you will see that Thyme oil is the active ingredient!)

Mold Killer- 1 teaspoon Tea Tree Oil, 1 cup water and a scrub brush (old tooth brushes work great on grout).  We had a problem with mildew in our crawl space so we purchased a pint of tea tree oil and put it in a spray bottle to use on the mildew spots and it worked!

Glass and Mirror Cleaner- 3 cups distilled water,  1 cup white vinegar, 1 tsp liquid castile soap, 15 drops lemon oil. (Always shake before use.)

Air Freshener- 1 cup water, 10 drops bergamot oil, 10 drops lavender oil, 10 drops orange oil and 10 drops of sandalwood mixed in a small spray bottle.  Shake before spraying.  During the holiday’s, I like to make up different sprays with ginger, clove, nutmeg, and cinnamon oils.  Another holiday favorite is evergreen and peppermint. Just thinking about it makes me anxious for the holidays!

I read an article by Dr. Mercola entitled, Do You Know What’s in Your Shampoo and what I read really stuck with me!   He says, “When you put shampoo or conditioner onto your scalp, the 20 blood vessels, 650 sweat glands, and 1,000 nerve endings soak in the toxins. The truth is, while you wouldn't ever eat your shampoo, you may actually absorb fewer toxins when you eat something than you do when you apply it to your skin!

According to evidence presented at 1978 Congressional hearings, the absorption of the carcinogen nitrosodiethanolamine (NDELA), which is commonly found in shampoo products, was shown to be more than 100 times greater when exposure came through your skin than via your mouth.
The truth is, when you consume toxins in foods, such as pesticides in fruit and vegetables, the enzymes in your saliva and stomach often break them down and flush them out of your body. Food also passes through your liver and kidneys, so the toxins that make it through are detoxified to varying degrees by enzymes before they reach the remainder of your body.

However, when toxins are absorbed through your skin, they bypass your liver and enter your bloodstream and tissues -- with absolutely no protection whatsoever.”    

So what I took from that article is that anything my family breathes, ingests or absorbs must be as safe and natural as possible!
When the kids are sick, we get out our vaporizer.  Instead of buying the vapor oils with solvents and chemicals in them, I use Eucalyptus oil and/or Thyme oil in the same oil spot.  These are all great natural stimulants for tight coughs.  

One on my biggest fears is when one of our kids get that croupy cough. As a mom I want to do everything I can to help! Chest vapor rubs contain lots of bad solvents (parabens, turpentine, etc.…) that are not safe for anyone’s body, especially little ones!   When my little ones are sick with a tight cough I take 3 tablespoon coconut oil and mix in about 10 drops of eucalyptus oil, 5 drops of thyme oil, and 5 drops of peppermint and then rub it on their chests.
The next time your child gets a small cut or scrape, instead of reaching for the antibacterial ointment, simply mix 1 TBSP coconut oil with 10 drops of tea tree oil. Place on the wound before applying a band aid.  I like to keep some of this ready made in a small container.  

Personal Care

The cost of organic natural personal care products can be expensive so one thing we do is choose the organic baby soap over the $8 bottle of organic lavender scented body wash. And with a little time and a small cost, you can make your own body wash, deodorant, toothpaste, shampoo and foot scrub.   

Two of my personal favorite essential oils for personal care items are Lavender oil and Peppermint Oil. 

I'm sure you'd agree that sometimes as moms we move ourselves to the bottom of the list when it comes to taking care of the people in our family. Well, here's a simple way you can treat yourself and help relieve some of the stress you're probably dealing with in your life.
Foot scrubs

Stir together 1 cup of Epsom Salts, ½ cup of olive oil, 20 drops Peppermint Oil or Lavender Oil.  Soak your feet in warm water and ¼ cup of the foot scrub.  Use the rest of the scrub on the callused areas of your feet.  Follow up with coconut oil mixed with a few drops of lavender or peppermint oil.   Follow up with this foot lotion.  Place 2 T Cocoa Butter, 2 T coconut oil in a small skillet pan and heat until melted (do not use a skillet you use for cooking) or you can microwave it in a glass ramekin until melted. Once melted add the essential oils of your choosing.  I use 10 drops of lavender oil.  Pour into a small jar.  Once it cools it will turn into solid form again. 

Hand Soaps

This next recipe is inexpensive and easy to make!  Fill an empty foaming pump dispenser with 4 T liquid unscented castile soap, 6 ounces water and 10 drops of the essential oil of your choice.  Here are some ideas: lemon oil for the kitchen, tea tree oil, sage oil and lavender oil as an antibacterial soap, sweet orange oil for the laundry room, and peppermint oil for a nice holiday scent.  It is really fun to play around with essentials oils.  Let your nose be your guide!

For unscented baby and toddler soaps, follow the recipe above but do not use any essential oils because of sensitive little eyes and mucous membranes.     

Natural deodorant can be pricey and not wearing deodorant is not an option- I am not that “natural”!  So I decided to give making my own a try. The best recipe I found that works for me was at Whole Foods at the DIY center.  Also, I find that putting some witch hazel under my arms and letting it air dry works really well as a base for all natural deodorants. 

You will need:

2 Tablespoons Baking Soda
6 Tablespoons Cornstarch
2 Tablespoons unrefined Coconut Oil
4 Tablespoons 100% Cocoa Butter (melted)
10-20 drops Your Choice of Essential Oil
15 drops Tea Tree Oil
1 empty, cleaned and dried deodorant container

Mix the baking soda and cornstarch together in a small bowl and set aside.  In another bowl, melt the coconut oil and cocoa butter together and add in essential oils.  Mix the powders into the liquid. Set aside until the oils come back to a solid form and then pour into the deodorant container. 
You need to use the cocoa butter in the deodorant because it will remain in a solid state until 95 degrees.  Coconut Oil will begin melting at 76 degrees.  I found out the hard way and had a big mess in my drawer last summer! 

Baby Wipes

My daughter has sensitive skin so we were never able to buy baby wipes for her. They would always leave her bottom with a rash.  I started making homemade wipes and actually like them better than the store bought ones not to mention I can pronounce all the ingredients in them!   Here is the recipe I used for them:   2 cups of hot water, 1 tsp baby mild castile soap, 2 TBSP coconut oil, 1 drop glycerin and 5 drops of lavender oil. Mix them all together in sealable container large enough to hold a roll of paper towel cup in half.  I usually get out my bread knife and cut through a roll of durable paper towel. Remove the cardboard center and save for crafts with the kids!  Then saturate the paper in the water mixture. Wring out any excess water and wah-lah homemade baby wipes!     
Hair Detangler

I have been desperate to find a chemical-free hair detangler that would actually do what it says on the bottle: detangle hair.  My daughter has very fine curly hair and of course she does not want me to cut it!  Combing her hair has always been a struggle and quite frankly, almost battle at times.  It always begins in tears and ends in snuggling!

So,  I read the ingredients on the back of a few spray in conditioners and went to the kitchen.  After a few trials and errors, I came up with one that I really like for my daughters hair type.

Here is the recipe I use: 
16 oz. Distilled Water 

2 tsp aloe vera gel
6 drops of glycerin
30 drops of lavender oil
10 drops of Peruvian balsam oil
(prevents dryness and split ends)   

Pour into a spray bottle. Shake before each use.                                                                                                                                                                           
There are so many recipes and uses for essential oils.  This only touches the surface of their many uses.  I hope you find some of this information useful for your family! 

And please, always remember to be careful when when using all oils. Do not your touch eyes or mucus membranes when handling the oils.  Do not put 100% essentials directly on your skin.  Be sure to use a carrier oil (olive oil or unrefined cold pressed coconut oil) to dilute the essential oil. Always test the products in a small inconspicuous area to be sure they do not cause an allergic reaction or will not harm surface.  I am not a medical professional.  Always follow the recommendation of your doctors.  The information in this article reflects my own personal research on this topic. 

Karen and I first met *many* years ago in college and then became reacquainted at a church single's group. Since then we have gone our separate ways, but enjoy keeping in touch through Purposeful Homemaking and Facebook.
Karen loves the Lord and her family and is wife to Brent and Momma to two children.

Juice Plus+-"Juice Plus+ is whole food based nutrition, including juice powder concentrates from 30 different fruits, vegetables and grains. Juice Plus+ helps bridge the gap between what you should eat and what you do eat every day. Not a multivitamin, medicine, treatment or cure for any disease, Juice Plus+ is made from quality ingredients carefully monitored from farm to capsule to provide natural nutrients your body needs to be at its best."
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Tattin' Kat said...

What tea tree oil do you recommend? said...

The Melaluca from doTerra.

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