How to clean with fragrant essential oils

Today being Thursday, it’s the first time since going down with flu at the weekend that I’ve felt like doing much at all. At least today I feel as if I can face the day and hopefully get a few things done.

Following a short morning walk, I felt encouraged to make a start on the cleaning backlog that has accumulated since the weekend. I swept the kitchen floor and packed a load of dirty dishes into the dishwasher. I then put a load of laundry into the machine, filling the rinse compartment with white vinegar to which I add three drops of peppermint essential oil. I have used vinegar in place of softener for years but have never quite learnt to ignore the strong smell of vinegar, and I find that the peppermint with its lovely sweet-shop freshness is an effective way to mask the smell.

I have used essential oils for years. I love the little jewel- like glass bottles with their wonderful scents, and their multitude of uses.  See here for more on essential oils and their uses, and read Valerie Ann Worwood’s book here, also known as “The Fragrant Pharmacy”

Years ago in my twenties I learnt to use and enjoy essential oils while trying to solve a few health issues of my own (see my About page for more), and for the thirty plus years since then I used them daily, if only to splash a few drops of the relaxing floral, herbaceous scent of lavender into my bath water at night.

But today, still not feeling entirely fit and strong, I decided on some ‘low key cleaning’. The refreshing scent of the peppermint oil doing its thing in the washing machine was soothing around my sinuses, so I decided to go with this. Knowing that essential oils are a good way to get sticky stuff off jars (see point 2 Here), I dabbed a few drops of peppermint onto the corner of a cotton kitchen towel. Jars and bottles with residue from old sticky labels and grubby, greasy finger marks came up clean and shiny after a light rubbing with a touch of the pure oils. I then tackled some finger-grubbied (if that is even a word) light switches, and around the door handles on my fridges and freezer. Ta-da… clean jars and handles and clear sinuses to boot! The microwave was next: I filled a pyrex bowl with water and added 4 drops of lemon essential oil and a leftover slice of lemon from this morning’s teacup. I placed the bowl inside and microwaved on high for about 5 minutes. I then removed the bowl and wiped inside the microwave with a clean cloth till dry and shiny. To freshen up the kitchen sink, I gave it a scrub with a shake of baking soda and a rub of leftover lemon slices, and finally a few drops of lemon essential oil straight into the plughole.

…and that modest bit of successful cleaning and remedial action has been about the sum total of my day! Besides writing this post and snapping the pics……

These are three of my favourites for cleaning, as well as lavender, lemon,  peppermint and tea tree.


Essential oils available from Dischem pharmacies


And again from Dischem




  • Essential oils generally come in glass (yay) bottles with plastic tops 😦
  • Remember to ask your suppliers if they will accept returns on reusables, before resorting to the recycling bins




Aromatic Essential Oils

The Soap Barn

KCatz Soap Studio

Essential Salts




3 thoughts on “How to clean with fragrant essential oils

  1. 2017-09-01 / 10:11 am

    Hope you are feeling much better Amanda. Having the flu is not pleasant, but your body certainly will benefit from the “Spring Clean” and you will be stronger now. Peppermint, Lavender and Eucalyptus oils are my favourite so I enjoyed your article – take care, Margaret


  2. amandavanniekerk 2017-09-01 / 12:59 pm

    Hi Margaret! Yes I am feeling steadily better thank you. Speaking of Spring cleaning…we are having the most beautiful sunny first day of Spring here in Johannesburg. Wishing you a beautiful day too.


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