You might be familiar with the uses of essential oils particularly at spa treatments and massage parlours.
Essential oils commonly used by therapists promote relaxation because the aromatic compounds within those oils have a therapeutic effect on the body. They can induce relaxation or increase alertness, depending on the oil used. Aromatherapy works by stimulating the smell receptors in the nose, which then send messages to the limbic system (the part of the brain that controls emotions) via the nervous system.
But while aromatic diffusion is one of the most popular uses of essential oils, there are many other handy uses of essential oils in daily life and around the home. In the home care market, essential oils are on the rise as more brands and consumers grow aware of their benefits and versatility around the house.
From aromatic candles to antibacterial cleaners, there are plenty of reasons to keep a few bottles of essential oils at home. Here are a few ways you can use essential oils at home.
Instead of using up rolls of paper or buying packets of dryer sheets, make your own disinfecting cleaning wipes by placing a few clean washcloths in an airtight jar. Pour in a solution of lemon oil (lemon has antimicrobial and antiseptic properties), water and white vinegar, then let the washcloths soak it up.
Why buy hand sanitiser when you can easily make your own? Keep bacteria at bay with a homemade concoction of tea tree and lavender oils, aloe vera gel to reduce skin irritation, vitamin E (which, when applied topically can help to nourish and protect skin from free radical damage) and witch hazel to relieve inflammation. Simply store it in a travel-sized tube to sanitise your hands on the go.
Essential oils can be applied topically to irritated skin or when you need a soothing or cooling analgesia. Lavender oil is not only good for relaxation, it also helps to soothe burns and irritated skin thanks to its soothing and antibacterial properties.
Add two to three drops of lavender essential oil to a tablespoon of coconut oil and rub it into your skin. You can also apply it to cuts, scrapes and wounds to kill bacteria and speed up healing. Tea tree oil is a good alternative to lavender oil too as it is gentle on the skin.
Essential oils can help to heal, brighten and tone skin when used appropriately. A lot of skincare brands are starting to add essential oils to their products, especially moisturisers. But only a selected few are infusing essential oils into their cosmetics. For instance, essential oil company Young Living’s Savvy Minerals makeup range uses essential oils and trace minerals to ensure the best results for all skin types. Think lavender-infused mascara and misting spray made of essential oils and plant-based ingredients.
If your carpet smells stale no matter how much you vacuum it, it’s time to employ some essential oil help. Make your own carpet freshener with just two cups of baking soda and a few drops of any essential oils that you prefer. Fill up a shake with the mixture and shake it liberally over your carpet. Let sit for at least 15 minutes before vacuuming.
After you’ve started making your own hand soap, you probably won’t glance at store-bought items again — because home-made products are cheaper and gentler on the skin.
Mix some tea tree and lavender essential oils, vitamin E and almond oil with castile soap and water, then heat the mixture, pour it into a container, let it harden for a day and cure for four weeks (make sure you store it in a cool, dry and well ventilated space).
Unlike commercial laundry detergents and fabric softeners, all-natural laundry products are often unscented. To bring a fresh scent to your laundry without relying on artificial fragrances, add some essential oils to the mix. Lavender oil smells lovely, but any essential oil of your preference will also do the trick.
Add about 30 drops to borax, washing soda, and water. The oil not only fights off odours, but also adds an antibacterial boost to your solution.
Decorative addition, gift idea, home therapy must-have — there are many uses for scented candles, and you don’t even have to buy them from the store. Make your own candles by adding essential oils to melted soy wax (soy because it’s natural and does not release any toxic compounds when melted), then pour the mixture into a vessel (with a wick placed in the centre) and let it cool.
And if you’re trying to create a mosquito-repelling candle, try using citronella oil, which masks the scents that are attractive to insects, lactic acid and carbon dioxide.
Wild orange oil, in particular, contains many amazing properties. It is antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, an effective sedative and muscle relaxant, and helps to soothe an upset stomach.
Add one drop of wild orange oil to one tablespoon of coconut oil and rub it on your stomach to relieve an upset tummy. For an oncoming runny nose or cough, rub two to three drops mixed with one tablespoon of coconut oil onto the chest.
Make your floors shine with a homemade floor cleaner. Add a quarter cup of vinegar, a quarter cup of castile soap, and about 30 drops of lemon essential oil to a big jug of water. Combine this mixture with a pail of warm water when you need to clean.
Likewise, you can get your throne sparkling clean without the harsh ingredients found in regular toilet cleaners. Make your own toilet cleaner by adding eight to 10 drops of essential oils to castile soap, baking soda and water.
Make your clothing, curtains, couches and more smell fresh with a DIY spray made of vinegar, alcohol and essential oils, or keep bacteria at bay by making adding about 20 drops of essential oils to a bottle of distilled water (you might want to add a bit of vinegar, just for good measure). Anything from grapefruit oil to eucalyptus oil works.
By Joyce Chua, September 2019 / Images: Shutterstock