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Household Hints

Hints, tips, and client feedback from past issues of our newsletter. Sign up for your own copy and read past issues here.

See also our Physical Well-Being, Emotional Well-Being, Skin Care Hints, Perfurmery Hints, and Homemade Gifts pages. (And for the chef—our Aromatherapy in the Kitchen page.)

Antibacterial Wipes
Ant Chaser
Bathroom Cleaner
Carpet Freshener
Chigger Bites
Citrus Spring Cleaning
Cleaning Blends, Various
Freshen that Microwave
Furniture Polishes
Glass and Mirror Cleaner
Horse Flies
“Mrs. Bubble” Cleaning Solution
Paint Remover/Cleanup
Pest-Free Pets
“Pomander Ball” Cleanser
Road Tar Removal
Scented Cards and Tissue Paper
Smoke Eater
Stove Cleanup/Degreaser
Tennis Shoe Freshener



Antibacterial Wipes

Christa Maria writes that she just cooked this up:

Cut one good quality paper towel into two pieces. Have containers that the paper towels fit in, with a good lid ready.

Make a mix of:

1/4 cup liquid soap (I use organic non-scented liquid soap)
1/4 cup Fractionated Ccoconut oil
20 drops of Marge’s GermBeater
2 cups hot water

Mix first 3 ingredients well together, add water and pour half of the mix into each container over the paper towels.

It takes about 24 hours for the liquid to sink into the paper towels. I take those to my woods for a fast clean-up. I bet this could also be done with the SkeeterBeater, taking a towel and putting some drops on it..

(I will try it out tomorrow when I go to the woods, some nice person has volunteered to help me dig leeks.) July 2003


Ant Chaser

The warm weather has hit middle Tennessee with a vengeance...we went from the forties to the eighties this week. And the ANTS discovered our new kitchen. We came in one morning to find the countertop just black with them.

Debbie G. took a 4 oz spray bottle, filled it with rubbing alcohol (the cheap nasty smelling kind) and added 10 ml of our midwestern Peppermint. Stronger than I would have done, but it sure covers the scent of the rubbing alcohol.

We’ve sprayed the floor, the countertop, all the cracks and openings we could find. We still see an occasional stray wanderer. But the armies have been repulsed and returned from whence they came.


Chigger Bites

Another client just wrote:

Also want you to know the Helichrysum oil (in carrier) did WONDERS with a chigger bite I had on my leg! Good God! Swelling (welt) and itching immediately reduced to almost NOTHING. Last time this happened, I itched for about one solid week and the nasty bites left almost scars and darkened spots that remained for a long time.

Speaking of SkeeterBeater...Debi found out that the synergy (and the lotion bar) seems to work well against chiggers...the downside of doing an outdoor show! She applied just a band of the SkeeterBeater around her ankles the second day we were at Red Boiling Springs...worked wonders! (June 1999 and May 2001)


Repelling Horse Flies

I recently wrote you about our new favorite insect repellent, Lemon Tea Tree essential oil. One of our clients ordered some in hopes that it would solve horse fly problems with her horses. These are the results she reported:

I used the Lemon Tea Tree on my “babies” {horses} and used it in just a base of Jojoba. I used it as a wipe on the really bad spots where the pesky insects had bitten them. When we rode, we applied it on their faces, belly’s, or anywhere that disturbs them, {which is almost everywhere!}. It worked really well, even after our ride {about 1 ½ hr} those pesky’s still didnt bother them.

Last I heard she was planning on trying to work out the correct proportions for a spray. (June 1999)


Pest-Free Pets

Tip from my daughter the groomer...if your dog has one of those woven collars, rather than a leather one, add two or three drops of undiluted Skeeterbeater to his collar to keep him pest free. She says it works as well as commercial products and it’s a lot cheaper. (And SHE gets a discount on the commercial stuff!) May 2002


Paint Remover

Speaking of citrus.... a delightful client just shared this:

I want to share a good use I found for your Sweet Orange Oil. This weekend I painted an old bookcase with black, oil-based paint. Needless to say, I got it all over my hands, and it would not come off. I remembered using Orange Oil as a solvent before, so I grabbed my bottle and dropped just one drop on a spot of paint. It literally dissolved instantly! So I sprinkled some Epsom salts in my palm, added a few drops of the Orange Oil, and scrubbed all the paint away. So much nicer than paint thinner. I already love that stuff, and now I have another reason.

Now...the thought of putting neat orange oil on bare skin makes me cringe... but I doubt it would do any more damage than paint thinner...and it DOES smell a lot nicer. (We’re going to be painting some furnishings for the store over the next couple of weeks, so this hint was well timed!) June 2003


Battling Mold / Mildew

Thank you Marge for your suggestion about using Tea Tree and Lemon Eucalyptus against molds. I too had a mold problem from a really bad flood last year, it was throughout my basement and was a source of much depression for me. I added the two, with more of the Lemon Eucalyptus than the Tea Tree to the mop water made of Dr Bronner’s Sal Suds and its amazing how the vibration of the area’s applied just lifted. I put it in a spray bottle and sprayed the walls down. I found the energy to clean-up that area and it looks quite nice now (it’s been in disuse for a year). I have no need to avoid it any longer. I’m applying it to the whole house even to the carpet with wonderful results.

My comment: Eucalyptus citriodora is a strongly antifungal oil, it’s what we use to keep mildew and musty odors away. (November 1999)


Freshen that Microwave

I thought it was just me. After a few days of heating left overs, or boiling water, my microwave starts to smell like last week’s dinner. I thought there was something wrong with the machine, until I saw a note on a list, somewhere, saying that to freshen the microwave, just put a measuring cup of water, with a few drops of lemon oil in it. Microwave on high for 2 minutes, and let stand in the oven until cool. I haven’t tried this one yet, but am going to after dinner tonight. (May 2004)


Clearing Smoke / Smoke Eater

My friend Harriet had a party not long ago. The next morning her living room was still blue with smoke. She says a blend of Bergamot and Lemon EO’s, in her Amrita diffuser made them disappear almost instantly. Left the room smelling clear and fresh.

If you don’t have time to blend your own oils, we offer a blend of Bergamot, Lemon, and Himalayan Lavender. It was a created as a “smoke eater.” So many people began using it as a good all around deodorizer and air freshener that we changed the name to Fresh Aire. (November 1999)


Carpet Freshener

And while we are talking about deodorizing, my friend Wendyf rom Aromaweb recommends the following carpet deodorizer in her recipes section.


  • 35 drops Eucalyptus essential oil
  • 30 drops Lavender essential oil
  • 25 drops Rosewood essential oil
  • 4 cups borax (Mule Team Borax can be found in the grocery store in the laundry detergent aisle, usually)

Notes: I was in a cleaning frenzy one day and decided to make my housework more pleasant by incorporating essential oils into it somehow. I found many ways to do so, but this one of my favorite and it scents the house at the same time. I also used the Eucalyptus and Lavender to help keep whatever pests there are at bay that Lizzy, and Cheech & Chong (our cats) bring in with them.

Directions: To make the carpet deodorizer (any essential oils could be used by the way, just make sure no one in the household finds the odor offensive) measure your 4 cups of borax into a bowl and then drop in the essential oils indicated in ingredients in the amounts listed. If you find the smell too strong, add more borax. Take a spoon and mash up the little clumps that will form when the oil hits the borax, stir until well mixed. Before vacuuming, I walk around the house and sprinkle it by hand in the same manner one would sow seeds. Let it sit on the carpet for 10–15 minutes, or longer if you like, and then vacuum. This formula will cover approximately 1000 square feet, give or take a little.

Personal note, I think I’d skip the Rosewood, and use either Black Spruce or Pine in its place. But that’s my taste. The Eucalyptus and Lavender are probably key. Some sunny citrus might be a nice addition, as well! (February 2000)


Tennis Shoe Freshener

Another recipe, from my friend Wendy at Aromaweb. Even though summer is the time for sandals, not sweaty sneakers, a shoe freshener:


4 tablespoons cornstarch
4 tablespoons baking soda
20 drops Tea Tree
10 drops Lemon
10 drops Lavender

Instructions for Use: Sprinkle the deodorizer lightly into shoes in the evenings or at times when the shoes will not be worn for a few hours. You will not see a “cure” for smelly shoes the first time you use the deodorizer. The magic occurs after regular uses.

(Not that any of us would have sweaty sneakers, mind you!) May 2000


Road Tar Removal

A hint from a client: I HAVE taken off clumps of tar from the soles of my running shoes, using Eucalyptus, neat. You should see it dissolve!

Don’t know about the rest of you...but when I’ve gotten road tar on shoes...that was the end of those shoes...this one will be handy. (August 2001)


Heavy Duty De-Greaser

Susan Grycan, fudgemaker extraordinaire, recently wrote:

When I pulled out the stove to paint behind it and lay the linoleum floor tiles, I saw 10 years of grease spills on the sides of the stove. Well, I just wanted to throw it away. I didn’t think a little bit of Orange oil would make any difference. But I put on rubber gloves and prepared to scrub for hours. I used a simple cleaner such as Glass Plus. Every time I sprayed, I applied a drop or two of Orange EO. I couldn’t believe it! 10 years of baked on grease came off as though I had just freshly spilled some sauce! Everything came off so easily I actually had FUN cleaning! The stove and refrigerator were sparkling clean as if they were brand new in a very short amount of time. And when my husband came home he said the house SMELLED SO GREAT!!! (March 2005)


Bathroom Cleaner

  • 1 tsp. borax
  • 1/2 tsp. liquid detergent (like Ivory Dish Soap)
  • 1/4 cup vinegar
  • 2 cups hot water

Combine in a spray bottle and shake. Spray on counter surfaces, sinks, tubs, etc. and wipe clean.

Now, in MY bathroom this is going to have some Orange oil and some Clove or Cinnamon Leaf added to the liquid soap before I add the other ingredients. You could use any antibacterial oils you choose, starting with our GermBeater or anything else. I’m just in the mood for citrus and spice this week. (June 2003)


Citrus Cleaning Hint for Spring Cleaning

A blend of Lemon and Pink Grapefruit oils added to whatever household cleaner or cleansing solution you use will not only help kill germs, but also energize you for the work involved in spring cleaning.


Cleaning Formulas and Blends

Just in time for your fall cleaning, some natural housekeeping formulas sent to my by a member of the Make-It-Yourself Delphi forum:


Air Freshener

20 drops Lavender
10 drops Lemon
6 drops Bergamot
5 drops Lime
5 drops Grapefruit

Place in spray bottle with water. (September 2004)


All Purpose Cleaner

5 drops lavender, lemon, and pine in a spray bottle with a squirt of Dr. Bronner’s (or other liquid!) soap.


Kitchen and Bathroom Cleaner

2 drops Rosemary
4 drops Lemon
3 drops Eucalyptus
4 drops Lavender

Place in a spray bottle with water. Always shake bottle before using to mix the oils.


Another Cleaning Solution

Bev Mahoney writes:

I am really loving a few drops of Lemon Myrtle in a simple cleaning solution of about half and half filtered water and white vinegar. It’s amazing to me what this mix does compared to all the commercial cleaners out there. It smells wonderful besides! (July 2005)


Glass and Mirror Cleaner

Blend 1 cup vinegar and 10 drops Orange essential oil in a 2 cup spray bottle. Add one cup distilled water, shake well. Spray, wipe clean. This is a wonderful grease cutter and leaves your house smelling like sunshine. (June 2000)


“Mrs. Bubble” Housecleaning Recipe

A friend recently shared the formula for what she calls “Mrs. Bubble” She said it came from The Naturally Clean Home by Karyn Siegel Maier

“Fizzy Bathroom Sink Cleaner”

1/2 cup baking soda
6 drops Lemon or Pine essential oil
1/4 cup vinegar

Combine the baking soda and essential oil. Sprinkle into the sink; pour the vinegar on top. After the fizz settles, scrub clean with a damp cloth or sponge. Rinse clean. (July 2004)


“Pomander Ball” Cleanser

(adapted from a recipe from Barbara Lucks)

Not only does this preparation clean, the essential oils disinfect and provide a natural, festive fragrance.

  • 1 teaspoon Sweet Orange or Mandarine essential oil
  • a few drops of Clove Oil and Cinnamon Leaf oil
  • 1 teaspoon washing soda
  • 2 teaspoons borax
  • 1/2 teaspoon liquid soap or detergent
  • 2 cups hot water (to dissolve the soda and borax)

Combine the ingredients in a spray bottle. Shake to dissolve and blend the minerals. You can spray this cleaner onto a surface then leave it for 15 minutes before wiping it off, to give the essential oils antiseptic qualities time to work (makes 2 cups).

It will leave your house smelling like an old fashioned, clove studded pomander ball! (December 2001)


Furniture Polish

My friend Stacey writes I just made this “furniture polish” to use on an old beat-up dresser: 2 tablespoons Jojoba, 6 drops Nutmeg essential oil. I picked Jojoba since it’s technically a wax and isn’t greasy.

Now, I wouldn’t have chosen the nutmeg...I’d go with Sandalwood; but then again I think the whole world should smell of Sandalwood. But I have seen other recipes calling for Lavender (nice in a children’s room?). I suspect any gentle oil would work. I’d avoid the citrus oils and the strong spices, any oil that is a skin irritant.

And another:

Aromatic Furniture Polish

J.H.Willey Furniture, in Manassas, VA, gives the following formula for furniture polish…(we’ve added the Sandalwood oil).


This solution will cleanse dirt and dust and leave a light oil film.

2 tbsp olive oil (blend in 15–20 drops of Sandalwood or Cedarwood oil)
1 tbsp white vinegar
1 quart warm water

In a glass bottle or jar (a spray bottle is especially convenient), combine all ingredients and mix well. To use, apply to surface and then rub dry with a soft, clean cloth. Solution works best if kept warm while using; place the bottle in a pan of hot water for a few minutes. (June 2000)


Scented Greeting Cards and Tissue Paper

This is something I used to do years ago, and had forgotten about.The directions are borrowed from my friend Wendy at Aromaweb. She obviously has this aimed at Christmas wrappings; but it truly works all year round. I used to scent “all season” wrapping paper with Bergamot. Himalayan Lavender would be another good choice I think. This time of year I would want the light, refreshing “green” oils. Of course, for a wedding gift or bridal shower, nothing would be as appropriate as Orange Blossom or Neroli.

Scenting your wrapping paper and greeting cards adds a wonderful touch to the holidays or any gift-giving occassion.


Allow an extra day before writing out your greeting card(s) or wrapping presents. Choose a blend or a single essential oil. Put a few drops of the blend onto a cotton ball. Put up to 15 cards and the cotton ball in a large ziplock bag, close and let it sit for at least 24 hours. Take care not to let the oil come in direct contact with cards or envelopes as the fresh oil could stain them. For boxes of cards, you may also have enough room to just put the cotton ball right in with the box.

For tissue paper, follow the same procedure, but place the cotton ball into the plastic package of tissue paper. Be careful not to let the oil come into contact with the paper. Close the bag up so the aroma can properly scent the tissue.

Refrain from giving a scented card or scented tissue-wrapped gift to anyone who has allergies or sensitivities that may be affected by the oils.

Another idea....I used to store my note paper in a bag perfumed with the oil of the month. That way it was always ready. Not a bad thing to do with the envelopes you use for paying bills etc...makes the chore a lot more pleasant.


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