17 Things You Didn't Know Essential Oils Could Do

For your body, for your home, and for your life, essential oils do more than just smell good — they're the life hack you didn't know you needed! 

Bruce and Jeanne Lubin
5-minute read

Cleaning up

Amazing dusting spray

Prefer to have your dust and shine solution in spray form? Save the cost of (and chemicals in) commercial sprays! We recommend mixing in a spray bottle 1 cup water, ¼ cup vinegar, 2 teaspoons olive oil, and 10 drops lemon essential oil.

Microwave cleaning made easy

With all the use they get, microwaves can get grimy fast. Time for freshening up? Soak a sponge in water until it’s completely saturated, then set it in the microwave. In a spray bottle, mix 1 to 2 drops of lemon essential oil per ounce of water. Spray the mixture all over the inside of your microwave. Run the microwave on high for 2 to 3 minutes. The steam will help release the built-up dirt. Once the sponge is cool, you can use it to easily wipe down the interior and exterior of the microwave.

Another approach: In a microwavable bowl, combine ½ cup vinegar and 1 cup water. (You can also add a few drops of lemon juice, if you like.) Microwave for 3 to 5 minutes, then let sit for a few minutes while the steam goes to work. Either way, your microwave will be fresh and clean again!

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Floor cleaning made easy

Grimy wood floors calling for a slightly stronger cleaner? No need to turn to toxic cleaners! Here’s another DIY solution: In a clean milk jug, add ¼ cup vinegar, ½ cup liquid castile soap, and 30 drops of a citrus essential oil (try lemon or orange). Secure the lid on the jug and shake to mix. When you’re ready to mop, simply add 1 cup of the solution to 1 gallon of hot water in a bucket.

For your body

Homemade vapors

VapoRub can be a lifesaver for late-night congestion. Here’s a do-it-yourself version that has all of the benefits without any of the chemicals: Mix ¼ cup melted beeswax (available online, in health stores, or from honey purveyors) with 1 cup olive oil, 15 drops eucalyptus essential oil, and 10 drops peppermint essential oil. Pour into a small container to cool. (You may need to reheat when reusing.)

Get growing

Looking for a natural solution to thinning hair? Here’s a terrific scalp massage that stimulates blood flow in the hair follicles and may spur hair growth. Mix 5 drops lavender essential oil, 5 drops bay essential oil, and 3 tablespoons almond or grapeseed oil. Massage a small amount into the scalp every day, and leave for 15 to 20 minutes before rinsing out.

Treat feet with peppermint powder

Keep your feet fresh and dry with this peppermint-scented foot powder. In a zip-top bag, place ¼ cup unscented body powder, 5 drops peppermint essential oil, and 5 drops tea tree oil; seal carefully. You’ll need to massage the outside of the bag to get the oils to blend together evenly with the powder. To use, dust a little onto clean feet. The peppermint has a refreshing quality, and tea tree oil is a natural antifungal.

Keep feet fresh

You know that baking soda is great for absorbing odors in your refrigerator, but did you know that you can also use it to keep your feet smelling sweet? On hot summer days, try this odor-busting foot powder: Mix ¼ cup baking soda and 5 drops of your favorite essential oil, breaking up any lumps. Dust your feet with the powder to reduce perspiration and odor. You can also sprinkle a little into stinky shoes.

Enjoy a simple spa

Just add 2 tablespoons sea salt and a few drops of essential oil to any bath for a special treat.

Around the house

Make your own poo-pourri

Know those odor fighters designed to spray into the toilet before you . . . well, do what you need to do? You can save money by making your own! In a small 1.5- or 2-ounce spray bottle, add 15 to 30 drops of your favorite scented essential oil or oil blend. Add witch hazel to fill, put on the lid, and shake before each use. The oils form a film on top of the toilet water, which traps odors. 

DIY reed diffuser

Love the look of a sophisticated reed diffuser in the bathroom but hate the cost? Make your own and save some serious cash with this easy recipe. Find a small vase or container you like and buy a packet of diffuser reeds—often sold as “refills.” First, pour a ¼ cup mineral oil into a small bowl. Next, add a couple of tablespoons of vodka and mix well. Then, add about 10 drops of your favorite essential oil and stir thoroughly. Finally, pour the mixture into the vase and put in 5 or 6 reeds. After a few hours, flip the reeds over, and flip them again every few days.

Just gel it

Make your own gel air fresheners at home with this simple recipe: Boil 1 cup of water, then mix in 1 packet gelatin, 1 tablespoon salt, 15 drops of your favorite essential oil, and several drops of food coloring. Once the gelatin dissolves, pour into a glass cup or jar to set. Enjoy the scent for a month or more!

Keep this mixture away from kids and pets.

DIY natural room freshener

In a spray bottle, combine 1 cup distilled water, 1 cup rubbing alcohol, and a few drops of your favorite essential oil (lemon, lavender, and peppermint would be good choices here). Shake well before each use. It’s cheaper than Febreze and works just as well!

Pest problems

Relocate ladybugs

Ladybugs are good bugs in the garden, but if they’re swarming your home they can be unwelcome guests! Use a little lemon to get rid of them. Wipe down walls where you see them with a lemon-scented furniture polish and they’ll find somewhere else to hang out. You can also mix lemon essential oil with water instead.

Repel spiders

Did you know that spiders “taste” food through sensors on the tips of their spidey legs? And one thing they don’t like the taste of is citrus. If you’re looking to keep spiders out of your home, try making this nontoxic repellent. In a spray bottle, mix together 2 cups water with 1½ teaspoons citrus essential oil (such as orange, lemon, or lime). Spray wherever you see spiders or their webs, and the citrus flavor will send them packing!

Natural mosquito repellant 

Combine a few drops peppermint essential oil with 1 cup water in a spray bottle, shake well, and spray onto skin. Not only will the chemical compounds in peppermint help repel mosquitoes, but you’ll also smell minty fresh!

Mix up a natural bug spray

If you’re uncomfortable with all of the unpronounceable ingredients in commercial bug sprays, try making this natural version. Mix together ¼ cup apple cider vinegar, ¼ cup witch hazel, and around 20 drops of a combination of any of the following essential oils: rosemary, citronella, tea tree, cedar, eucalyptus, or lemongrass. Transfer the mixture to a spray bottle, and shake before each use. Spray directly on exposed skin and the bugs will stay away!

Fight with fragrance

In a spray bottle, combine a few drops of eucalyptus essential oil with 1 cup water. Spray your pet’s bed and other flea-prone areas of your home. Fleas detest the scent.

Don’t use this spray undiluted or directly on your pet.

About the Author

Bruce and Jeanne Lubin

Bruce Lubin and Jeanne Bossolina-Lubin are the proud parents of three boys and more than a dozen books. After saving thousands per year using everyday tips and simple lifehacks, they started their own business in the hopes of sharing their knowledge with others. They have been known to go into their friends' refrigerators to turn their eggs upside down so that they last longer.