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Homemade cleaners and lotions with essential oils

By September 4, 2013DIY

Ladies, I’ve cracked the code!  My experiments with homemade cleaners and lotions have finally yielded something to brag about.  Here’s everything you need to know to make some of your own, including a giveaway of essential oils to help you get started.

Homemade Cleaners and Lotions

My journey with homemade cleaners started with simple vinegar and water mixtures.

This one gallon jug of distilled white vinegar only cost me $2.50.   And can you make out the green circle?  It says, “Ideal for food.”  That means no need for a Mr Yuck sticker.

Homemade Cleaners - vinegar

My only issue with homemade vinegar cleaners is that they, well, smell like vinegar.  Not exactly the fresh and clean smell that I’m going for when I clean my house.

Well, my friends, I found a solution: Wyndmere Naturals Essential Oils!

What the heck are essential oils, you ask?

Essential oils are totally natural, highly concentrated extracts from the aromatic parts of plants.  They’re diluted in oils, lotions, water, added to baths, diffused in the air, and used many more ways to clean, disinfect, and improve your mind and body through aromatherapy.

Whether or not you buy into the whole field of aromatherapy is up to you.

Personally, I like the idea of using essential oils because they smell good and they’re all-natural.  If they truly have added bacteria-killing and mind and body enhancing properties, all the better.

Wyndmere Naturals Essential Oils

Wyndmere Naturals is a Minnesota-based company that sells fresh and high quality essential oils .  Whenever possible, Wyndmere Naturals essentials oils are extracted from plants that are indigenous and either grown “organically, ethically wildcrafted or pesticide free.”

Wyndmere Naturals sells essential oils from individual plants and also combines complementary oils into their own signature blends – perfect for essential oil newbies like me!

The stars aligned and Wyndmere Naturals offered to send me six samples to try out.

Homemade Cleaners and Lotions with essential oils

From left to right:

  • Mold Fighter – helps get rid of mold and mildew – a blend of tea tree, orange, cinnamon, niaouli, and patchouli essential oils.
  • Lavender – use to calm, soothe, restore, and balance. Can help heal superficial wounds.
  • Bacteria Fighter – helps disinfect bathroom and kitchen counters – a blend of lemon, lavender, cinnamon, rosemary, tea tree essential oils, and more.
  • Tea tree – a popular essential oil that can improve cleaners, first aid kits, and fingernails.
  • Household Purifier – use for household chores and to purify air – a blend of lemon, grapefruit, pine, cinnamon, and thyme essential oils.
  • Citrus Delight – promotes a “cheerful disposition” – a blend of orange, lemon, lime, cardamom essential oils, and more.

Each sample vial contained 1/4 teaspoon of essential oil.

Wyndmere Naturals recommends a “1% dilution” of essential oil in a carrier oil, lotion, or cleaning solution for pregnant women and children, so I took that into account when I was using my oils.

Here’s how I used them…

Homemade Cleaners and Lotions with Essential Oils

All-Purpose Spray Cleaner

Homemade Cleaners and Lotions - All Purpose Spray

2 cups water + 2 cups vinegar + 1/4 tsp bacteria fighter essential oil = awesomeness.

Since I had a total of 4 cups of liquid, a 1% dilution would have actually required 2 teaspoons of essential oil.  But even the 1/4 teaspoon from the sample vial made the spray smell great.   I put my nose right up to the counter and I couldn’t smell a bit of vinegar.

(Note: When I was doing research on cleaning with vinegar I found that it isn’t recommended for use on porous surfaces, like marble.)

Hardwood and Tile Floor Cleaner

Homemade Cleaners and Lotions - hardwood floors

1 gallon warm water + 1/2 cup vinegar + 1/4 tsp household purifier essential oil = shiny, streak-free floors.

While 1/4 teaspoon is very little essential oil for this much homemade cleaning solution, it still worked perfectly, dried quickly, and smelled great.

When I was mopping the floors, my 3 year old asked, “Mom, what is that smell?”  I replied, “What does it smell like?”  And she said, “Clean.”  Enough said.

Shower Cleaner

Homemade Cleaners and Lotions - shower cleaner

1/4 cup vinegar + 1/8 tsp mold fighter essential oil = one squeaky clean tub.

I mixed the liquids in this little scrubber thing and got to work.  It was the perfect amount to clean the bathtub and shower tile.

For this amount of liquid, 1/8 tsp of essential oil is exactly a 1% dilution.  I used the other half of the sample vial from Wyndmere Naturals the following week.

While this smell was definitely better than bleach or other harsh cleaning products, I have to say it was my least favorite of the samples from Wyndmere Naturals.  My husband remarked that it smelled like “hippies.” (No offense to my free spirited friends – this just isn’t the smell I’m going for when cleaning my house.)

Air Freshener

Homemade Cleaners and Lotions - room spray

1 cup of water + 1/4 tsp citrus delight essential oil = sunny smelling rooms.

I never buy air fresheners, but I’ve gotten kind of obsessed with this stuff.  I keep it in our hall bathroom and spray it in our bedrooms and upstairs playroom every morning.

Homemade “Lotions”

Homemade Cleaners and Lotions - Coconut Oil Lotions

1/2 cup coconut oil + 1/4 tsp essential oil = heaven in a jelly jar.

I made two homemade “lotions” – one with lavender essential oil and one with tea tree essential oil – and labeled them with leftover tags from my DIY fabric jar cover project.

I bought Trader Joe’s coconut oil (sold on Amazon.com here) and mixed it with essential oils in glass jelly jars. (I either buy the jars at my local grocery store or on Amazon.com here.)

I’ve completely fallen in love with this stuff.  I’ve been using it on my legs, feet, nails, preggo belly…even my face!  My daughters love it too, so I’ve been rubbing it on their bellies and backs after their bath at night.

What I Learned

You don’t realize how bad chemical cleaners smell until you start using all-natural ones.  The same goes for store-bought vs. homemade lotions.

The only tricky part was figuring out how much essential oil to use.  To make your life a little bit easier, here’s a free printable that you can hang on your refrigerator.

Homemade Cleaners and Lotions with Essential Oils - FREE PRINTABLE


You can certainly use less than a 1% dilution (or more – some people prefer 2-3%), but at least this chart is a reference point.

After trying all of the samples from Wyndmere Naturals, I went ahead and bought two bottles of bacteria fighter essential oil, one bottle of certified organic lavender essential oil, and one bottle of certified organic geranium essential oil (recommended to me by a friend).  I stocked up on extra spray bottles and coconut oil and I can’t wait to start gifting homemade all-purpose spray cleaners and coconut oil “lotions” to friends!

Giveaway! (CLOSED)

Wyndmere Naturals generously agreed to send me a second sample pack of oils for one lucky reader.  (If you don’t want to wait, you can go ahead a purchase essential oils through Wyndmere Naturals’ website.)

This giveaway ends Sunday, September 8th at 9pm EST.

Open to U.S. residents only.

To enter (mandatory):

  • Leave a comment below saying which essential oil you’re most excied to try.

Extra entry (optional):

  • Follow Wyndmere Naturals on Facebook or Pinterest (and leave an additional comment below saying that you did).

The winner – determined by a random number generator – was Stephanie.  Congrats, Stephanie!



  • Jen Tarquinio says:

    Kelly – I too recently started using vinegar to clean with, however, I have never used essential oils with the vinegar/water solution. I especially love the shiny-clean it gives my hardwood floor. It does a great job on my ceramic tile floor as well. I even add it to dirty laundry, especially towels, because it cuts through the strong mildew odor that towels seem to collect over time. Great post!

    • Kelly says:

      Thanks for sharing, Jen! I’ve used vinegar in the laundry to wash my shower curtain liners, but I’ve never tried it with towels before. Great idea!! (PS I’ve heard a couple drops of essential oils smell great when added to the dryer too.)

  • Lynda says:

    I have also started making my own cleaners. It’s amazing how simple it is and how much better I feel afterwards. It all started with a desire to clean the bathroom and not get a headache.

    To make my vinegar smell better, I make my own citrus vinegar. Take the peel off your citrus (not the rind) and put it in a jar, pour white vinegar over it and let it sit for a couple weeks. Not only does it smell like citrus, it works great. You get the cleaning of the vinegar and the added boost from the citrus oil. Orange is my citrus of choice 🙂

  • Brittany says:

    I’ve just recently started using coconut oil as a lotion (and hair conditioner) and love it! I never thought of adding essential oil, what a great idea.

  • Melissa says:

    Great blog post! I’ve been hearing more and more about essential oils and their varies uses! Have you used them for other things like headaches or pain relief? I’d be most excited to try the mold fighter as I just found out I’m extremely allergic to mold. Also, for the extra entry on the giveaway, I ‘liked’ them on FB. Thanks!

    • Kelly says:

      I haven’t had any headaches or pain lately, but I’m sure there are essential oils that would help. (There are essential oils for everything!) I’m excited to experiment with more oils and uses.

  • Jill says:

    As you know, I’m a big fan of simple, homemade cleaners…but I’ve never tried adding essential oils either. Great post, BTW!! I love that Wyndmere Naturals has premixed oils specifically for cleaner…can it get any easier?! I’d love to try them all (& have my eye on quite a few others on their site) but if I have to pick one I’d say Household Purifier…between newborn diapers, an (almost) potty trained toddler & three cats I have a pretty good feeling it would come in handy!

  • Kristin M says:

    We’ve been using vinegar for awhile, and I’ve never tried much more than lavender essential oil (rub on temples, sleep nice & easy… at least I do). I’m definitely interested in these. I think the best-sounding to me (well aside from all of them but I have to only pick one, right?) is the Bacteria Fighter. My husband is an extreme germaphobe, and I’m much more lax… but rather than the smell of kitchen vinegar everywhere, I would love to enjoy the benefit of a sweet-smelling house! Thanks for this post. This is exactly what’s been on my list of things to read up on. 🙂

  • Kristin M says:

    Followed them on facebook

  • Stephanie says:

    Mold fighter! Love that idea!

  • Stephanie says:

    Liked on facebook

  • Erin says:

    This post is so awesome! I laughed to my husband because I just slathered a mix of cocnut oil and tea tree oil on my daughter’s diaper rash and he looked at me like I was nuts LOL I would love, love to try out the mildew oil and the citrus one! Those seem like they would come in so handy. Have you tried putting the oils in a burner (like scentsy brand)? I do that occasionally to really disperse the scent if my dog is extra smelly 🙂

  • Erin says:

    I also ‘Liked’ Wyndmere on Facebook. They seem like a great company!

  • Erin turo says:

    The mold fighter sounds like a winner! we just did a class on healthy cleaning at the office and people loved it. Will definitely share this blog with them (thanks for the lead on quality essential oils, they always one up just vinegar!)

  • Jennifer says:

    I’ve recently started using vinegar to clean with and I’ve become obsessed. I actually had to use an old cleaning product the other day and couldn’t get over the smell, it was awful. I honestly don’t know if I’ll ever go back. That being said I’d love to add more to my vinegar and explore essential oils. With 2 kids, a dog and 2 cats, febreeze is a staple. So if I could use an oil to generate that, it would make my day! Thank you for sharing all of the info.! I love your posts!

  • Jaci says:

    I think the Household Purifier one sounds great! I started using a combo of white vinegar and blue Dawn dishsoap to clean the showers, and it works so much better than anything else I’ve tried, so anything that would make cleaning smell less vinegary would be awesome!

  • Kirsten Pitini says:

    Wow would absolutely love and need this!!! Most excited about the mildew and mold oil. I love all those scents and would love to add it to my current green cleaning!

  • Karen Miskovich says:

    1/8 tsp mold fighter essential oil sounds awsome, my husband has asthma but always wants to clean the shower out, this would be a lot safer and he could avoid having breathing issues.
    I’m going to check their site out, thanks for sharing such helpful information to us Facebooker’s

  • Michele Rowland says:

    The lavender — want to whip up some of that lotion!!

  • Michele Rowland says:

    Followed Wyndmere on FB

  • Julie Bair says:

    I’d love to have the bacteria fighter. Being a 1st time mom I’m always cleaning and want to be uber natural and safe for my little one.

  • Gianna Thomas says:

    I’d love to try the bacteria fighter. It especially sounds like something that would be great for cleaning the kitchen and high chairs of little ones. I haven’t started cleaning with vinegar because my husband HATES the smell… But I would love to try a sample to see if he notices.

  • Gianna Thomas says:

    Liked wyndmere on FB

  • Jenna says:

    I would be most interested in the lavendar or bacteria fighter oil. They all sound great though.

  • I don’t even know how I ended up here, but I thought this
    post was great. I do not know who you are but definitely you’re going to a famous
    blogger if you aren’t already 😉 Cheers!

  • Dianne Hildebrand says:

    I throughly enjoyed reading your blogs. Thank you for all the helpful info. I especially appreciate your attention to detail. I look forward to your next post. 🙂

  • Velma says:

    Hi, i’ve just been looking at your blog and feel really excited to make these coconut oil products! My question is for the body scrub and body lotion. Must the coconut oil be solid or liquid? I ask this because it looks like you say it must be solid, but it is so hard and will not mix with the sugar like this?

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