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Essential Oils
for Better Living


Nature’s Clean: The Top 5 Essential Oils for Disinfecting Surfaces

Updated: Oct 6, 2023

Unveiling the treasures of nature's apothecary, we delve into the aromatic world of essential oils, exploring their hidden antimicrobial properties and uncovering the top five oils that stand out as potent, eco-friendly disinfectants for keeping our surfaces immaculately clean and germ-free.

cleaning counter top with essential oil cleaner

As we continue our journey towards eco-friendly and sustainable living, nature never fails to surprise us with its vast array of resources. Essential oils, which are extracted from plants through steam distillation, cold pressing, or resin tapping, have long been celebrated for their therapeutic properties. But the benefits don’t just stop at aromatherapy; essential oils can also be a formidable ally in keeping our homes clean and free from harmful micro-organisms.

1. Tea Tree Oil: The Potent Purifier

Originating from the leaves of the Melaleuca alternifolia plant native to Australia, tea tree oil boasts a variety of beneficial properties. It's renowned for its antibacterial, antiviral, and antifungal prowess, making it an excellent choice for disinfecting surfaces.

Tea tree essential oil in dropper with leaf

Properties and Benefits:

Antibacterial: Tea tree oil is effective against a multitude of bacteria, including E. coli and S. aureus, thanks to its compound terpinen-4-ol.

Antiviral: Research suggests that it can inactivate several types of viruses, making it a strong candidate for surface disinfection.

Antifungal: It is efficient in battling a range of fungi and yeasts, making it an ideal addition to your cleaning regimen.


To use tea tree oil as a disinfectant, mix a few drops with water in a spray bottle. It can be used on a variety of surfaces, such as countertops, sinks, and bathroom tiles. However, a patch test is recommended as it may discolor certain materials.

2. Lavender Oil: The Soothing Sanitizer

Lavender oil, derived from the flowers of the Lavandula angustifolia plant, is cherished for its calming scent. But beyond its soothing aroma, lavender oil is equipped with powerful antimicrobial properties, which make it a versatile disinfectant.

Lavender essential oil bottle with dried lavender on table

Properties and Benefits:

Antibacterial: Lavender oil effectively inhibits the growth of bacteria, safeguarding surfaces against contamination.

Antiviral: While less potent than tea tree oil, it still offers considerable protection against certain viruses.

Fragrance: Its pleasant scent leaves surfaces smelling fresh, providing a two-in-one cleaning and aromatizing solution.


Combine lavender oil with water or vinegar to create a versatile cleaning solution. It's suitable for almost all surfaces and doubles as an air freshener, owing to its aromatic properties.

3. Eucalyptus Oil: The Refreshing Protector

Extracted from the leaves of the Eucalyptus tree, eucalyptus oil is not just a koala’s favorite, but also a formidable disinfectant. Its crisp scent and potent properties make it a popular choice for cleansing and purifying.

Pouring eucalyptus essential oil into white dish on table

Properties and Benefits:

Antibacterial: Eucalyptus oil is proficient in eliminating various bacteria, ensuring a cleaner, safer environment.

Antiviral: It is known to possess antiviral properties, particularly against the herpes simplex virus.

Deodorizing: The fresh, minty scent of eucalyptus oil acts as a natural deodorizer, banishing unpleasant odors.


Blend eucalyptus oil with water to formulate a refreshing cleaning spray. It’s particularly effective for cleaning windows, glass surfaces, and eliminating odors from rooms and fabrics.

4. Lemon Oil: The Citrusy Cleaner

Lemons on a tree in sunshine

Lemon oil, derived from the peel of lemons, is a favorite in the culinary world. However, its high concentration of d-limonene makes it an effective natural disinfectant, perfect for cleaning various surfaces.

Properties and Benefits:

Antibacterial: Lemon oil demonstrates strong antibacterial activity, especially against foodborne pathogens.

Antiviral: The high acidity level and antiviral properties make it suitable for disinfecting surfaces that may harbor viruses.

Degreasing: Lemon oil cuts through grime and grease, making it an excellent cleaner for kitchen surfaces and utensils.


Mix lemon oil with water and vinegar to make a potent cleaning solution. It works wonders on greasy countertops, kitchen appliances, and even as a floor cleaner.

5. Peppermint Oil: The Cooling Custodian

Peppermint essential oil bottle top view

Peppermint oil, extracted from the Mentha piperita plant, is known for its cool, invigorating scent. This cooling sensation is not just limited to our senses but extends to its ability to ward off unwanted microbes.

Properties and Benefits:

Antibacterial: Peppermint oil exhibits significant antibacterial activity, making surfaces safer and cleaner.

Antifungal: It has demonstrated efficacy against various fungal strains, adding another layer of protection to your home.

Insect Repellent: The strong scent of peppermint oil acts as a natural deterrent for insects, especially spiders and ants.


Create a peppermint oil cleaning solution by combining it with water. It is particularly effective in the bathroom and acts as a natural insect repellent when sprayed around doorways and windows.

Blending for Enhanced Efficacy:

While these essential oils are effective individually, blending them can enhance their disinfecting properties. A popular blend combines tea tree, lavender, lemon, eucalyptus, and peppermint oils in equal proportions. Mixed with water and vinegar, this concoction forms a powerful, all-purpose cleaner that not only disinfects but leaves behind an aromatic blend of freshness. Try it in one of our glass sprayer bottles!

Safety Precautions:

While essential oils are natural, they are highly concentrated and should be used with caution. Here are some safety tips:

Dilution: Always dilute essential oils appropriately with water, vinegar, or a carrier oil before use. For more information on diluting essential oils, check out our blog: The Essential Guide to Carrier Oils: Unveiling the Perfect Pair for Your Essential Oils.

Patch Test: Conduct a patch test on a small, inconspicuous area to ensure no discoloration or damage occurs.

Avoid Contact with Eyes: Essential oils can be irritating; avoid contact with eyes and mucous membranes.

Children and Pets: Keep essential oils and mixtures out of reach of children and pets. Some essential oils can be harmful to pets, so research thoroughly before use.

Final Thoughts:

Essential oils offer a natural, eco-friendly alternative to chemical disinfectants. By harnessing the potent properties of tea tree, lavender, eucalyptus, lemon, and peppermint oils, we can effectively cleanse and protect our living spaces. Not only do they keep surfaces free from harmful microorganisms, but they also imbue our homes with their delightful, refreshing scents. So, the next time you embark on a cleaning spree, consider reaching for these bottles of nature’s goodness. Not only will you be doing a favor for your home, but you’ll also be contributing to a healthier, more sustainable world.



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