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Safety tips for using essential oils for home cleaning

Learning how to use essential oils in DIY home cleaning safely isn't hard; it's just common sense. Common, safe household ingredients are the key to helping you green-up your home clean-up process -- and essential oils will help your home smell great as they imbue your own homemade cleaning products with a new kind of fresh appeal over commercial versions. Making your own essential oil-based cleaning products helps you move away from the questionable chemistry that is too often found in most conventional home care products. Household ingredients such as vinegar and baking soda, along with essential oils, provide one of the best, most enjoyable reasons to employ a greener cleaning process while purging your sanctuary of the accumulated dirt, germs and odor. You'll create peace of mind as well as a clean, healthy and wonderfully aromatic living space.

Just because essential oils are products distilled from plants, doesn't mean it's smart to use them indiscriminately in large amounts while cleaning your home. Adding too much essential oil won't necessarily make your cleaning product clean any more effectively; the other household ingredients and your own elbow grease do that. Also, a high concentration of essential oils has the potential to harm surfaces and furnishings if applied indiscriminately and without first testing the application on an inconspicuous area.

A wise, general guideline for dilution rate of essential oils in cleaning products is 3%. So for every fluid ounce of liquid, or 2 tablespoons of dry product, add 18 drops of essential oil. Simply extrapolate these base measurements for larger quantities.

As you convert your home cleaning products to safer DIY versions, you may find that you have leftover quantities of your old commercial household cleaning items that you don't want to use. Read the label carefully for any instructions on how to dispose of these products safely. If the information is missing or unclear, look for an 800 number to call.

Finally, carefully follow the directions for using the DIY home cleaning recipe you're using. Find an inconspicuous spot or area on the item being cleaned, and test the application there first before any widespread, general application. If you'd prefer to go with a milder scented product, you can always choose the option to decrease the 3% essential oil dilution to 2%, or even 1%.

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