4 Essential Oils for a Green Home

3. Lavender Oil

Lavender oil is often used in homemade sprays and sachets. It not only freshens rooms and closets, it keeps away mosquitoes, flies, gnats, and other biting insects. It is also bothersome to moths; when combined with cedar chips or slivers, lavender oil makes a powerful moth repellent. Sprays or lotions made with lavender oil can be used directly on the skin as chemical-free insect repellent. However, be sure to reapply often; depending on the suspension medium (alcohol versus lotion), it may evaporate faster than typical commercial bug repellents. Lavender oil in soy candles, placed around the home or garden, has a bug-repelling effect th­at is more powerful than citronella -- and it smells nicer, too. For maximum effect, combine lavender oil with eucalyptus and clove oils. Lavender is also a highly effective disinfectant with antibacterial properties and can be used in garbage and diaper pails. It can be used in a solution to refresh and disinfect nonporous surfaces like countertops and porous surfaces like draperies, upholstery, and bedding.