Essential Oil Uses: 15 Effective and Creative Ways to Use Essential Oils

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I use essential oils in many common applications like soaps, scrubs, and lotions. Here are 15 creative essential oil uses around the house.

Essential Oil Uses You May Not Know

Whether you’re trying to keep pests out of your house or cleaning some really tough messes, essential oils can be a valuable part of your arsenal.

Find 100% pure, organic essential oils here.

Essential Oil Uses for Pests

Mice and Spiders

Mice and spiders hate peppermint. Put a few drops of peppermint essential oil in the inside corners of cabinets or under the refrigerator to banish pests from the house!


Are flies trying to invade your home? A fly deterrent spray can be made with distilled water, a bit of alcohol, and a few drops of cinnamon essential oil. Add to a spray bottle, shake, and spray around your door frame and windows to keep flies away.

Fruit Flies

All it takes is one overripe banana and you get dozens of fruit flies. These nasty little things are attracted to rotting fruit, so you can simulate that to attract and trap fruit flies. Fill a small disposable cup halfway with water. Add a few drops of litsea cubeba or orange essential oil. Top with plastic wrap, securing it to the sides of the cup with tape or a rubber band. Then poke a few small holes in the top. The fruit flies will find their way in, but will be unable to leave and will eventually drown in the liquid when they drink it.


Add a few drops of lavender or mint essential oil to your rinse cycle. The scent will remain enough to help keep mosquitoes from flocking to you. I’ve also used lemongrass and citronella essential oils for the same thing. Try making our homemade mosquito repellent!

You can use the same oils above for a longer-lasting effect. Put a few drops of these oils on the center of a bandana and roll from the inside out (so the oils are not in contact with your skin). Wear the bandana around your neck or tuck it in a pocket. This will also help keep you from being bitten by mosquitoes and other flying insects. Other oils that can help with mosquitoes are geranium, eucalyptus, cedarwood, and litsea cubeba.


Cedar shavings or blocks are commonly used in closets to get rid of moths. You can also put a few drops of cedarwood essential oil on a few cotton balls and place them in your closet. I have a few on the top shelf of my closet and I only refresh them twice a year.


Aphids can destroy an entire crop of greens, roses, or other plants. Mix up a spray bottle with warm water, a bit of alcohol, and a few drops of cayenne essential oil. Any other pepper will also work. If these are hard to find, make an infused oil with hot peppers and add to your water. Spray the top and bottom of affected plants. This works like hot pepper wax that you can find commercially, but for only pennies!

Essential Oil Uses For Household Odors

Musty Cabinet Odors

Put a few drops of vanilla on a cotton ball and place it under the sink. Vanilla helps eliminate musty odors in small, enclosed spaces. Frankincense is naturally antibacterial and is a good substitution if you don’t like vanilla.

Suitcases/Trash Cans/Diaper Pails

I go to see family once a year and the rest of the time my suitcases sit dormant. A few drops of your favorite essential oil on a cotton ball will help keep them smelling fresh. The same goes for trash cans and diaper pails.

Furnace Filter

Sprinkle a few drops of your favorite essential oil on your furnace filter to smell it every time the fan runs. Most essential oils are somewhat antibacterial, so this can help to clean the air as well.

Carpet Refresher

Mix a few drops of lavender essential oil in a cup or so of baking soda. Sprinkle on the carpet and leave for 30 minutes or so. Vacuum up the baking soda and the scent will remain for about a week.

Essential Oil Uses For Cleaning

Removing Stickers

Orange essential oil is an acidic oil, so it works very well to help get rid of residue from labels, pine resin from Christmas trees, and anything else that may be sticky. Dip an old piece of flannel into some orange oil. Rub it on the residue and wait a few minutes. It’ll soften up and you can just wipe it off. Stubborn or old tags may take a few applications.

Cutting Grease

Add essential oils to shampoo or dish soap for extra cleaning power. Lemon and grapefruit essential oils are great grease cutters. Why not add a few drops to your shampoo or dish soap to give it an extra boost? Lime essential oil works too, but I’ve found the smell a little off-putting. It works great on floors though!

Hiding Scratches in Wood

Unless your wood is blonde or very dark, the yellowish color of turmeric essential oil will help to hide scratches in the wood. It works really well for woods with a reddish tone.

Hard to Clean Dishes

We’ve all had it happen – we’re cooking something on the stove or in the oven and we get distracted. The pan burns and no amount of scrubbing will fix it. Here’s an easy solution: put a thin layer of dish soap in the bottom of the pan and add 15 drops of lemon essential oil. Let sit for 30 minutes. Add warm water and stir, leaving another 30 minutes. Wash out and rinse well. Really bad burns or thick food residue may take multiple tries.

For Beauty

Rosemary and frankincense essential oils are great for achieving shiny hair. Put a small dab of your normal hair serum or styling balm in your palm. Add a few drops of rosemary and frankincense essential oils and mix well. Style as usual. You’ll notice more shine and smoother hair immediately!

Finding Good Quality Essential Oils

Not all essential oils are created equally. Many are cut with inferior oils or have other added ingredients that affect the purity. Non-organic essential oils may have pesticide residues present. For these reasons, we recommend using organic, pure, therapeutic-grade essential oils to avoid these issues. Find 100% pure, organic essential oils here.

Important Notes

Always use essential oils with caution. Not all essential oils are for everyone. If you have sensitivities to some, try another. Most essential oils need to be diluted in a carrier oil before using on the skin.

Pets, children, the elderly, and individuals with compromised immune systems may have more sensitivities than others. Use sparingly around these populations.

Have you tried any of these less common essential oil uses? Tell us about your experiences!


About Debra Maslowski

Debra is a master gardener, a certified herbalist, a natural living instructor, and more. She taught Matt and Betsy how to make soap so they decided to bring her on as a staff writer! Debra recently started an organic herb farm in the mountains of Western North Carolina. You can even purchase her handmade products on Amazon!

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  1. Sally Scheibner says

    Been using E. O. s :
    in my soaping & thus created many other potions. -Bed spray with peppermint – lavender, or cedar woods.
    – Make my own oils w/rosemary, calendula petals, etc. soaking in olive or macadamia oils several weeks.
    -Lemon EO in dilution of H2O + hydrogen peroxide in a spray for dying or brightening hair in sun. (In 80’s to save $)
    Loves me EOs! ?

  2. Tracie C Krueger says

    I have an “iffy” stomach so I leave a bottle of peppermint at my desk for times I need to inhale and my nausea is gone. Do you think this might help women with morning sickness?