Extracted from plants, some essential oils can kill bacteria and mold. They’re very strong, so don’t go overboard: One drop of peppermint oil is as potent as 30 cups of peppermint tea.
Price: $14 for 5 milliliters at health-food stores.
Use Them to Clean Your…
Combs and brushes: Fill a container with 1½ cups water, ½ cup distilled white vinegar, and 20 drops tea-tree, lavender, or eucalyptus oil. Soak combs and brushes for 20 minutes. Rinse and air-dry.
Scuffed floors: Apply two to four drops of tea-tree oil to the spots. Wipe excess oil with a cloth and rub in distilled white vinegar.
Gum-encrusted items: Orange oil is great at removing this sticky offender from various materials. (Don’t worry: It shouldn’t stain fabrics. But do launder immediately.) Apply with a cotton ball.
Shower doors: Wipe scum-covered glass doors with a few drops of lemon oil twice a month. It will protect them from grime buildup.
Toilets: Add 2 teaspoons tea-tree oil and 2 cups water to a spray bottle. Shake, then spritz along the toilet’s inside rim. Let sit for 30 minutes; scrub. You can also place a few drops of your favorite oil on the inside of the toilet-paper tube. “Every time the paper is used, the scent will be released,” says Siegel-Maier.
Windows: Mix 2 ounces water and 10 drops lavender or lemongrass oil to wipe grime off windows. Bonus: These oils may repel flies.