Green Cleaning Just in Time for the Summer

As the Summer season approaches many of the gorgeous herbs we find in our garden have also been distilled into essential oils enabling us to use the herb in a whole new way. From refreshing to relaxation here are a few scent pairings to enjoy this Summer Season.

Lemongrass [Cymbopogon citratus]

Lemongrass is an intoxicating essential oil that has many purposes. First it’s an excellent household cleaner. It’s also great for musculoskeletal aches and pains so after a long day in the garden add 4 drops to a tablespoon of carrier oil (coconut or olive oil would work well) and rub into your tired muscles. Lemongrass has also been known to aid the immune and central nervous system so a simple whiff of the bottle that has an orifice reducer can often ease an anxious mind. It is also one of the oldest grasses used for ayurvedic food and ceremony for thousands of years. A good antifungal, and helpful for headaches, Lemongrass’ best secret is released when it is blended with other essential oils to create a powerful bug spray. Pair with Peppermint, Lavender, Patchouli, or Geranium for a safe and effective insect repellent.  One caution is it may cause irritation on sensitive skin. Always dilute and conduct a patch test before applying.

Sweet Orange [Citrus sinensis]

Gentle and powerful is a perfect description of Sweet Orange.  Useful for many ailments, Orange has antibacterial qualities but is also known to be calming and soothing.  It’s an excellent choice for respiratory support, clearing infections, and has impressive effects in supporting digestion. With a citrusy, bright and fresh aroma, Sweet Orange is often used in natural cleaning products as it is an air purifier–great for a room refreshing spray. Blend with Lavender and Geranium for a soothing scent to ease tension and alleviate exhaustion. Sweet Orange can be skin sensitizing so be careful with direct contact to the skin. In the rare case of skin discomfort use a vegetable oil (olive, coconut, sunflower etc.) on the area and to remove the essential oil.

Sweet Basil  {Ocimum basilicum]

Known as ‘Sweet’ Basil  this essential oils gem is herbaceous and a little spicy. Helpful for headaches, plus muscle and inflammation it’s a favorite on Aromatherapists’ short list. This antibacterial, antiseptic, and even a little sedative essential oil has a long history and was once one of the most commonly found herbs in any medicinal kit. Sweet Basil  is often described as warm, green, spicy, herbaceous. Blend with rosemary, laurel, and peppermint with a lively and herbaceous blend. 

If you are interested in learning more about blending, I am teaching an upcoming class on Introduction to Blending with Essential Oils Saturday, June 22 from 2pm to 4pm at the Amityville Apothecary. In this class we will go deeper into understanding how to blend for your goal. Space is limited, registering in advance at

Since the kitchen tends to be the most odorous room in the house, why not use these herbaceous essential oils as a freshening spray? Alternatively, you could even use 2-4 drops in a whole bucket of water clean counters and floors. To make a room spray:

Essential Oils

10 drops of Lemongrass

13 drops of Sweet Basil

16 drops of Orange

Materials for Aromatic Spray

  • (1) 2 oz Glass or PET plastic ‘mist’ bottle
  • (1) blank label
  • 2 oz of distilled spring water
  • Pyrex measuring cup for water
  • 40 drops of essential oils

How to blend

  • Place drops of essential oils in glass Pyrex measuring cup
  • Ensure the aroma is to your liking. If not, add a few more drop but remember less is more.
  • Slowly pour 1.75 ounces of distilled water into Pyrex. Stir with metal or glass instrument.
  • Slowly pour mix into PET mist bottle. Do not fill to top or you will have spill-over when you secure the misting top.
  • Final product will be about a 2.5% dilution
  • Spray on body and clothes as needed. Each application will last about 3 hours. Avoid eyes and mouth.

Jill Griffin-Hughes, CHP, C.A.T Founder of is a Clinical Aromatherapist and Certified Aromatherapy Teacher through the National Association of Holistic Aromatherapy. She attended the Life Coach School, the Health Coach Institute, the Institute for Integrative Nutrition, is a certified meditation instructor and received her health practitioner certification (CHP) through SUNY Purchase. She teaches natural beauty product formulation, aromatherapy, and corporate wellness workshops at New York School for Aromatic Studies and at the Amityville Apothecary, in Amityville, NY. Jill also consults to wellness, essential oil, and natural beauty companies, aiding them in the creation of their product formulations.