Citrus essential oils, such as Lemon, Lime, Orange, and Mandarin, are the perfect oils for this time of year. Winter is coming to an end, and the bright uplifting aroma of citrus can help remind you that spring is just around the corner. With this season change also comes spring cleaning! Citrus oils are a classic ingredient in homemade cleaning products.
Most essential oils are distilled with a combination of water and steam, but oils from citrus peels are cold expressed to preserve all of the aromatic botanical goodness that they posses. This process involves puncturing the skins of either the whole fruit or just the fruit peel and pressing the essential oil out. With this process, a little bit of juice is also extracted, which is then separated from the essential oil.
For therapeutic uses, you want to buy a citrus oil that is cold expressed, however you can find distilled citrus oils on the market as well. These oils are mostly used in the fragrance industry and have different characteristics then an expressed citrus oil. Pictured below is an expressed lime essential oil (left) and a distilled lime essential oil (right). The expressed oil has a rich green-golden color and has that characteristic tart lime aroma. The distilled oil is clear and has an almost sweet aroma more associated with a lemon-lime flavor.
The aromas of citrus oils are not always as sour as they may seem. Orange or Tangerine oils have a sweet citrus aroma, where Lime and Grapefruit have a more sour note. I consider Lemon to be the middle, and Bergamot has a slightly spicy note to it. All citrus oils are considered top notes, and will evaporate quickly, so it is a good idea to add some grounding base and middle notes while blending, like with Clary Sage or Nutmeg.
Citrusy Cleaning Recipes!
Citrus Shine Aroma Spritz Recipe
- 3 drops organic Orange essential oil
- 3 drops organic Lemon essential oil
- 3 drops organic Lime essential oil
- 2 drops organic Lavender or organic Clary Sage essential oil
- 1 drop organic Nutmeg essential oil
- 2 oz organic Witch Hazel Extract
Mix all ingredients in a 2 oz glass bottle with mister top. Shake well before use and spray as needed. This blend makes a wonderful spritz for offices or bathrooms. It may also be used as a dusting spray while cleaning.
Multipurpose Cleaner Recipe
- 2 cups vinegar and 2 cups water
- 15 drops citrus essential oil of choice
Mix all ingredients together. This blend may be used on most hard surfaces as a general surface cleaner in a spray bottle, or as a floor cleaner (when cleaning hard wood floors always clean a small test patch to ensure the blend does not react with the finish on the floor)
Want more cleaning recipes using natural essential oils?
Check out The Naturally Clean Home by Karyn Siegel-Maier!