Ask Our Aromatherapists: Spring Cleaning, #tidyingup, & Allergies

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Ask Our Aromatherapists: Spring Cleaning, #tidyingup, & Allergies

Welcome to our series for Plant Therapy blog: Ask our Plant Therapy Certified Aromatherapists! Where you ask, and we answer your most burning oily questions.

Wondering who your Plant Therapy Aromatherapists are? You can get the full introduction to our whole team on our Meet Our Aromatherapists page! Because Plant Therapy is dedicated to being transparent, we knew we wanted to introduce you to the team behind answering your essential oil questions.

Without further ado, let’s see what you asked us this month:


Which oils are best for cleaning?

Jayme Signorello asks:

Is there such a thing as a sanitizing oil? I want something that will kill the germs and bacteria!


Kristin Lail, Certified Aromatherapist & SEOR Admin

There are essential oils that have properties that are effective for cleaning.

I’m the mom of six busy children and I end up doing a lot of cleaning up after them. Let’s just face it, kids can be gross.

Some of my personal favorites for cleaning are Lemon, Orange Sweet, Lavender, Palmarosa, or Tea Tree. When I want something quick, I rely on  Germ Destroyer synergy as an addition to my cleaning DIYs.

When I can send the kiddos out with their dad and have a day when I can use non-KidSafe oils, I really like to pull out Lemongrass, Basil, and Thyme for use in a DIY cleaning spray.  I also like the combination of Cinnamon, Eucalyptus, and Peppermint, Not only do these oils smell fabulous together, they’re super effective for cleaning purposes.

Germ Fighter is another synergy that I reach for often. I like to use this synergy in toilet bombs or to clean the bathroom walls/shower curtain to combat issues common in areas with high humidity.

For recipes to utilize these essential oils, I would recommend checking out this helpful blog post: The Guide to Spring Cleaning.


Itching and sneezing and allergies (oh my!)

Use Elemi Essential Oil to help boost your immune systemRegina Sender wants to know about: 

Allergy remedies…other than Lavender, Lemon, Peppermint, please! I’m not a Lavender fan at all. Something that smells amazing AND clears my nose LOL.


Jessica Cobb, Certified Aromatherapist & Content Manager:

This is such a great question Regina (and I love your name btw!) I have to deal with this exact issue in my house every year.

I’m also not a huge Lavender fan: I know, I know, it’s one of the best powerhouse oils! But sadly I have a Linalool sensitivity, which means 99% of all floral oils (including Lavender) make me feel sick and give me headaches. We won’t even go into the irony of a Certified Aromatherapist getting headaches from floral scents…

But your girl also has allergies like woah. So what do we use in our house?

Clear Again Blend!

I seriously can’t talk enough about this blend, and its amazing ability to help with allergy symptoms! Our Marketing Director, Mykeah Kranzler, recommended this blend when I started working at PT, and we’ve been using it ever since.

Diffuse Clear Again or keep it in a personal inhaler. I have some serious, unpleasantly not-pretty seasonal allergies and this blend is my savior. I diffuse clear again at night and it drastically helps my breathing, itching, and sneezing (and helps curb the miserable runny nose, too).

We also make a KidSafe version of Clear Again, Sneezy Stop, for kids under 10.

Now, this might sound like an advertisement for a Plant Therapy blend, but I swear to you this product is on my “must-have” list even if I wasn’t working for PT. It’s that good!

But in case you don’t want to run out and buy Clear Again, there are tons of other essential oils that are also great for allergy symptoms.

Our team here at Plant Therapy Certified Aromatherapists have nailed down 5 essential oils that really help ease symptoms caused by seasonal allergies. Check them out:

If you want to read even more about essential oils and allergies, we have some great blog posts so you can do a deeper dive into this hot topic:


Keeping pests where they belong…off of you and out of your house!

Child having spray applied outdoorsAlicia Guminski says:

Bugs! Spidies and such!


Katrina Scampini, Certified Aromatherapist & Content Creator 

So, I’m probably a bit too enthusiastic to start gardening. By the start of January, I’m already organizing my packets of seeds, containers, and plant lights for indoor germinating. So that means, by about this time I’ve got plenty of beautiful little seedlings, but also, *sigh* … gnats. So I’ll address those tiny demons first. They love how seedling soil has to stay a bit damp and that warm grow light, right? It turns into a gnat paradise pretty fast. Super gross.

I always start with hydrosols, like Peppermint and Helichrysum. I spray it on the plant containers and you’ll notice immediately that gnats get away from it. But when they’re in your house, it really just means the gnats will find somewhere else to go. Drastic measures are necessary. And I’d like to mention that I’m one of those people who will carefully capture spiders or shoe flies out the door before I consider reaching for something to smash them with. But gnats just multiply so incredibly fast that they really can’t be dealt with that way.

Cup of coffee on a gray background with small white lily flowersSo here’s what I do that I’ve found really effective: I take a mug and fill it about half way with some warm coffee. Then, I add a couple of drops of my Coffee Essential Oil to the cup, and the gnats LOVE it. They find the mug, get in the coffee, and, well…no more gnats! It might gross you out when you check the mug at the end of the day and see a ton of dead gnats floating around, but honestly, it’s better than them flying all over the house. My family is already used to my gnat-coffee technique, but if you want to give this a try, please label the cup so no one drinks it! Just take some washi tape and write a very clear warning on it.

For ants, I use Peppermint Essential Oil. This was actually one of the first things I ever learned about essential oils—that ants hate peppermint! Kind of a weird first thing to learn I realize, but I used to live in a rental with some serious summer ant problems.

If you find them congregating somewhere inside your home, just drop a drop of Peppermint in the spot. They hate it and will have to find somewhere else to go, hopefully back outside where they come from. You can also make a spray: for a 2-ounce spray bottle, I just use 10 drops of Peppermint with an equal amount of Polysorbate 20 and fill the rest with water (make sure to add a preservative as well if you don’t want to keep it in the fridge and use within a week). I spray in the area of the ants or use it near my doorways or anywhere outside I see too many ants hanging out.

Honestly, this is a recipe that could be improved upon. I’ve heard people also having success using Clove and Lemon EOs, as well as vinegar or even dish soap instead of water. If this is something you want to play around with, I’d love to hear what you come up with in the comments!

Lastly, let’s talk spiders. Very similar to ants; they hate Peppermint. They also hate citrus oils. The Peppermint spray recipe I talked about works for those small household spiders, but what about something larger? Like hobo or jumping spiders? The best way to use essential oils for those kinds is to work on prevention, rather than reaction.

lemon fruit essence oil plant therapyMany large spiders don’t like clean, well-lit areas with bright, citrusy aromas. Diffusing oils like Lemon, May Chang, Lemon Eucalyptus, or Lemongrass help keep them out of the house. You can use these oils in your ultrasonic diffuser, but the Diffuse on the Move is also a great choice since the oils are being diffused without any water, making for a stronger scent. You can also place a drop or two of these oils on a cotton pad to passively diffuse in areas that spiders are appearing.

I hope this helps, Alicia!



If you have questions for our Certified Aromatherapy team, head on over to our Safe Essential Oil Facebook Group and watch for our monthly post for your chance to get featured and have your questions answered!


78 thoughts on “Ask Our Aromatherapists: Spring Cleaning, #tidyingup, & Allergies”

  • Now I know how much Polysorbates to use in recipes. Yay! I have seizures so have to be careful which oils I use because of this. I also make my own blends because of gastric reflux. Some oils stimulate acid production while others suppress it. Very few sites give information on this. Today I was looking for information on bug repellents and found exactly what I was looking for. I didn’t know this blog existed. Thank you, PT. The coffee/gnat idea brings back memories of going to the beach with my parents 50 years ago when we used soda cans to attract bees away from our picnic area!

  • Maybe the formulation has changed since this blog post, but it seems that Clear Again now contains lavender, so wouldn’t be appropriate if you need to avoid lavender. What I’m really curious about is how to identify what component of a blend I am sensitive to. I have chronic migraines and while I’ve found several oils I can use, many blends seem to make me prone to headache and a brain foggy feeling. I can’t seem to find a specific oil that is common to them all, but sometimes it does seem to be florals, other times heavy or sweet odors. It’s a bit of a frustrating puzzle! I’m certainly enjoying the oils I have found I can use, and this blog is great. Thanks, Plant Therapy!

    1. Hi Tess! That would definitely be frustrating. It’s possible you’re reacting to a specific chemical constituent that may be common in some oils as opposed to a specific oil. Please reach out to our team of aromatherapists at [email protected] to see if they can help you get to the bottom of this.

  • The past few years I have had serious issues with ants in the kitchen during spring time and early summer. I used to be able to set out a jar lid with a little vinegar in it and they’d go away. That quit working. I’ve used diluted peppermint oil and that didn’t work (maybe I shouldn’t have diluted it). I had heard about using orange oil, so I decided to go all out on what I thought might work. I got one of those round, flat cotton pads, put a splash of vinegar on it and set it in a jar lid. Then I dropped a few drops of these oils: peppermint, orange, clove, and tea tree. I put only one of these in the cabinet and I have had no more ant issues. I have seen a few ants, but not the constant trail that I have seen the past few years. I don’t know if it was the combination or just one thing, but I went for overkill because I wasn’t in the mood to try something for a few days. I wanted them GONE – and they went! lol Love my PT oils – and the awesome blog posts!!!

  • Thank you for the post. I have used several of these ideas with success and more. I made a mint spray and spritzed it around my front and back doors (to deter unwanted guests but to make an entry smell fresh for wanted human guests), including on my door decoration, and this has also deterred mosquitoes. I dropped a few drops of mint on the outer edges of my wood deck, I put a few drops of peppermint where ants were coming in, and I have actual rosemary hanging in the kitchen. Love any new ideas!

  • You talked about ants, spiders, and goats but I would love a homemade bug spray recipe for another post!

  • Mice also hate peppermint!! I had a problem with mice crawling on my stove while we were trapping and getting rid of them (major gross shudder!) and I just put some peppermint oil on cotton balls around the stove and they stayed away!

  • I’m happy to have the information about oils that help with allergies! I struggle with pretty bad seasonal allergies, so I can’t wait to try out the different recommendations.

  • Very thankful for the allergy oil recommendations. We are struggling here so I will be experimenting to get a nice blend that will help us out.

  • Great information. I am very allergic to the smell of lavender or anything that has a high linalool content, so I can’t use that to combat itchy eyes and runny nose during allergy season. This year I try blue tansy alone or peppermint with german camomile in personal inhaler and they work wonders!!! The moment that I feel a sneeze is coming, a quick sniff of either one will stop it in the track!

  • Thank you. I really like all the suggestions to deal with cleaning, allergies and bugs. I look forward to trying them out.

  • Wow, these are great suggestions! Thank you so much; I will definitely be trying all of these this spring and summer!!

  • Thanks for this post! My seasonal allergies are just starting up and I am going to try some of these suggestions to help!

  • Thank you! Very timely! The trees are blooming and my seasonal allergies are extreme right now.

  • Great story on EO’s to use when cleaning. I also use lemongrass when cleaning and have made a sanitizer using the oil with vodka, put in a spray bottle. Smells great and helps to reduce germs too.

  • Oh my gosh, allergies have been so bad for me this year. I try to convince myself that I have a cold this time every year, but as I’ve gotten older, I need to realize it’s allergies. I think I’m off to buy some Clear Again or Sneezy Stop.

  • Thank you for this blog!! Good information I put Clear Again in my cart for the hubby I’m trying to win him over to eo’s!

  • So glad I stumbled upon this post! Allergies are kicking my butt – I’ve been doing steams with Marjoram, Eucalyptus R & Ravintsara and that is helping but I ordered Clear Again today and hopefully that will get me through the rest of this pollen season.

  • Thanks for the lovely post and information! I also have seedlings growing inside and peppermint as a deterrent or cinnamon hasn’t worked for those awful gnats in previous years, so I know have a great reason to order the Coffee essential oil on my wishlist! I was wondering if you have any idea what would help for the tons of rolly-Polly bugs in our garage, as a deterrent? Thanks for the awesome information!

    1. Rolly-polly bugs can be deterred with Peppermint, Tea Tree, and Citronella. Try diffusing one at a time in your garage to see if it helps get those little guys outta there 🙂

  • I loveee the gnat trick! What a great idea!!! I’ll also be adding clear again to my wishlist! What a helpful oil!!

  • While my hubby doesn’t say much about my oils it’s nice when he does. He suffers with seasonal allergies. A couple of days ago he woke up with a bad headache. I cautiously mentioned that I read some great things about peppermint and headaches. He didn’t hesitate. I immediately started diffusing it and diluted some to rub on his temples and forehead. His headache was gone in no time. Thanks Plant Therapy!

  • I’m off to order coffee now. I can’t wait to try this for gnats. I’m not a fan of apple cider vinegars smell. Super excited!

  • What about full grown flies? I have heard that basil is a natural deterrent but I am not sure. I currently live near a junk yard, river and live stock auction yard. I can not tell you how many flies I see on a daily basis. Since I can not seem to teach my children to keep the door shut, are there any oils I can put around my door frames to keep at least some of the flies away?

    1. Liza, Basil is great to help deter flies, and you may also have some luck with Lavender or Citronella, too 🙂

  • Wow – I love the suggestion for gnats! I’ll definitely try that one. As for ants, I have tried actual peppermint leaves with limited success. This year I will try peppermint essential oil. Thanks for the info!

  • Fantastic information and I appreciate the knowledge. Rosalina has been my go to this winter paired with both lemon and lavender for a diffuser blend that has kept anything respiratory at bay for our entire family!!! I had no idea about the coffee trick for gnats – brilliant and a must try! Thanks again, Plant Therapy!

  • I can not tell you how happy I am that I discovered oils and all that they do. I’ve not been sick in over a year and a half since I started using oils. I love your company and how helpful and interactive you are will all of us. Thanks

  • Thank you for more allergy options! Lemon, lavender, peppermint has been my go to but I feel like my body adapts quickly and needed a change up.

  • This probably has to be my favorite blog article/discussion thus far!! Seems like everyone already asked the questions I have been wondering about, so it was nice to simply read along and take notes!! Thanks!

  • So much great information with spring finally here! Happy to have oils to turn to instead of drugs and chemicals!!

  • Definitely going to trty all of these tips. Especially a spray for ants. Just an issue around here in the spring. Thanks PT.

  • I had never heard of the “coffee” trick for gnats but I’m definitely going to try that the next time I have a problem with gnats! This was all great information and while I knew some of it already, I learned some new things too. Thanks!

  • Is there anything at all that is safe for use around cats? I’d love to use the peppermint oil trick for the ants but I worry about my cats getting to it.

    1. Lisa, it’s great that you are thinking of the safety of your cats! Please reach out to us directly at [email protected] to learn more about essential oils and certain animals 🙂

  • Thanks for the information. The pollen is terrible here in NC! I have been diffusing Blue Tansy and that seems to help some.

  • I cannot handle Lavender either. It makes me nauseas. I am fine with other floral scents, though I do not care for them. I will definitely be looking into making my own blend, because even in blends I cannot handle lavender in them. =(

  • I have always loved your recipes. A couple years ago, we moved into a house with tile and hardwood floors, tile showers, granite kitchen counters, and marble bathroom counters. Vinegar and citrus are problematic. We also have a small dog, so we are limited to dog safe oils. I have an autoimmune disease, but only Rosalina, Palmarosa, and Blu Tansy seem to be really problematic. Any dog safe & stone safe cleaning recipes?

  • This was one of the most informative and helpful blog posts about essential oils that I’ve ever read. Seems like you guys addressed my exact questions. Thank you, in particular, for the information about allergies and Clear Again. My son and daughter both suffer from seasonal allergies. I found your cleaning chart very useful as well!

  • Great info! My allergies have hit for the year, and since I have kids I’ll have to try Sneezy stop. I love plant therapy for having labeled kid safe blends. Has anyone had success with anything for ants besides Pepppermint oil? I think our ants come in by the door where my kids are in and out a lot, so I don’t want to spray peppermint there.

    1. Amy, while I haven’t tried these EOs myself, I have heard many people have had success using Patchouli and Cedarwood (all varieties) for helping to deter ants 🙂

  • This was a great blog. Love the bug tricks especially the peppermint. Is it safe to do with kids around? Also I wonder if there is anything to help with ticks? I am going to have to try to get clear again. My son is 12 should I get clear again or sneezy stop? And the five you mentioned shouldnyou do them by themselves or mix them together

    1. Amanda, Peppermint is fine to use as long as your children are over ten years old. If they are younger than that, try KidSafe options like Lavender, Cedarwood, or Patchouli. For ticks, we like to recommend this article by Robert Tisserand: For you 12 year old, you can use whatever blend works best for him! I would recommend initially using these blends by themselves to help determine which one is more effective for your family and then blending them together if you would like to try that as well 🙂

  • I’m glad to see a few different options of oils for allergy relief! I’ll definitely be trying some of the options mentioned here, thank you!!

  • Definitely love the info on seasonal allergies! My husband suffers every year and I’m hoping to make or buy a blend that makes him not as miserable this year! Also, hydrosols on garden plants? Brilliant!!

  • Blue Tansy is my go to for allergies. I made my own “Spring Cleaning” spray last month by soaking orange peels in vinegar for two weeks. After the two weeks, I drained the peels and put the liquid in a large spray bottle with (20) drops of Orange Essence to make it smell even more “orangey”. It’s wonderful! Smells good and works. Cleans windows really well too.

  • Great information. I have sneezy stop on the way. Sniffle stopper just isn’t cutting it this year in the southeast and need something for these allergies!

  • I LOVE being able to make my own cleaning products, definitely going to save this! YL pushes their cleaning solution and it’s SO expensive, I’d rather make my own!!! Love Plant Therapy!!

  • I love the coffee trick for gnats! We use a combo of ACV, dishsoap & water. Im going to have tontry using coffee EO now

  • So much good information!! Thanks for this article! I’m especially interested in the clear again synergy!! We get snow once a year in the South and it comes in the form of yellow pollen!!!!

  • This information is much appreciated. I’m starting my spring cleaning, and as I do, I’ve been researching alternatives to commercial cleaners. I’m also noticing so many ants already! Time to whip out the peppermint and citrus oils!!!

  • Definitely needing some allergy help here, so I’ll be checking out the Clear Again oil! Thanks for the info!

    1. Chesley, as long as your cat isn’t going to drink or spill the cup, and your cat is not going to negatively be affected by the coffee/gnat technique. If this is a concern though, try to raise the cup to a higher location kitty can’t reach, like on a shelf. Be more wary with using Peppermint for ants, though. Make sure that wherever the Peppermint is going that your cat will not be exposed to it. Consider putting your cat in another room when using Peppermint and clean it up when you’ve noticed it has done its job 🙂

  • THANK YOU, Jessica! (I really like your name, too, LOL if I had had a girl, she would have been a Jessica!) Never expected to see my question featured but the answer is full of fantastic ideas. I’m going to buy the clear again blend right now as I don’t have it and am hopeful it will clear myself and my family of allergies! This is perfect timing as my youngest son (older than 10) is having an allergy attack as I type this and my older son has a constant battle! You guys are the best!

    1. I am feeling so much fortunate to come into contact with Plant therapy. So much things that these oils could do ,we can’t even imagine.Thanks very much for the information

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