Essential oils have numerous properties because of their complex nature. Many of the organic aromatic components have a hydrogen and carbon ring (sometimes with oxygen) which can insert itself into the membrane of biological cells, thus destroying them. The essential oil is a hydrophobic (water hating) substance. Depending upon the ratio of the major components, this hydrophobicity can vary.  In addition, certain components act as solvents (for example d-limonene) and help with the removal of organic soil such as grease and grime.

Why do we clean? We clean to make the environment hygienically safe for ourselves and family. Most of us are also animal lovers and they need their environment to be safe too. The most common areas within an area that require cleaning are surfaces, floors, toilets and the air. There are different types of dirt and grime that needs to be removed in order to make the environment more acceptable and also to prevent growth of bugs that could potentially cause disease.

How do cleaners work? Many cleaners work by the chemical interaction with the soiled area. The ‘soil’ can be different in nature (organic, inorganic and a combination of both) and cleaners have to deal with these differences. Most cleaners depend upon physical loosening and removal of the ‘soil’ due to friction, during the cleaning process helped by surface active agents (surfactants) in the cleaners. Removing grease (organic soil) requires a different process to removing dirt from a surface. Usually organic soils are best removed using alkaline cleaners or solvents. Inorganic soils include rust, sand and clay and usually require a more acidic and abrasive cleaner.

Water makes up a large percentage of most liquid cleaner formulas and is commonly referred to as a universal solvent, adding to the detergent nature of the cleaner and breaking up the soil on the surface. Water and other components of specific essential oils help liquefy grease, dissolve solid soil into very small particles and allow other surfactants to work. This makes certain essential oils and blends of these, excellent cleaners.