Open a couple of cupboards in most kitchens or bathrooms and you're likely to find those household 'essentials' - bleach, paracetamol, maybe a five year old bottle of Shake n' Vac and many other sorts of so-called 'must have' items that everyone apparently needs.
But what about alternatives?
With so many chemicals in our food, body products and pretty much everything else that we have in our hands on a daily basis, isn't it about time we incorporated more natural products into our everyday lives?
Well, that's what many of us are trying to do, so my team of useless boffins (me) have decided to take a look at some of the natural alternatives that we can add to that 'must have' list.
Here are three of the essential oils that you should try and have handy in your bathroom cabinet, and a few cheeky little remedies that could replace the 'norm' of everyday 'necessities'.
Tea Tree Oil (Melaleuca alternifoliais)
Up first, and probably the most important on the list, is Tea Tree oil.
This is probably the most universal of the household oils you can have, because you can practically use it for anything, apart from fuelling your car, styling your hair (though I haven't tried that one) or painting your roof.
It has healing properties that include, antibacterial, analgesic, antifungal, decongestant and even tissue regenerative properties too.
It's a little bit of 'essential' magic in a bottle to be perfectly honest.
You can use it to treat boils and sores and even add a drop or two to your shampoo and combat that dreaded dandruff condition too.
Put a couple of drops on a cotton bud and apply it to your sores and boils in the morning and then again at night, and hey presto, you should start seeing the benefits.
You can even add a little to water and gargle it to combat bad breath or to treat a sore throat.
And the uses don't end there either.
To relieve a congested nose and chest, add a few drops to a bowl of boiling water, stick a towel over your loaf of bread (head) and inhale the fumes.
I've tried this and it works a hell of a lot better than that eye wateringly useless vapo-rub stuff!
And finally, to replace those often very expensive kitchen and bathroom cleaners, you can add a few teaspoons to a couple of cups of water and pour it into a spray bottle. It's great for murdering mildew and as a general antiseptic spray solution.
All in all, Tea Tree oil is king (or queen) of the household essential oil crew; you could even call it Don Tea-tree-oily...
Lavender Oil (Lavandula Angustifolia)
Not just enjoyed by your Granny, Lavender is probably the most well-loved of all the essential oils.
Best known for keeping that same grannies pants smelling fresh, it also has outstanding antidepressant qualities and is great for helping you to relax - stick a couple of drops on your pillow for a sweet night's sleep.
As well as these great uses, it's not so bad at healing cuts and bruises, skin ailments and even motion sickness too - though it may be that the smell just distracts you from all the weird motion sickness symptoms if you believe the experts.
Minor burns and bee stings can also be treated with a couple of drops of lavender oil - just put a little on the skin after you've run the wound under cold water.
Clove Oil (Eugenia Carophyllata)
Though generally thought of as a dental care kind of oil, clove oil does have some other uses too, but let's get the toothy stuff out of the way first.
To treat toothache and gum ache add a drop of clove oil (diluted with a carrier oil) to a ball of cotton wool and stick it on the affected area of your gob for around 10 to 15 minutes.
Alternatively, you can add a couple of drops to a cup of warm water and gargle instead.
For those of you that are uncomfortable around crawling insects and spiders, clove oil can also act as a handy repellent - a couple of drops in a diffuser or vaporiser and sprayed in their direction will do wonders for helping you combat your phobia.
So that's it.
As with most things, the key to the power of your essential oils is the quality, so don't cut corners and buy cheap stuff - get the good quality shizzle!
Also remember to think about any allergies you might have and, if you're pregnant or have a little peskie running around, make sure that you know the risks of using these different types of essential oils.
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