Essential oils are a fantastic addition to your home because they come in a variety of pleasant scents to brighten up your home and help eliminate foul odors. They are used in a variety of cleaning products because they can kill odors at the source. Typically, cleaning products carry a citrus, mint, or wood aroma that can envelop your home in a cocoon of comfort. Essential oils can produce that same cozy or energetic feeling within your house while neutralizing various odors.

How Do Essential Oils Get Rid of Odors?

You know essential oils can cover smells to leave a room smelling fresh, but can they actually neutralize odors? Some essential oils can eliminate odors at the source because they have antiseptic properties. Antiseptics can destroy microbes or prevent bacterial growth [5]. Bacteria, yeasts, and molds are the leading cause of odors around your home, and they can live on all surfaces. These microbes release nasty odors that can permeate throughout a home as they decompose food or eat body sweat. Since antiseptics inhibit bacterial growth, they can prevent those pungent smells, and essential oils leave behind lovely scents that can relax or energize your body. I have found the best essential oils to eliminate odors below.

Best Essential Oils to Neutralize Odors

Citrus Oil

Lemon, lime, orange, grapefruit and other citrus oils possess limonene, which is the component that makes citrus fruits smell citrusy. Limonene contains a strong, pure scent that people usually enjoy, and it can improve moods. In a small study, limonene revealed itself as a potent antifungal substance [7], so citrus essential oils can help eliminate fungal odors such as mold.

Fir or Pine Oil

Some people confuse fir essential oil and pine essential oil because they both come from conifer trees in the same plant family. While they are different, they both contain a type of limonene and can help neutralize moldy smells with their antifungal properties.

Tea Tree Oil

Tea tree essential oil was popular throughout history for its antiseptic properties, and one study confirmed that tea tree oil can act as an antiseptic and anti-inflammatory [2]. Since it is an antiseptic, it can inhibit bacterial growth to stop bad odors.

Sage Oil

One laboratory study found that clary sage oil is an effective substitute for common antibacterial treatments because it can eliminate several strains of bacteria [10]. The study focused on wound healing, but it still proved that clary sage essential oil has the ability to kill bacteria. This means it can also remove odors as it targets various bacteria.

Cinnamon Oil

Cinnamon essential oil carries a distinctly powerful scent, and a study showed that it can also kill bacteria and act as an antibacterial agent against various microorganisms [4]. While removing bacteria responsible for foul odors, cinnamon oil can also make your home smell wonderful.

Clove Oil

Clove essential oil is another oil found to have antibacterial and antimicrobial properties. Two studies, one in 2012 and the other 2018, found clove oil to be effective against bacteria while a 2017 study revealed its ability to act as an antifungal agent. A 2005 study also showed its ability to kill yeast [11]. Clove is a powerful essential oil that can neutralize all sources of odors, which makes it an excellent choice for odor removal.

Peppermint Oil

One study concluded that peppermint essential oil can act as an antibacterial substance [3], and it contains a form of limonene. Peppermint oil can inhibit bacterial growth to reduce odors and leave your home smelling fresh and energized.

Lavender Oil

Lavender essential oil can create a relaxed environment within a home, and a study found that it has antifungal properties. Lavender oil can destroy fungal cells and is able to eliminate a variety of fungal microbes [12]. It is a wonderful choice for items that smell moldy, and it will leave a calming scent behind.

Rosemary Oil

A study found that rosemary oil is an effective antimicrobial agent that can kill common pathogens and bacteria [4]. Rosemary oil can neutralize unpleasant odors by eliminating the bacteria that causes them.

Eucalyptus Oil

Eucalyptus essential oil can reduce mildew odors [1], and one study revealed its antimicrobial properties [4]. It can kill microorganisms that produce nasty odors and replace those nasty smells with a refreshing scent.

Cypress Oil

Cypress is commonly found in deodorant because it can eliminate bacteria on the skin that causes body odor [6]. Using cypress essential oil can produce a comforting environment while eliminating odors.

How to Use Essential Oils as Odor Neutralizers

Diffusers are an excellent way to incorporate essential oils throughout your home. An essential oil diffuser distributes the essential oil particles into the air, letting them cover the room in a comfortable scent. You can also add a few drops of essential oil to water and let it boil, filling your home with moisture and fragrance. This is an excellent option if your home uses a humidifier and needs extra moisture in the air. Some humidifiers can also diffuse essential oils, but not all, so make sure your humidifier can utilize essential oils before you try this option.

Essential oils can take on odors by themselves, but they work best when used with a white vinegar or baking soda solution. Vinegar and baking soda remove odors, and essential oils can help eliminate odors while freshening a room. Simply mix white vinegar, water, and your favorite essential oil in a spray bottle and use it around your home. You can also create a mixture with baking soda, water and essential oils. Do not mix white vinegar and baking soda together because they have different properties that cancel each other out, leaving you with mostly water and no odor-eliminating power. White vinegar is an acetic acid, the opposite of baking soda, and it can remove alkaline odors such as fish. Baking soda is an alkaline substance that eliminates acidic odors such as rancid milk [9]. Acidic odors tend to be stronger than neutral or alkaline odors [13], so baking soda mixed with essential oils can reduce many of the strong smells around your house.

Final Thoughts

Essential oils can neutralize unpleasant odors throughout the house and create a relaxing or energetic environment through their comforting scents. Bacteria and microorganisms are the primary cause behind foul odors. Many cleaning products use the above scents because they work as antiseptics to eliminate microbes or slow bacterial growth. Instead of using harsh chemicals to freshen your home, use essential oils that will brighten your rooms while neutralizing odors. To boost your odor-eliminating power, you can use essential oils with a white vinegar or baking soda mixture to create a completely fresh-smelling home.