With certain antibacterial ingredients, like triclosan, banned in recent years, it's understandable to want a more natural option for banishing bacteria. Whether you're looking to make your own hand sanitizer, toothpaste, deodorant, or cleaning product, the
best antibacterial essential oils eliminate germs — all while smelling great and giving you some peace of mind that you're using pure ingredients.
It can seem like almost all essential oils purport to have some sort of antibacterial, antimicrobial, or anti-fungal property, so it helps to know which oils are actually the most effective. One study found that four essential oils in particular — lemongrass, eucalyptus, peppermint and orange — were
effective against all of the 22 bacterial strains tested. What's more, multiple studies have found that tea tree oil has both antibacterial and anti-fungal properties. For that reason, those five oils top this list.
That said, another thing to consider is the aromatic profile you're seeking. Eucalyptus and tea tree oil offer sharper, even medicinal scents, so if you're looking for a brighter, zestier fragrance to use alone, or to pair with orange oil, I've also included another great antibacterial option, bergamot.
With that in mind, it's time to shop for the best antibacterial oil for you. All of the options below are bacteria busters that offer versatility of use and come highly rated on Amazon.
The Best Tea Tree Oil: Healing Solutions Tea Tree Essential Oil
The Best Eucalyptus Oil: NOW 100% Pure Eucalyptus Oil
With it's invigorating, menthol-y smell, eucalyptus oil is known for it's
cold-relieving and zen-inducing effects . And when it comes to eucalyptus oils, NOW's 100% Pure Eucalyptus Oil is hard to beat. Not only is it completely free of synthetic ingredients, it's non-GMO and has been put through rigorous in-house purity tests. It's best used with a carrier oil or added to water in a diffuser or humidifier, although it can also be mixed with apple cider vinegar and dabbed on skin to treat insect bites or wounds.
The one caveat: Despite its larger bottle size, this pick does not come with a dropper.
Fans say: "I use this for a variety of cleaning purposes. It will remove paint, tar, sticky glue, etc. I gave some to men using roofing tar on my roof to get tar off their hands, and to a woman whose husband managed to get glue on her dining room table. It is a specialized addition to cleaning supplies."
The Best Peppermint Oil: Majestic Pure Peppermint Essential Oil
Peppermint is another versatile, antibacterial superstar and can be added to a
homemade mouthwash or nail treatment.
For a great peppermint oil, look no further than
Majestic's Pure Peppermint Essential Oil — which has earned a 4.5-star rating after more than 3,400 Amazon reviews. It's 100% pure, unfiltered, and undiluted, and has no additives. Plus, it comes with a handy glass dropper for ease of use. This pick is designed to be used with a carrier oil. Fans say: "I use Peppermint oil everyday in my cleaning and around the house. The one is economical and great smelling. I will definitely purchase again."
The Best Lemongrass Oil: ArtNaturals 100% Pure Lemongrass Essential Oil
Antibacterial lemongrass oil has many uses, ranging from a powerhouse
skin toner to a natural floor cleaner. And reviewers love this 100% pure lemongrass oil from ArtNaturals for its clean, crisp scent and GC-MS tested quality. It's also cruelty-free, vegan, ethically sourced, and U.S.-bottled. It's best used with a carrier oil for topical application, but can also be used for natural cleaning recipes. Fans say: "This oil is great. I use essential oils for cleaning, skincare and diffusing. This Lemongrass is amazing and I have been diffusing it since it arrived. It was packaged well and I will definitely purchase it again. Cruelty free products are very important to me, and one of the main reasons I selected this one."
The Best Orange Oil: Handcraft Blends Sweet Orange Essential Oil
Orange oil is a smart choice for anyone looking for an uplifting-smelling antibacterial oil; plus, it has some
great uses for skin care.
Not only does this orange oil from Sally's Organics come back with dozens of positive reviews, it's also USDA-certified organic. It's even been test by a third party to verify purity. Like the other oils on this list, it's best diluted with a carrier oil or in water for a diffuser.
Fans say: "First, I must say how much I love this scent - just opening the bottle brings me joy. This essential oil reminds me exactly of the smell created when first peeling a fresh, juicy orange. I add this to my homemade cleaning products. Orange oil is a great household cleaner, and works wonders in the kitchen. I’ve found it really useful for degreasing counters and even some spills on the bottom of the oven. I also like rubbing some salt and a few drops of this orange oil onto my butcher block cutting block; I know orange has antibacterial properties and because this is USDA Certified Organic, I don’t have any concern about using it around the kitchen."
The Best Bergamot Oil: Plant Therapy Bergamot Essential Oil
Derived from the rinds of a citrus fruit, bergamot oil offers a soothing, zesty scent while also boasting
antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. Due to its fresh fragrance, some like to mix it into a homemade deodorant or hand sanitizing gel, and it can also be used as a spot treatment for acne as long as it's blended with a carrier oil first.
And when it comes to finding the best bergamot essential oil out there, you'd be hard-pressed to find a better option than this
affordable one from Plant Therapy. It's put through multiple rounds of GC-MS testing by several third-party laboratories, so you can be sure it's of the highest quality and purity. It's also USDA-certified organic, cruelty-free, and backed by an impressive 4.5-star Amazon rating. Fans say: "I ordered the Bergamot Oil mainly for the smell to use for fragrance in my lotions/oils as well as for use in homemade/DIY cleaning products. So far, I've mixed it with grapefruit oil and vanilla oil (mixed with a carrier oil) and applied it to my wrists/neck etc. It smelled great! Nice citrusy smell, but it is distinctive and definitely smells different than orange/grapefruit etc. [...]" Bustle may receive a portion of sales from products purchased from this article, which was created independently of Bustle's editorial and sales departments. Studies Referenced: Pattnaik S., Subramanyam V.R., Kole C. (1996). Antibacterial and antifungal activity of ten essential oils in vitro. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8893526