The 6 Best Antibacterial Essential Oils
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.
1. The Best Tea Tree Oil
Tea tree oil is one of the most popular (and versatile) essential oils around, thanks to its antibacterial, antiviral, anti-fungal, and anti-inflammatory qualities. It can be used as an acne treatment (especially great for those with sensitive skin) and as a dandruff-buster. And this 100% pure tea tree oil from Healing Solutions is the best of the best. Boasting a 4.3-star rating after more than 34,000 Amazon reviews, it offers a fresh, camphoraceous scent and can be used either with a carrier oil or added to a diffuser with water.
Fans say: "Excellent quality. I use as an antibacterial. A few drops in homemade deodorant."
2. The Best 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: "Love this essential oil, great for this time of year as an antibacterial to help clear nasal passages. I mix one drop with natural, unscented lotion and put it in the corners of my nose. Works wonders, this is a 100% pure Eucalyptus essential oil."
3. The Best Peppermint 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 have tried TONS of Peppermint essential oils from Amazon and, let me just say, not all peppermint oils work or smell the same! I use peppermint oil for my face (clears up acne pretty well and really wakes you up) and as a natural bug repellent. [...] But this one is FANTASTIC! Smells just like peppermint SHOULD, BIG bottle - the dropper/lid attachment is a nice touch too! They even emailed me a PDF of uses, tips, and medical benefits [...]"
4. The Best Lemongrass 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: "I've tried other essential oil scents, but they are too light. Lemongrass is the ONE scent that lasts a long time, and is strong (but not too strong) , and this oil lived up to my experience. [...]"
5. The Best Orange 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.
Backed by more than 4,000 Amazon reviews, this Handcraft Blends' Sweet Orange Essential Oil is beloved by reviewers for its invigorating scent. What's more, it's notably put through vigorous tests to prove its authenticity, and then bottled in an FDA-approved cGmp Facility to ensure the highest quality standards. Like the other oils on this list, it's best diluted with a carrier oil or in water for a diffuser.
Fans say: "This Orange Oil is the best on the market. I love the smell and you can use it for many different things. I put it in water when I get a pedicure as well as on my skin. But watch out for the eyes. The seller is fabulous to deal with. Very versatile oil."
6. The Best Bergamot 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. [...]"
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