Articles, Catamaran Maintenance

Rejuvenate, refresh, clean and maintain your boat with pure essential oils effectively and naturally. Essential oils are aromatic liquid substances extracted from certain species of flowers, grasses, fruits, leaves, roots and trees Why consider essential oils for cleaning?

Properties of these oils are not only valuable for cleaning purposes, but also operate effectively on physical, emotional, intellectual, spiritual and aesthetic areas of our lives. Providing both protection and pleasure without the polluting effects of chemicals, they are effective cleaners that are environmentally safe.

Our ketch, Sea Whisper, is almost 30 years old—and regular use of essential oils keeps her clean and fresh-smelling as well as safe from pests, mildew, and mold. Find these cleaning supplies from a health products/food store or pharmacy: inexpensive, pure essential oils; unscented, natural, liquid soap (good for floors or dishes); unscented liquid oil for wood; glass atomizers; and cotton cloths.

The Galley

Many companionways lead to the galley where ‘fatty’ smells from roasting, frying, fish, etc. linger. Essential oils capable of ‘wrapping’ themselves around the fatty molecules and eliminating galley odors are eucalyptus, lavender, lemon, lime and rosemary. A damp cloth with a few drops of one of these oils releases deodorizing powers when wiped over clean kitchen surfaces.

Another method of deodorizing is adding about eight drops of an essential oil to 600 ml of water in a spray bottle. When cleaning the fridge, freezer, ice box, or oven add a drop of a citrus fruit essential oil (lemon, lime, grapefruit or orange) to the rinse water to deodorize and freshen.

A few drops of cypress, lemongrass, pine or thyme with liquid soap and water or in the final rinse water are effective when cleaning kitchen surfaces and floors. Make dishwashing more pleasant by adding a few drops of essential oil to the dishwater.

Synergy is the culmination of various parts that make the resulting blend very powerful. Keep a small bottle of the following blend of essential oils in your kitchen for fast clean-up and deodorizing. Add a few drops of the blend to a damp cloth and wipe kitchen surfaces or use a spray:
8 drops of lemon
6 drops of lavender
3 drops of eucalyptus

The Head

Here, you want to kill germs, deodorize, and freshen. The following oils are inexpensive antiseptics and bacteria-busters; some are also anti-fungal and anti-viral: cinnamon, clove, eucalyptus, grapefruit, lavender, lemon, lime, pine and thyme.

After washing with soap and water, wipe down the surfaces with one of the above essential oils or a blend of oils. The oils also inhibit bacterial growth and make the room smell pleasant. Other methods to deodorize here are to spray the room or put a couple of drops of oil on the tube inside a toilet paper roll.

Wood surfaces

Wash wood surfaces with natural liquid soap and water, paying special attention to hand grips, sticky with dirt and sweat. Use a bit of natural furniture oil on a damp cloth and a couple of drops of the essential oil that matches your mood and wipe wood surfaces. Here are some ideas for single oils for various areas:

Fresh scents for any area: lavender, rosemary, bergamot, pine, basil or any fruit oil.
Floral scent for common areas: geranium, rose, rose Maroc, petitgraine.
Romantic oils to use sparingly in cabin/bedroom: Palma Rosa, ylang-ylang, clary-sage, nutmeg, lime.

Learn how to repel moths, mice and ants, sweeten your laundry, store clothing and linens worry-free, make windows, mirrors and brass sparkle, and get rid of musty smells in dry lockers and storage lockers. And those running shoes?…whew! We can fix those too……with essential oils.

Part 2

Essential oils are used effectively on a boat for more than just cleaning. They repel bugs and rodents, sweeten your laundry, protect your clothing, make windows and mirrors sparkle, and get rid of nasty odors.

Uninvited visitors arrive on board in your grocery bags, cardboard boxes, fly in a hatch or skitter through a doorway. Using essential oils to deter them from entering or staying on board is easy and inexpensive.

Repel flies and moths with lavender or lemongrass oils: Add 10 drops of lavender or lemongrass oil to 50 ml. (2 oz.) of water, spray windows and doorways, and wipe dry with a cloth.

Ants, mosquitoes and mice hate peppermint so drop peppermint or a blend of 10 drops of citronella and three drops of peppermint on cotton balls and store in nooks and crannies; or, add water to the blend and spray around the room and on windows (and wipe); or, drop either peppermint or the blend ‘neat’ near doors and windows.

To deter mice, pour a blend of water plus alcohol comprised of 15-30{87af57bf33b759b13edf1201e0aac8ff568782d54202a219d5fee60abad8e986} essential oils into small bowls and place under furniture near doors and plumbing. Alternatively, in a sprayer, add 2 tsp. of peppermint oil to one cup of water, shake and spray areas where you have heard or seen mice previously. In smaller spaces, drop peppermint neat in corners and near doorways.

Dust mites, fleas, lice, spiders and ticks can be effectively repelled or deterred using the above methods and any of the following oils blended or singly: lavender, lemon, peppermint, lemongrass.

Store your clothes on board worry free and scent them at the same time. Blend three drops lavender and two drops of lemongrass, drop on cotton balls inside squares of cloth, and scatter in drawers and closets. This method both sweetens the clothes and repels moths. After washing and hanging clothes to air dry, lightly mist clothing with the above blend and water to scent and protect the clothing.

Vinegar leaves windows and mirrors shining. In a spray bottle mix: 1 1/2 cups of vinegar, ½ cup of water, and, to eliminate the vinegary odor, add 8-10 drops of Lemon oil. Shake well before spraying, wipe with a dry cloth.

Make your brass sparkle by rubbing a paste of three parts baking soda to one part water and add a few drops of lemon oil. Rub the paste onto each item, then rinse with warm water and dry with a cloth.

Lockers on board a boat can become smelly and moldy. Numerous studies, including those conducted by the Good Housekeeping Institute, state that a straight 5{87af57bf33b759b13edf1201e0aac8ff568782d54202a219d5fee60abad8e986} solution of vinegar kills 99 percent of bacteria, 82 percent of mold and 80 percent of viruses. Wash the walls and floors of lockers with a half and half solution of vinegar and soapy water. When dry, wipe the same area with straight vinegar to inhibit the growth of mold and mildew. In the locker, leave a cotton ball with a couple of drops of one of the following essential oils with both antiseptic and anti-fungal properties: eucalyptus lemon, juniper, lavender, lemon, patchouli, sage, sandalwood or thyme to inhibit the growth of mold and mildew.

Lingering seafood odors can be alleviated by heating a cup of water and vinegar which will absorb the smell; then, using the essential oil of your choice, mix with water, shake and spray.

And those smelly runners…there is a solution. Mix three drops of lavender, five drops of rosemary and two drops of sage. To each teaspoon of baking soda, add two drops of the above blend. Put two teaspoons of the mixture into a bag with the shoes, shake, leave overnight, tap out soda in the morning.

“Going green” in your cleaning methods is only one technique to utilize essential oils. You might consider putting together a travel kit, occupational oils for the workplace, as well as oils for sports, beauty, your pets, gardens and celebratory events.

About the Author

This article was taken with permission from All at Sea
All at Sea – The Caribbean’s Waterfront Magazine is published monthly.

Phone: 443.321.3797