5 Surprising Uses For Eucalyptus Oil

From easing chest congestion to an effective pest repellent -- see how one small bottle can be a beneficial multi-tasker in your home!

The scent of eucalyptus is unmistakable—its strong aroma is found in cough drops and topical ointments and comes from the oil that is extracted from the fresh leaves of the eucalyptus tree, which is native to Australia. And while most of us won’t be munching on leaves of this tree like the koala (its favorite meal), we can get the important benefits from a single bottle of essential oil.

Eucalyptus oil has been revered for many years for its wide range of health benefits, and it’s starting to be recognized for its multitude of uses around the home.

Green eucalyptus branch(herb)

5 Surprising Uses For Eucalyptus Oil

Check out this list of surprising ways to use this essential oil:

  1. Ease Congestion – Many commercially available cough and cold remedies contain eucalyptus for a reason.  The next time you’re suffering from chest congestion, rub a drop of eucalyptus essential oil on your chest or right under your nose. The menthol vapors will soothe the soreness and help you breathe easier. If you don’t want to put it on the skin, simmer a few drops mixed with water in an oil warmer or a small pot on the stove. Let the vapors fill the room so that you can breathe them in and get some relief. Note: skin application is not recommended for children under two years of age.
  2. Arthritis and Joint Pain Relief – Eucalyptus oil is also a traditional remedy for arthritis and other aches and pains. Try rubbing a couple of drops of oil on your sore spots to help ease the pain — but first, check with your doctor to make sure that the eucalyptus won’t interact with any other topical treatments you are using.
  3. Household Cleaner – One reason that eucalyptus oil is commonly found in household cleaners is that it smells great, and it’s a known antiseptic, antibacterial, and antimicrobial agent.  To make a sanitizing solution, mix two or three drops of eucalyptus oil per tablespoon of water. Moisten a cloth with the solution and use it to wipe down doorknobs, floors, trash cans and any other unsanitary spots in your house. Keep in mind that eucalyptus should not be ingested, so make sure that you clean the oil off food preparation surfaces (like your kitchen counter) once you have finished sanitizing.
  4. Bug Repellent – Eucalyptus is an excellent pest controller because pests dislike the smell. This compound is a well-researched alternative to commercial chemical pesticides and it also works well as an insect and rodent repellent. To make an all-purpose pest spray, mix 10 drops of eucalyptus oil with two ounces of water and two ounces of white vinegar. You can use this spray as an insecticide in the garden or spray it on exposed skin to ward off mosquitos and other biting bugs (but remember, topical application is not recommended on pets or  children under 2 years of age).
  5. Pest Control – Eucalyptus is an effective remedy against pests like pantry moths, mice, or rats. To keep these pests out, place cotton balls moistened with two drops of eucalyptus oil in cabinets and drawers. For rodents, like mice or rats, the goal is to keep them outside where they belong. Therefore, you’ll need to put eucalyptus oil around known entry points — windows, doorways, along baseboards and anywhere else that a rodent might slip through a crack or chew its way in. You can also put this oil around wiring or other objects that rodents might chew on.

We recommend using 100% eucalyptus essential oil to get its health benefits, which can be found at PennHerb.com.

As you can see, eucalyptus has so many uses around the house that it truly is the most “essential” oil to have in your home-remedy arsenal.

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Amber Kanuckel

Amber Kanuckel is a freelance writer from rural Ohio who loves all things outdoors. She specializes in home, garden, environmental, and green living topics.

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Cheryl Weber

Where can I buy a bottle

Sandi Duncan

Penn Herb is a good source but any health food store should sell it.

Angi Gaissert

I have reaches everywhere will it help?


i use it mixed with olive oil in a hot oil treatment for dry scalp. helps with the itch of winter dryness. just dont let it drip anywere near your eyes.

Susan Higgins

Terrific tip, thanks, Andrea!

Nancy Besser

I have an infestation of flying moths. I need help I keep spraying them and my home with spray to last 4 weeks but seems it does not last or do anything to stop this. ???? It is not possible to find the source so how can I stop this?

Susan Higgins

Hi Nancy, you might have to call in a professional. It sounds like they’re on a cycle and hatching every so often. Let us know how you make out.


What about Carpenter ants? I have an old home and they are coming inside. Pest spraying is not working.

Susan Higgins

Hi Sirena, check out this post we did on ants, and be sure to read some of the suggestions in the customer comments at the bottom of the story: Keep the Ants from Marching In!

Cathy W

Can you use it directly on or around plants. Need a natural plant bug spray

Susan Higgins

Hi Cathy W: We have some good ideas for combating plant pests here: 22 Ways To Combat Garden Pests Naturally


Does this work for those tiny little black ants that invade the kitchen? If yes, what is the best method for use?

Susan Higgins

Hi Cathy, Yes, kitchen ants dislike the smell of eucalyptus. Spray (using the recipe in item #4) along the cracks where you suspect they’re coming in.

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