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Essential oils have been increasingly popular for a variety of uses for several years now, and while most people know they make great natural air fresheners and might be able to help you fall asleep more easily or kick a cold a little quicker, there are actually tons of other uses for essential oils that you might not have ever considered. Remember, long before modern medicine and pharmaceutical advances, ancient peoples used essential oils for pretty much all of their health and household needs, because they are what was available to them and they worked!

More from MamásLatinas: 40 Essential oils that will transform your beauty routine

Though essential oils can be a little pricey, a little bit goes a long way. One tiny bottle can last for months depending on how often you use it and what you're using it for. It's a great investment.

Plus, if you do your research, you might find that a bit of essential oil and some water or carrier oil can actually replace lots of the products that you purchase on a regular basis, thus eliminating those expenses. My family is obsessed with lavender oil to help us wind down in the evening, but we just purchased a diffuser in the hopes that the oils will help ward off icky back-to-school germs. Click through our gallery to see 40 more interesting uses for essential oils.

Household: Freshen up stinky shoes. 1

Household: Freshen up stinky shoes.

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Add a couple drops of your favorite smelling essential oil to the offending pair and let them air out overnight, or you can add the oil to a spray bottle of water and use like store-bought fabric refresher.

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Household: Ward off rodents. 2

Household: Ward off rodents.

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Common household pests like rats, mice and other neighborhood rodents don't like the strong smell of peppermint oil. Add several drops to a spray bottle of water and apply around doors, windows, cracks and holes in the walls and floor.

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Household: Get rid of fleas. 3

Household: Get rid of fleas.

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If your pet has suffered a flea infestation, chances are once you free your pet from this nasty bugs they'll stick around in your home for a while, particularly in carpets and upholstery. Chemical flea treatments are potent and you'll have to be out of your house for hours after you use them, but essential oils can be even more effective. A mixuture of tea tree, clove, rosemary and eucalyptus oils should do the trick.

Household: Banish smelly kitchen odors. 4

Household: Banish smelly kitchen odors.

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Certain kitchen smells like those from cooking fish or frying food can take days to air out, but spraying the room with lemon essential oil diluted in water can do the trick in just minutes.

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Household: Remove permanent market stains. 5

Household: Remove permanent market stains.

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Apply several drops of lemon essential oil to a cotton ball and use it to wipe away permanent marker scribbles.

 

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Household: Lemon essential oil can also clean up crayon. 6

Household: Lemon essential oil can also clean up crayon.

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Lemon essential oil acts as a solvent, so it can clean up lots of hard to remove stains including crayon.

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Household: Keep flies away. 7

Household: Keep flies away.

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During the summer months keeping flies out of your home can be a huge task. A mixture of peppermint and lemongrass oils sprayed around doors and windows can keep them out though. They don't like the smell!

Household: Clean and scent your yoga mat. 8

Household: Clean and scent your yoga mat.

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Like any piece of exercise equipment, your yoga mat can get pretty skanky. Wipe it down with diluted tea tree oil to get rid of bacteria. If you're a fan of bedtime yoga, try dabbing it with a bit of lavender oil to make your practice even more relaxing.

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Household: Soften fabrics naturally. 9

Household: Soften fabrics naturally.

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I ditched chemical fabric softeners years ago and haven't missed them at all. You can use essential oils to naturally soften and scent your laundry. Either add a couple of drops to your laundry detergent, or apply them to wool dryer balls.

Household: Enjoy some fireplace aromatherapy. 10

Household: Enjoy some fireplace aromatherapy.

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There's nothing like sitting by a warm fire on a cold night. Apply a few drops of your favorite smell-good essential oil directly to one of your fireplace logs before lighting it and you'll enjoy some amazing aromatherapy.

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Household: Remove gum from fabrics and hair. 11

Household: Remove gum from fabrics and hair.

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Lemon essential oils solvent properties actually work for sticky stuck gum as well. You can use the oil to get stuck gum out of fabrics, upholstery and hair.

Household: Degrease pots and pans. 12

Household: Degrease pots and pans.

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Lemon essential oil is an excellent all-natural grease remover as well. Just add a few drops to your bottle of dish detergent before washing.

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Household: Scent your silk flowers. 13

Household: Scent your silk flowers.

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Silk flowers last a whole lot longer than fresh, but they don't smell nearly as good. Apply a few drops of a floral scented essential oil and your floral conundrum is solved.

Household: Clean your produce without chemicals. 14

Household: Clean your produce without chemicals.

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You can make a natural DIY produce wash by filling a bowl, sink or tub with water and adding a few drops of grapefruit essential oil which is antibacterial and antimicrobial, and rinsing your fruits and veggies in the solution.

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Household: Clean household sponges. 15

Household: Clean household sponges.

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It's not news that the household sponges most of us like to clean our dishes and kitchen surfaces with can be home to trapped bacteria and germs and often get kind of smelly. Soak them in lemon oil diluted in water and allow to air dry to kill some germs and make them smell fresh.

Household: Remove soap scum. 16

Household: Remove soap scum.

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Tea tree and eucalyptus oils can penetrate tough soap scum and even mold and mildew in your shower and tub.

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Household: Banish mold from your home. 17

Household: Banish mold from your home.

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Diffusing tea tree essential oil in your home can kill off mold spores and other airborne pathogens to make the air you breathe at home a whole lot safer.

Household: Minimize paint odors. 18

Household: Minimize paint odors.

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Add a drop or two of peppermint essential oil to any can of paint to help minimize that fresh paint smell. The strong peppermint scent will overpower the paint odor.

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Household: Clean and protect leather. 19

Household: Clean and protect leather.

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If you have leather furniture or even a leather bag or jacket that you're particularly fond of, you can use lemon essential oil to protect it from cracking and fading. Just wipe with a mixture of half a cup of white vinegar and 15-20 drops of oil.

Household: Make your washing machine smell better. 20

Household: Make your washing machine smell better.

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If your washing machine tends to let off a musty smell, using essential oils in your detergent can help minimize the offensive odor. While the soap gets totally washed away in the rinse cycle, the potent aroma of the oil will stick around and act as a deodorizer.

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Health & Beauty: Soothe sore ear lobes. 21

Health & Beauty: Soothe sore ear lobes.

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If your ear lobes are sore from wearing long and/or heavy earrings, add a couple drops of tea tree oil to a cotton ball and dab on to your ear to get some relief.

Health & Beauty: Heal new piercings. 22

Health & Beauty: Heal new piercings.

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Similarly, you can apply tea tree oil to new piercings instead of alcohol for faster, safer healing.

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Health & Beauty: Keep your toenails fungus-free. 23

Health & Beauty: Keep your toenails fungus-free.

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Add a few drops of tea tree oil to your next pedicure tub to ward off any potential fungi.

Health & Beauty: Relieve a runny nose. 24

Health & Beauty: Relieve a runny nose.

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Sniffing lemon essential oil could help reduce the symptoms of a runny nose and clear up your sinuses so you can breathe better.

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Health & Beauty: Get rid of hiccups. 25

Health & Beauty: Get rid of hiccups.

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Add four to five drops of peppermint essential oil to a shot glass of water and throw it back to help get rid of hiccups fast.

Health & Beauty: Treat a headache. 26

Health & Beauty: Treat a headache.

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Sniffing peppermint oil or applying it to your temples via a carrier oil like coconut or olive oil can help get a rid of a headache quickly.

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Health & Beauty: Keep your pet calm. 27

Health & Beauty: Keep your pet calm.

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Lavender essential oil is ultra-calming and soothing, so letting your pet enjoy some aromatherapy prior to going to the groomer or veterinarian can help reduce any anxiety associated with the visit.

Health & Beauty: Make your own hand sanitizer. 28

Health & Beauty: Make your own hand sanitizer.

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You can make your own hand sanitizer by combining several drops of tea tree oil which is antibacterial with natural aloe vera gel.

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Health & Beauty: Cure a hangover. 29

Health & Beauty: Cure a hangover.

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Sniffing some grapefruit essential oil can help with a hangover almost immediately. The scent is energizing and helps with mental clarity and focus.

Health & Beauty: Beat sugar cravings. 30

Health & Beauty: Beat sugar cravings.

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Similarly, just sniffing cinnamon essential oil has been known to help kick sugar cravings to the side. The scent is so satisfying.

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Health & Beauty: Naturally boost your mood. 31

Health & Beauty: Naturally boost your mood.

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Certain essential oils including bergamot and rose oils have mood-boosting properties. Diffuse them or sniff them straight from the bottle if you're down in the dumps to feel happier naturally.

Health & Beauty: Quit smoking. 32

Health & Beauty: Quit smoking.

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The scent of clove oil has been known to curb cigarette cravings. Diffuse it in your home if you're trying to quit smoking.

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Health & Beauty: Soothe a sunburn. 33

Health & Beauty: Soothe a sunburn.

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Mixing a few drops of peppermint oil with aloe vera gel or your favorite sunburn cream can help take the sting out of the burn quickly.

Health & Beauty: Cleanse your pores. 34

Health & Beauty: Cleanse your pores.

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The next time you're giving yourself an at-home facial, add some lavender essential oil to the bowl of hot water you're using to steam clean your pores. Among others, lavender oil has antiseptic and anti-fungal properties.

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Health & Beauty: Strengthen your fingernails. 35

Health & Beauty: Strengthen your fingernails.

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Mix a few drops of myrrh and lemon oils into some Vitamin E and apply to your nails to help make them strong and healthy.

Health & Beauty: Reduce the appearance of cellulite. 36

Health & Beauty: Reduce the appearance of cellulite.

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Grapefruit essential oil can help increase blood flow which reduces the appearance of cellulite. Add a few drops to your moisturizer or use it in your exfoliating treatment.

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Health & Beauty: Relieve menstrual cramps. 37

Health & Beauty: Relieve menstrual cramps.

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If you suffer from menstrual cramps, try making a warm compress with a washcloth or small towel and hot water, then add a few drops of rosemary and sage essential oils. They help regulate hormones and are antispasmodic.

Health & Beauty: Treat swollen lymph nodes. 38

Health & Beauty: Treat swollen lymph nodes.

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Whenever I get sick, sore, swollen lymph nodes under my chin are the first sign. You can treat them by massaging the area with a cotton ball dabbed in soothing lavender oil.

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Health & Beauty: Highlight your hair naturally. 39

Health & Beauty: Highlight your hair naturally.

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Add a few drops of lemon oil to your conditioner or favorite hair product and the effects of the sun on your tresses will be heightened and result in gradually appearing, natural highlights.

Health & Beauty: Get rid of lice. 40

Health & Beauty: Get rid of lice.

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You can treat lice by combining thyme, lavender and eucalyptus oils with some coconut oil and applying it the scalp for a half hour or so.