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A few years ago, I knew nothing about essential oils. Ok, I take that back. I knew tea tree oil was supposed to be good for cleaning toilets, lavender had a calming effect and I really loved the smell of citrus oils.

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Other than that, nada.

But then I invested in a starter kit because I wanted to start using them. Best decision ever. I fell in love with the oils as soon as I opened that first bottle of peppermint.

Instantly, I was taken back to summers on the herb farm I grew up on, where peppermint was the main crop. It was like harvest time in a bottle.

Now, I use essential oils all the time. Seriously, I’m a bit addicted (in a good way, really).

And recently, a reader asked me to pick just three oils to recommend to a beginner and tell a few situations you’d use them for. Challenge accepted.

1. Lavender

Lavender essential oil is well-known for calming. Did you know that it also soothes irritated skin? And that you can use it as a first aid treatment for burns, insect bites and scrapes? Plus it’s mild enough to apply topically without being diluted in a carrier oil.

Want a great recipe to use lavender essential oil in? How about this healing lavender mint lip balm?

2. Lemon

Think of lemon essential oil as the de-gunkifier of the world (in addition to being a great mood-lifter). It will get the gunk off of just about anything. Use a drop to get clay off your table, degrease dishes or get sticky sap off your hands.

And it’s not just limited to cleaning – it works wonders at detoxifying the body.

3. Melaleuca

AKA Tea Tree oil. It’s a potent germ killer, so it’s a great addition to DIY cleaners. Melaleuca is also a skin soother, particularly if you’re dealing with irritated skin.

But did you know it’s also effective at helping the body heal itself? It works great on ear aches.

Lavender/lemon/melaleuca is my current favorite essential oil combo. It smells wonderful – the lavender is noticeable, but not overpowering. I frequently put the mix in my diffuser, my unscented dish soap and my DIY all-purpose cleaning spray.

What questions do you have about essential oils?