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How to make Thieves Oil at Home for a Household Cleaner

To be honest, I know very little behind the science or technology of these reputable brands like Young Living Essential Oils or Auru Cacia who each sell varieties of thieves blend or medieval oil blend.  I’ve certainly read up a bit on the legend that has several variants but goes something like … grave robbers during medieval times used an assortment of essential oils to protect themselves from getting the plague. And while there does seem to be some corresponding notes in various old texts

“POUR THIEVES” VINEGAR (cxlviii. £ 99). — Mr. W. G. Bell, in a recent lecture on the Plague, explained this curious name. It appears that during the pestilence four men were caught in the act of robbing the dead. Curious to ascertain how the robbers escaped infection the authorities discovered that the men rubbed their bodies with a mixture of vinegar and spices. An enterprising firm at once placed the remedy on the market under the appropriate name of its first users. Some of these old labels were recently found in the cellars of a firm in the Minories. Dr. Uvedale believed in vinegar poured over a red-hot brick as a plague preventive. (See Robinson’s ‘ History of Enfield,’ i. 1823, p. 121). J. ARDAGH.”

There is hardly a consensus on what these criminals used and much less on an similarity on modern day blends.  But there is certainly a lot claims out there with supporting science to the degree that you believe your own Google news.  And I would encourage anyone to do their own homework when it comes to alternative healing modalities and see what may be right for your unique body chemistry and circumstances.

For me?  I like the way this five essential oil blend smells.  And when I use it as one ingredient in my homemade cleaners it makes the house smell fresh!

Here’s the recipe from the video below:


  • Lemon Zest from 1 Large Lemon
  • 4 Sprigs Fresh Rosemary
  • 4 Cinnamon Sticks
  • ¼ Cup Whole Cloves
  • ~5 Drops Eucalyptus Essential Oil
Carefully remove just the zest from one large lemon, as this is the part that contains the most essential oil.  Place in a pot for the stove with the rosemary, cinnamon and cloves and add about a quart of water.  Let the mixture come to a boil and then reduce the heat and simmer for 30 minutes.  ALTERNATIVELY: For an energy efficient preparation, simply turn off the heat and let sit covered for two hours.  Strain the mixture and place the liquid in a glass jar.  Add your five drops of Eucalyptus Oil to the container and cover with a tight fitting lid.  You can then add another quart of water to the same pot and re-use your peel and spices for another 2-3 batches.
I keep this concentrate in a mason jar and store it with my other cleaning supplies.  Below are a few recipes we use at our house.

General Purpose Cleaner:

Place 2 cups water in an empty (clean!) spray bottle and add ¼ cup of the five oil blend to the bottle.  This works well for counter tops, tile, stone floors, marmoleum and sinks.

Glass Cleaner:

Take a bottle of the General Purpose Cleaner (above) and add ¼ cup White Vinegar.

Wood Cleaner/Polish:

Place 2 cups warm water in an small bucket or bowl.  Add 3 TBL of the five oil blend, 2 drops of dish soap and 1 tsp of olive oil.  I use this on my wood cabinets, tables and wooden banister.  It cuts through the dust and grime and leaves the wood shiny with a wonderful clean smell.

Laundry Additive:

I like to add about a half cup to two gallons of our home made liquid laundry detergent.  Hey if it kept the plague at bay, it can’t hurt eh?

2 comments to How to make Thieves Oil at Home for a Household Cleaner

  • justjayme

    Hi! I just made a batch of this last night and I love the way it smells. Can you tell me if I need to add anything to it to preserve it?…How long can i expect it to stay good for? Thank you so much for sharing, I can’t wait to start cleaning!

  • Melissa

    I was just about to spend $84 for a 64 oz bottle of Thieves oil cleaner. I decided to do a youtube search to see if I could find out how to “mix” it properly, but instead I found you! Thank you, thank you for all the $ you just saved me!!

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