Thursday, April 24, 2014

Green Cleaning with Baking Soda and Herbs

It has been an unending winter.  I want Spring to be here so badly just to be able to throw open  the windows and let the fresh air fill the dark and dusty corners of my home.  If only it would stay above 60 for more than a day!  This year I am going to speed the freshening process by crafting a few herbal cleaning products. In honor of Earth Day this week, these are chemical free, natural, earth friendly cleaning solutions.

I made a blend of great cleaning herbs, like thyme, sage, marjoram, lavender and lemon peel.  I ran the herbs in the coffee grinder to give them a uniform size and blended about 3 Tablespoons of this powdery mixture with 3 cups of baking soda.  I have a shaker of table salt handy to add when I need some abrasion too.

Here is breakdown of the herbs I used and why:

Lemon peel: Purification. It's no accident that so many cleaning products are lemon-scented; lemon smells fresh and uplifting and cleanses negativity.

Lavender is more than just a delightful, summery scent. The essential oil of this fragrant plant has disinfectant properties, and its cleaning powers have long been known. 

Thyme is a natural disinfectant to help keep the bathroom clean and germ-free. It also gives off a fresh scent. 

Sage: A cleansing herb use to spiritually cleans common sage is what I use for house cleaning.  The antifungal properties make if perfect for kitchen, bath and laundry.

Marjoram has a long history of being used for cleaning purposes, but I think I just like the very clean scent it gives.

To use this baking soda and herb combination, you simply add it to cleaning water.  Now sometimes I go a step further and make a cleaning water that is has a cup of strong herbal tea added to it as well.  Just boil a couple of cups of water and throw in a handful of herbs, steep for several minutes, and strain the tea into your cleaning bucket, fill the rest of the way with clear water and then pour in between ½ to ¾ cup baking soda mixture.  Use this to wipe down counters, mop floors and do general cleaning.

Recipes for Cleaning Supplies

Here are a couple recipes you can also make using the baking soda and herb mixture.  For windows, however, you cannot use baking soda as it will leave streaks.  So check out the last recipe for how to get your windows sweet and clean.


Simply pour about 1/2 cup of baking soda into a bowl, and add enough liquid detergent to make a texture like frosting.

Scoop the mixture onto a sponge, and wash the surface. This is the perfect recipe for cleaning the bathtub because it rinses easily and doesn't leave grit.

Note: Add 1 teaspoon of vegetable glycerin to the mixture and store in a sealed glass jar, to keep the product moist. Otherwise just make as much as you need at a time.


1 cup or more baking soda
A squirt or two of liquid detergent

Sprinkle water generously over the bottom of the oven, then cover the grime with enough baking soda that the surface is totally white. Sprinkle some more water over the top. Let the mixture set overnight. You can easily wipe up the grease the next morning because the grime will have loosened. When you have cleaned up the worst of the mess, dab a bit of liquid detergent or soap on a sponge, and wash the remaining residue from the oven. If this recipe doesn't work for you it is probably because you didn't use enough baking soda and/or water.


1/4-1/2 teaspoon liquid detergent
3 tablespoons lemon herb or plain white vinegar
2 cups water
Spray bottle

Put all the ingredients into a spray bottle, shake it up a bit, and use as you would a commercial brand. The soap in this recipe is important. It cuts the wax residue from the commercial brands you might have used in the past.

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