Sunday, March 13, 2011
Spring Cleaning with Herbs! Joyous scents few chemicals
I’ve done a few blog entries on cleaning with herbs before, but I wanted to do one for Spring Cleaning with a few very simple recipes you can try easily at home with or without herbs. If you have respiratory issues or skin irritations and inflammations regularly you might want to look into changing to all-natural cleaners. The harsh substances and chemical scents in commercial cleaning agents can bother many people especially children.
Try these easy home-made naturals instead:
To get you started --
Adding herbs to easily available household compounds, like baking soda, can create great cleaning tools.
Steep 1 cup of herbs (lavender, rosemary, thyme, sage or a combination)
in 4 cups boiling water for 15 minutes
Stir in 1 to 4 tablespoons of borax or baking soda
Use this to clean china, glassware, bathroom fixtures, kitchen counters and even lightly soiled walls and painted woodwork. I use it on a light color sponge like my own “magic eraser.”
Herbal Waters for cleaning --
Technically what you are making is an infusion (or a very strong tea) which is heavily permeated with the scent and properties of the herbs.
Use a strong mixture of at least 1 cup of herbs to cups of water. Bring the water and herbs to a boil and simmer for 5 minutes, then allow to steep for at least 15 minutes before straining out the herbs.
Add the remaining liquid to the borax/baking soda using the recipe above, or just use the liquid to wipe down lightly soiled items to leave behind a fresh garden scent.
A liquid made with sage is good as a bathroom spray in the shower to kill fungus. One with thyme will kill bacteria. Lavender leaves a fresh relaxing scent and rosemary lends many bacteria fighting properties too.
You can also make an air freshener spray:
1.5 oz. vodka
¼ tsp. bergamot essential oil
8 drops clove essential oil
5 drops lemon essential oil
6 fluid oz. distilled water
Put vodka and oils in spray bottle and shake to disperse the oils. Add distilled water and shake. Leave for a few days to mature. Spray to refresh a room.
Here are some other suggestions for using herbs to clean your home this Spring Season:
Window Cleaner – I have been using herbal vinegar for years to clean my windows and bath. You can make your own window cleaner by filling a 1 quart spray bottle half with water and half with white vinegar. You can use herbal vinegar if you have it. I like to use up the vinegar from last season and make a lemon window cleaner. If you want to fight germs in the bathroom use vinegar with thyme (anti-bacterial) or sage (anti-fungal). I make lemon thyme vinegar just for using to clean.
All-purpose Cleaner – Good on doors, refrigerators, counter tops and light switch covers. To a 1 quart spray bottle add 2 Tbls. Borax and fill with water. To the top add 1 tsp. castile soap and 15 to 20 drops of essential oil if you enjoy scented cleaners. (I purchase Borax in the grocery store, look for it on the bottom shelf of the laundry isle.)
Furniture Cleaner – Add to a 1 quart sprayer 2 tsp. light olive oil, ¼ cup white vinegar (lemon herbal vinegar works well here too!) and 15 drops of lemon essential oil. I think this is the greatest on my wood desk. Especially where I rub the mouse over the wood while on the computer.
Floor Cleaner – add ¼ cup of vinegar and 10 to 15 drops of essential oil to your wash bucket and mop away. If you have a dirty floor, add a teaspoon of liquid soap to the bucket as well. If germs are a concern add 4 to 6 drops of oregano or thyme essential oil. We only have uncarpeted floor in the foyer, bathrooms and kitchen (a total of about 10 square feet) so I mix up a batch in the bucket to clean all the floors, but before I begin I scoop out enough to fill a spray bottle for touch ups in between bucket washings.
Carpet freshener – Place 1 cup baking soda in a covered bowl and add 16 to 20 drops of your favorite essential oil. Lavender, lemon, rose all work well. Shake well and leave sealed until the next day, then sprinkle on the carpet and vacuum up. If you have a HEPA filter vacuum you should avoid this treatment as it will clog the filters. If you happen to have scented geranium leaves you can add those to the mixture as well. I love the scent the geranium leaves give the house as I vacuum and the scent returns the next time I vacuum as well. We make a VACUUM Freshener at the Backyard Patch with these very ingredients.
Mattress Freshener – Use a small spray bottle and fill it with water or witch hazel and add 12 to 16 drops of eucalyptus oil. Shake and spray on the mattress. Eucalyptus is supposed to kill dust mites. This will work on upholstered furniture as well. I use witch hazel as it evaporates faster and does not spot the mattress cover. I spray it on every time I strip the bed to wash the sheets. I leave the bed clear for an hour or so then come back and vacuum the mattress and bed area before remaking the bed.