If you have ever been
assaulted by toxic chemicals in toilet bowl cleaners, oven cleaners, or other
commercial cleaning products and thought there has to be a better way, then just
look to Mother Nature.
There is no shortage of
do-it-yourself recipes that will show you how to make everything from furniture
polish to toilet bowl cleaners using simple herbs and essential oils that
clean, sanitize, and, most importantly, keep toxic chemicals out of your home
and away from your family.
There is a long list of
herbs that can be used to make cleaning products. One of the easiest ways to
use them is to simply put one or a combination of these herbs in a quart-size Mason
jar and cover with white vinegar. Leave sitting on your counter for a few weeks
and strain for a simple yet effective all-purpose cleanser. Try herbs like
lavender flower, cloves, cinnamon sticks, rosemary, eucalyptus leaves, mint,
thyme or citrus peel.
Essential oils are a
great addition to your homemade products. They are antimicrobial, antiseptic
and antifungal, and make your home feel and smell wonderful. They also clean
the air, and breathing them is very healing for you and everyone in your
household. Using a diffuser is another way to clean and sanitize the air in
your home. Some of our favorite essential oils are eucalyptus, lavender, pine,
rosemary and tea tree.
Now is the fun part! But
be careful; once you start making your own products, it is addictive and you
might not be able to stop.
Let’s concentrate on
the biggest problem in most homes: floors. Next to the bathroom, this is
probably the “germiest” part of your home. Just think of all the places you
walk during the day and all those germs that get attached to the bottom of your
shoes. Taking your shoes off at the entrance of your home can be one of the
best things you can do. And every once in a while, take a cleaning rag of some
sort—we like baby wipes, as they are inexpensive and disposable—and wipe the
bottom of your shoes.
As for cleaning the
floor, a popular trend is an all-in-one spray mop. They work on all floor types
and are easy and quick to use, but have you ever looked at some of the ingredients
like alkyl polyglycoside, didecyl dimethyl ammonium chloride, and chlorhexidine
diacetate? If you can’t pronounce these, maybe it is not a good idea to have
them on your floors. What if you have children or babies crawling around? What
about your pet? And what about the vapors emitted by these products?
Let’s try something to
clean our floors that is just as effective but much safer and actually pleasant.
The following recipe is for all types of hard-surface floors and contains
ingredients that you probably have on hand.
2 cups water
½-¾ cup distilled white vinegar
¼ cup isopropyl rubbing
¼ tsp of liquid dish
soap (not castile soap or any soap that is oil-based, as they will be sticky
10-12 drops of
essential oil (your choice or see the previously mentioned list)
Mix all ingredients
together and use as needed. Be sure to let the floor dry before walking on it.
If you happen to have one of those all-in-one systems or a flat-headed mop, you
can take an old sock or cut up T-shirt and use as a pad to wrap around your
mop. Then simply throw in your washing machine, recycle or toss in the trash.
This can also be used
in a spray bottle for counters, sinks, cabinets and any other household surfaces.
Simply spray, wipe and let dry.
Speaking of the other “germiest”
place in your home—what about those bathrooms? Do you have little boys or, for
that matter, big boys in your home? Those toilets can become a mess quickly, so
let’s look at a quick-and-easy fix. This is a simple disinfecting toilet bomb.
½ cup baking soda
½ cup citric acid
½ cup cornstarch
25-30 drops of essential
oil (your choice or see the previously mentioned list)
Storage container (try
an ice cube mold)
Place the first three
ingredients in a large plastic bag, seal and knead to mix. Add water one
teaspoon at a time until the dry ingredients stick together, being careful not
to add too much water or they won’t form a ball. Add your essential oil, a few
drops at a time until you get the desired scent. Take a handful and press into
your ice cube mold and let set until hardened, one to two days. Pop them out of
the mold and store in an air-tight decorative glass jar. To use, simply drop one
into the toilet and let it pop and fizzle. Once that is done, flush and you are
good to go!
Madalyn Johnson (le� ) and Kathleen Gould (right)
Kathleen Gould, registered herbalist, and Madalyn Johnson are
proprietors of SW Herb Shop and Gathering Place. Gould has been an herbalist
for 30-plus years and has extensive experience in herbal medicine. For more
information, call 480-694-9931, or visit SWHerb.com or Store.SWHerb.com.