Ever ask yourself what is in all those household cleaning
products? Most of us can’t even pronounce the chemicals contained in them, like
ethylene glycol monobutyl acetate. It is fairly easy to research what they are,
and when you do, wow, will you be surprised and probably pretty frightened.
Ever wonder why it is recommended that we wear rubber gloves to protect
ourselves when using these products? And what do they do to our children and
our beloved pets?
According to the article “Household Chemical Products and Their
Health Risk,” found on the website My.ClevelandClinic.org: “‘All-purpose’ cleaning products usually contain
detergents, grease-cutting agents, solvents and/or disinfectants. The specific
chemicals in these ingredients include ammonia, ethylene glycol monobutyl
acetate, sodium hypochlorite, and/or trisodium phosphate. Depending on the
ingredients used, all-purpose cleaners can irritate the skin, eyes, nose and
throat. They can be highly poisonous to both humans and animals if swallowed.”
The article goes on to state: “When working with an all-purpose cleaner, always wear rubber gloves
to protect your skin. Also, be sure that there is good air circulation in the
room. Open several windows or keep a fan running.”
Thankfully, many folks have switched from harsh chemical cleaners
to healthy, fresh and clean herbs; essential oils; and natural substances like
vinegar and baking soda. Many of the herbs we grow in our home gardens (or get from
our local farmers’ markets) make amazing cleaners, and they are virtually free!
When we harvested our backyard lemons, as an example, we mixed the
fresh lemon juice with salt for a nice abrasive cleanser for our pots and pans.
We put some of that salt on our cutting boards and scrubbed with half a lemon. Our
boards are now clean, fresh and odorless. Next, we mixed 2 ounces of olive oil
with one part lemon juice for a wonderful wood polish. We even rubbed down all
of our Tupperware with the lemons to remove stains and freshen them up. The
list goes on and on. Oh, after you are finished cleaning, put those used lemons
and rinds down your garbage disposal to freshen up your drains. This is only
one of the many fresh plants you can use, and goodness, don’t even get us
started on the amazing uses of essential oils and how they benefit your home
We have so many amazing recipes to share with you that we hardly
know where to begin. Let’s travel through your home, refreshing each area as we
go. Let’s begin with vinegar and some essential oils.
8 oz white vinegar
4 oz distilled water
1 oz vodka or rubbing alcohol
Now add your favorite essential oils, such as eucalyptus,
lavender, lemon, orange, rosemary or tea tree. Add a few drops of each or just
one—whatever your preference. Put all this in a spray bottle and shake. Use all
over the house, from your office, to your kitchen, to your bathroom. The
alcohol will preserve this for a while, so make up a nice big batch and use it
1 cup water
⅓ cup vodka
Essential oil of your choice: lavender, orange, lemon, ylang ylang
Mix in a spray bottle and spritz sofas,
pillows, sheets, fabric chairs and curtains. So many odors linger in our home
fabrics; use this to freshen them up.
3½ cups organic cornstarch
dried chamomile flowers
Put herbs in a blender and blend to a fine
powder. Add cornstarch and bay leaf and blend again. Put ingredients in a
powder-shaker type bottle or use a Mason jar with holes punched in the lid.
Shake well. For carpets, sprinkle and let sit for an hour, then vacuum. For
mattresses, remove sheets and sprinkle lightly on mattress. Let sit for one
hour, then make bed. Your whole room will smell fresh and clean, and you will
sleep like a baby. Oh, speaking of babies, this makes a nice baby-bottom powder
Herbal Yoga Mat Refresher
Essential oil of your choice: clary sage, lavender, any citrus, or
Fill an 8-ounce glass jar half full with dried leaf, cover with
witch hazel extract, add essential oil, and infuse for a few days (two to three).
Strain the infusion and pour liquid into a 4-ounce glass or plastic spray
bottle. Liberally spray your mat and let air dry. Your yoga practice will never
smell the same.
Let us not forget the air we breathe and how important that is to
our health. Airborne toxins and allergens may not have an unpleasant smell, but
they may still affect our health. Purify the air in any room of your house with
any essential oil you like, such as peppermint, lavender, cinnamon, eucalyptus,
lemon, lemongrass or rosemary. A few drops in your favorite essential oil diffuser
will do the trick.
As you can see, it is affordable and easy (no gloves needed!) to
safely get your home in tip-top shape … keeping your loved ones, and the
planet, happier and healthier.
registered herbalist, and Madalyn Johnson are proprietors of SW Herb Shop andGathering 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.