Following on from Tuesday’s post, Chemical-Free Cleaning Made Easy, Delena from The Modern Aboriginal Mama shares five recipes for a naturally clean house. Please ask her any questions in the comment section below!
Cleaning house can be such a chore, but it doesn’t have to be! Ever since I made the switch to natural cleaning products, I have discovered the rewards and joy of keeping a clean house.
In the last post about chemical-free cleaners, I wrote about your fundamental cleaning agents: baking soda, apple cider vinegar, and lemon juice. You can use bottled lemon juice, or fresh-squeezed; it makes little difference as long as the bottled juice is as close to natural as you can find.
With apple cider vinegar, you want to encourage something called â€œmothering.â€ Let the vinegar sit in a dark, dry, cool place until it develops that cloudy sediment at the bottom. You want this to happen because you’ll add it to your new bottle of vinegar. This helps the apple cider vinegar mature, which increases its effectiveness. If you give it a good sniff, you’ll notice that the sharpness of the scent is curbed a little, becoming stronger but also richer. This is a sign of good mothering!
The ingredient of natural cleaners that makes all the difference is completely customizable to accomplish different objectives: essential oils, or E.O. Essential oils are the volatile oils distilled from leaves, flowers, bark, roots, stems, and other elements of herbs. What makes it so potent is that it is not diluted into a neutral carrier oil like you find at the store. Be careful because they can be harmful if it comes into contact with skin, the mucous membranes, or if swallowed.
Some are safe for ingestion in small quantities, but just to be on the safe side, stick with using it in your cleaning agents. For parents with little ones, make sure to keep the E.O.’s in a cupboard out of reach!
The basic Essential Oils I use are lavender, tea tree, rosemary, eucalyptus, and lemongrass.
Tea Tree is my favorite: it is anti-microbial, anti-fungal, and anti-bacterial, as well as effective against mites and head lice. It’s effective even diluted as much as down to a 5% solution. I use it in every single one of my cleaning mixtures.
Lavender is a gentler anti-bacterial E.O. It’s not as powerful as Tea Tree, but it has other soothing benefits and more people like the scent of lavender, finding Tea Tree a little harsh.
Rosemary is another anti-septic, as well as Eucalyptus. Used in tandem, they’re my next best thing if I run out of Tea Tree Oil.
Lemongrass is great for an insect repellant. Ants absolutely hate the smell of lemongrass and won’t come near it.
Chemical-Free Carpet De-Odorizer
- 2 cups baking soda per room
- 5-7 drops Lemongrass E.O. Per 2 cups baking soda
Stir E.O. into the baking soda, spreading it evenly. It should form the consistency of wet sand. Let dry. Sprinkle over carpet and let sit a minimum of 20 minutes. Vacuum.
Chemical-Free All-Purpose Surface Cleaner
- 1 part apple cider vinegar to 4 parts water (can be diluted to 5 parts water if the vinegar smell really isn’t your thing)
- Optional: 3-5 drops Tea Tree Essential Oil OR 2 drops Rosemary & 3 drops Eucalyptus Essential Oil
Mix into a spray bottle and use as you would any all-purpose cleaner. The vinegar smell will disappear as the solution dries.
- 1 cup baking soda
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 1-2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- 7-8 drops Tea Tree Essential Oil
Mix ingredients into a paste. (It will not stay mixed, so you’ll need to mix it back up occasionally.) Spoon a dollop onto the surface you wish to clean. It’s non-scratch, so it’s safe to use on porcelain and sink fixtures. Also safe to use a little extra and allow to sit on stained surfaces. Use a rag or a soft scrubber to scrub and disinfect the surface. Wipe clean with a damp cloth, or with the All-Purpose Surface Cleaner or All-Purpose Rinse Solution.
Natural Fabric Softener
- Â½ cup to 1 cup apple cider vinegar
Add to rinse cycle of your wash instead of fabric softener. Fortify the softening process with 6-8 dryer balls inside the dryer for soft clothes without the chemicals!
Natural All-Purpose Rinse Solution
For all you gardeners out there, here’s a recipe using fresh herbs:
- 1 lg handful fresh rosemary
- 1 lg handful fresh sage
- 1 gal hot water
Steep herbs in sink (or other container) like you would any regular tea. When the water is as dark as it’s going to get (it won’t get really dark), dip in a rag and wipe down any surfaces like counter tops, stove tops, surface of the fridge, walls, and can even be used as a mopping solution for the floor. It’s a gentle disinfectant and wonderful deodorizer!
Any questions? Ask away!