By Susan Hilton RN, MSN and Certified Aromatherapist
Nearly everyone has heard about the virtues of common items such as baking soda and vinegar for scouring and absorbing grease. Adding essential oils enhances a formula’s cleaning value and leaves behind a soothing, natural scent. It’s not just an advertising gimmick that many commercial products contain citrus oils such as lemon or lime—they are natural degreasers and have antimicrobial properties. Using natural products instead of chemical-laden commercial ones makes household tasks almost a pleasure to tackle. I know it’s hard to get excited about cleaning a bathroom, but when you realize that the surfaces are germ-and toxin-free, and the soothing aroma of cedar or lavender lingers, you won’t be able to suppress a smile of satisfaction. And that enthusiasm is contagious—even the kids will want to pitch in!
Making your own natural cleaning recipes is not time-consuming or expensive. In fact, quite the opposite is true. It only takes a minute or two to fill a spray bottle with vinegar and water and add a few drops of essential oil. Bingo—instant glass and appliance cleaner! Having done that, there’s one less aisle to visit in the supermarket. Most commercial cleaners are quite expensive. You will save a lot making your own cleaners, plus it’s better for you and the environment. Other all-natural ingredients such as vinegar, baking soda, water, and liquid soap are also inexpensive.
Let’s look at some easy recipes that you can make yourself to clean your home.
ALL-PURPOSE CLEANER WITH LEMON
2 c. white vinegar
2 c. water
1 teaspoon natural dish soap (NOT castile soap)
30 drops lemon essential oil
20 drops tea tree essential oil
Mix all ingredients in a quart-sized spray bottle. Shake to combine. Spray and wipe on counters, cabinets, sinks, toilets, and anywhere else.
FRESH MINT WINDOW & MIRROR CLEANER
3 c. distilled water
1/4 c. rubbing alcohol or vodka
1/4 c. vinegar
20 drops peppermint or spearmint essential oil
Combine all ingredients in a quart-sized spray bottle. Shake to combine, and then spray on mirrors, windows, or stainless steel. Wipe off with paper towels or old newspaper for streak-free shine.
SIMPLE CITRUS SOFT SCRUB
1 c. baking soda
1/4 c. unscented liquid soap
10 drops lemon essential oil
10 drops lime essential oil
10 drops orange essential oil
Mix ingredients together to form a paste (add more liquid soap if needed). Apply with rag or sponge, and then rinse with clean water. I especially like to use this on my stovetop and on grimy sinks.
DEEP CLEAN TOILET SCRUB
1/2 c. baking soda
1/3 c. liquid dishwashing soap
1/4 c. hydrogen peroxide
30 drops eucalyptus essential oil
3/4 c. water
Mix together in a squeeze-type bottle, and then squirt into toilet. Scrub and let stand 20 minutes.
DIY TILE AND GROUT CLEANER
½ c. baking soda
½ c. 3% hydrogen peroxide
10 drops tea tree essential oil
Combine all ingredients to make a paste. Use a cloth or sponge to scrub the tile and grout. Rinse thoroughly. You might leave it on the grout for 5 – 10 minutes if it needs extra attention.
It is easy and less expensive to make your own cleaning supplies. You’ll also have more room under your cabinets. I like what Sharon had to say about this, “I started making my own cleaning products recently. I love the money I save, and I love that I’m helping the planet by reusing containers instead of buying new ones. But most of all I love that I know what is in the cleaners and that I’m saving money on such an easy and fun task.”
You can find your essential oils for these products at The Nature Cottage at 21 S. Main Street in Lexington. Contact us if you have questions or need other supplies. 336-843-4297.