During the Middle Ages, fragrant herbs like tansy, wormwood, lavender, and rosemary were spread on the floors to perfume the air and dispel insects. By making and using a few simple herbal cleaning products, you can have a home that smells fresh, sparkles with cleanliness, and provides a pleasant environment.
Along the way, you can experience the satisfaction of living lightly on the planet. What is shared here are several recipes for the most common natural cleaning products. Each of them are just as (if not more) effective as the commercial cleaning products you would purchase, but they are also much safer for the whole family.
Eucalyptus-Mint Disinfecting Soap:
This mild soap is great fro cleaning dishes, floors, stoves, sinks, and hands. The eucalyptus and mint are disinfectants that provide a fresh, ultra-clean scent. Any areas you wash with this soap will repel insects and flies – a particularly useful thing in late summer when it seems that flies decide our homes should be theirs.
5 cups grated castile soap ½ cup baking soda
1 tsp. borax 1 tsp. eucalyptus oil
6 cups hot peppermint tea, made with 6 tbsp. fresh peppermint or 8-12 tea bags
Place the castile soap in a 3-quart stainless steel saucepan and stir in the tea. Simmer very low for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the baking soda, borax, and eucalyptus oil. Stir well to blend all ingredients.
Store in a labeled plastic jug or squirt bottle, and shake before using. Can be safely used full strength, or diluted to make the product last longer.
Lemon-Mint Window Wash:
The lemon juice and peppermint oil in this window wash formula discourages flies and other insects from perching on your windows. It works beautifully, leaving a streak-free clean that you’ll really appreciate.
Juice of 1 lemon 2 cups club soda
½ tsp. peppermint oil 1 tsp. corn starch
Mix all the ingredients together in a small bowl, using a spoon to blend them well. Then, pour into a plastic spray bottle. Shake well before using.
Heavenly Bedding Laundry Detergent:
The lavender scent of this all-natural laundry detergent will remain with your bedding for about a week after washing. Hanging the bedding to dry on an outdoor line preserves the scent a bit better.
8 tsp. to ¼ cup clay powder 2 tbsp. lavender oil
1 cup borax 2 cups baking soda
¾ cup sodium lauryl sulfate
Mix the clay powder with the lavender oil in a 2-quart container. Blend completely, adding the lavender oil a few drops at a time so that you don’t get a clumpy mess. Then, stir in the remaining ingredients. To use, add 1 cup of the detergent per washer load in the same manner that you use your other detergents.
Sodium Lauryl Sulfate – This is a simple, natural detergent derived from coconut oil. It cleans better than most soaps, but usually has to be mail-ordered.
Castile Soap – This all-natural soap loosens and washes away dirt. You can often find castile soap at your super market.
Lemon Juice – Fresh or in concentrate, this great-smelling ingredient is naturally antibacterial.
Borax – A water-soluble salt that loosens dirt, removes stains, and absorbs odors. It can be purchased in the laundry section of your super market.
Clay powder – A very mild abrasive, helping to remove tough dirt; its main purpose in cleaning formulas is to absorb essential oils and disperse them more evenly in powders.