Clean homes don’t need to be toxic homes. You can clean without buying expensive special purpose cleaners that add toxic fumes and heavy chemicals to your home. Collect these basic cleaning supplies and you can create all the household cleaners that you need. From a basic dusting spray to hard working oven cleaner these few basic ingredients can give you healthy, chemical free cleaning with less cost and more efficiency. Using herbs for house cleaning, whether as essential oils or using dried herbs from your kitchen or fresh herbs from the garden allows you to clean effectively without using toxic chemicals.
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Essential Oils that are antimicrobial
Used in cleaning solutions for their antimicrobial, antiseptic, and antifungal actions and their fresh scent, essential oils don’t just clean surfaces they also clean the air. Use ½ to 1 tsp or 2.5 to 5 ml per 1 quart of cleaning solution for effective cleaning of surfaces. Its fine to combine essential oils to get the scent you enjoy, to make up a total of ½ to 1 teaspoon per quart of water, vinegar, or alcohol.
Warning: Remember that essential oils are concentrated and powerful. They should be kept out of the reach of children. Poison control should be called if essential oils are accidentally ingested by children. Children’s livers are not equipped to detoxify a large dose of essential oil.
Scotch Pine essential oil
Lemon (or any citrus essential oil)
Eucalyptus essential oil
Whole herbs for house cleaning
Whole herbs offer similar antimicrobial, antiseptic, and antifungal actions as essential oils. While they aren’t as concentrated as essential oils, you’ll use more of them. If you grow the herbs yourself, they can be free, saving you money over buying essential oils. So consider drying these herbs from your garden, in season, and keeping them for use in your homemade cleaning products.
This is a good way to use up older herbs and spices when you are bringing in the new harvest for culinary purposes. If the older herbs still have a strong scent they are perfectly adequate for using in this way. Older cinnamon sticks, cloves, rosemary, and thyme can be rotated from your kitchen supplies when you bring in fresh herbs, and placed with your cleaning supplies.
To use fresh or dried whole herbs in your cleaning products fill a mason jar ½ full of sprigs of herbs in any combination. If you are using just the leaves, use 1 cup of crushed leaves per litre of solvent. Fill the jar with vinegar, isopropyl alcohol, or vodka to create a cleaning solution. Vinegar and alcohol add their own antiseptic actions to your cleaning spray.
(Keep all cleaning solutions out of the reach of children. Even though these are nontoxic, they can make a child severely sick if ingested. Call poison control in the case of accidental ingestion.)
All the following herbs can be used dried or fresh.
Baking soda adds a fine scrubbing action. Use it as a paste for extra cleaning and degreasing power. When you need more scrubbing action add salt along with baking soda.
Castile soap is a gentile natural liquid soap that acts as a surfactant to aid in cleaning. A tiny bit is all you need to increase the power of your cleaning solution. It mixes well with any of the solvents.
Citric Acid is used to remove scale from water tanks and toilets. Add it to baking soda for extra cleaning power on tough surfaces. The combination of citric acid and baking soda is antiseptic.
White vinegar, isopropyl alcohol, or vodka are solvents with antiseptic properties of their own. They are used to extract the antiseptic, antimicrobial actions from herbs for natural cleaning.
Hydrogen peroxide is effective for sanitation. Use it as a spray all by itself, after you’ve cleaned your kitchen counters with your home made vinegar cleaner. Once hydrogen peroxide is mixed with other cleaners or exposed to air it loses it’s effectiveness, reverting from H2O2 to H2O. So keep it in an airtight container and use it solo for best effectiveness.
Use a wool or microfiber cloth for dusting. I use a felted thrift store sweater and cut it to fit my swifter-type mop head. Then I can reach the higher logs in my log house for dusting. The swifter mop head swivels to reach around the logs. Wool is naturally electrostatic and will draw dust to itself, and hold onto it, instead of just spreading it around.
Use cotton cloths for scrubbing and drying surfaces. Brushes are used for scrubbing tiles and getting in the nook and cranny spots around taps, and grout. Save those used toothbrushes for the tight corners around the facets.
Using nylon or poly bristle brooms can spread the dust bunnies around the room. A natural corn broom, is a better choice, because it doesn’t act like a magnet with dust bunnies, allowing them to be swept up into a dustbin.
Plastic scrub pads
Natural sea sponges
Natural bristle broom and dust pan
A bucket tote to store your cleaning solutions in (Have a separate bucket with supplies for each level of your house. You’ll find it easier to grab the cleaner when you need it, rather than waiting for later, because you don’t have the supplies handy.)
Several spray bottles to hold cleaning solutions
Glass jars to store powdered cleaner with good labels
Chalk label markers
Try these herbal cleaning recipes
More DiY cleaning recipes from Joybilee Farm friends
DiY Wipes from Homestead Lady