Updated: May 1
For cleaning, my goal is simple:
>Quick & easy solutions
>Chemical-free ingredient listings- I really don't like that smelly aerosol smell!
>At- home convenience
Here are a list of ingredients and products we keep at home to make homemade cleaning spray, solutions and to remove stains.
White vinegar/pickling vinegar. Stinky at first, but once you get the knack for infusing or adding essential oil blends, it can become an aromatherapy experience.
Essential oils: I especially use tea tree (anti-fungal & antiseptic), clove, citrus, berries, mints. These are the same ingredients I use to infuse my vinegars as well- since that is a natural way of extracting essential oil.
Here is a quote from a study via US National Library of Medicine: "Generally most of the tested organisms were sensitive to many of the essential oils. Out of 21 essential oils tested, 19 showed antibacterial activity against one or more bacteria. Cinnamon oil, lime oil, geranium oil, rosemary oil, orange oil, lemon oil and clove oil showed maximum activity against all the bacterial species tested."
Ingredients to infuse vinegar. This boosts fragrance of the vinegar, provides natural essential oils and therefore boosts cleaning ability. Ingredients I like to use: citrus peels, evergreen needles, juniper berries. At first I used to dry these in paper bags near a sunny window, now I use a dehydrator.
Natural fragrance oils. An easy quick fix to a smelly cleaning solution. I would recommend looking for a brand that is free of paraben & phthalate.
Sea salt. We always have a strong saline solution made in our cupboard for quick use, this is convenient for cooking, injuries and certain stains.
Castile soap. I use an essential oil infused brand, Dr. Bronner's for cleaning the toilets, bathtub, surfaces, rug stains and in our laundry. It is also awesome to take camping for dishes and general use, like making your own tooth polish.
Rubbing alcohol. I add this to our air fresheners to help penetrate the air and to sterilize.
Baking soda. A super oxidizer for intense stains.
Burning sage, copal and incense. Especially sage is believed to destroy negative energy, bacteria and viruses in the air. I regularly smudge (burn sacred plants) before and after we have company, if something dramatic happens in or around the house...etc. I treat it as a reset and like sitting down with a drink or something, a way to unwind.
Instruments to clean, such as microfibre cloths, brooms, vacuum? A refillable spray bottle and jars to infuse your concoctions.
One of the most fulfilling things that people can say to me is that "your house smells so fresh" or "the air smells so clean in here"
(usually this happens after burning sage and a good sweep!)
I wish more people could trust their own talents into creating simple cleaning products, instead of filling their homes with layers and layers of sprays, creams and aerosols!!
HOMEMADE INFUSED SURFACE CLEANER
Get a 2L mason jar and fill it half way with your choice of cleaning-agent plants. My favourite blend is evergreen needles & juniper berries (that I clipped and dried from the tree in our backyard) and citrus peels (slice and dry them in a dehydrator or on a plate in a sunny, well-ventilated window).
Next fill the jar with vinegar & wait 2+ weeks. The more time that passes, the more potent this concoction gets. Eventually I would recommend straining the infusion into another storage jar for quick use and to protect the integrity of the metal jar lid from corroding. Store the jar of infusing plants in a cool corner away from direct light.
Homemade cleaning spray recipe to try-
adjust depending on the room and how intense you need to clean:
>1 part infused vinegar
>3 parts water
>1/4 part castile or natural dish soap
> Essential oils for pleasant smell- I like tea tree since it has antifungal properties and that is beneficial for water-laden surfaces, such as our shower and countertops. I also like lemongrass and various other fresh smelling oils such as lavender, sweet orange, etc. The infused vinegar will also contain the natural essential oils from the plants you infuse it with.
Transfer cleaning mixture into a spray bottle. I like to spray surfaces and then wipe with a damp cloth.
Wouldn't you like to have less items on your grocery list?
Refilling our spray bottle is so simple and we are happy to have less on our grocery list. I also like the versatility to change our plant infusions and essential oil blends.
Just like many sustainable practices in the home, initially it can seem like more work, but eventually it becomes a groove.
Then one day comes a shift in perspective, "why would I buy something so easy to make at home?"