Herbs are a wonderful, all natural, environmentally friendly means of handling all kind of household cleaning chores. Try some (or all!) of the suggestions below, and "get your house in order"!
Plant catnip plants or sprinkle catnip around the foundation of houses - ants do not like to pass through it. - a sprinkling of it along an ant path will encourage them to turn around and leave.
Houseflies don't like Basil, clover flowers and sweet bays. A bouquet of green and purple basil, sweet bay and red clover not only looks and smells good in the kitchen, but keeps away the flies as well.
Mint repels mice - Long stems of it placed along the eaves in the attic will encourage mice to leave. Anise will attract mice, so a little anise oil or a few anise seeds mixed with peanut butter is far more effective than cheese as bait for a mousetrap. Valerian is also good bait for mice, as well as for rats.
Bay leaves will keep weevils out of stored flour, cornmeal, and other grains. Just place a whole bay leaf in the container and don't worry - it will not flavor the food at all.
The fungus that infects dried beans and grains can be prevented by placing a small, cheesecloth "sachet" filled with broken cinnamon sticks, black peppercorns, coarsely ground black mustard seed, and green garlic into each gallon can or jar.
Essential oils can be used to create many effective non-toxic (and wonderfully fragrant) cleansers and disinfectants. The oils that are excellent for cleaning include: Cinnamon, Clove, Eucalyptus, Thyme, Spruce, Lemon, Lemongrass, Grapefruit
To freshen room air, dampen cotton balls with oil of wintergreen and place out of sight but where air will touch them.
Combine 3/4 cup baking soda, 2 tablespoons corn starch, and 1/4 cup perfumed talcum powder. Sprinkle on dry carpet, let stand 5 to 15 minutes, then vacuum.
For hard to reach spots, slip a sock over the end of a yardstick and secure with a rubber band, then sweep the area. This method works well for cleaning under radiators and refrigerators also.
Lavender Antibacterial Spray
1 cup water
20 drops pure lavender essential oil
Pour the water into a spray bottle. Add the lavender essential oil and shake to blend. Spray on the surface and let set for at least 15 minutes. Makes: 1 cup spray Shelf Life: Indefinite
Basic Household Disinfectant
Fill a spray bottle with water and a squirt of dishwashing soap. Add 3-5 drops each of lavender, lemon, and pine essential oils. Shake well.
Combine 1 teaspoon of tea tree oil and 1 cup of water in a spritzer bottle. Spray the area, but don't wipe it off. In a couple of days the smell should be gone and the tea tree oil will have dissipated. If not, repeat for a couple of more days.
Mold and mildew thrive in moist, warm areas. To keep these areas under control place out bowls of unscented kitty litter to absorb the moisture. Replace these once a week.
Mildew in Books
Place some cornstarch in a sprinkle container and sprinkle the cornstarch onto the pages lightly. Let it sit for a few hours and then wipe and shake clean.
Cutting Boards and Countertops
To get rid of strong odors on cutting boards, wipe them with vinegar or baking soda or lemon slices or celery.
For countertops, mix a few drops of essential oil of lemon thyme to one cup water. Spray on the surface and then wipe.
To kill mold use full-strength vinegar. To keep mold under control spray with diluted vinegar on a regular basis.
To keep drains running clear - Once a week pour 1/2 cup of baking soda and 1 cup of white vinegar down the drain, then follow with hot water.
To Freshen Vacuum Cleaner
Sprinkle several drops of lemon oil onto half a tissue or cotton ball and let the vacuum cleaner suck it up. If your vacuum cleaner has a water reservoir, add a few drops of oil into it before cleaning.
Fighting Dust Mites
Eucalyptus Oil kills dust mites. 25 drops of eucalyptus essential oil added to each load of laundry or 1/2 ounce to a jug of laundry detergent is all you need.
Herbal Household Cleaning Concoctions
Use herbs to clean windows, kitchens, bathrooms, floors laundry or try the mixes for all purpose cleaners. Very green friendly!
- 1/3 teaspoon liquid Castile or other liquid vegetable based soap
- 3 tablespoons cider vinegar or white vinegar
- 2 cups water
Mix in a 1 quart spray bottle and shake well.
Another Window cleaner
- 1 cup white vinegar
- 10 to 15 drops of Lemon Essential Oil
Mix vinegar and water in spray bottle, Add essential oil, shake and use.
Kitchens and Bathrooms
The following recipes clean, deodorize, and disinfect, and are great for cleaning cupboards, bathroom fixtures, sinks, tiles, woodwork, carpets, etc...
Mix into 1 quart water:
- 2 drops rosemary
- 4 drops lemon
- 3 drops eucalyptus
- 4 drops lavender
Shake well and put into a spray bottle. Shake again before using.
- 2 tablespoons Borax
- 1 teaspoon Castile Soap
- 15 to 20 drops Essential Oils such as Pine, Lemon, Melaleuca, Citronella, or Lemongrass (or any combination of the above)
Add Borax to a 1 quart spray bottle. Fill with warm water. Add Castile soap and Essential Oils. Shake and use.
Add 1/4 cup white vinegar to a bucket of water. Add 5 to 10 drops lemon, pine, spruce, melaleuca or Purification.
Stain Remover: Use one or two drops of Lemon oil on stain. Let it sit a few minutes then rub off with a clean cloth or throw into the washing machine.
In the dryer: Instead of using toxic and irritating softening sheets in the dryer, add 10 drops of lavender, lemon, melaleuca, bergamot, to a dampened washcloth. The oils will not reduce static cling but they will add a lovely fragrance to the clothes.
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