Spring Clean Naturally! Easy Recipes For Every Task Around Your House

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. Wa la—instant glass and appliance cleaner!

The majority of commercial cleaners are quite expensive. A typical spray or foam cleanser for the bathroom, for instance, can cost $4 or more. A natural alternative, on the other hand, will cost pennies to make. You can buy essential oils for an average of $3 to $5 per half fluid ounce. Because you only use 5 to 30 drops of the oil (depending on the formula), that half-ounce goes a long way. Other all-natural ingredients such as vinegar, baking soda, water and castile soap are also inexpensive.

Herbal Disinfectant

A super disinfectant formula that’s incredibly easy to make

2 cups hot water?10 drops thyme essential oil

1/4 cup washing soda

Combine all ingredients in a spray bottle and shake well. Spray on surfaces and wipe clean with a damp cloth or sponge.

Citrus Dishwashing Blend

Dishwashing liquids have been designed to lure the consumer with their stimulating lemony scent. Their aromatic choice is more than an advertising gimmick; citrus oils are natural degreasers. It’s the rest of the ingredients in these harsh detergents that we are better off without.

Liquid castile soap

20 drops lime essential oil

10 drops sweet orange essential oil

5 drops citrus seed extract

Fill a clean 22-ounce squirt bottle with castile soap (diluted according to directions if using concentrate). Add the essential oils and extract. Shake the bottle before each use. Add 1 to 2 tablespoons of liquid to dishwater and wash as usual.

Super-Easy Automatic Dishwasher Powder

This formula is effortless to make, and because it stores well it can be doubled or made in bulk.

3 cups washing soda

1 cup baking soda

Combine all ingredients and store in a sealed container.

To use, add about 2 tablespoons to the soap compartment of your dishwasher. If you find your glasses are getting a residue of buildup, then reduce to 1 1/2 tablespoons.

Serious Oven-Cleaning Formula

This formula is great for ovens that have been neglected for a while. If you have a lot of baked-on grease or food splatters, you may want to use fine steel wool to scrub those areas. Use a bit more salt if necessary.

1/2 cup salt

1/4 cup washing soda

1 box (16 ounces) baking soda

Scant 1/4 cup water

3/4 cup white vinegar

10 drops thyme essential oil

10 drops lemon or lemongrass essential oil

Combine salt, washing soda and baking soda in a glass bowl. Add just enough water to make a paste.

Remove oven racks and preheat oven to 250 degrees for 15 minutes, then turn off the oven and leave the door open. Carefully spread the paste on oven walls with a sponge or cloth and allow to set for 20 to 30 minutes. Combine the vinegar and essential oils in a spray bottle and shake well. Spray the oven walls and wipe clean. Rinse well.

Germs-Be-Gone Toilet Cleaner

This antibacterial spray cleaner is specially formulated for cleaning the general surface area of the toilet, and under and behind the seat.

2 cups water

1/4 cup liquid castile soap

1 tablespoon tea tree essential oil

10 drops eucalyptus or peppermint essential oil

Combine all ingredients in a spray bottle and shake well. Spray on toilet surfaces and wipe clean with damp cloth or sponge.

Peppermint Foam Carpet Shampoo

This formula is great for heavy-traffic areas.

3 cups water

3/4 cup liquid castile soap

10 drops peppermint essential oil

Mix all ingredients in a blender. Rub foam into soiled areas with a damp sponge. Let dry thoroughly, then vacuum.

Ready-When-You-Need-’Em Kitchen Wipes

Instead of using paper towels to wipe spills or clean countertops, store multiple squares of cotton cloth in a container filled with a mixture of 1 cup water, 1 ounce liquid castile soap and 6 to 8 drops of your favorite essential oil. The cloths, made from old T-shirts or pajamas, can be washed and returned to the jar for reuse. Cap jar between uses.

Essential Oils tips:

Make sure you’re buying pure, undiluted essential oil. Although there are grade differences among pure essential oils, these differences pertain to the quality of the fragrance—for the purpose of household cleaning, they are insignificant. Essential oils should come in either blue or brown glass bottles. If stored away from heat and direct light, some essential oils retain their potency indefinitely. Citrus oils are an exception; they usually last for about one year.

Use only the amount of oil called for in a recipe. The oils are highly concentrated, and adding more won’t make a superstrong formula; instead, it can increase the risk of skin irritation. Always practice caution when handling essential oils (wearing protective gloves is recommended), and never allow children to handle pure oils. Take special care with food-related oils; citrus oil, for example, could offer a temptation to a young child who may mistake a finished product as something to eat or drink. Exercise the same caution with herbal cleaning formulations as you would with any commercial cleaner, and keep them away from pets and children.

Don’t Give Up on Tough Cleaning Jobs

• For very greasy dishes, add 1/2 cup vinegar or lemon juice to dishwater.

• To loosen baked-on food from pots and pans, immediately add some baking soda to the dirty dish and wait 15 minutes before cleaning. If the pot or pan has cooled before you’ve had a chance to add baking soda, boil a solution of 1 cup water, 5 drops cedar or other essential oil, and 3 tablespoons baking soda directly in the pot or pan. Allow mixture to stand until food can be scraped off easily

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