Sometimes, cleaning is my escape from stress and other responsibilities. I spend an hour or an afternoon taking everything off my floor and tables, and scrubing every counter until it is shiny clean.
But most cleaning products can be bad for you to breathe in, and the smell of ammonia isn't very refreshing, either. What starts as a relaxing hobby could quickly become an unhealthy chore.
So what are some eco-friendly alternatives? Here are some common concerns when it comes to cleaning products and habits, and what I suggest you do to make positive decisions regarding your cleaning supply closet.
Are there any ways to use produce in my cleaning?
Lemon, lime and grapefruit juices, fresh or in concentrate, are acidic and antibacterial and can be an addition to any cleaning formula, according to our story "Clean Deep, Clean Sweet with Herbs."
Here's a recipe for lemon-mint window wash, to get your sliding doors, windows and mirrors clean.
I have some essential oils but no use for them. How can I make my own cleaning products with oils?
Essential oils are good for so many uses, especially cleaning. But be careful to dilute them a lot. A little goes a long way with essential oils.
Lavender is a disinfectant. Tea tree is effective against bacteria, fungus and some viruses (use when you or someone you live with are sick). Eucalyptus is a disinfectant and helps relieve stuffy noses (use if you are fighting a cold). Pine is a degreaser and slightly disinfects (it also stimulates alertness). (All of these tips are courtesy of the same article: "Clean Deep, Clean Sweet with Herbs.")
This general cleaning spray uses eucalyptus, lavender and tea tree essential oils.
I don't have time to make my own cleaning products, or I want to buy them as a gift.
One of the cheapest and best cleaning companies to buy from is Mrs. Meyer's. Last time I went grocery shopping, I even saw them in the herbal section — so their products should be easy to find.
Mrs. Meyer's cleaning products come in fragrances such as basil, lavender and lemon verbena. The company uses "naturally derived ingredients whenever possible" and obtain "materials from renewable plant resources such as olive, coconut, corn and soy," according to their Web site.
Do you regularly use herbs and natural ingredients in your cleaning? Share your tips and recipes with our other readers in the comments! Or if you have any other questions about how to get started, leave me a question.
— Jessica is an editorial intern at The Herb Companion.