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Herbal Homemade Cleaners

Cleaning with herbs will keep harsh toxins out and keep your home smelling sweet and fresh. Try these herbal homemade cleaners for simple, inexpensive home maintenance.

| February/March 2006

  • Lavender is a natural disinfectant. Use it in homemade cleaners for this benefit as well as its calming scent, which is known to ease tension, anxiety and depression.
    Photo by Fotolia

With spring peeking around the corner, it’s time for that annual ritual associated with the season: spring cleaning. Time to eliminate the fusty odors of winter and make our homes ready to welcome fresh air and sunshine. It’s an ancient tradition, accompanied these days by the most up-to-date cleaning solutions and deodorizers Western science can provide. But, as many of us are now discovering by reading the labels or simply noticing our bodies’ reactions, these products—the plug-ins, sprays, polishes and detergents—can be shockingly laden with sometimes very nasty chemicals. Happily, you don’t have to choose between your health and your home’s cleanliness: A few simple ingredients can create cleaning products that are healthy, effective and smell absolutely great.

6 Homemade Cleaner Recipes

Carnauba and Lavender Furniture Wax
Eucalyptus, Lavender and Tea Tree Spray
Lemon-Mint Window Wash
Spritz-and-Spray Toilet Bowl Cleaner
Eucalyptus-Mint All-Purpose Disinfecting Soap for Kitchen and Bath
Grapefruit Abrasive Cleanser

Common Chemicals in Household Cleaners

Here are some of the bad reasons why I wrote this: ammonia, bleach, butylcellosolve, cresol, dye, ethanol, formaldehyde, glycol, hydrochloric acid, hydrofluoric acid, napthalene, paradichlorobenzenes, perchloroethylene, petroleum distillates, phenol, phosphoric acid, propellants, sulfuric acid, and trichloroethylene.

I found these chemicals listed on the labels of popular cleaning formulas. Each is dangerous and most considered hazardous waste. Are they fun to use? No! Effective? You bet — but they cost plenty, both in dollars and risk to the environment.

The Best Natural Cleaning Ingredients

Here are the good reasons for this article, along with descriptions of the ways each benefits homekeeping.

Baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) is a mild alkali useful in a variety of cleaning applications. (Don’t confuse this with washing soda, also called sal soda, which is not the same substance.)

Cheryl Jazzar
1/29/2013 5:16:06 PM

Pure, therapeutic grade essential oils can be applied to the skin neat (undiluted) and also ingested. Since most of the oil industry produces oils cut with chemicals, or used solely for the fragrance industry, it is wise to be diligent in your research for safe brands.

Dee Cooper
1/9/2013 2:02:14 AM

Why can't I pull up the recipes for all this? They sound great!

1/8/2013 9:37:57 PM

But R they GMO free? Most the corn is GMO. White vinegar, a slightly acidic liquid, is useful in many cleaning formulas. (Heinz is one brand I often choose because I know it’s made from grains.)

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