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Herbal Cleaning Formulas

Dishwashing Blues Blend

Try this recipe for an uplifting washing experience.

Liquid castile soap

10 drops lemon essential oil
6 drops bergamot essential oil
4 drops lavender essential oil
2 drops orange essential oil

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

Lavender Lift Automatic Dishwasher Soap

Enjoy the subtle fragrance of this formula while your dishes are being cleaned.

2 cups washing soda *
2 cups borax *
20 drops of lavender essential oil

Combine all ingredients, taking care to blend in the essential oil well. Store in a plastic container. Use 2 tablespoons per load of dishes.

* Washing soda (such as Arm & Hammer’s Super Washing Soda, is available in hardware stores, some supermarkets, and from various online sources. Borax (look for Dial’s 20 Mule Team Borax in the green box) can be found in the laundry isle in many supermarkets and online.

Lemon Fresh Linen Wash

This formula can be used for any type of laundry, but it’s especially nice for cotton linens that have been allowed to dry naturally in the sun after washing. The aloe vera juice and vinegar soften, while citric acid and grapefruit extract brighten and sanitize.

2 cups liquid castile soap
1/2 cup aloe vera juice
1/2 cup white vinegar
1 cup water
1 tablespoon powdered citric acid
2 teaspoons grapefruit seed extract
15-20 drops lemon (or lemongrass) essential oil

Combine all ingredients into a plastic container, preferably one with a pour spout. Give this formula a gentle shake, or just turn it upside down once or twice to make sure all of the ingredients are evenly distributed before adding it to the washing machine. For an average load, use ¼ cup.

Orange Glow Fabric Softener

8 cups water
6 cups white vinegar
1 cup baking soda
25 drops sweet orange essential oil

Combine all ingredients in a large plastic jug (reused milk containers are great for this purpose). Shake well before adding ½ cup to the rinse cycle.

Lavender Soft Scrubber

¾ (three-fourths) cup baking soda
¼ (one-fourth) cup powdered milk
1/8 cup (one-eighth) liquid castile soap
5 drops lavender essential oil

Combine all ingredients in a squirt-top bottle and add enough water to make a smooth paste. Shake or stir to mix. Apply to surface, then wipe area clean with a damp sponge or cloth. Rinse well.

All-Purpose Cleaning Wipes

With these easy-to-make wipes on hand, keeping your home office fresh and free of germs is just a pop-up away. The basil essential oil is not only antiseptic, but it’s also stimulating and may help to increase productivity. You can also reuse the cloths after cleaning them in the normal cycle of the dishwasher.

1 cup water
1 cup vinegar
15 drops basil essential oil Cotton or microfiber cloth

Cut the cloth into small squares or rectangles and stack them on top of each other (10 is a good number). Pour the water, vinegar and basil essential oil into a heavy-duty plastic bag with a zipper closure. Close the bag and gently squeeze to blend the ingredients. Place your stacked cloth pieces into the bag and close the bag again, pressing down to squeeze out excess air. Use these wipes for quick cleanups, making sure to squeeze out the excess liquid from each wipe first. (Note: Not recommended for non-sealed wood.)

Easy Breezy Glass Cleaner

The monitor screen and the glass surfaces of fax and copier machines can take on a lot of fingerprints and smudges, or what I call ‘schmutz.’ Keep this simple cleaner nearby to keep these surfaces schmutz-free.

1 cup water
1 cup white vinegar
10 drops lemon or lime essential oil

Combine all ingredients in a small spray bottle and shake a few times to blend. Spray lightly onto a cleaning cloth and wipe surfaces until dry. Shake before each use.

Recipes excerpted from The Naturally Clean Home, 2nd Edition (c) 2008 by Karyn Siegel-Maier with permission from Storey Publishing, LLC.

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