Mondays are usually my big cleaning days. I generally don’t clean much over the weekends (except for cloth diaper laundry…that waits for no one!) so that we can spend as much time with Aaron as possible on his days off, and Mondays are the catch-up days. Cleaning bathrooms, mopping floors, etc. I’ve blogged about natural cleaning before, but I’ve recently changed my “recipe” for my all-purpose cleaner…and as I was cleaning my bathrooms today and leaving them smelling like a herb garden, I remembered that I wanted to share it.
But first some backstory… A couple weeks ago I was confronted with a really nasty cleaning job. Our big upright freezer needed to be cleaned out and by the time I got around to it, a couple days had passed since defrosting it. And it was gross! Smelled horrible, some old chicken juice pooled on the floor…very “icky yucky” as Cedar would say. I knew I wanted something stronger than my basic all-purpose cleaner of soap, water and lemon essential oil, but I also didn’t want to resort to using chlorine bleach. Then I remembered a post I had recently found on The Mommypotamus (a great site full of good info!) that included a recipe for homemade natural “Lysol”. Using a simple combination of lavender essential oil and rosemary essential oil added to water, the post stated that: “This mixture was found, in the French state hospital system, to be as effective as standard hospital sanitizer, but in fact longer lasting, because the oils stay on whatever surfaces they land on longer than the alcohol-based sanitizers.” I decided to use that mixture as my base and add to it to help up its cleaning and disinfecting power. I liked the mixture so much that I decided to keep it as my all-purpose cleaner. Totally natural, germ-killing and smells lovely…what’s not to like?!
The basic recipe is: in a large spray bottle, put a small squirt of Dr. Bronner’s liquid castile soap. (I used to put a large squirt in, but have found that since Dr. Bronner’s is so concentrated, that ended up being too much soap and it either required lots of rinsing to get it all off or it left the surface sticky. So now I use just enough to completely cover the bottom of the spray bottle and not much more. For the spray bottle I use, that seems to be a good amount: it adds some sudsing action and serves as an emulsifier to mix the essential oils with the water. Obviously experiment to see how much you need.) To the soap add 10-15 drops each of lavender, rosemary and lemon essential oils. Swirl around a bit to mix together and slowly add hot water. It should stay pretty well emulsified, but it’s still a good idea to give it a good shake or two before using to make sure all the oils aren’t floating on the top. Use as you would any cleaner…and enjoy leaving your house naturally clean and smelling like a herb garden!