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Wild About Plants: At-home tips and recipes for spring cleaning

Apr 4th, 2016 | Category: Skills

by Suzanne Jordan

Cleaning your home with DIY natural cleaners is not only environmentally and personally friendly, but these cleaners are cheaper than store bought products to boot! Try these cleaners to save money, do your part for the environment, and feel better both physically and emotionally.



Vinegar and essential oils: Vinegar retards mold growth and can kill bacteria. Think about opting for organic vinegar compared to commercial white vinegar. Essential oils are naturally antibacterial and antifungal. Look for “essential oil” on the label not “fragrance oil,” as fragrance oils are neither antibacterial nor antifungal, and are made with carcinogenic petroleum based ingredients.

Eight parts water to one part white vinegar: I like to add a teaspoon of a blend of essential oils such as orange, rosemary, cedar, and lavender to this mix. Put in a spray bottle to clean countertops, tubs, sinks, and many flooring materials such as wood, tile, and linoleum.

Essential oils of cedar, lavender, peppermint, thyme, oregano, and rosemary are very potent fungus killers. Use them full strength (wear gloves) on mold around the sinks and tub, aluminum windows and sills.

Baking soda, water, and vinegar:  Using equal parts, blend in a bowl and apply with a sponge to a dirty oven, including the inside door and racks. Close the door, turn the oven on to 225 degrees, and let the solution do its thing for 45 minutes. Wipe down with a wet sponge what was once baked on food and grease like a champ! You’ll need to frequently rinse the sponge as it will quickly get clogged with the food and grease.

Baking soda and hydrogen peroxide: Sprinkle baking soda on countertop, sink, and tub stains, splash on hydrogen peroxide to wet the baking soda. Wait two minutes and gently scrub to easily remove the stains.

Speaking of stains: stains such as grease, oil, ink, blood, baby barf, and grass on laundry come out effortlessly in the washer using my Grandma’s laundry soap. I’ve never before shared her recipe with the public. Lucky you! I have her recipe card dated 1928. Grandma used her laundry soap to wash clothes, dishes, and her floors. She knew what she was doing! The soap can be shaved into hot dishwater for sparkling clean dishes. For laundry soap, put one-third cup of shavings in a pan filled with a quart of water. Turn the heat on medium and without stirring, allow the soap to dissolve. Pour into a container. As the solution cools, it becomes a gel that can be used in clothes washers. The laundry gel is low sudsing. After every 10 or so washes, run the washer without clothes with hot water and 2 cups of vinegar, then wipe to get rid of any soap scum that may be present at the top of the washer. Cut off a few bars to use as laundry stain sticks. Wet either the stain or the bar, rub on the stain, and launder as usual. Most stains come out in one washing. Occasionally, a second application needs to be made with stubborn stains.

Well my friends, that should get you started! For more recipes, articles, and workshops, see our website at As always, I leave you, Wild About Plants!

Published in the April 2016 issue of Grow Northwest

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