Written by Sarah Quallen, Volunteer Writer
The smell of clean, for many, is the smell of harmful chemical cleansers. I told this to my uncle once, said that a lot of people don’t think something is clean if it doesn’t smell all chemical-ly like, and he agreed saying, “I’m one of those people.” Well, I’m not. Many years ago I discovered essential oils and homemade cleansers, and in the process I learned that fragrances (found in perfumes, soaps, lotions, housecleaning supplies—the list goes on) are a frequent source of allergens that can cause headaches, skin sensitivities, asthma type reactions, and can drastically affect chemically intolerant people. Fortunately, one doesn’t need to forego a nice-smelling house to get it clean (though vinegar is a great natural (chemical) cleaner, it does not smell pretty). As an FYI, essential oils, like the Co-op’s new organic Veriditas Botanicals, should be kept in dark, glass jars to maintain their quality and effectiveness.
Bathroom deodorizers—they may not be cleansers, but they sure do help. Drop a few drops of your favorite essential oil into a spray bottle with some distilled water and you have a quick and lovely room deodorizer.
Kitchen cleaner—one reason why all the chemical-ly cleansers use lemon fragrance is because lemons (and limes) are natural degreasers and have antimicrobial properties. I love to use cinnamon oil in the kitchen because it is also an antimicrobial. And because it smells so yummy. For a scrubber, shake together 1/4c washing soda, 1/4c baking soda, 8 drops of essential oil (eucalyptus, thyme—a disinfectant, tea tree are also good), then scrub. Rinse with white vinegar.
Kitchen cleaner 2—rather than waste paper towels to wipe spills or clean countertops, keep cotton rags in a container filled with a mixture of 1 cup water, 1 ounce liquid castile soap and 6 to 8 drops of an essential oil—preferably one that’s an antimicrobial. The cloths (make your own from scraps!) can be washed and returned to the jar for reuse. Cap jar between uses.
Carpet deodorizer— Soak a disposable cloth with several drops of essential oil and place it into the collecting bag of your vacuum.
Floor cleaner—add 1/4 cup white vinegar, 10 drops of lemon oil and 4 drops of oregano oil (an antiseptic) to a bucket of water.