by Rosalee de la Forêt
This is the month where spring officially arrives! Whether you live in a warm climate that has been experiencing spring for weeks or you are still incased with snow, as a lover of plants I know most of us are brimming with excitement for the upcoming growing season.
When I think of spring I think of hyacinths, violets, red-winged blackbirds, apple blossoms and cleaning. Yes cleaning.
I know that cleaning doesn’t hold the same excitement as pink hyacinth flowers, but the ritual of spring cleaning may be as old as spring itself. Opening the windows, cleaning under the bed and letting freshness sweep out the staleness of winter just feels good.
In our efforts to bring freshness into our homes it would be silly to attempt to accomplish this while using harsh chemical cleaning agents. Yet this is what many people do in an attempt to create a sterile home environment. I avoid walking down the cleaning aisle at the grocery store, otherwise that harsh cacophony of scents assuredly reddens my eyes and gives me a headache. No thank you!
Even “natural” cleaners you buy at the grocery store can include not-so-natural chemicals as well as cost a pretty penny.
In this HerbMentor newsletter we are going to make a 100% natural herbal cleaner that is super effective at cleaning counters, stove tops and bathroom appliances. Better yet, this cleaner will undoubtedly cost you less than $5 for a year’s supply!
Though a bit different, this recipe was inspired by the Village Herbalist series on HerbMentor.com.
Before we get to the recipe let’s learn more about our ingredients.
In this recipe we’ll be using distilled white vinegar. You can buy this at grocery stores and is fairly cheap at $2-4 a gallon. Vinegar could be the only cleaner you’ll ever need. It can clean practically everything from the toilet to the windows (just switch out rags in between). I don’t get caught up worrying about germs, but if that is a concern for you, white vinegar is even a natural disinfectant.
Many of us think of thyme as simply a culinary herb, but thyme has a well-deserved place in our medicine cabinet as well. Thyme tea is fabulous for lung congestion and coughs. I’ve used it for productive coughs (to loosen and expel mucous) as well as for dry spasmodic coughs (to lessen the cough). Anti-microbial in nature, it has been used for centuries to clean wounds and kill parasitic fungi on the skin. These anti-microbial properties make it great for cleaning your house as well.
Its lovely scent is sweet enough for linen sachets and calming enough to relieve stress. I’ll admit that the soothing smell of lavender makes cleaning all the happier. The word lavender comes from ‘to wash’ and it has been used for bathing for eons. It is also antimicrobial, making it another wonderful addition to our cleaning crew.
To make this recipe you’ll need...
- 1 quart of vinegar
- 1 cup of dried thyme leaves and flowers
- 1 cup of dried lavender flowers
- quart jar
- Place the dried herbs in a quart jar.
Fill the jar with vinegar.
Let this sit for 24 hours. The next day the vinegar should be a lovely red color (This red color comes from the thyme).
Strain out the vinegar well and then place it in a spray bottle.
Voila! You have your own super cheap, super effective herbal vinegar cleaner.
We use this exclusively in our house to clean the stove, countertops, kitchen sink, toilet, windows, etc. It cuts through grease and leaves a pleasant scent. If desired you could even add some essential oils to the vinegar as well.