Give Your Home a Green Spring Cleaning

(BPT) - When you clean your house in the spring, you really
want it to be clean. Dirt, dust and germs are banned, and all appliances, floors
and walls are scrubbed clean. But is your house really clean, or have you traded
dirt and germs for caustic and toxic chemicals found in most conventional
cleaning products?

Even some so-called natural cleansers can contain
these same or similar nasty ingredients. And you would know this only if the
manufacturer practices full disclosure of ingredients on their labels, which is
not required on home care products. Think about it - when was the last time you
saw a full ingredient listing on your spray cleaner?

The best way to make
sure your living space is clean and healthy is to use safe, natural cleaning
products you create yourself, using natural and inexpensive ingredients you can
pick up at any natural grocery store. It's cost-effective, not difficult and,
like the task of spring cleaning itself, it's satisfying and rewarding. You can
craft your own, home-spun versions of everything from carpet cleaner to
furniture dusting polish - and have the satisfying assurance that you really are
keeping your home clean and green.

Whether you're shopping for prepared
natural cleaning solutions or making your own, keep in mind that the word
"aromatherapy" is now being applied to everything scented - from dishwashing
liquid to laundry detergent. The true practice of aromatherapy relies on using
pure essential oils extracted from plants. These natural plant essences nurture
us on mental, emotional, physical and even spiritual levels. House cleaning
isn't exactly a spiritual exercise, but adding the effects and properties of
essential oils to your homemade household products can enhance the experience
and the effectiveness of your task.

Essential oils have potent
antimicrobial effects along with their clean, pleasant natural aromas. Here are
a few "classic" homecare essential oils suggested by the experts at the leading
aromatherapy company, Aura Cacia: lemon (clean, sweet, uplifting scent;
deodorizing), peppermint (minty, fresh; air purifier; mild pest repellent),
eucalyptus and tea tree (air and surface sanitizers; fresh, therapeutic

Here's a shopping list of key ingredients for making your own
homecare products:

  • Baking soda (Sodium Bicarbonate) - Gently abrasive scouring powder, odor
    absorber and an excellent base for making your own cleaning preparations.
  • Washing soda (Sodium Carbonate)
  • Borax (Sodium Borate) - Natural mineral compound, laundry booster,
    multipurpose cleanser, fungicide/insecticide.
  • White distilled vinegar (Acetic Acid)
  • Liquid soap (Sodium Hydroxide) - Choose from vegetable oil-based soaps such
    as olive oil or sweet almond.
  • Distilled water - Clean, distilled water acts as a better carrier and dirt
    solvent. Tap water will often contain salts and minerals that can lead to
    spotting and build-up.
  • Essential oils
  • Spray bottles
  • Natural bristle scrubbing brushes
  • Squeeze bottles
  • Cotton dusting cloth
  • Hemp or Jute fiber scrubbing cloth
  • Tote to put it all in

Follow these simple recipes for making
your own basic homecare products:

Basic Spray

2 cups water
1/2 teaspoon sodium borate
1/4 teaspoon
liquid soap
36 drops essential oil*
*Cleansing and purifying essential
oils: lemon, tea tree, eucalyptus, spike lavender.

Scouring Cream

1/2 cup baking soda


18 drops essential oil*
*Oils that brighten: lemon,
lemongrass, grapefruit.
Add essential oils to baking soda and blend. Next,
incorporate the liquid soap, several drops at a time, until a creamy paste

Window Cleaner
2 cups water
3 tablespoons
1/4 teaspoon liquid soap
36 drops essential

Wooden Furniture Polishing Oil
3 tablespoons
1/2 teaspoon jojoba oil
10 drops lemon essential

Carpet Deodorizing Powder
1 cup baking soda
drops essential oil*
*Deodorizing essential oils: bergamot, coriander seed,

Carpet Cleaner
1 cup baking soda
teaspoon liquid soap
18 drops essential oil