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Cleaning Green: Recipes for Natural Household Cleaning Products

We were thrilled to be asked to be a part of the Creston Valley Library’s “Living the Change Series” and felt so welcomed by the large number of people who turned out. This series is a fabulous way to learn more about how we can take little steps to help make a healthy world and we encourage people to attend this program. Information on their next event can be found at

Some of you mentioned you weren’t able to attend our class so we thought we would share the handout we gave at the class so that you could get started on the path to cleaning green too. Hope you enjoy our recipes!

Cleaning Green Tips & Recipes

Many herbs actually have beneficial cleaning properties. Choose the herb with the characteristics needed for each task from the following list and add them to recipes for natural cleaning agents.

Disinfectant Herbs: basil, chamomile, clary sage, eucalyptus, lavender, peppermint, rose geranium, thyme, rosemary

Fungicide: chamomile, lemon, peppermint, rosemary, savoury, tea tree, thyme

Bactericide: bay, cinnamon, eucalyptus, lavender, oregano, patchouli, rosemary, savoury, tea tree, thyme, rosemary, lemon and orange peel

Antiseptic: all bactericide herbs above, plus basil, clary sage, clove, lemon balm, peppermint, rose geranium, sage, spearmint.

Insect Repellants: basil, bay, chamomile, coriander, tansy, thyme, rosemary, peppermint, lavender, neem, pennyroyal, lemongrass.

All Purpose Scrub Cleanser


1 cup baking soda

¼ cup borax

¼ cup washing soda

10 – 15 drops essential oil (optional)

Directions: Combine all ingredients in a jar. To use, sprinkle on surface and gently scrub with a soft damp cloth. Rinse with a clean damp cloth after using. To make this into a cream type scrubber add enough liquid vegetable soap to dry cleanser to make a thick, creamy paste (looks like frosting).

All Purpose Spray Cleaner


1 tsp. borax

½ tsp. washing soda

2 Tbsp. vinegar or lemon juice

¼ to ½ tsp. liquid vegetable based soap

2 cups very hot distilled water

20 – 30 drops essential oil (optional)

Directions: Mix the borax, washing soda, vinegar and liquid soap together in a spray type bottle or flip top bottle. Then add the very hot tap water. Gently shake to dissolve the minerals. Spray onto surfaces and wipe off with a cloth.

Disinfectant Spray for Surfaces


½ cup vinegar

½ cup food grade hydrogen peroxide

Few drops essential oil (optional)

Directions: Combine in a spray bottle. Spray surfaces and leave 5 minutes. Wipe surface with damp cloth.

Citrus or Herbal Vinegar All Purpose Cleaner Base

Fill a quart jar with herb of choice, or citrus peels. Any citrus can be used: grapefruit, orange, lemon, lime, etc. Herbs such as lavender, peppermint, rosemary, or thyme are also great to use in the jar. Cover with white vinegar; allow to age for two weeks then discard herbs or peels.

Excellent for cleaning ovens. Spray or pour vinegar mixture onto burned-on areas, close oven door. After two hours, wipe vinegar with sponge or cloth dipped in warm water. Repeat if necessary.

Also good for eliminating mineral deposits and soap scum in the bathroom. Cover the area with the vinegar mix. Allow to stand for 30 minutes, then scrub and rinse. Will also remove mildew, etc. from shower curtains.

This cleaner can also be used to remove stains from carpets. Test in an inconspicuous place first to be sure that the vinegar does not lighten carpet colour!

For a Degreaser and Glass Cleaner: To one quart of warm water, add 4 tablespoons of this herbal vinegar.

Herbal Carpet Deodorizer


2 cups baking soda

½ cup cornstarch

4 tsp ground cloves

4 tsp ground cinnamon

4 Tbsp ground mint

4 Tbsp ground rosemary

4 Tbsp ground lavender

4 Tbsp ground thyme

Directions: Dried herbs must be ground finely in blender or processor. Mix all ingredients well. To Use: Sprinkle over carpet; allow to stand 1 hour, then vacuum thoroughly. It is safe to walk on during the hour-long waiting period.

Sparkling Glass Spritzer


2 cups lemongrass tea, strained

½ cup vinegar

1 Tbsp. cream of tartar (optional)

Directions: Combine ingredients in a spray bottle and shake. Spray on glass, then wipe completely dry with a soft cloth. For a very grimy window, add the cream of tartar; it will go on a bit cloudy but wipe sparkling clean. For squeaky clean mirrors and windows, spritz this on and wipe dry. To clean a stained flower vase, pour a bit of the mixture into the bottom of the vase and let soak for a few hours, then rinse.

Wood Floor “Spiffer-Upper”

Here is a great blend that will clean and scent your wood floors. You can use other favourite fragrant teas in place of the peppermint, though the mint has the added benefit of discouraging insects (and mice!).


½ cup white vinegar

½ cup peppermint tea, strained

Simply add these two ingredients to about 2 gallons of warm water in a bucket. Wash (but don’t soak) floors—no need to rinse.

Rose-Scented Elbow Grease

Scrubbing the kitchen sink will be downright enticing with this lovely blend! Because baking soda raises the pH of the cleanser, it can help stop corrosion (of faucets, for example).


1 cup baking soda

1 Tbsp salt

¼ cup dried herbs (rose petals or lemon balm are great)

1 Tbsp glycerin

Pulverize the ingredients together in a blender or food processor. Sprinkle on area to be scoured, wet slightly, and scrub.

Healthy Hand/Baby Wipes


1 ½ cups distilled warm water

1 tablespoon Castile or other natural liquid soap

2 tsp. vegetable glycerin

2 – 3 drops essential oil (lavender or tea tree are nice)

1 roll heavy paper towel (try to buy a good quality recycled, unbleached variety)

1 large cylindrical plastic container (like a recycled commercial baby wipe container or Rubbermaid one with tight lid)

Directions: Cut paper towel roll in half widthwise with serrated knife. Put one half-roll into the container. Mix water, soap, glycerin and essential oil in bowl, stirring gently. Pour over the paper towel in container. Wait a minute or two for towels to absorb liquid, inverting a couple times, then pull out the centre cardboard tube (once wet, it pulls out easily). If at anytime it seems the wet ones aren’t wet enough, just add more water. If using a recycled baby wipe container, grab the paper towel sheet in the centre of the roll and thread it through the hole in the lid.

Cinnamon Car Freshener


1/4 cup applesauce

1/3 cup ground cinnamon

Directions: In a small saucepan, heat applesauce on low heat and stir constantly with a wooden spoon. Using a teaspoon, gradually add cinnamon until the mixture turns soft and begins to pull away from the sides of the pan. Remove from heat.

When cool enough to handle, knead remaining cinnamon into dough to make a pliable, clay texture. If necessary, wear gloves to prevent the cinnamon from irritating your skin. Roll flat and cut a circle; or use cookie cutters to cut out any other desired shape. Use a pencil to poke a hole about 1/2 inch from the edge.

Heat oven to 200F. Put the cinnamon circles on the oven rack and bake until completely dry. (Check every 5 minutes.) Remove from oven. When cool, tie a ribbon through the hole and hang from your car’s rear view mirror.

We hope you'll give a few of these recipes a try and enjoy a naturally healthy and clean home. Happy Cleaning!

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