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Saturday, October 13, 2012

herbal cleaning spray

This is related to my post on herbal hand sanitizer, so if you are interested in more information about the ingredients then go squint at the other post.

Herbal Cleaning Spray
1 quart glass canning jar with lid and ring
the colored rind of one orange or lemon (use a veg peeler to avoid the white pith which isn't useful) 
1-2 ounces of eucalyptus herb and lavender flowers
white vinegar

Pack herbs and rind into the jar. Fill up to the top with white vinegar. Cap, store dark and cool for 6 weeks. Strain. Use in a spray bottle diluted 50%. Store unused solution in the jar in the fridge or a cool, dark cabinet, clearly labeled and dated. I keep a roll of masking tape and a permanent marker in a drawer in my kitchen for easy labeling that doesn't run in case of a spill. 

Use this as a spritz for anything you need sanitized. Follow up with a damp cloth and wipe clean. Kitchen counters, sinks, toilets. I don't recommend using anything with a vinegar base on mirrors or you will result in a prematurely antique-styled mirror face, which might look a little odd if that is not the look you had planned for in your decor. But this works on pretty much everything else that can be wiped clean. You may add a drop or two of biodegradable Original Blue Dawn liquid dish soap to the bottle if you wish to combat oils and residue a little harder, but I find that this spray is usually sufficient alone.

The hand sanitizer does not contain lavender. The reason these lovely flowers are used here is not only the fragrance that will gently cleanse funky odors from your house as you work, but also because lavender is anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory. You can use rosemary instead, if you wish, for the same reasons but with a different fragrance. I prefer lavender's softer finish to the smell. Lavender is also extremely gentle on the skin, which is comforting to me as I am terrible about remembering to buy or use rubber gloves when I clean.

There are so many variations on herbal cleaning sprays you can make! Many herbs bear properties which are antiviral, antiseptic, antibiotic, or two or all three together in one herb. Consider those properties according to your intended use -- for example, you probably want as many anti-germ properties as possible in a toilet cleaning spray -- and then think about the scents you like. Here are some other combinations you might like to try. Perhaps you like a certain odor to linger in the bathroom and a different one in the kitchen, or you might want to change up the scent according to the season. Perhaps you want to use herbs growing in your garden and so harvest fresh (to use twice the volume as you would have for dried herbs). I like to rotate my scents just to keep things interesting, and often have two different blends going at a time.
  • orange peel, peppermint
  • lemon peel, thyme, oregano
  • lemon peel, eucalyptus 
  • orange peel, cinnamon essential oil or freshly chipped sticks, cloves
  • Vinegar of the Four Thieves mix (equal parts of lavender, sage, rosemary, peppermint, and wormwood)
  • lavender, lemongrass
  • simply citrus -- peels of orange, lemon, grapefruit

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