The first hints of spring are in the air, and that peculiar urge is returning… the urge to…Clean!
Maybe it’s because the spring sunlight shows all the dirt that was comfortably hidden during the winter darkness. Or maybe it’s the vibrant energy that starts to run through us again, calling us to get up, clear out, and make way for new experiences and new things to come into our lives.
Whatever the reason, I do find myself tackling those messy jobs that I’ve so easily avoided over the past months, like…cleaning the oven. It’s been a very long time since I’ve done this, not only because it’s messy, but also because I really, really dislike the commercial, toxic oven cleaners, and I haven’t known about an effective alternative. I want to use natural cleaning recipes.
Well, we recently stumbled onto a book called The Naturally Clean Home by: Karyn Siegel-Maier and have found it full of useful natural cleaning recipes for making your own natural, herbal cleaners. (You can get this natural cleaning recipes book here.)
At first I found this natural cleaning recipes book a bit overwhelming as I looked at the ingredient lists and saw so many things I didn’t have around my house, especially a wide array of herbal essential oils.
But, I was so inspired by the idea of making my own natural cleaners that I kept looking at it. I went through and thought about which natural cleaning recipes I would like to make: oven cleaner, sink scrubber, toilet bowl cleaner, floor cleaner, carpet cleaner…
I found that with a fairly small list of ingredients, all easily available from Mountain Rose Herbs (where you can also get the book), I could make quite a few useful things.
I recommend starting your natural cleaning supply shelf for your herbal natural cleaning recipes with... a bottle of Castille Soap, some straight borax, baking soda, vinegar, and the following essential oils: thyme, pine, lavender, tea tree, and a citrus oil like lemon or orange.
(You'll find the above in the "essential oils" and "bulk ingredients" sections at Mountain Rose. White vinegar you can get at your local market.)
You can make quite an array of products with these ingredients, and then you can add others as you increase the herbal cleaning products you like to make.
Now, instead of a shelf full of store bought cleaning products in bottles, my shelf is stocked with these ingredients, and it’s usually a fairly quick process to mix up the cleaner I need just before tackling the job at hand.
I spilled part of my quiche onto the bottom of my oven just before baking it the other night, and so the subject of your herbal branch was chosen, as I finally had to face this least favorite of my chores.
So, here’s a natural cleaning recipe for a first herbal cleaning product to get you started: Karyn calls this “Serious Oven-Cleaning Formula,” and I found that it worked great! To make it you will need: ½ cup salt, ¼ cup borax, 1 box (16 ounces) baking soda, about a cup of water, ¾ cup white vinegar, 10 drops thyme essential oil and 10 drops lemon essential oil.
Start by combining the salt, washing soda, and baking soda in a bowl. Add just enough water to make a paste. I found it took about a cup of water to make a spreadable paste, though the author recommends less than 1⁄4 cup.
Next, remove the racks from your oven and preheat the oven to 250 degrees. Turn off the oven and spread the paste on the oven walls with a sponge or cloth and allow it to set for 20 to 30 minutes.
Combine the vinegar and essential oils in a spray bottle and shake well. Spray the oven walls and wipe clean. I did find that this takes more elbow grease than is necessary with a commercial oven cleaner, and I did follow the author’s recommendation and used some fine steel wool for scrubbing. (I so prefer the scrubbing to the toxic feel and smell of oven cleaner, that this was not a problem for me.)
Finally, rinse well, and admire your nice, clean oven walls!
(Yes, there are still some marks there, but this is an OLD oven that looked worse than this when we bought the house.)
Once again, before...
We’ve made several other natural cleaning recipes and cleaners from this book and have been very happy with the results. My neighbor has been using the carpet cleaner to clean up after her pets and has found that her only complaint is that it cleans the carpet so well that she notices how dirty the rest of the carpet is after using it.
I’ve made the sink scrubber, toilet bowl cleaner, and floor cleaner all with positive results. Perhaps we will share more recipes with you in future branches, and if this inspires you, I highly recommend Karyn’s useful little book for herbal natural cleaning recipes.
WE PERSONALLY buy all our stuff here...