Hands up who's getting excited at the lighter and brighter days? I certainly am. I can feel my mood lifting with each new day as we move towards spring. You may have noticed that the light brings new dimensions to our eyes too - we begin to see areas of our homes that need improvement such as greasy marks upon the walls and door frames and grime resting upon the skirting boards. We can't deny that areas around the home need sprucing up to bring additional vitality to our lives at this time of year.
With the above in mind, we can clean effectively, efficiently and chemical free. We no longer need to use harsh chemical cleaners that layer the atmosphere with toxicity. We can learn to clean using essential oils that won't affect the ozone layer, or our lungs, and, if used in moderation, won't harm our pets either. In addition, cleaning with essential oils can also bring numerous benefits to our mood and mind as we scrub away.
Once you have collected a few basic essential oils like lavender, peppermint, rosemary, thyme and lemon, you can make your own cleaning products, thus making the cleaning process eco friendly, safe and cost effective. Think how much a floor cleaner by a leading brands costs you. By using just a few drops of essential oils that reduces bacteria, such as lemon, thyme or peppermint in a bucket of tepid water and the full cleaning session amounts to costing pennies.
Hallway This area of our home generally sees the most traffic. Most of the doors open onto it, so smells and odours accumulate here. This smell is like a 'fingerprint aroma' of your home that greets any guests as they enter the door. This smell will leave more of a lasting impression on guests than your fixtures and fittings will, so use a combination blend of bergamot, grapefruit and lavender to create a lovely welcoming, vibrant and uplifting smell. This oil combo can also be used to refresh pot pourri, you can add this trio to a diffuser for a quick fix.
As an extra, simply use one drop of each of the above oils to wash down paintwork. You may even wish to make an 'anti bug' spray to keep your carpet pest free - you would be staggered to learn just how many bugs are walked into your house every day! For this 'Bugger Off' spray, drop 2 drops of tea tree and 2 drops of lemon essential oil into 200ml of water, stir and decant into a fine spray gun/mister to blitz those rug bugs.
Kitchen Wash down walls, work surfaces, cupboards, sinks, tiles or paintwork with a blend of grapefruit, lemon and lavender, use either 1 drop of each of the above directly onto your cloth, or dilute 7 drops of the trio in a bowl full of water. Swill this down sink afterwards to keep your drains nice and fresh.
Dishwasher Apply 3 drops of lemon onto a cloth or sponge and clip securely into the dishwasher with a peg. This will keep your appliance in tip top condition. Again, you will be staggered at how many bugs grow in this kitchen aid. It also makes the dishwasher smell wonderful.
Bin I don't use a kitchen bin. I prefer a carrier hung on the door handle which can easily be placed outdoors once it's half full, before it starts to smell. Peppermint is an absolute must here, place a few drops on a piece of lint or material and drop into the bottom of the bin before placing in the lining bag. If you prefer, a few drops of peppermint essential oil dropped onto some kitchen roll and wiped around the rim will keep your kitchen bin smelling fresh.
Fridge & Freezer Wipe down the inside of your fridge or freezer with 1 drop of grapefruit or tangerine essential oil on a damp cloth and this will leave your fridge squeaky clean without a trace of gunk.
Washing Up Add 10 drops of lavender essential oil to your new bottle of eco washing up liquid - all washing up liquids that contain fragrance will have a stabilising agent, something like PEG 7 to hold the fragrance, it therefore enables you to safely add additional essential oils.
Laundry Give your laundry the aromatic treatment - add 3 drops of your favourite essential oil into the fabric softener compartment. Lavender is a good choice here, especially with a bed linen wash. For sports wear or tough stained clothes, use eucalyptus as it helps to remove oily stains and smells. It's also useful in both summer and winter laundry washes because in summer it's cooling and in winter it helps with the snuffles. Be cautious when using the darker coloured essential oils with laundry such as bergamot and patchouli as they may stain lighter colours.
Windows Clean your windows using soapy water, dry and polish with a little kitchen roll then finish with a drop of grapefruit or lemon essential oil on a sheet of newspaper for a grease and smear free finish. If you put one drop of lemongrass into the mix then you'll end up with windows that repel insects too!
Bathroom This is the second busiest room in your home. Add 2 - 3 drops of tangerine to the inner cardboard tube of your toilet roll. Each time you pull a square or six, you will experience the refreshing aroma of the citrus.
In addition, add 2 drops of tea tree and 2 drops of lemon to the bathroom washbasin and fill the sink with warm water. Not only will this make the room smell wonderfully fresh, but when you pull the plug it'll leave the drains fresher too.
To keep toilets clean and fresh - drop 8 tablespoons of bicarbonate of soda in the toilet bowl and leave overnight, or sprinkle bicarbonate of soda onto a damp cloth to clean toilet seat and cistern, then wipe with a wet cloth and dry.
Bedroom We spend on average 121 days per year in our beds, and sweat on average 1/2 litre fluid each night. Bacteria and bed mites breed much faster in these warm conditions. Patchouli is an ideal choice for the bedroom, along with geranium. Use a few drops of each in a spritzer bottle once a month and spray around your bedroom to create a fresh and inviting atmosphere. Patchouli is a natural insecticide yet also a sedative so ideal to use in your room of bliss. Warning: Patchouli is also an aphrodisiac!
Vacuum Cleaner Drop 3 drops of ylang ylang and 2 drops of mandarin onto a cotton wool ball and place into your vacuum cleaner bag to freshen your home whilst you clean.
Bicarbonate of soda eliminates odours. Mix 8 tablespoons with three drops of your favourite essential oil and place in a decorative bowl or vase. You may even wish to dab a little essential oil on a light bulb. When lit, the heat will diffuse the fragrance.
So! Who's for a cleaning bonanza? Meet at my house tomorrow at 0800 hours and let's get cracking! ;-)