As the dreary (and rather long) winter weather draws to an end, something shifts in us too, doesn’t it? The spring sunlight has a way of imparting new and necessary energy to our souls as well as our environments. It becomes what Leo Tolstoy called “a time for plans and projects.” Although we’ve spent much of our recent days working outdoors clearing and planting (more on that later), indoors we’ve been welcoming the new season in a few simple and specific ways, too. The flannel sheets and heavier linens have been tucked away and exchanged for crisp white linens and lighter coverlets. Oil diffusers replace most of the warmer candles and small hand-picked flowers gather in glass jars along our surfaces and shelves again.
There’s a reason so many people talk about cleaning in the springtime. The bright air and soft light draw attention to all the collected dust of winter, the closed window crevices and unused shelves. For years, our family has aimed to practice more natural cleaning, making or purchasing products that rely on naturally occurring ingredients rather than harmful chemicals. Since we’ve always lived in old homes, I’m also always looking for natural ways to brighten the scents that linger in older spaces.
Over the years, I’ve skeptically dabbled with essential oils, trying to distinguish truth from trend, and while we haven’t subscribed to any one organization or product, I can testify essential oils are wonderful for a variety of purposes from personal health to home. If not used medicinally–although we’ve dabbled a bit with that too–they are incredible for bringing new life into spaces through natural aromatherapy. A few of the oils, including tea tree oil, eucalyptus, rosemary and peppermint have also been known to contain antibacterial properties, too–making them an ideal choice for safe, non-toxic cleaning around the home. Like most concentrated substances, it’s best to leave the blending of oils and carriers to adults.
After a discussion about the benefits of oils, Nicole recently sent me a bottle of Young Living‘s Thieves (a blend of clove, lemon, rosemary, cinnamon, and eucalyptus) to try at home. I’ve included it in a few cleaning recipes below, and it smells divine. Beyond house cleaning, I’ve added a few drops to my own and my girls’ baths, to our diffuser, and even tried using it a bit topically. Although in several ways, I’m a novice to the world of essential oils, I jotted down a few ways our family is currently using oils to create natural cleaners for our home. I purchased amber glass spray bottles to use since oils tend to encourage the leaching in plastics. Happy spring!
| multi-purpose spray |
16 oz. glass spray bottle
2 cups filtered water
4 tsp. castile soap (I use Dr. Bronner’s Eucaplyptus soap)
40 drops of Thieves (or another anti-bacterial oil)
Shake and spray on any surface. We use this on most any hard surface in our home, including kitchen counters and tabletops, cabinet doors and knobs, bathroom counters and sinks.
| linen spray |
16 oz. spray bottle
1 cup filtered water
4 tbsp witch hazel, rubbing alcohol or vodka
20 drops lemon oil
20 drops eucalyptus oil
20 drops lavender oil
Shake and lightly spray on any linens, including bedding, fabric pillows, sofas, or rugs. As always, if you’re nervous about the material’s reaction, test a small spot first. Thank you, Kaylan, for the recipe.
| window cleaner |
16 oz. Spray Bottle
1 1/2 cup white vinegar
1/2 cup filtered water
8 drops of any citrus oil (I always lean toward lemon or orange.)
| tub |
hand scrub brush
1 cup baking soda
1 tsp. castile soap (I use Dr. Bronner’s Eucalyptus)
5-10 drops lavender
Mix all of the ingredients together. Add just enough water to create a paste and scrub the tub with it.
16 oz. glass spray bottle
2 cup distilled white vinegar
1 tsp. Thieves essential oil
1/2 cup baking soda (I prefer the shaker style lid.)
Mix the vinegar and essential oils together in the spray bottle. Shake and spray all areas of the toilet. Sprinkle the baking soda in the toilet–it should bubble a bit with the vinegar–and scrub.
| freshen the air |
add the following to your oil diffuser:
1 drop lime oil
1 drop grapefruit oil
2 drops lemon oil
6 drops orange oil
I also love diffusing the YL Purification blend (Citronella, Lemongrass, Rosemary, Melaleuca, Lavandin, and Myrtle).