Green CLEAN­ING

Home­made herbal clean­ers make house­work an aro­matic plea­sure. Make your own nat­u­ral clean­ers with just a few ba­sic in­gre­di­ents.

Herbs & Superfoods - - Using Herbs In The Home -

Want a nat­u­ral home detox plan? Start by toss­ing out those harsh chem­i­cal clean­ers and use herbs in­stead. Many herbs and es­sen­tial oils are highly ef­fec­tive house­hold clean­ers, and many of them have an­tibac­te­rial prop­er­ties. Lemon­grass, lemon myr­tle, sage, tea tree, eu­ca­lyp­tus, oregano and laven­der, as well as many oth­ers, con­tain pow­er­ful an­timi­cro­bial prop­er­ties that ri­val many of the com­mer­cial clean­ers you can buy at the su­per­mar­ket. And with their nat­u­ral fra­grance, they’ll keep your home smelling sweet and fresh.

Get­ting started

Herbal house­keep­ing is not hard. With just a few ba­sic in­gre­di­ents you can eas­ily make your own ef­fec­tive, non-toxic home clean­ers.

Step one: look at your base in­gre­di­ents. Typ­i­cal pantry sta­ples that can be used to make home­made clean­ers in­clude bak­ing soda (it de­odorises and dis­solves grease and dirt), cider or white vine­gar (a weak form of acetic acid, which is an­tibac­te­rial), castile soap (a sur­fac­tant made from olive oil that loosens and washes away dirt) and lemon juice (which has an­tibac­te­rial prop­er­ties). Step two: choose your herbs, ei­ther fresh or dried, or in the form of es­sen­tial oils.

Pure es­sen­tial oils are the strong­est and most ac­tive form of a herb, and are highly ef­fec­tive at re­mov­ing germs. A 2013 study at the Alexan­der Tech­no­log­i­cal Ed­u­ca­tional In­sti­tute of Thes­sa­loniki in Greece showed that soap with oregano es­sen­tial oil (at 0·5 per cent strength) was as ef­fec­tive as com­mer­cial an­timi­cro­bial soap and more ef­fec­tive than plain soap with no ad­di­tives.

Us­ing fresh or dried herbs is ef­fec­tive too, and sim­ple clean­ing solutions can be made, with pow­er­ful re­sults. To fight germs, a sim­ple spray can be made by steep­ing herbs in vine­gar. Left­over citrus peels can be added too, as these con­tain a large amount of bioflavonoids and limonene, which are strongly an­tibac­te­rial.

Hap­pily, your home’s clean­li­ness need not be com­pro­mised by aban­don­ing the harsh chem­i­cals in com­mer­cial clean­ers in favour of home­made herbal ones.

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