Crafting Homemade Air Fresheners and Natural Cleaning Supplies for a Green Home
If you want a simple way to make your home more eco-friendly, transition to natural cleaning supplies and air fresheners by crafting your own.
The amount of chemicals and harmful toxins, like volatile organic compounds (VOCs), in cleaning supplies and air fresheners is alarming. Even those advertised as “organic” or “green” can contain dangerous substances.
Ingesting these hazardous substances can lead to chronic respiratory problems, allergic reactions and headaches, according to the American Lung Association. They also suggest these chemicals can worsen asthma conditions.
Fortunately, you can make your own all-natural products, void of harmful ingredients, to clean your home and keep it smelling good. This article will guide you through how to do that and give you some easy concoctions to start with.
Learn Popular Ingredients for Air Fresheners and Cleaning Supplies
There are a variety of ingredients you can use for different cleaners and air fresheners. However, there are some ingredients you’ll see popping up regularly. Let’s start with essential oils and herbs:
Essential oils and herbs
Many people make homemade air fresheners and cleaning supplies using herbs or, in their purest form, essential oils, because it’s a simple mix. A few drops of your favorite essential oil into a water-based solution and you’re ready to go.
Essential oils have disinfectant and antimicrobial properties, which is why they’re so helpful in the smellier places of your home, like your kitchen or bathroom.
You can also drop whole herbs into a simmer pot (we’ll talk more about this later) with a few other ingredients to fill your entire home with an intoxicating, natural scent.
The special thing about herbs is you can use a number of them in your cleaners, not too mention in your air fresheners. For example, lavender smells amazing. Mix it with eucalyptus and tea tree oil and you have a great cleaning spray.
Another example is rosemary. Mix rosemary, lemon, lavender, vanilla extract and water for a natural air freshener spray. You could also blend two cups of fresh rosemary with white vinegar and water for an all-purpose cleaner.
You can grow many of the herbs and spices needed yourself, like rosemary, lavender, basil, sage and thyme. These don’t require big lots of land. In fact, many are able to grow in pots on your windowsill.
If you plan to harvest herbs outdoors, especially during the colder months, make sure you’re dressed appropriately for it. The last thing you want is to bundle up so much you can’t move, or not have enough on so you are cold, when caring for your herbs. So, outerwear and layers are good for winter and fall. Then breathable fabrics, casual shoes and wide-brimmed hats for the spring and summer.
If there’s one staple in homemade cleaners, it’s vinegar.
By itself, it can neutralize the scent of smoke, cooking odors and musty smells. You can clean windows with it, remove rust and make your dishes sparkle. White vinegar is especially helpful in getting rid of stains, grease and dirt. You can use vinegar as a part of the base for other cleaners, as well.
The smell may be a little weird at first, but, you can offset it with essential oils. You can also wait for it to go away on its own, which happens faster than most people think.
Lemon is another eco-friendly cleaning ingredient of which you should be very familiar.
The natural acidity in lemons gives them a captivating scent. The properties of lemon juice help fight against bacteria. Also, when they’re mixed with other ingredients, like water, distilled vinegar or sea salt, you can easily wipe away gunk.
For example, if you put lemon rinds in half a cup of water and bring it to a boil in the microwave, the steam will make it easy to wipe away built-up foods and spills in the microwave.
You can bake lemons in the oven to fill your home with that lemony scent. You could also mix lemon with vinegar or baking soda for a natural cleaner.
Replace Your Most-Used Cleaning Supplies First
Once you learn how many natural elements are available to make quality cleaning supplies from scratch, and all they can do, you might feel the urge to replace all your existing cleaning supplies. But, it’s best to start slow.
Replace your most-used cleaning supplies first, as they run out. Bathroom cleaners, disinfectant sprays and all-purpose cleaners are probably on this list. Choose your top three and research all-natural recipes for them.
For example, you can make an all-purpose cleaner with half a cup of distilled white vinegar, two cups of water and a few drops of your favorite essential oil for scent. Or, you can make a bathroom cleaner with a mix of baking soda, borax, castile soap, distilled white vinegar, kosher salt, essential oils and water.
Handle ingredients and measurements carefully to ensure you stay safe and get a powerful product that works.
Try Simmer Pots to Freshen the Air
One of the easiest ways to transition to all-natural air fresheners is to make simmer pots with fruits, herbs and spices. All you need is a saucepan, your ingredients and a stove or slow cooker.
Bring the mixture to a boil first. Then, turn it down to a simmer and it will eventually fill your home with a gorgeous scent. Add water as needed to keep the simmer pot going. Here are a few recipes to get you started:
- A half cup of dried lavender, a branch of fresh eucalyptus and a few rosemary sprigs
- Slices of lime, sprigs of thyme, mint and a teaspoon of vanilla extract
- Orange and lemon slices, cranberries, chopped pine, whole cloves and a cinnamon stick
Along with these recipes, you can create your own combinations to help deodorize your home and fill it with amazing smells.
With all the potential harm store-bought air fresheners and cleaners can do, it’s time to let them go. Use the simple guidance above to make all-natural air fresheners and cleaners that are better for your health, wellness and our planet.