Anyone can harness the power of plants to reduce allergens and toxins present in their environment. Expert herbalist and author Pip Waller provides more than 500 plant-based remedies for house, health and more in The Herbal Handbook (North Atlantic Books, 2015). The following excerpt from “Household Products” offers DIY cleaners that can be used in most areas of your home.
The cleaners in this section are wonderful and effective environmentally friendly alternatives to strong-smelling chemicals. The essential oils leave a fresh clean smell and mildly disinfect the area. Herbs also make perfect room sprays and wonderful potpourri.
Chamomile & Marjoram Surface Cleaner
• 2 cups white distilled vinegar
• 2 tsp. marjoram flowers and leaves
• 1–2 tsp. chamomile flower heads
• 20 drops lavender essential oil
1. Make an infused vinegar with the herbs.
2. Add the essential oil and decant into a spray bottle (for easy cleaning).
3. For everyday use, add an equal amount of water to the mixture. Spray on, wait for a few minutes, and wipe off.
4. For really tough jobs, use the cleaner undiluted; gently heating for a few minutes will make it extra strong. Spray dirty surfaces with hot vinegar cleaner and wait for 15 minutes before scrubbing and rinsing.
Makes & Keeps
Makes 2 cups.
Keeps up to 2 years.
Rosemary & Pine Toilet Cleaner
• 1 small handful of rosemary leaves
• 1 large handful of pine needles, removed from the stems
• 2 cups white distilled vinegar or Apple Cider Vinegar
• 50 drops/1/2 tsp. rosemary essential oil (optional)
• 50 drops/1/2 tsp. pine essential oil (optional)
1. Make an infused vinegar with the fresh rosemary and pine needles. If desired, add the essential oils for a stronger odor.
2. Pour a pail of water down the toilet to force water out of the bowl. This will enable you to reach the sides more easily.
3. Then pour the undiluted cleaner into the bowl and let sit for 10–20 minutes.
4. Scrub well with a toilet brush.
Makes & Keeps
Makes about 2 cups.
Keeps at least 1 year.
Juniper, Rosemary & Lavender Glass Cleaner
• 1 cup white distilled vinegar
• 25 drops/1/4 tsp. juniper
• 25 drops/1/4 tsp. rosemary
• 25 drops/1/4 tsp. lavender
1. Put the vinegar and oils into a spray bottle and shake gently. Let sit for 24 hours to settle.
2. To use, add 2 tsp. of the cleaner to 1 quart warm water. Do not use more than this, because it will lead to streaks.
3. Apply the diluted cleaner to the glass, using a clean cloth or spray from a bottle. Wipe the glass clean with a dry cloth.
Makes & Keeps
Makes 1 cup.
Keeps 1-2 years.
To avoid streaks, do not clean windows when they are warm—early morning or dusk is the best time.
Treat common ailments, bumps and bruises with 4 Natural First-Aid Remedies from The Herbal Handbook.
From The Herbal Handbook for Home and Health by Pip Waller, published by North Atlantic Books, copyright © 2015 by Pip Waller. Reprinted by permission of publisher.