DIY for healthy housecleaning

Using healthy alternatives for cleaning is especially important while healing from Lyme disease. A lot of store-bought cleaning products add a few drops of essential oils on top of the same old toxic cleaners and call them “natural.” Don't be fooled. Blend your own bona fide natural cleaners with items you probably have in your pantry already, plus a few drops of lemon, cedar or peppermint oil, which you can find at most health food stores.

Derived from plants, essential oils contain cleansing capabilities beyond their aroma-therapeutic appeal. They possess antibacterial and anti-fungal properties capable of wiping out harmful molds and mildews. Essential oils added to your cleaning solutions make your house smell yummy. They're not simply for masking odors.

You spend buckets of money on medications and herbs to detoxify your body and support your healing process, so why bring toxins into your home? Bleach, harsh scrubbing powders and ammonia can all be replaced with healthy, all-natural solutions that are just as effective.

Here are six simple DIY recipes for healthy housecleaning:

1. Shower curtains

Scrub away mold or mildew with this natural alternative to ammonia:
Mix 10 drops tea tree, patchouli or cinnamon essential oil into half cup vinegar.

2. Grout

Make a paste with baking soda, a few drops of tea tree oil and water. Apply paste to grout, and allow it to sit overnight. Scrub with a stiff brush, then rinse with white vinegar. The resulting suds are a powerful cleansing reaction.

3. Bathroom rugs
Between washings, sprinkle bath rugs with half a cup of baking soda and 10 drops of peppermint essential oil, then vacuum up.

4. Microwave Oven

    In a microwave-safe bowl, combine:
    10 drops lemon essential oil
    1 tsp white vinegar
    4 oz water

Place bowl inside microwave, then run it on high for 4 minutes. Wipe off the walls with a paper towel.

5. Laundry

For pre-treating a stained garment, combine:  
1 cup vinegar
1/4 cup lemon juice
5 drops of tea tree essential oil

Add these ingredients to your clothes in a warm water wash. Soak for an hour before washing.

6. Wood Furniture and Floors
To clean scuff marks or spots, apply a drop of lemon essential oil to a damp cloth and scrub. Also try using one drop of lavender oil mixed with a drop of lemon juice.

An added benefit to using homemade cleaning solutions is that they're earth-friendly. We've quit using harmful products in our home while I'm healing from Lyme. You can too. It's sort of essential.

Suzanne Arthur/All rights reserved/ 2006