Autumn is a wonderful time to do a little deep cleaning. Unfortunately, many people turn to harsh chemicals and heavily scented candles and air fresheners to bring fall indoors. But you don’t have to rely on those old standbys to make your home shine and smell wonderful. You can learn how to make your own cleaning products and deodorizers with ingredients you may already have on hand. We’re not talking about vinegar. We’re talking about popular fall spices from your pantry!
Many spices lend themselves well to cleaning because they have pleasant scents. Some spices have additional properties that actually help with cleaning like killing mildew and bacteria. For example, cinnamon has cleansing properties, clove is antiseptic and nutmeg may help fight bacteria.
Here are some recipes and ways to put spices to work in your home, doing double duty as cleaners and air fresheners.
1. After-shower spray
Showers and tubs are notorious for growing mold and mildew, and after-shower sprays have become popular additions to cleaning routines. The idea is to spray the shower or tub after each use, to impede the growth of mold and mildew. This recipe uses ingredients that have anti-germ properties, along with alcohol to help dry surfaces, grout and silicone caulk. You can also use it on woodwork and carpeting that is in damp areas.
- 1 pint vodka
- 1-in. scored ginger root
- 3 cinnamon sticks
In a spray bottle, combine ingredients and let sit for a minimum of two weeks before use. The longer it sits, the stronger the scents will be. You can top off the bottle with more vodka as needed. Replace cinnamon and ginger every six months.
2. Counter cleanser
The key to a good hard surface cleaner is anti-germ properties. You can substitute vinegar in this recipe, but using vodka keeps the cleaner from streaking, and allows the fall spice scents to come through.
In spray bottle, combine ingredients and let sit for a minimum of two weeks before use. The longer it sits, the stronger the scents will be. You can top off the bottle with more vodka as needed. Replace spices every six months to a year, depending on scent strength.
For a greener scent, switch the clove and anise for basil and thyme. Let sit for a month, then strain before use.
3. Sink scrub
Sinks and tubs sometimes need lightly abrasive cleaners to really get the job done. Pink salt is thought to have germ-fighting qualities.
Mix thoroughly, store a minimum of two weeks before use. Shake the container occasionally to stir. To use, measure two tablespoons of salt scrub mixture. Spread around damp sink or tub, with a cleaning rag or sponge. You can also spray it with Counter Cleanser. Rinse thoroughly with water.
4. Nutmeg linen spray
Test this linen spray on a small section before using on any fabric.
Crack nutmeg with a nutcracker or hammer. Combine all ingredients in a spray bottle, and allow to sit for two weeks before use, shaking occasionally to stir. Spray onto curtains, rugs, bedding, and towels, testing for color-fastness first.