When I visited the home at Falling Waters last fall (one of Frank Lloyd Wright’s architectural masterpieces in W. PA), I picked up this book in the gift shop and read it this month for Earth Day postings. It is a perfect book to get you started on creating your own clean & green herbal formulas.
Chapter 1 answers the question: Why clean with herbs? According to the author, by adding herbal materials, especially essential oils (ex. citrus oils), to the cleaning formulas, the cleaning value is enhanced and there is the additional bonus of natural scents. “In effect, the principles of sanitary hygiene and aromatherapy become partners…..citrus oils are the workhorses of the kitchen and bathroom.” The chapter continues with important benefits of natural cleaning, such as saving time and money, de-cluttering the cleaning closet, and which herbs to buy and where to purchase them.
Later in the chapter, Siegel-Meier discusses common cleaning toxins (ex. regular bleach), how to get started making your own cleaning products, including a helpful chart of herbs and their beneficial properties for cleaning. For example, the herb lavender is listed as having the following properties: antibiotic, antifungal, antiviral, antibacterial. Ditto for lemon, tea tree oil, and eucalyptus.
After this important first chapter, The Naturally Clean Home tackles products to make for the kitchen (Chap. 2), the bath (Chap. 3), and the laundry (chap. 4). Chapters 5- 8 cover wood and metal care, walls & carpeting, garage & basement, and garden & landscape, the home office, as well as cleaning the air we breathe. For example, we can make potpourri to help filter the air or keep common plants in the house to purify the air. These include spider plants, golden pothos, peace lilies, and weeping figs, as well as certain ferns.
The book ends with a list of resources and helpful index. It is quite comprehensive and during the summer I plan to make some of my own cleaning products from her formulas. Here is just one I may try for my laundry:
2 1/4 cups liquid castile soap
1/4 cup white distilled vinegar
1 tablespoon glycerin
3/4 cup water
10-15 drops essential oil* of your choice
Combine all ingredients* into a plastic container or squirt bottle+. Shake once or twice before adding to the wash. To use, add 1/4 cup per average load; 1/2 cup for extra large or heavily soiled loads.
Note: The resource section lists two online sources for washing cleaning supplies. There is also a list of commercial cleaning companies that manufacture nontoxic cleaning supplies that are available in many natural markets and mainstream stores.Their names may be familiar: Dr. Bronner, Method, Gaiam, Sun & Earth, Seventh Generation,etc.
The Naturally Clean Home, 5″ X 7″ and 223 pages by Karyn Siegel-Maier is a real find for me. The art direction and book design are by Alethea Morrison. (The line drawings are a nice touch to the information and formulas.) The book is published by www.storey.com and costs $10.95, an incredibly reasonable price for the “150 super-easy herbal formulas for green cleaning” noted on the cover.
I hope this book will take me one step closer to making “Earth Day Every Day,” because I plan to make at least one the general cleaning formulas. I want to start slowly to see if I can make formulas that use many of the same ingredients so I don’t have more clutter! I will keep you posted as to my progress in the summer, when I clean out bathroom medicine cabinets and my laundry supplies.
* The resources at the end of the book will help you find these items if they are not available at your local hardware store or natural market.
+ I am starting to save my bottles, both glass and plastic, from my current cleaning products.
4/28-P.S. My friend Coll sent this in after reading the review. Another friend, Lois, also emailed me some time ago that she uses vinegar and water to clean windows, too. Very economical!
I use white vinegar and baking soda instead of toilet bowl cleaner.
Foams up and cleans nicely. Half to a cup of vinegar; half cup or less soda.
Vinegar and water instead of windex, etc. Baking soda makes pretty good
BTW, I love to clean. Not many people do, but gives me a clean feeling!