Friday, November 7, 2014

Smell Ya Later

I’m not just eco-friendly, I’m heading toward an affair. I told John we no longer have trash—I just wash everything and put it in the garage, and he hauls it to the recycling center. A cloth bag full of other cloth grocery bags lives in my car’s trunk so they’re ready when I am. I usually cook, so there aren’t lots of take-out foam trays and frozen food packages in my trash. I don’t own a Keurig so I’m not heaping landfills with little empty pods. (Yes, I used to own a Tassimo, which is basically the same thing but with impossible-to-find pods. Shut up.)

My worst problem with the eco-pal thing? Cleaning sprays. When my house is clean I want it to smell clean. Not like cat pee (ammonia) or my mother’s laundry room (bleach) or Easter eggs (vinegar). Nice. Pleasant. Clean. Actually, I want my house to smell clean even when it isn’t, but it usually smells like whatever I last cooked. And I don’t want to spend a fortune on those specialty cleaners. Surely I can find something home-made, right?

I’ve tried different mixtures as far back as my hippie-wannabe days when I had a vague dream of living a Mother Earth News lifestyle, only without the animal stink or touching the wormy ground. Recently I tried an internet recipe, a half vinegar/half water combo. The house smelled so bad I left, making an unnecessary trip in my car, burning gas I didn’t need to. (Yes, I could have taken a walk. You’re not helping.)

I mentioned my problem to strangers at a jewelry-shopping party and one of them had a solution. Essential oils. She gave me the types, ratios, and where to find them. I bought them, mixed the solution, and cleaned my kitchen. It doesn’t smell like heavy cleaners, my husband isn’t coughing from bleach in the air, there’s just a light, pleasant, clean scent. Eureka!

So here’s my gift to you, from the stranger who gave it to me. I call it:
All-Purpose Cleaner That Won’t Make You Cough Or Run You Out of Your Own House With Its Stench:

1 cup white vinegar
1 cup water
30 drops lavender essential oil
15 drops rosemary essential oil
Mix in a spray bottle, spray and wipe.

You’re welcome.


  1. Sounds like something I would I need to go to the local co-op for the oils...then I need to get a spray bottle.

    1. Don't cheap out on the spray bottle. I hate the cheap one I bought. I guess I'll empty out one of my commercial ones and use it. They spray better.

  2. Nice to have you back writing on this blog. But... you didn't tell us where you bought these essential oils.
    When you mentioned trying to live the Mother Earth News lifestyle, I had a flashback. I actually tried to cook stew on my compost pile using the heat from spontaneous combustion. Shut up. No laughing. You're not helping.

    1. OMG Phil! My gag reflex is kicking in thinking about that compost pile fire smell!

      And I found the essential oils at Whole Foods. They're not cheap--$9-15 for little, tiny bottles of oil. But you only use a tiny amount, so for me that's a life-time supply. I can probably leave them in my will to whichever daughter I like the most, too.

  3. I love all you hippies, wannabees or those left only with flashbacks. Makes me want to cruise West Peachtree in Atlanta again.

  4. I make my own home cleaners too. The recipe you shared is very close to mine. Lemon always works wonderfully as well. And did you know that Rosemary repels mosquitoes. And lemon (essential, essence, or juice) can be used to repel ants, roaches and fleas. They hate the smell. So essentially you can repel bugs the natural way while cleaning the floors, windows, counters, etc. Thanks for sharing your recipe.