Once daylight savings hits, bulbs are poking up their leaves in the gardens, and the days warm up enough to open the windows and let the springtime breeze in. This is when I get the hankering to do spring cleaning in my home.
Just as we cleanse the heaviness and stagnation from our bodies in the spring with spring greens and liver-supportive herbs like dandelion, plantain, cleavers, and chickweed, the turn of the season calls us to do the same with our physical space.
As it turns out, spring cleaning is yet another opportunity to integrate herbs into our lives. Herbs can be used to clear and uplift the energy in our homes while herbal cleaning products are a good choice for our health and the health of our ecosystem. Not to mention that inhaling the scent of herbs while we tidy up is downright pleasureful!
My spring cleaning routine starts with clearing out unnecessary accumulation. Without this step, my house may end up shiny clean but there is a lingering heaviness that I intuitively feel, and it drags me down. Spring is synonymous with lightness, and I want my physical space to reflect that as well.
By packing up the heavy coziness of my winter’s den and getting rid of things I no longer need, use, or appreciate, I make space for the airiness and possibility of the spring season.
I have used the process and tips outlined in The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up with favorable results. You may need to be a little ruthless and hold your feet to the fire during the process of letting go of belongings that no longer serve you, but the outcome is well worth it.
Once I’ve cleared out the visible excess lingering about my home, I like to burn herbs to clear out the old: old air, old ideas and emotions, old negativity, and make space for new possibilities.This can be as simple as walking from room to room with a bundle of herbs, letting the smoke trail throughout the rooms and into corners and dark spaces.
Garden sage is lovely for this, and I like to add stems of lavender or rosemary from last year’s garden to the bundle, as well as cedar and mugwort from my land.
How To Make An All-Purpose Herbal Cleaning Spray For Spring Cleaning
Time to clean! I like to keep it simple and rely primarily on vinegar, baking soda, borax, liquid soap, and herbs or essential oils.
- White vinegar for the windows (mix 4 parts water to 1 part vinegar in a spray bottle, use crumpled newspaper for your cleaning “cloth”)
- A soft scrub for the tub, sinks, and stovetop (½ cup of baking soda, 2 tablespoons liquid dish soap, 2 tablespoons of water or vinegar, a few drops of essential oil)
- Diluted vinegar for the wood floors (1 gallon water, ½ cup white vinegar, a few drops of essential oil)
- An all-purpose cleaning spray for countertops, appliances, table-tops, cupboard doors, toilet, etc. (recipe below)
Mint family plants (e.g., sage, lavender, thyme, rosemary), evergreens, and citrus are great additions to cleaning products due to their antimicrobial properties. Mint family plants in particular were used historically in homes as strewing herbs to dispel “evil spirits,” or as we know them today, microbes. In the recipe that follows, I give a few options for herb combinations, but feel free to experiment!
DIY All-Purpose Herbal Cleaning Spray
All Purpose Herbal Cleaning Spray
I make large batches of the herbal vinegar so I have it at the ready when needed to make a batch of the cleaning spray. Recipe adapted from The Herbal Kitchen by Kami McBride.
¾ cup dried lavender plus ½ cup dried rosemary
1 ½ cups citrus peels (orange, lemon, and/or grapefruit)
1 ¼ cup mint family herb blend (use lavender, thyme, sage, rosemary, bee balm, etc.)
3 -4 cups white vinegar
1-quart Mason jar
- Combine vinegar and herbs in the jar. Let steep for one month in a dark place, shaking occasionally. Top off vinegar in the jar as needed to ensure herbs are covered.
Herbal Cleaning Spray
Herbal Cleaning Spray
1 cup herbal vinegar
1 cup hot water
1-2 tablespoons vegetable-based dish soap
1 tablespoon borax
2 teaspoons baking soda
- Combine all ingredients in a large jar and stir thoroughly (the borax, baking soda, and vinegar will initially react with each other and bubble over if the container is not large enough).
- Once the mixture has settled, transfer to a spray bottle.
- Get cleaning!
Want to know learn more about how to bring herbs into your daily life to support wellness? Join us in the Introductory Herbal Course!
Do you use herbs for spring cleaning? Please share which ones in the comments below!
McBride, K. The herbal kitchen. New York, NY: William Morrow and Company.