Clean Green for the Holidays

November 13th, 2007 BY Amy Anaruk | 1 Comment

With Thanksgiving and Christmas coming up fast, the holiday house guest season is about to start. Multiple visitors mean extra cleaning, and there’s no better time to make the switch to natural homemade cleaners than right now. If you’re vacuuming, dusting, and polishing from top to bottom anyway, transform each area of your house into a chemical-free zone.

There’s a fabulous article on this site that explains how to avoid commercial cleaning products by using lemons, vinegar, and baking soda instead. In addition to cleaning floors, windows, kitchens, and bathrooms naturally, try making your own furniture polish and air fragrance this holiday season.

DIY Furniture Polish
Make your own furniture cleaning polish by mixing two parts of the cheapest olive oil you can find with one part lemon juice. Using this polish eliminates the particles that commercial spray polish throws into the air and the mixture smells better, too. Just remember two rules of thumb. Always test the polish on a small area before cleaning the entire piece of furniture with it, and don’t use the polish on antiques.

DIY Air Freshener and Fragrance
Air freshener is somewhat of a misnomer. At the same time they eliminate odors and make the air smell good, most commercial air fresheners and candles actually throw pollutants into the air. During the winter with the doors and windows shut against the cold, those particles can’t escape and indoor air quality plummets.

A better way to combat odors is to set out a small dish of pure vanilla extract or baking soda. Both absorb odors, and the vanilla will scent the air at the same time.

Once you eliminate the bad smells, you can create some good ones. Put a small pan on a back burner of your stove and set to low. Add a cup or so of water, a few drops of vegetable oil to work as a binding agent, and some whole spices for fragrance. Whole cloves and cinnamon smell like holiday baking if you break or crush them to release the scent before adding to the water. Whole nutmeg works just as well, but it’s more expensive. Add more water as it evaporates, and the mixture will last all day. You can experiment with elements like dried fruit and dried flowers to find your favorite scent combinations.

DIY Dry Potpourri
For scent on a smaller scale, mix together the same type of ingredients, add a few drops of essential oil, and place in small bowls all around the house. Not only is this a cleaner way to make your whole house smell good, but it’s also a more customized, personal one.

  1. mollyL

    A friend of mine was selling her house several years ago, and she told me that the realtor told her to bake cinnamon buns and such in the morning before she went to work so the realtor could show clients the house through the day with that appealing fragrance in the air. As she needed to be at work at 8 AM, you can imagine what time my poor friend had to get up in the morning! I wish I had known about this back then; I could have saved her hours to sleep instead of baking in the early early morning!

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