Herbs In The Home Tips

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How do I replace fabric conditioner and dryer sheets with herbs?

Wash Day

There is no need to reach for the fabric conditioner when there is an herb patch close by. Make up a strong infusion of lavender, rose, bergamot or lemon balm, by steeping a handful of each herb in 1-2 liters of water. Add to the final rinse to scent and soften your washing.

Instead of tumble dryer sheets, spritz a handkerchief with rose or lavender water, or dab with a few drops of essential oil of bergamot or lavender. Add this to your dryer and repeat for each load.

How do I make herbal disinfectant?

Herbal Disinfectants

A strong infusion of rosemary, sage and thyme creates a good disinfectant to wipe down work surfaces, kitchen cupboards, high chairs and even kitchen floors. Add to water and washing up liquid as a disinfectant all-purpose cleaner.

Clean wooden chopping boards with a scrub made from chopped rosemary, lemon and salt. This will inhibit the growth of bacteria.

Mix a strong infusion of chamomile, peppermint, rosemary and thyme with baking soda as a cleaning scrub for grouting and edging in bathrooms and around the kitchen sink.

How do I remove cooking smells and freshen stale air?

Masking And Removing Smells

We all want our homes to smell fresh and inviting and with herbs this can be easily achieved.

To banish cooking smells place two to three drops of vanilla extract in a saucer and place in a warm (not hot!) oven, after you turn the oven off. Open the door after a few minutes and leave the scent to fill the room.

Essential oil of lavender, sage or bergamot, used in small oil burner will freshen stale air, as will bowls of fresh herbs and dried orange rind. Lemon balm, lemon verbena, bergamot, peppermint, lavender and sage are all useful.

How do I make herbal furniture polish?

Looking After Your Furniture

Lemon oil and white vinegar, mixed in equal proportions, make a useful furniture polish. Alternatively, mix herb oil (cinnamon, clove and orange is nice) with a little liquid soap. It only needs very little to achieve a lovely shine and refreshing smell.

Which herbs deter insects?

Insect Repellant

Nobody likes bugs in their homes, but it's not necessary to resort to strong or poisonous chemicals to keep them at bay. Herbs have been used for thousands of years in that role and have been very successful.

My mother used to grow tomatoes and basil in window boxes outside the kitchen window to deter flies. It also meant she did not have to go far for the dinner salad.

Lemon verbena by the back door keeps all sorts of pests out. You can also dry sprigs of lemon verbena and place at the back of cutlery drawers and kitchen cupboards. Replace them occasionally with fresh ones.

Can I use herbs to keep stored clothes moth-free?

Protecting Clothes From Moths

I love the look of mugwort, even though I'm not fond of the smell. But then, neither are moths. Lay sprigs of dried mugwort between linen or clothes that are to be stored for a long time to keep out moths.

My grandmother used to mix dried chopped mugwort with chopped dried rosemary and dried lavender flowers. Sachets of it were kept with the winter clothes to keep them free of pests. Rosemary is a powerful antiseptic and lavender would add a nice smell.

How can I clean my oven?

Herbal Oven Cleaners

Herbal vinegars make ideal oven cleaners. Spray or dab on when the oven is still slightly warm, then close oven door and leave to work for two hours. When oven is cold, wipe off vinegar with damp sponge, before rubbing with baking soda and rosemary. Wipe out well with clean water and dry.

Are there herbal kitchen and bathroom cleaners?

Gleaming Kitchens And Bathrooms

Bathrooms and kitchens need to look and smell clean. They also need to be clean. Combine the power of baking soda with the disinfectant properties and pleasant smell of herbs and you have most efficient kitchen and bathroom cleaner.

Fill a clean dry jar half full with baking powder. Add half this quantity of finely chopped dried herb mix. Make sure you include chopped rosemary and sage for their disinfectant properties. For scent, add lavender, chamomile, lemon balm or mint. Shake well to mix. Leave to stand for a couple of day, then add some to a damp cloth and use as a cleaner for sinks, bathtubs, showers or toilets.

If you don't like chopped herbs in your scrub, add essential oils of rosemary, sage, lavender and mint to the baking powder. Make sure you mix them in well or your scrub will clump.

How can I scent my linen without chemicals?

Scenting Linen

There is nothing nicer than fresh, sweet-smelling linen. It adds a luxurious, calming feeling to any bedroom and makes guests feel truly welcome in your home.

If you are in a hurry, add a few drops of essential oil of bergamot, lavender or rose to a spray bottle containing warm water. Shake vigorously and spray lightly onto the sheets.

To make your own rose or lavender water mix equal quantities of rose petals or lavender flowers with boiling water in a screw top jar. Leave to infuse for two to three days, shaking the jar occasionally, before straining the liquid into a clean bottle. Label, including the date, and store in a cool, dark place. Use within two to three months.

Can I clean my home without chemicals?

Clean Your Home the Natural Way

We all have bottles of cleaners and household products in the cupboard under the sinks. Some of them are potentially harmful to our families and the environment and most of them are not necessary at all. Our parents and grandparents had clean and fresh-smelling homes and used mainly herbs, vinegar and baking soda in their cleaners.

Did you know that typical window cleaner found in your grocery store can be replaced by adding vinegar to the cleaning water? It's safer for environment, and it smells better. Remove lime scale by mixing a paste of baking soda and vinegar or lemon juice. Add chopped rosemary, spread over the lime scale and leave to sit for a few minutes. Then rub with a cloth, the rosemary will act as a scourer, and watch it disappear.

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Patricia Walters-Fischer
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