Eco~Tip of the Week: The Magic of Lemongrass

Photo courtesy of Jordan
I am a self-confessed, super-clean neat freak… and very proud of it. J I’m one of those unusual people who actually enjoys cleaning, I know, weird, right? I just find something soothing in the process of neatening and organizing. As I clean my outer world, I feel my inner world follow suit. Or vice versa ~ I can’t always be sure of what happens first. One thing I do know, I am most happy, comfortable and productive when the chaos and dirt are cleared away, it makes my life seem brighter, freer and easier to navigate.

I gave you a little bit of background into my world before I dig into this post to let you know that clean matters to me. So now, when I divulge one of my most favorite green cleaning recipes of all time, you can be sure it’s a tried and true winner. It works beautifully, it smells delicious, it’s super inexpensive to make, and it’s 100% safe and non-toxic. Sounds good, right?

Today I’d like to share with you the recipe for my Lemongrass All Purpose Cleaner. I use this cleaner everywhere, daily, sometimes hourly. If you have kids and pets you’re well aware that there is always a mess lurking somewhere! I use this cleaner on counters, sinks, toilets, animal cages, and messes of any description. You name it, I’ll clean it. We go through tons of this stuff in my home; thankfully it costs less than a dollar a bottle!

Thanks again Jord!
As you can imagine there are 101 reasons why I won’t use anything that you can readily find on the shelves of local stores. Even many of the ‘eco’ brands have dangerous ingredients and most always questionable ones. I tend to get very frustrated should I wander down the cleaning aisle in search of dish gloves or paper towels. I avert my eyes, speed along, and pretend not to see yet another name-brand company jumping on the green band-wagon and shamelessly tricking unknowing consumers into thinking they’ve just made a 100% green choice. Yes, you can argue, and rightfully so, that at least they are a smidge better than their chemical laden neighbors, but you’ll still never see me spraying down my counters, or my home with one. Especially now that I know how quick and easy it is to make your own, with no lingering worries or concerns about the disgusting residue that you’re leaving behind.

If you must purchase your cleaners at the store instead of whipping up a batch of your own, I’d recommend that you stick with the companies that are in for the ‘right’ reasons. I'm referring to those companies that have been around for years and have made a strong commitment to the earth and its human inhabitants. Seventh Generation, Ecover and Earth Friendly are a couple, and even then I encourage you to read labels and know what you’re buying. I have a very strong distrust of those well known companies that now tote an eco-friendly alternative while every other product they produce is a chemical nightmare. Some common ingredients to studiously avoid:
Severely corrosive
Dangerous to the eyes
Can burn the skin and is very harmful to inhale
Ethylene glycol
Irritant of the skin and lungs
Severe irritant of the eyes
Very harmful to inhale
Reproductive hazard
Hazardous to the environment
Petroleum distillates
Irritants of the eyes, skin and lungs
May damage the central and peripheral nervous systems and respiratory system
Very harmful to inhale
May cause dizziness and loss of coordination

Severe irritants of the eyes, skin and lungs
Severe corrosives of the eyes and skin
May cause an allergic skin reaction
Acutely toxic in the environment
Sodium hypochlorite (chlorine bleach)
Severe irritant of the eyes, skin and lungs
May cause burning of the skin
Irreversible eye injury
Inhalation may cause severe lung damage
Mixed with ammonia will create deadly fumes

Remember, don't be scared, be smart. Know what you're buying and using. You're the only one who has you and your health as top priority. So, lets get to the fun stuff~ here’s my tried and true favorite, it really is a winner! J

Lemongrass All Purpose Cleaner
½ cup hydrogen peroxide
¼ cup vodka
1 ¼ cup water
12 drops organic 100% lemongrass essential oil
6 drops organic 100% peppermint essential oil

Mix together in a clean, empty bottle and you’re ready to go!

Both hydrogen peroxide and vodka are superb disinfectants, and both will dissipate with no residual odors. You’ll need an opaque bottle to store this cleaner in to preserve the properties of hydrogen peroxide, as sunlight will break it down. I always giggle when Scott comes home from the liquor store with a bottle of cheap vodka, mysteriously hidden in a brown paper bag. I don’t drink and so always find it humorous to have the cheapest alcohol available nestled among bottles of hydrogen peroxide and organic essential oils. ;) 

I’ve found an essential oil for nearly every task I come up with, so why Lemongrass?  Here are some of its awesome natural properties: anti-depressant, antimicrobial. antiseptic, bactericidal, deodorant, fungicidal, insecticidal, nervous system sedative and tonic. It doesn’t only clean, it makes you happier as you do so. J I added in the peppermint oil this past spring because I had some ants that were relentless! Usually the lemongrass is enough, I haven’t had ants in years, but for some reason they were tenacious last spring. Adding in the peppermint did the trick, and it smells even better now, thank you pesky ants. J

I really do adore this cleaner and would like to help a couple of you get started. Just leave a comment below and a week from today I will pick 2 lucky winners. I’ll send along one of the cobalt blue bottles that I use to make and store all of my cleaners in. It comes with a sturdy white sprayer nozzle and a bottle label that conveniently has the recipe written right on it. Makes whipping up a new batch a breeze!

Ahhh, I feel so great sharing that with you, my imagination runs wild with visions of clean, non-toxic kitchens and bathrooms. Yes, it really is the small things that make my heart sing. Wishing you all a wonderfully green day!

Peace & blessings ~ Melinda