Have you been thinking of cleaning your house naturally with herbs hanging around in your kitchen counters? You will be surprised by how simple and satisfying it is to create cleaners with herbs you have on hand. Homemade herb cleaners can offer a natural, effective, and cheap alternative to harsh chemical cleaners, and they smell amazing.
The following table lists ten of the most effective house cleaners and their corresponding purposes that can be created with six of the most herbs that can be found indoors:
|Mint House Cleaner||Sinks and bathroom faucets|
|Lavender House Cleaner||Effective on fabrics,|
|Rosemary House Cleaner||Glassware and mirrors|
|Clove House Cleaner||Against mold in bathroom and kitchen|
|Bay House Cleaner||For shiny pantry|
|Lavender House Cleanner||Carpets|
|All-Purpose Cleaner||All surfaces|
|Rosemary Orange Toilet Cleaner||Bathroom|
|Lemon Thyme Kitchen Cleaner||Kitchen surfaces|
Let’s dive into the details of each of these cleaners and see how they can help you with your kitchen and more. If you want, even more, there is a great book you can check here on Amazon full of 100+ recipes. Here 10, I am giving away for free.
Each of these ten herb-based home cleaners can freshen different areas of your home; some are more suitable to cut through tough grime while others are more targeted for bathroom and kitchen areas. Certain herbs also keep mold at bay. We also have lighter combinations that will help freshen fabrics and carpets.
Let’s walk through how you can prepare these simple herb-based home cleaners.
This solution can eliminate mineral deposits from washbasins and bathroom faucets after you leave it on for about 2 minutes.
- 1 cup of white vinegar
- ½ cup of water
- 1 cup of chopped mint
- 5 tsp. Baking soda
- Add vinegar and water (two to one ratio) into a spray bottle
- Add in the baking soda and mix until there are no lumps.
- Add in the chopped peppermint and shake it well.
- Use this spray to clean bathroom surfaces and sinks.
If the smell of vinegar is overwhelming, you may either reduce the ratio of vinegar or increase the amount of peppermint in this formula.
After spraying on the intended surfaces for cleaning, leave it on for about 2 minutes before wiping the stain off.
Tip: Cleaning vinegar is a lot more expensive than regular white vinegar. Most importantly, white vinegar does a better job when it comes to cleaning.
A clean home itself is calming, but this lavender cleaner takes it to another level. The beauty of this cleaner is that it can disinfect while at the same time, produce a smell proven to have calming effects. It’s suitable to use in the bedroom and on couches.
- Five lemon peels – Not the inside flesh, yellow rind, and white pith only.
- 1/4 cup vodka
- 1/2 cup water
- 1/4 cup of dried lavender
- Combine the vodka and water.
- Add in the lemon peels and dried lavender and mix well.
- Use this spray to clean bed sheets, fabrics, and even smelly sports equipment.
Effective on fabrics such as clothes, bed sheets, couches, and even carpets. This formula is potent against odors, and it is safe for all fabric materials. It penetrates and removes odors almost entirely without leaving any residue smell on your fabrics. It can also be used as an air freshener and disinfectant for your room.
3. Rosemary House Cleaner: Mirrors
This formula leaves a pristine shine on glassware and, at the same time, keeps insects away. Suitable for cleaning tables, glass windows, and mirrors.
- Three lemon peels – Not the inside flesh, yellow rind, and white pith only.
- 1 cup of white vodka
- 1 cup of fresh or 1/4 cup dried rosemary
- Add vodka and water (one to one ratio) into a spray bottle
- Mix all the ingredients in the bottle and shake it well.
- Use this spray to glass, mirrors, and table surfaces.
Is mold being a problem in your house? You are in the right place. In this recipe, we’ll show you how to make an easy clove oil with fresh cloves and create a long-lasting, powerful, and budget-friendly spray.
- One tablespoon whole cloves
- 1 cup of olive oil (or you can substitute whatever oil you have on hand)
- Aluminum foil
- Glass jar
- 1/4 cup water
- Spray bottle
Making the Oil – 2 Ways
The first method takes about an hour but requires a double boiler. Don’t worry, it’s easy.
- Grind the cloves in a spice blender, or using a mortar and pestle, or put them in a sealed bag and smash with a rolling pin.
- Combine the oil and cloves in the glass jar.
- Cover the jar with aluminum foil.
- Fill a saucepan about halfway with water and bring it to a simmer.
- Place a metal or glass bowl over the saucepan and then place your glass jar right in the bowl. Let it sit for at least an hour. Check occasionally to make sure the saucepan does not run out of water.
- After an hour, be sure to turn everything off and let the jar cool enough to handle.
- Strain the oil to remove the cloves into a separate jar with a lid.
The second method to make oil
- Follow steps 1 and 2, but instead of covering with aluminum foil, just seal the jar with a lid and let it sit for 10 to 14 days in a cupboard.
- Strain to remove the cloves.
Make the spray
- Combine one teaspoon of clove oil with 1/4 cup of water and shake well.
- Apply the clove spray on the area with mold, let it sit for 20 minutes, and then wipe away with the mold.
Anyone who has dealt with pantry moths knows how frustrating they are. Often, these pesky insects catch a ride on dried goods from the grocery store. There are a lot of steps you can take to prevent moths, but we’ve got one simple way to keep them out.
Fresh or dry bay leaves
Scatter the pungent leaves on your shelves and keep some in an open container. The smell has been shown to deter pantry moths. Unlike some other recipes where the dried herbs are stronger, that’s not the case with bay leaves. Fresh leaves have a stronger scent, so if using dried leaves, just use more.
This simple mixture will help soak up oils and revitalize a smelly rug. Keep this on hand and sprinkle some over your carpets before vacuuming.
- 2 cups of baking soda
- 1/2 cup cornstarch
- 1/4 cup dried lavender or 1 cup fresh
- Combine all of the ingredients in a food processor and blitz until evenly combined.
- Store in an airtight jar.
- Sprinkle over your carpet and spread with a broom or brush if you have one.
- Vacuum up the powder.
Leave the carpet cleaning powder on as long as you can to give it time to soak up the oils, causing bad scents.
If you just need a solution that works for a large number of surfaces type, this is your recipe. Use it in the kitchen, the bathroom, living room, windows, and any surface that needs disinfecting. This recipe also allows you to have some creativity and make your own herb blend with what you have on hand.
- 1 cup vodka
- 1 cup vinegar
- 2 cups of fresh herbs (you can use mint, rosemary, lavender, thyme, basil, sage or whatever combination you like)
- Two lemons
- Large jar
- Spray bottle
- Muddle the herbs with a mortar and pestle or just the back of a spoon in a jar. This helps release the natural oils. Add to the jar.
- Slice the lemons and add them to the jar.
- Add vodka and vinegar to the jar.
- Let this mixture sit for a few hours or a few days.
- Strain out the herbs and lemons into a spray bottle.
This natural combination packs a punch. Use it to give your toilet bowl a deep clean. Adding rosemary and zesty orange helps disinfect and leave a fresh scent.
- 1 cup of water
- ½ cup baking soda
- ½ cup castile soap
- ½ cup fresh rosemary
- Peel of 1 orange
- Hydrogen peroxide
- Old squirt bottle, such as dish soap or shampoo bottle.
- Muddle the rosemary and orange peel and add to a cup of water. Set aside for 30 minutes to a couple of hours. (The longer you leave it, the stronger the scent.
- Strain the water into your squirt bottle. Add the castile soap, followed by the baking soda.
- Shake well to combine and use right away or store.
- Squirt around the toilet bowl and then add hydrogen peroxide on top. Flush away.
Thyme has antimicrobial properties (Source), which makes it a good addition to this kitchen spray. Adding lemon peels adds a little extra power to the cleaner and will really leave your kitchen smelling heavenly.
- 1-quart glass jar with lid
- 2 cups of thyme
- Peel of one lemon
- 3 cups distilled vinegar
- Castile soap
- Add the lemon and thyme to the glass jar
- Pour vinegar in the jar and stir
- Let the mixture sit for 24-48 hours
- Strain and add castile soap
- Pour into a spray bottle
If your floors are looking drab lately, this wood floor cleaner will bring back their shine and help buff out scuffs and pesky spots.
- ½ cup distilled white vinegar
- One teaspoon of vegetable oil (or oil of choice)
- 1 cup of water
- Essential herb oil of choice or fresh herbs of choice
There are two ways to make this, depending on if you are using fresh herbs or essential oil.
In case you are using an essential oil version.
- Combine vinegar, oil, and water. Shake well
- Add a few drops of essential oil (use what you have on hand or see our recipe above for instructions on how to make your own!)
In case you are using fresh herbs:
- Combine vinegar and a cup of your favorite fresh herb (lavender is great) and let that sit for 24-48 hours
- Strain the vinegar into a storage jar for the floor cleaner
- Add oil and water. Shake well.
- Get scrubbing!
Now that you know 10 of the most powerful and easy natural allies for your house cleaning, let me take a look at the benefits of using them.
Did you know that herbs have a long history of use for their disinfectant capabilities? Herbs offer antimicrobial, antiseptic, and antifungal properties. For instance, herbs like hyssop and rue were scattered around jails to keep diseases in check.
Different herbs have unique benefits. Herbs like lavender can help you feel relaxed, and peppermint can help alleviate headaches, and it is natural pest control.
On the other hand, many commercial cleaning supplies can irritate eyes, throat, cause headaches, and other health problems. Some of these products even release chemicals called volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that are commonly found in pesticides and industrial emissions and might affect you negatively (here for more info).
It’s easy, cheap (and fun) to grow herbs, either indoors or outside. But if you don’t have the time or space to garden, be sure to check your local farmers market or grocery store.
Not only are these cleaners safe and budget-friendly, but they are also good for the environment. Making your own cleaners and reusing glass or plastic spray bottles you already have greatly reduces plastic waste. It also cuts down on the number of chemicals you’re washing down the drain, which makes their way back into our water systems.
It is quite rewarding, at least for me, to prepare natural homemade cleaners — first, the satisfaction in creating something with a few natural ingredients I have at home. Second, herbs help also adds a nice aroma to my home. The benefits that come from every herb is different and unique.
After numerous experiments, I summarized my best formulations in the table below.
|White Vinegar - Helps in dissolving dirt.||Rosemary - Not only does it smell wonderful, it has disinfecting properties. It's a great addition to all-purpose cleaners.||Lemon - Antibacterial and antiseptic, also act as a natural bleach|
|Vodka - Kills mold and mildew and disinfects well.||Peppermint - Provides calming effects and helps soothes headaches. It's also a natural pesticide that will keep away flies, ants and other bugs.||Baking Soda - Neutralizes odors and remove tough stains.|
|Lavender - Useful in treating anxiety, insomnia, and restlessness. It's a great deodorizer.|
You’ll notice that these herbal house cleaning remedies they all contain vodka and vinegar. This is because it’s always more effective to create a cleaning solution that mixes the helpful properties and scents of herbs with vodka or vinegar as they are well-known to ramp up the disinfecting properties and helps effectively disperse the herb mixture.
Vodka has a high alcohol content that effectively kills bacteria and can break down mold and mildew. On top of that, vodka can give your shining fixtures a good pristine shine. No expensive vodka is needed for these “cleaning cocktail”; the cheap variety works just fine.
More precisely, vodka is not only a great ally against ants. Its high alcohol content makes it an effective germ killer. Its clear and odorless properties make it a perfect choice for homemade cleaners. Vodka kills odor-causing germs and does not leave a lingering aroma, as discussed here.
Fresh herbs can be used to make your homemade cleaners, but it is important to wash them first. The purest form of herbs is in the form of essential oil and is highly efficient at killing germs. A study in 2013 at the Alexander Technological Educational Institute of Thessaloniki in Greece showed that essential oil (0.5% strength) is effective as a commercial antimicrobial additive to detergent solutions for handwashing and surface cleaning. Use our mold-fighting clove spray recipe for instructions on how to make your own essential oil.
My favorite combination is mixing lavender and rosemary. I find that this formula gives a naturally calming sensation, and the fresh scent lingers for the right amount of time.
Should you use dried herbs or fresh herbs? Maybe you have some fresh herbs on hand and some dry, and that’s fine. Dried herbs and fresh herbs are both effective for cleaning. However, you should know that just like in cooking, dried herbs are much more potent, for the same weight.
We mapped out the costs of generic products versus a few homemade cleaners so you can see the math.
First, we’re going to break down in detail how the cost of one of our homemade cleaners so you can see how we make the calculation. Prices will vary, of course. Also, it’s possible/very likely that you already have all of these ingredients at home (perhaps unused for a long while). For this quick calculation, I am assuming you already have a spray bottle, and you are just investing in the spray ingredients.
- 1 cup of white vinegar
- ½ cup of water
- 1 cup of chopped peppermint
- 5 tsp. Baking soda
Considering the price at the time of writing (beginning of 2020), a gallon of distilled white vinegar, in the USA, is around $1.92, and that gives you eight cups. So, that comes out to about 24 cents per solution. Next, 1 pound of baking soda is about $1.50. There are 454 grams in that package, and each teaspoon is about 5.5 grams.
For a recipe, we’ll need about 27.5 grams. So we’ll get at least 16 solutions out of that box of baking soda. It comes to about 9 cents per solution. If you have peppermint (which grows like a weed!), obviously, the rest of the recipe is free. If you need to purchase mint, it will cost up to $1.50. What’s great about these recipes is you can mix and match and use what you have on hand.
When you add those up, this cleaner will cost you between $0.33 and $1.83. Sounds pretty good, right? Using the above methodology, we ran the numbers on several popular cleaning solutions and what it would cost to make yourself. The costs for our homemade cleaners include if you need to buy the items. Naturally, it will be a lot cheaper if you have these items on hand.
|Cleaner Type||Store-Bought Generic Cleaner||Homemade Cleaner|
|Toilet Bowl Cleaner||$1.65-$3.50||$1.75|
Growing Multiple Herbs in a Single Container: Basil Companion
As you can see there are many herbs that can be used for cleaning purposes, each one with each specialty.
However, if you want more than one cleaner do you really need one container for each herb? You cannot have multiple herbs in the same container? That will save time, space and a bit of soil.
Well, although it is not something that I do recommend, you can have multiple herbs in the same container. But be careful: choose the wrong ones and one of them will die.
Here (click image below) a guide with photos on the best herbs that you can grow in the same container of your basil.
With this guide, you have the tools to put your spare herbs to work and turn them into effective homemade based cleaners. These are not only effective allies against stains in your home but also produce a pleasant aroma.
They are environmentally friendly and allow you to learn so much more about your herbs. Also, don’t forget that this can be a great activity for parents and kids to do together. Your kids can learn about different herbs and solutions, while also learning how to be more sustainably minded.
What is the best homemade window cleaner? The recommended best window cleaner is obtained by mixing, in equal proportion, distilled vinegar and water.
What is an excellent floor cleaner? It is a 1litre of water, half of the vinegar, and 5 teaspoons of oil. Possible to add some herbs in the compost to add a pleasant scent (lavender suggested)
yuorindoorherbs.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites like mine to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com. I may receive a small commission when you buy through links on my website. This will allow me to write more and more content on gardening topics (and buy some basil or rosemary :D).