The Homemade Cleaning Challenge Continues: More Room Freshening Ideas & Natural Fabric Softeners

The Homemade Cleaning Challenge Continues: More Room Freshening Ideas & Natural Fabric Softeners
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 (Plus a Couple of Critiques from my Ever-Patient Husband)

Okay, so I’m loving the 30-day cleaning challenge -- because, as we’ve established, I love a challenge (at least, occasionally). And it IS a challenge. A challenge, for example, to convince my hubby, that streaky windows are a small price to pay for windows I’d let my loved ones lick -- come to mention it, that’s a tough one for me too. And tougher than tough to get him to buy any more of the recycled toilet paper -- because, as he puts it, it’s no help to the environment if he has to use a whole roll of thin sandpaper where a couple of pillow-soft squares would have otherwise been enough. This all makes him the perfect critic for the cleaning challenge.

And here’s what he has to say so far: he loves the concept of natural room freshener, but thinks it makes the house smell like children’s bubble gum. I tried to doctor it with rosemary, but the spearmint wins every time. Okay, nix the spearmint. We’re trying two alternatives:

Here’s the original recipe: (check out our post on natural cleaning remedies for all the recipes we’re trying)

room freshening mist (makes ≈ 12 ounces)

  • 3/4 cup filtered water
  • 2/3 cup rubbing alcohol
  • 1/4 tsp lemon essential oil
  • 1/4 tsp spearmint essential oil


And now the modifications:

Keep the base: 3/4 C filtered water
2/3 C rubbing alcohol

Now add:
1/4 tsp peppermint and 1/4 tsp rosemary: an age-old combination, I got HOOKED on it (like crack-cocaine hooked, it’s weird) when my husband gifted me the EarthSavers Energizing Bath Salts he found on a trip to New Orleans. OMG, when I get down to the bottom of the jar, I just save it, like smelling salts I keep on the counter, until the new batch arrives. Why not make the whole house smell like this wonder of nature?

room spray, mist, scent, lavender, sweet orange, homemade, recipe1/4 tsp sweet orange and 1/4 tsp lavender: this one’s inspired by the BumBoosa Bamboo Baby Wipes we’ve been using since the Natural Diaper Bag post gave me a new arena in which to channel my love of shopping (‘three new kinds of wipes’ is the new ‘accessory’). These wipes are the winners because they smell FANTASTIC! And anything I can say this about that is associated with poo-poo, well, double-win. So we’re trying to recreate another good thing here.

By the way, Maddie’s family is a fan of the spearmint and lemon. So is my son -- he also loves gum, so maybe that’s it.


Here’s the second to-do that has come through our cleaning challenge:

Fabric Softener Required. I was warned, really I was, by everyone from family members to sweaty yoga enthusiasts, that homemade laundry detergent was a dangerous proposition. And I have to say, naysayers, that this is a really good solution for us! (No weird rash on my husband or children, our first priority). But the clothes and linens? Well, they’re a bit -- stiff. So I went back to the blog, and realize Maddie also warned me when she posted the recipe -- it says, “note: add vinegar to the rinse cycle of your washing machine; add your favorite scent essential oil to (wool) dryer balls to complete amazing laundry cycle in your dryer” there in black and white. Truth be told, I forgot. Or, I didn’t read the instructions through to the end. Both are distinct possibilities that wouldn’t surprise anyone who knows me well. I get excited and I go for it. So, if you’re prone to becoming over-enthusiastic about homemade cleaning challenges like I apparently am, slow down, breathe, and read the instructions. It will help.


Other Fabric Softening Suggestions to try:

Crunchy Betty offers a brilliant solution: white vinegar in a spray bottle with your favorite essential oil. She goes eucalyptus. I’m on a lavender kick right now, so that’s where I’ll start. Or try lavender with grapefruit or orange blossom essential oils, for a lift. Spray 10-20 squirts on wet clothes before they hit the dryer for soft laundry.

Take any old thin dishtowels (or napkins, or pillow cases, or clean cloth diapers-turned-rags ) and cut them into strips. Add a 3-5 drops of your favorite essential oil to it and add to your dryer. Suggestions include: lavender, geranium, lemon, orange blossom, bergamot. These are all generally safe and gentle for the most sensitive little skin.

I’m also going to try adding 20 drops of essential oil to the laundry detergent recipe -- just because I like the smell, and if I have to do the laundry, I’ll do it my way.


LInked to Frugally Sustainable Wednesday Blog Hop

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