Above the laundry room sink is a little wooden cabinet that I found at a garage sale one summer afternoon several years ago. The cabinet is filled with amber and indigo-blue glass bottles, filled with essential oils for aroma-therapy and homemade cleaning remedies. As you can see from the photo, I have commercial cleaning products on hand (the laundry soap for example) but also the ingredients for more natural cleaning solutions (such as the big jug of white vinegar.) On the best days, my clean house smells like lavender and jasmine, cinnamon and sweet orange. If anyone in the house has been ill, we might catch a whiff of eucalyptus in the bathroom and tea tree around the doorknobs and light switches.
I have several books about using essential oils in the home. Mainly, I "wing it" using what I have on hand in the essential oil cabinet. But, I thought I'd share an air freshener recipe from one of my favorite little home keeping manuals, The Naturally Clean Home: 101 Safe and Easy Herbal Formulas for Nontoxic Cleansers by Karyn Siegel-Maier, published by Storey Books.
"To make your own herbal spray air freshener, first wash the container thoroughly. Then fill it with water (use distilled if it is also going to come in contact with human skin or foods; do not use the spray ion skin within 12 hours of exposure to sun) and add 5 to 7 drops of an essential oil or combination of oils per 8 ounces of water. Here are some suggested blends:
Country Spice - cinnamon, ginger, vanilla, bay
Romance - vanilla, sandalwood, ylang ylang, jasmine, neroli and rose
Far East - patchouli, cedar, sandalwood,lime and coriander
Calming - bergamot, geranium, clary sage, chamomile, and yarrow
There are other combinations listed in the book, which you can check out here: http://www.storey.com/books/book.php/y/7/p/0/isbn/1-58017-194-X Check out some of Storey's other offerings while you're there, if you have time. They call themselves "book publishers of country wisdom, do-it-yourself, and well-being. "
My little blue pump bottle of air freshener is currently scented with jasmine, patchouli and ylang ylang. It smells clean and fresh... and a little bit dreamy.
photo of the laundry room on a good day, by Aisling 2006