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Simple, Natural Lavender Household Cleaner

Photograph by Denise Cortes

I've always been intrigued by herbs and natural remedies. Learning how our ancestors took care of themselves and their families using plants in their garden gives me a sense of what their lives were like and how resourceful they were.

My father's abuelita used to live with my grandparents, and her room was always a mysterious place for me to explore when I was a child. Alongside her santos, rosary beads and her family photos were bottles of green herbs infusing in murky liquid. Sometimes I would see my Grandma Amalia rubbing the liquid onto her arthritic hands. Other times, I'd see her cleaning the house with one of her good-smelling bottles of brown liquid.

When I became a mother, the thought of caring for my family and our home with natural ingredients just like Grandma Amalia did became almost an obsession for me. I made herbal tea for my children when they were sick, I concocted my own shampoo, baby wipes, diaper rash ointment and body scrub all using natural, plant-based ingredients. When my babies were really young, my husband would often find me making stuff in the kitchen just like a mad scientist. One of my favorite things to make was an all-purpose household cleaner by infusing vinegar with lavender.

Over the years I've gotten lazy and resorted to buying commercial lavender cleaners but they are just not the same—‚and they can cost a fortune. I knew it was time to start making my own again. By adding two easy-to-find ingredients together, lavender and vinegar, you'll create a wonderful and natural cleaner to use around your home that is green, eco-friendly, smells amazing and costs you pennies to make.

DIY LAVENDER AND VINEGAR HOUSEHOLD CLEANER

What you'll need:

  • White distilled vinegar

  • Dried lavender (organic is best)

  • Glass jar with lid

  • Spray bottle and/or jar with a hand-pump

Photograph by Denise Cortes

I buy dried lavender at my local natural foods store. You can also find it online. Lavender smells divine and the scent helps relieve your stress and anxiety. It also has antibacterial and cleansing properties that are safe enough to disinfect a home with little ones crawling around.

Photograph by Denise Cortes

Vinegar is an eco-friendly cleanser that has antibacterial and antimicrobial properties. It's also very versatile, so you can use it to clean practically everything. It's safe on wood, fabric, tile, glass and floors. A word of caution: Be careful when using vinegar on marble and granite because it tends to break down minerals. Pour vinegar into the jar, leaving room at the top for the lavender.

Photograph by Denise Cortes

Add lavender to the jar. I don't use any particular measurements; it's up to you how much you want to use. Make sure you cover the lavender with the vinegar and tightly cap the jar. Find a sunny spot to store your lavender and vinegar mixture so it can infuse over the next 10 days.

Photograph by Denise Cortes

While your lavender cleaner is infusing, make sure you have a spray bottle or a jar with a hand pump to decant your liquid when it's ready. I bought a few small spray bottles so I can put them in various places around my home.

Photograph by Denise Cortes

When the ten days are up, simply strain your vinegar infusion of all the lavender and reserve the liquid. Pour it into your spray bottle in the following ratio: One part lavender vinegar to two parts water. Give the bottle a shake and you're ready to clean. Shake before each use.

Explore More: home, cleaning, DIY, casa, Latina Mom
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