E-CO CLEANING: Herbs That Clean House

By Jennifer Noonan

If you’re a cook—or just a person who likes to eat—you already know how herbs can make any dish taste better. But you may not know that herbs can also work outside the kitchen and all around the house as cleaners. Click through for 7 multitasking herbs, and get ready to marvel at the unexpected ways they can keep your home sparkling and fresh smelling.


Besides having a fresh, clean aroma, peppermint oil is a natural pesticide. Mix 1/2 teaspoon of it with lemon juice and water, and you’ve got yourself a great-smelling natural glass cleaner that will discourage flies, ants, and other bugs from entering your house through your windows..


Lavender works as a disinfectant as well as a deodorizer. Mix 10 to 12 drops of lavender oil with baking soda to make a rug powder that will leave your carpets smelling fresh—and you feeling calm and relaxed.


Eucalyptus oil has antiviral and antibacterial properties. Team it up with tea tree oil in a bottle of water to make a cleaning spray for your bathroom—five or six drops of each will do the trick. Then use it to wipe down your shower, sink, and counters for fresh, clean surfaces every day.


Outside of spiced cider, clove works as an antifungal and antiseptic, making it a green choice for combating mold. Mix 1/2 teaspoon of 100 percent clove oil in a liter of water, and put it in a spray bottle. Spray the solution on tile grout and let it sit for a few hours, then wipe away, scrubbing any stubborn spots with a brush. Spritz a little more on the area and let it dry to discourage mold from coming back.


Oregano oil is an antimicrobial that can even kill norovirus before it gets into your body. While it is not as effective as bleach, it is nontoxic and has no noxious fumes. Try using it in place of bleach the next time you mix up some homemade laundry detergent.

Bay Leaves

Bay leaf adds a wonderful flavor to stews, but it can also repel six-legged critters. To keep moths and other bugs out of your pantry, put dried bay leaves on your shelves. Or, if you have a bay laurel on your property, cut a sprig and hang it inside the door.


Pick a little extra rosemary from your herb garden to make a natural all-purpose cleaning spray. Put orange peels and sprigs of rosemary in a jar filled with white vinegar, let it sit for two to four weeks, and then strain it. Mix that solution with an equal part of water, and keep it in a spray bottle. Rosemary’s disinfecting properties will help keep your surfaces not only clean but smelling amazing.

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