By Deborah J. “DJ” Martin
Spring has officially sprung in the Northern Hemisphere and for many of us, thoughts are turning to spring cleaning. I wouldn’t advise putting forth that kind of effort just yet. Even here in the southern Appalachians, the pines haven’t finished contributing their sticky yellow pollen to the cause (theirs, not ours).
Whether it’s heavy-duty spring cleaning or just everyday tidying up, add a little magical oomph to it. Make up cleaning solutions the same way you’d do a potion, injecting intent into it. Then clean with purpose, reciting your favorite cleaning chant.
Some ideas for you:
Diluted white vinegar is an all-purpose household cleaner. Lemon is considered a purifying herb, not just magically but in the mundane world, too. You can add a few drops of lemon essential oil to a spray bottle filled half-and-half with water and white vinegar and use that in the kitchen and bath. It also works great on windows. Alternatively, fill a quart jar with half water and half white vinegar, then add the rinds of two lemons. Allow it to infuse a couple of weeks, shaking it once a day. Strain, then pour into your spray bottle.
One of my favorite ways to clean is to make an infusion of rosemary, soak my cleaning rags in it and allow them to air dry overnight before using. Rosemary is also one of those herbs that’s considered purifying both magically and mundanely. (Did you know? Hospital used to smudge sick wards with rosemary even as late as World War I.) I add the rest of that tea to the water I use to wash my floors with.
For carpets or rugs, add about ten drops of essential oil to a cup of baking soda. Shake or stir well to distribute the oil through the soda. If you don’t have the essential oil you want, mix about a quarter cup of dried herbs into a cup of baking soda and allow it to sit for a week or two before using. Sprinkle the soda mixture on your rug or carpet and allow it to sit for twenty to thirty minutes before vacuuming. Hint: you can punch holes in the metal lid of a jar with a big nail. This makes sprinkling much easier and more uniform.
Make an infusion of your favorite cleansing herb and spray it on the bristles of your broom before doing a ritual sweeping.
If you change your linens with the seasons, layer either lavender sprigs or bay leaves between them when in storage. This will not only keep them smelling fresh but deter bugs.
With so many of us stuck inside during these times, even more so than the usual winter hibernation, tensions are probably running a little higher than normal. Lavender, German chamomile, and passionflower are all good herbs to relieve stress and calm the air. You can use those essential oils in oil warmers, put the dried herbs out as bowls of potpourri, or infuse them into a cleaning solution.
Other herbs you may want to consider using: cedar, hyssop, bay, peppermint, or thyme. These all smell divine and are great for purification.
About Deborah Martin:
Deborah J. “DJ” Martin, whom many call the “Herby Lady”, has a lifelong fascination with plants. A witch and Master Herbalist, she is the author of four books on herbs as well as an urban fantasy series. She lives with her husband and several crazy cats in the southern Appalachian Mountains. You can learn more about her and her work at http://www.authordjmartin.com, and find all of her books here.
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