I thought it might be fun to share a few of my cleaning recipes over the next few weeks, and with flu-season nearly upon us I wanted to start with my favorite all-purpose cleaning recipe. This was created in honor of an odd fascination with the Black Plague.
Legend says that during the 16th century, four brothers snuck through the streets of Paris at night, raiding the homes of those infested with Plague. Yet they somehow never came down with it themselves! Upon their capture, they were given two options: share their secret for avoiding the plague & go free, or hang for their crimes. Supposedly their mother had been an herbalist, and taught them to mix herbs into a strong tea to drink, which kept the illness at bay. I have found dozens of different "Four Thieves" recipes online. Each one is just a bit different, but they all share three main ingredients: vinegar, rosemary, and sage.
My recipe is a combination of several recipes I've found online, with a few ingredients omitted to take into account personal allergies, and several additions gleaned from my own understanding of herbal healing properties. Each ingredient was chosen to target a specific bacteria, and it seems to be working well. This can be used as an antibacterial all-purpose spray in any room of the house, and also works well to deter fruit flies & ants! I like to keep it handy during flu season for wiping down doorknobs & telephones, but use it all year long in the kitchen & bathrooms. It has a strong, but pleasant herbal fragrance, and is free of all those scary toxic chemicals found in modern cleaners. While I haven't had a laboratory do any high-cost tests, I CAN attest to having reduced sick-days since starting to use this three years ago. Does it work? I believe so!
To make this, take a 24oz spray bottle & fill it halfway (12oz) with vinegar. To that, add:
30 drops lavender essential oil
30 drops sage essential oil
30 drops peppermint essential oil
30 drops rosemary essential oil
30 drops thyme essential oil
30 drops eucalyptus essential oil
30 drops lemon essential oil
15 drops bergamot essential oil
15 drops citronella essential oil
15 drops tea tree essential oil
and 15 drops hyssop essential oil.
Fill the rest of the bottle with distilled water, and give it a good shake. To use, shake the bottle EVERY time, and spray wherever a disinfectant is needed. Wipe up with a soft, lint-free cloth for a sparkling germ-free clean house.
It's amazing what can be done with essential oils, once you've picked them up. Each oil has specific and POWERFUL capabilities to repel, and kill germs. A little goes a LONG way too, so buy small! 1/2 to 1-oz bottles will be plenty to last you at least a year.