It’s that time of year again when us domestic types begin the annual spring clean…the worst of the so-called ‘big freeze’ (they call it that every year now!) is over and hundreds of spring bulbs are emerging from the deep dark depths of the frozen earth all over the garden…the tides of renewal, freshness and new beginnings are afoot and as I write this an exceptionally cold but welcome breeze blows through the house….so desperately needed after locking out the fresh air for so many dark winter days as we fight to keep the warmth inside.
This year rather than repeat the same old same old I thought instead to share with you some of my favourite ‘magical’ housekeeping recipes…feel free to use, share and enjoy as you see fit!
Rug and Carpet Freshener
Into approx. 1 cup of Bicarb add a few drops essential oil. Shake well and use an old salt container or such like to apply a nice even dusting to rugs and carpets. Leave for 10 – 15 minutes before vacuuming.
This recipe makes use of Bicarbonate Soda’s excellent grease and odour absorbing quality whilst providing a medium to evenly apply scent of choice. I personally like to use citrus essential oils such as Grapefruit (my personal favourite) as they are naturally cleansing and, therapeutically speaking, Citrus based essential oils enhance well-being and give an air of freshness and vigour. Perfect for the uplifting spring tides!
Bring approx. 1 litre water to the boil. Turn off the heat and toss in 1 handful of Vervain, Hyssop and Mugwort. I also add a handful of rock salt and a good glug of ‘holy’ water either from a sacred well or such like. Cover the pan and leave the herbs to steep until the water is cool. Strain and add a cup or two to your usual floor washing water.
Vervain, Mugwort and Hyssop are cleansing herbs par excellence in this household. Vervain has been used for centuries as a strewing herb upon altars and temple floors to make sacred. For Hyssop look to Psalm 51 in the bible “Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean: wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow” (KJB). Psalm 51 interestingly enough is a Psalm I use for heavy-duty cleansing and sacred baths around this time of year and I also use these same three herbs in my bath sachets!. Mugwort is protective and cleansing…it’s what I consider to be the ‘British’ equivalent of White Sage and was / is another popular strewing herbs for banishing negativity from a place.
Four Thieves Vinegar
Pour a small (approx. 250ml) bottle of Cider Vinegar into a jar containing 1 tablespoon crushed black Pepper, 1 tablespoon dried Thyme, 1 tablespoon dried Rosemary and 1 tablespoon dried Sage. Shake well and leave for 2 weeks shake daily before straining and bottling. Add a glug to window and door washing water.
Before everyone starts shouting I know this is not the “traditional” recipe for four thieves but it is one I use and one I find works well. Its non-toxic which is a boon when you have pets and also all the ingredients are either easily grown on the patio or easily available from the local supermarket! I tend to use it only on windows and doors which creates a nice protective ‘film’ over them and the extra bonus is adding vinegar stops smears forming on the glass as you clean. Furthermore this recipe actually makes the basis for a nice salad dressing so works inside and out!
Grind together 2 parts Pine resin, 1 part Mugwort, 1 Part Vervain, 1 Part Cedar. Add a few drops of choice Essential Oil (e.g. Rosemary) for fragrance if desired. Mix well and burn around the house to cleanse and purify.
Into a small spray bottle containing ‘holy’ water add a few drops Pine, Lavender or Rosemary essential oil. Shake well and spray around the room to cleanse and refresh.
So there you have just a few of the more natural and magical additions to my housework and chore armoury. Now go throw those windows open, let in the fresh air, the ever strengthening sunlight and say a firm farewell to all that’s been and gone!