Chinese New Year is coming upon us in just a few weeks. This festival is widely celebrated by Chinese to celebrate the beginning of the new year in Chinese calendar. It is usually during this time families, even oceans apart, would gather together in one place to celebrate the start of a new year with their family and closest friends. It is definitely a meaningful holiday to many. Although Chinese New Year doesn’t fall on spring, the cherry blossom and plum blossom that are always used in decorations for Chinese household during this festive season will surely put you into the mood for spring early.
When there’s a festival, there’s a spring cleaning job. Prior to the festival, every household would be busy doing the infamous spring cleaning, when your mother, aunties, grandmas, cousins, and you, would clean, clean, and clean every crook and cranny of your house. Until it is D-Day itself, there is always cleaning and shopping to do. Time to stock up the all the cleaning products in your shelf or cupboard now, isn’t it? But why go out and spend more money on chemicals when you can make your own cleaning products made of natural ingredients? Don’t worry about having to go out and buy more of the ingredients, when you can find them in the comfort of your own home!
Let’s check out the basic things you can try making from your house.
The most basic thing you need to have in your house would be an air-freshener. Especially in our country’s weather, where it is hot and humid all-year round, the indoors tend to smell… unpleasant, due to the dusting on the furniture, post-cooking smell, and many more. There are several ways to make your own natural air-freshener, depending on what or where you can find the ingredients.
Air Freshener with Essential Oils
The main things you need:
- 100ml spray bottle
- 3/4 cup of water/distilled water
- 2 tablespoon of rubbing alcohol, or real vanilla extract
Below are several blends of essential oils you can use to make your house smell fresher and better.
- Fruit Basket
10 drops of lavender essential oil
5 drops of chamomile essential oil
2 tablespoons of vanilla extract (for sweeter smell)
- Garden of Eden
8 drops of lavender essential oil
5 drops of geranium essential oil
4 drops of grapefruit essential oil
4 drops of tea tree essential oil
8 drops of lemon essential oil
6 drops of eucalyptus essential oil
These blends can be a good guide. You can also play around with your collection of essential oils to come up with your own favourite scent!
Air Freshener with Kitchen Supplies
- Rosemary and Lemon
Rosemary is a must-have herb to season your food, be it chicken, lamb, turkey, or sometimes even potatoes. Not only that it can be used in cooking, the spicy, piney, and sweet scent could be perfect to make your home smells good. Although historically, the herb is known to be used for remembrance during mourning period, it also entwined in wreaths worn by bride to symbolise love and fertility. Legend says that a home that grows rosemary is a protected home.
Apart from rosemary, lemon is also a part of essential ingredient to add taste into your cooking with its distinctive sourness. Just like rosemary, lemon has its own fame in history where it is known to fight negative energies. Scientifically, this ‘negative energy’ is found to be the harmful bacteria found in the air, and putting slices of lemon in a jar of water will help to purify your air.
Now, imagine combining these two. The smell of sweet spice and refreshing sour lingering in the air of your home. Oh, it must be what heaven smells like!
To make rosemary and lemon air freshener, you will need:
- 2/3 pot of water
- 1 lemon, sliced to thin pieces
- A sprig of rosemary
- 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract
The steps in making this rosemary and lemon air freshener are:-
- Boil the 2/3 pot of water in medium heat.
- Turn the heat to low, and put in the sliced lemon, rosemary, and vanilla. Stir well.
- Once you could smell the refreshing aroma, take away from heat and placed in anywhere in the house.
The mixture can be used up to 2 days, and you will need to change it after. Otherwise, the smell will start turning funny and not you, nor your guests, would like the smell.
- Orange Candle
When it comes to Chinese New Year, you cannot forget the presence of tangerines and oranges, served as desserts, snacks, or offerings to the ancient Gods. In Chinese culture, tangerines represent wealth, while oranges are a popular symbol of good luck. The associations come from a similarity between the Chinese words for tangerine and gold, as well as a resemblance between the words orange and good luck.
Perhaps you are about to make your own fresh homemade orange juice, don’t throw the peel away! Instead, try a new way you can use the flesh and juice to make your drink, while keeping the peel to make a chemical-free scented candle.
- First, cut your orange into half.
- Use a knife and run it around the edge of the orange.
- Scrape the flesh using a fork and put it into your juice maker. Make sure to be careful to NOT remove the inside stem!
- Once it is clean, fill 3/4 of the peel with olive oil or vegetable oil. Let it sit for about 45 minutes to let the stem absorb the oil.
- After about 45 minutes, light the stem for about 2-3 minutes, using a candle lighter since the flame lasts longer, until the stem is brown/black and it felt dry when you touch it.
- Try relighting the stem, and now, you have your own prosperity scented candle!
- Baking Soda
Baking soda is useful in more ways than one when it comes to household need. Cooking, baking, cleaning, restoring, and many more. Perhaps some of you may heard of using baking soda as the main ingredient for a natural-made air freshener. If you ever wonder why this ingredient is popular, it is because baking soda is one of the most effective odour absorber.
To make an air freshener with baking soda, you won’t need a lot of ingredients. All you need are:
- Mason jar
- Baking soda
- 8-12 drops of chosen essential oils
The easy-peasy steps in making an air refresher with baking soda:-
- First, fill half of the mason jar with baking soda.
- Then, add 8 drops of essential oils. Depending on the size of your room, larger space will require more drops of essential oil. Try adding a few drops at a time until you reached desired smell.
- Close the mason jar tightly, and shake it to mix the ingredients well.
- Punch holes on the lid with a screwdriver or nail, and voila!
Another must-have item to clean and keep your house fresh would be the fabric freshener. Honestly, when was the last time you take your curtains and sofa covers to the laundry shop? Most of the time, we wash our curtains once or twice a year, we hardly clean our fabric couches and sofas too. Also, fabrics tend to catch on dusts ten times easier compared to leather. So, not only your living room would smell dusty, you might also catch the dreaded dust allergy. Surely you do not want to greet your guests on Chinese New Year with red eyes and runny nose.
To make your quick and easy fabric freshener, you will need:
- 100ml spray bottle
- A bowl
- 1 tablespoon baking soda
- 2 cups of water, or distilled water
- 10 drops of your chosen essential oil
The steps to make fabric freshener are pretty easy!
- First, combine baking soda and essential oil in the bowl, and mix them well.
- Pour the mixture into the spray bottle. You may use a funnel to make the task easier.
- Pour water on top of the baking soda and essential oil mixture.
- Shake well before every use and spray.
You can choose your preferred essential oil such lavender, geranium or lemon to make your living room smell like a garden or orchard. However, if you’d like something anti-bacterial or purifying, you can try using essentials oils like tea tree, eucalyptus, or citronella.
Cleaning the floor is something you do daily, whether or not you’re doing spring cleaning. There are some people who claims to be allergic to floor cleaner scent, saying it tickled their noses and sometimes, it gets a little too much to bear. Perhaps it was the added synthetic fragrance or other substance inside the floor cleaner that triggers the reaction. With this homemade recipe, you won’t have to worry about running out of the room when your mother is mopping the floor!
You will need:
- 2 cups of warm water
- 1/4 cup of rubbing alcohol
- 5-10 drops of chosen essential oil(s)
- 1/2 cup of white vinegar
- 3 drops of liquid dish soap
You will only need to combine all these ingredients together in a bucket or a spray bottle. Just like choosing essential oils to make the fabric cleaner, you may choose ones that will give out a nice smell, or essential oils that has anti-bacterial properties, or you can combine these two types of properties to rid of bacteria on the floor while making your house smell like a garden. What a way to kill two birds with one stone!
Although we don’t always clean our glass windows or furniture, it is definitely something not to miss when we’re doing spring cleaning. Or sometimes, we would get sick and disgusted seeing the streaks, fingerprints and dust collecting on the, what should be, spotless and clear glass. To make your own glass cleaner, you can easily find the ingredients in the cupboard of your kitchen!
You will need:
- 1/4 cup of white vinegar
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- 2 cups of warm water
Just mix all of the ingredients in a spray bottle, shake well before every use, spray it on the glass and wipe the droplets away with dry microfiber cloth. Why microfiber cloth? It is because microfibers absorb better when it comes to cleaning wet or dry surface, and it is not as dusty as cotton, although it absorbs excellently. Therefore, when using microfibers, it will take a longer time for dusts to take place on your glass windows again.
While these three ingredients will leave your glass shiny clean and spotless, there will still be a little streaks left, though not bothersome. But if you’d like your glass to be completely spotless, new, crystal clear, pristine and clean, adding 1/4 cup of rubbing alcohol will surely get the job done.
Perhaps you don’t like the smell of alcohol or vinegar, you may also add 5 drops of essential oil to cover up the smell!
In every house, there is at least one wooden furniture present. You see this beautiful oak table at a furniture shop. It’s shiny, glossy, intricate, beautiful. You are absolutely taken, fallen in love with this lovely piece of artwork that you want to make it yours and bring it home. After sometime, however, the table begins to lose its shine and you definitely can’t let this one go, especially after spending a fortune on it. Also, you hate the toxic smell of store-bought wood polisher. Oh, but how can you make your beloved oak shine and beautiful again?
Why not make your own wood polisher, with ingredients you can find in your kitchen and it doesn’t have to smell bad too? There are two ways you can make your own wood polish.
You will need:
- 1 cup of olive/vegetable cooking oil
- 1/4 cup of white vinegar
- 3-4 drops of chosen essential oil
How to make an olive wood polish:-
- Add all the ingredients into a spray bottle and shake well.
- Spray onto lint-free cloth and wipe on the furniture.
- For more gloss, spray directly onto the surface and wipe it clean with a lint-free cloth or paper towels.
Be sure to store the polish in a cool place, away from sunlight, replace monthly, and shake well before every use!
Now, finding a beeswax may not be the easiest to find in the kitchen, but you can always purchase beeswax at a local shop or online.
To make a beeswax wood polish, you will need:
- 1/2 cup of sweet almond oil
- 1/8 cup of beeswax pastille or grated beeswax
- 10-15 drops of chosen essential oil.
How to make a beeswax wood polish:-
- Heat sweet almond oil and beeswax in a double boiler until melted.
- Check the wax’s texture with a teaspoon and dip it in the oil/wax mixture. Place spoon on a clean piece of paper and allow to cool until firm. Once cooled, test the consistency. If it is too soft, add more wax into the mixture. If too hard, add more oil.
- Once the desired consistency is achieved, add the essential oil and stir well.
- Pour the wax mixture into a glass jar. Let it cool and harden for a few hours before using it.
- To use it, scoop the mixture using a cloth and rub it onto your furniture.
Using either one these ways will surely restore your beloved oak table and make it as good as new!
Now that we’ve got to the bottom of it, the items in your kitchen can do more than just be used for cooking. With these recipes of natural home cleaning products, you won’t have to spend extra on chemicals or worry if it is safe to use. Furthermore, since you can choose your own preferred essential oils to be added into these products, you can make your own favourite scent that people won’t find in stores!
Cleaning can be part of the fun too in spring cleaning. I believe that it is how everyone in the family work together to clean the house for a festive season, and somewhere along the way, you may find long-lost items that brings back memories. Then, everyone would pause their tasks and sit together to walk down on the memory lane.
Happy cleaning and may this year of the Golden Pig be a prosperous one to all!