Podcast 078: DIY Herbal Spring Cleaning Products

When it comes to chemical-free cleaning, there’s a lot of good stuff out there – but it can get pricey. And there’s a lot of “greenwashed” stuff, too – products that look “natural”, but really aren’t. But the good news is, you can make your own herbal spring cleaning products, and they’re not only effective, they’re inexpensive!

In our home, we don’t use any chemical cleaners. Most of our needs are met with water, vinegar, baking soda, and essential oils. This is one place we really do work with EOs regularly! They’re quite potent – they’ve even been shown to inhibit MRSA and other antibiotic-resistant microbes. So, they’re definitely good enough for wiping down the countertops and sinks. In this episode we share with you all the herb-powered cleaners we make for ourselves and use in our own home. You can do it too!

Natural cleaners require a little more elbow grease, but we don’t think that’s all bad. After all, chores count as movement! In the effort to break ourselves out of the “exercise is the only movement that counts for health” paradigm, an important step is recognizing the things we do that inherently require movement. That, and the ways in which our culture has chosen “convenience” at all costs – including costs to our health. Reframing your house-cleaning as movement or exercise is a great way to help yourself feel better about it. And of course, good old elbow grease is still the cheapest, most effective cleaner we know.

We have a new mini-course, all about stinging nettles, available now! We produced this in honor of the upcoming Herbstalk event – it’s Boston’s home-grown herbal conference, and the Plant of the Year for 2019 is nettles. For only $10, you get a full rundown of nettles’ amazing medicinal powers, along with a virtual herb walk so you can positively identify it anytime in the growing season, along with some quick-guides, recipes for tasty nettle foods, and more! Check it out here:

All About Nettles!

Nettle in Flower

Episode Transcript

Katja (00:10):
Hi, I’m Katja.

Ryn (00:11):
And I’m Ryn.

Katja (00:12):
And we’re here at the Commonwealth Center for Holistic Herbalism in Boston, Massachusetts.

Ryn (00:16):
And on the internet everywhere. Thanks to the power of the Podcast.

Katja (00:20):
Woohoo. I mean, actually to be fair, we’re here in our living room.

Ryn (00:24):
We are at the moment.

Katja (00:24):
Yeah, we do usually record in the living room and not actually at the school.

Ryn (00:28):
Well this is where the birds are.

Katja (00:29):
Yeah. And they do chirp merrily sometimes. Okay. Well, speaking of our home this week I really want to talk about spring cleaning. Natural cleaning supplies are so easy to make you guys and they cost way less than buying them. It’s so simple. So today we want to share what we use in our chemical free home.

Ryn (00:56):
Yeah, yeah, we’re going to do that. But first we’re going to remind you that we are not doctors. We are herbalists and holistic health educators.

Katja (01:04):
The ideas discussed in this podcast do not constitute medical advice, no state or federal authority licenses herbalists in the United States. So these discussions are for educational purposes only. Everyone’s body is different. So the things that we’re talking about may or may not apply directly to you, but hopefully they’ll give you some good information to think about and research more.

Ryn (01:24):
We want to remind you that good health is your own personal responsibility. The final decision in considering any course of therapy, whether discussed on the internet or prescribed by your physician, is in fact always yours. And maybe that whole disclaimer wasn’t quite as relevant to today’s podcast as usual, although I guess

Katja (01:43):
Everyone’s house is different. So the ideas discussed in this podcast may or may not apply directly to your home.

Ryn (01:53):
Yeah, yeah, that’s about what,

Katja (01:55):

Ryn (01:56):
Hey, we have some shout outs this week as well.

Katja (02:00):
We do.

Ryn (02:00):
We have one for urban Lexi that’s within HARB and it’s, you know, who loves the pod and wanting to share her giving up sugar support blend. Thank you for that. Wait, what was in it?

Katja (02:11):
Oh boy. I can’t remember now, but it was really, it was like, it was like the very first thing at the beginning of the week and it was really delicious looking. And also, this is probably a good time to say that I hope that I have everyone on this list sometimes. I miss somebody and then I feel bad about it.

Ryn (02:30):
Yeah. We’re not trying to snub you. It’s just a, it’s the internet and things are hard to keep track of some times.

Katja (02:36):
{Laughter} Sometimes they slip through my fingers, but I sure feel happy every time I see one.

Ryn (02:40):

Katja (02:41):
Well anyway, we got an email from Donna who is a former student here locally and she says that the pod helps her to stay connected. So I feel so happy about that.

Ryn (02:50):
Yeah. Hi Donna. And hello also to Joanna on Facebook who listens on her commute and says she laughs and learns a lot. Hey, that’s exactly what we wanted to happen. Wow. Isn’t that nice how that works out.

Katja (03:03):
Renegade daughter and daily moments to share on Instagram. We’re both sharing their daily herbal moments and I was so happy to see it.

Ryn (03:13):
And a shout out to Georgia. Yes, you indeed. We are sending you more love

Katja (03:18):
{Laughter} A shout out to Maria and her goats. Maria wants to work locally as an herbalist and maybe incorporate herbalism into her doula practice, which I think is fantastic. I’m so excited about it.

Ryn (03:29):
Yeah, that works out really well. We have a shout out for Brooke who wrote us some poetry that was lovely. Who spoke us some poetry.

Katja (03:38):
She spoke the poetry. Yes.

Ryn (03:38):
And Alexandra who thinks that we should turn our weekly disclaimer into a poem. So I’ll think about that one. But you guys, I’m notoriously slow when it comes to writing poems.

Katja (03:51):
But also very good.You guys.

Ryn (03:54):
Don’t tell them that. So I don’t know, maybe sometime in the next year that might happen, but no promises. Okay.

Katja (04:00):
I think we need to start off by not calling it a disclaimer. I think we need to call it a claimer.

Ryn (04:07):
You will claim your own health responsibility.

Katja (04:08):
Yes. Yes. I claim my own health responsibility.

Ryn (04:12):
Alright, alright.

Katja (04:12):
Yes, it is a claimer.

Ryn (04:14):
Okay. A shout out to Shannon who’s really getting out there and working on her plant ID. Yes. Good work.

Katja (04:20):
Yeah, it’s really exciting. And also a great big old good day to the folks in Australia at Think Wellbeing Clinic. And I’m so excited to hear from them. I suppose it’s a good day mate, isn’t it?

Ryn (04:34):
It probability is.

Katja (04:34):
Yeah. You got to put the mate in there.

Ryn (04:36):
Yeah. That way everyone knows that you’re talking about Australia,

Katja (04:39):
You know we know for sure. If we went to Australia,

Ryn (04:44):
Yeah, we should consider that.

Katja (04:45):
Yeah. And New Zealand too. I mean, while we’re there,

Ryn (04:49):
My sister, Larissa went there. She said it was great

Katja (04:51):
If y’all in Australia want a visiting herbalist to come and teach we’re two for one. That’s what. Hey. And there was one more an unnamed herbalist,left us a comment on Podbean and mentioned that they don’t like nettle either. So first off, see, it’s not just me,

Ryn (05:14):
The flavor,

Katja (05:15):
The flavor, the flavor of nettle. Yes, yes.

Ryn (05:18):
Nettly taste.

Katja (05:18):
Nettle is wonderful, but the flavor can be challenging for some people. Some people think it is fantastic and many people think I am.

Ryn (05:27):
I like nettle.

Katja (05:27):
Weird as an herbalist because I don’t love it.

Ryn (05:30):
Yeah you’re a little weird.

Katja (05:30):
But here’s the thing. We have a new mini course called all about nettles. It is in honor of our local herb conference called Herbstalk. And the plant of the year for 2019 for Herbstalk is nettle and it is only 10 bucks. You get over an hour of videos including a super closeup plant walk across all of the growing stages of nettle so you can learn to accurately identify it. There’s printable quick guides, there’s audio files and there are recipes for nettle that actually taste good. And so if you are also one of those herbalists who doesn’t think that nettles taste great, but does think that nettles is good for your body. Yeah. Then I have some solutions.

Ryn (06:17):
Yeah. That nettle pesto was particularly good.

Katja (06:19):
Yeah. So you can check that out at commonwealthherbs.com/nettles.

Ryn (06:25):
Do it.

Katja (06:27):
It’s like a ton of learning for 10 bucks.

Ryn (06:30):

Katja (06:30):

Ryn (06:30):
Its a steal. All right, well let’s get cleaning.

Katja (06:35):

Ryn (06:36):
Here we go.

Katja (06:37):
So I don’t think that Mr Yuck is still around.

Ryn (06:40):
I never had Mr Yuck stickers. I was introduced to them by friends in college and I was like, what’s with the little green, you know, nauseous face. And they said it’s Mr Yuck,

Katja (06:48):
How do you not know about Mr Yuck.

Ryn (06:51):
We just never had one. I don’t know. Maybe my parents didn’t keep them any toxic things around, maybe

Katja (06:58):
Maybe by the time you were born, they didn’t have Mr Yuck anymore. I don’t know. I don’t know. But anyway, whether or not Mr yuck is still around cabinets full of toxic cleaners definitely are. But here’s the thing, these cleaners are a danger to children and to pets who might get into the containers, but even if they don’t like they leave residue on your counter top and then you drop food on your counter top and then your kid picks it up and puts it in their mouth. And plus they all have toxic fumes. And I remember when we were kids, my brother and I used to joke about killing brain cells when we did our chores because our family was a like bleach and even gasoline sometimes to clean stuff. It’s not in the house, but in the garage for sure. And it’s not actually a joke. Many of the cleaners on grocery store shelves have neurotoxins in them, endocrine disruptors and even carcinogenic chemicals. So once we’ve washed our homes clean they’re still, I mean, they’re clean in the term of like not having germs, but they’re not clean in the term of now they have all these chemicals in them, plus all of those chemicals now go down the drain and back into the water system. And most of our water treatment facilities don’t actually treat for these kinds of chemicals, which means that many of them are then returned to us in our water supply. Plus they leach out into the water waterways and affect aquatic wildlife all the way to the ocean.

Ryn (08:27):
Those tadpoles are having a rough time, y’all.

Katja (08:29):
Yeah, it’s not very cool.

Ryn (08:31):
It’s a hard time to be a frog.

Katja (08:33):
So you can buy fancy green cleaning products which is a good solution except that

Ryn (08:40):
They’re pricey man. They are. And some of them are honestly pretty greenwashed. So,this, phrase, it’s like whitewashing right? Where that means to make something look better than it really is. Greenwashing means to take a product and make it seem ore ecofriendly than it really is. And that’s super prevalent. Yeah, it’s a major thing and it affects everything from food, you know, where it’s like, all natural. And that phrase doesn’t really mean anything and there’s no legislative requirements for what counts as all natural. So you can actually put that on a box of Twinkies if you want to.

Katja (09:20):

Ryn (09:21):
Right. But it also affects,you know, personal care products like makeup.

Katja (09:27):
Oh man, make up is a whole thing.

Ryn (09:27):
Or like body cleansers and you know, shampoos and all that kind of thing. And it affects cleaning products very, very strenuously.

Simple Green Cleaning Options

Katja (09:35):
Yeah. Yeah. But the thing is that you can make your own. It’s cheap, it’s easy. There are, if you Google, there are like 10 million recipes for 10 million chemical free DIY cleaning things and you can check them all out if you are into it. But I’m a simple girl and I do not have that kind of time. So we keep it simple here at home. And we really just stick to a couple of very basic things to, to clean our whole house. And it works great. And I will preface all of this by saying I’m the daughter of a nurse I grew up with like cleanliness is next to godliness, tattooed on the inside of my eyelids. I don’t even know like my mom believed in like an impeccably scrubbed house at all times and she also believed that I should participate in that frequently, which I’m very grateful for. But my point here is that you do not have to sacrifice, mour cleaning standards just to get rid of the chemicals in your house. You still can have a sparkling clean house that smells fresh and happy, good and not use any chemicals at all. So here’s how we do it. Umur very first and I think it’s like the backbone of all of our cleaning, whatever is um spray bottle that we call smells good. That is, that’s the name.

Ryn (11:09):
Yeah. You already had that one around by the time I arrived. Smells good. Was a fixture in your house before I came into it?

Katja (11:16):
Yeah, it’s super effective though. It is literally a spray bottle filled with water with depending on the size of your spray bottle. But mine is like the standard large size spray bottle.

Ryn (11:28):
Yeah a liter maybe. Or some of them are a little less but

Katja (11:33):
Yeah. But around that size it like basically holds the same amount as a, as a sports water bottle, but it has a sprayer on it. And so it’s just filled up with water straight out of the tap with 10 or 15 drops of Rosemary essential oil and 10 or 15 drops of lavender essential oil. And then you just shake it up and spray it on basically everything.

Ryn (11:59):
Don’t skip that step. You have to, you have to shake it every time because the tube that will be pulling the water out of the bottle up through the sprayer fixture nozzle and out into the world. It draws the fluid from down at the bottom of the reservoir. But if you leave this bottle sitting on the counter, then all of the essential oils are going to float up to the top. So shaking is critical. Shake early, shake often. You know what I’ll do when I’m spritzing this around is spray, spray, spray, shake, shake, shake, spray, spray, spray, shake, shake, shake over and over again.

Katja (12:34):
Yeah. So it smells good but it is super effective. And in fact there were clinical studies done and I have a link to one that was done in the state hospital system in France here. And they found that Rosemary essential oil in water was found not only to kill germs and even in particular Murcia strains of bacteria on surfaces as well as their chemical sort of standard hospitals, sanitizers. So it did the same work. It did as good of a job as what they previously were using. But they also found that it lasts, lasted longer. And the reason that they gave was that the essential oil evaporates more slowly than the alcohol and bleach based cleaners. So what they found was that surfaces remained germ-free longer when it was washed with this mixture. So to that, I say, why would you use bleach it, it has no chemicals and it works better. So that’s pretty awesome. We use this on kitchen counters, the dinner table, the bathroom counters. We use it for dusting when I have time to dust. And it’s better than Lysol. Anytime somebody in the house is sick or even if just the house is like sort of stale and cooped up in the winter time, we just walk around the house several times a day and spray it in each room just sort of up into the air. It reduces the chance of spreading germs around the house. It is way better than commercial air fresheners. Like the,

Ryn (14:17):
Yeah. Those things, those things are seriously toxic. Yeah. you could bring this down to your car and spritz it around a few times. Yeah.

Katja (14:25):
Yeah. So that is, I think the, my most favorite thing. And you can even make a small bottle and put it in the bathroom and it is better than any of your deodorizer the chemical deodorizers that you might have in your bathroom. Yeah. So, okay. That smells good. And that basically accounts for like 70%.

Ryn (14:52):
Yeah. It’s multipurpose. It’s stuff. I mean you can use other essential oils. We tend to default to Lavender and Rosemary. But there are other so you can work with,

Katja (15:00):
Yeah, yeah. You can put pine in there. It’ll be like your very own pine sol.

Ryn (15:05):
Citrus. Why not? Yeah.

Katja (15:07):
Yeah. All right. So sometimes you need something with a little bit more sort of grease cutting powder. And so for that I like vinegar and often I will use white vinegar for this purpose. I don’t like to ingest white vinegar, but as a cleaning product, white vinegar is fine.

Ryn (15:28):
Yeah. It feels a little cleaner to work with that than with Apple cider vinegar.

Katja (15:33):
Yeah. I don’t know if it really is, but the Apple cider vinegar is Brown, so like mentally. Yeah. So usually I will just put like in a spray bottle, half white vinegar and half water. If you need it to be super strong, you can make it all the way vinegar. That’s totally fine. You could do half Rosewater. Oh yum. Yum. And I usually like to put some essential oils into that as well. Partially cause I just don’t love the smell of vinegar. So by putting in either Rosewater or some essential oils or some citrus, then that gives it like a really fresh clean scent instead of just a vinegary scent. And I like that better. You can also infuse your vinegar instead of using essential oils, you can just put in basically any of the mints, any of the smelly plants will totally do the job and make your vinegar smell that way. So this is really handy for cleaning glass. It is great for the toilet bowl. It is great for the shower and if you have a glass shower door, it’s great there too. If you find that, like if you’re a person who uses Windex and the first time that you use vinegar, there are streaks on the window,or your mirror or whatever. That’s because Windex leaves a wax residue on the glass. And so that needs to be removed from the glass before you use a natural cleaner. And, you just use like some dish soap or some Dr Bronner’s we’re going to talk about later and just wash the window with a sponge once first. You only have to do it once just to get that wax, that Windex leaves behind off the glass. And then after that it won’t streak anymore. So that takes care of that problem. And then in the shower, you know, especially cause we wash our dog in the tub and after you wash the dog there’s always like this film of like dirt. I don’t know, like she goes out and plays in the mud. Yeah. And then there’s a film. And so like if you have that in your shower or in your tub and you need to scrub it, then you might need a little bit of baking soda to mix in there. Or I grew up calling it Bon ami, but I think it’s actually Bon Ami. But I grew up in Texas and so we said, Bon ami. That’s what we called it. But it’s like baking soda and having a little bit of grit in the shower with your vinegar mix can just help with any of the caked on crud. So, definitely, I definitely turn to that pretty often.

Ryn (18:40):
Yeah. And of course, you know, if you take, if you take that baking soda and then you mix it with vinegar, then you can create a volcano at your high school science fair.

Katja (18:47):
You can, or it is basically the same type of effect as your scrubbing bubbles. He’s looking at me funny.

Ryn (18:56):
No.I know this one.

Katja (18:57):
You remember the scrubbing bubbles?

Ryn (18:58):
Yeah. They would go and scrub around and they would like sing a little song about how clean they were.

Katja (19:03):
That never happened in my bathtub.

Ryn (19:05):
No, I was so disappointed. But the vinegar baking soda thing, it’s just like that.

Katja (19:11):
It gives you that foamy action.

Ryn (19:12):
Yeah. It works really well. It’s kind of amazing.

Katja (19:14):
Yeah. So that, and then like if you have a glass shower door and it gets kind of cloudy with like the soap scum or whatever, just keep a spray bottle with vinegar in your shower and when you’re done with your shower, then spray the glass door and you don’t even really have to scrub it, scrub it once in a while. But even just a good spray all the way around, cuts that soap scum. And it’s a very quick process. So that is some vinegar, some water, some essential oils, couple of spray bottles and some baking soda on hand for when you need some extra scrubbing power. And then the only other thing that we buy is Dr Bronner’s. And Dr Bronner’s works for laundry. It works for cat puke on your rug. It works for food spills. It basically works for anything you can think of. Even dishes. And make sure, of course not to use it full strength because if you’re washing a spot out of your rug with full strength Dr Bronner’s, you will be removing the soapy suds for like an entire week.

Ryn (20:30):
Yeah, it’s gonna take a while.

Oil for Cleaning

Katja (20:31):
Yeah, but it lasts forever. You dilute just a little bit of it into a bottle of water and you will have suds for days. It’s excellent. Sometimes it can be handy to remember that oil is also a solvent and this is great if you have sticky things like tincture bottles that you’re peeling the labels off of.

Ryn (20:56):
Yes. Herbalists take note. Different labels respond to different treatments. Some of them will just, you know, some good hot water and something to scrape it off. That’ll be all you need. But a lot of them are going to have a glue that is, that oil soluble. And you can use all the hot water and soap in your house and still not really get anywhere with it and have these little sticky pieces that are on there. But rubbing them down with oil. And if you like me, really despise the feeling of oil over your fingers. Then you can take your sponge and you can put,some drops of oil right onto there. And then use that to rub and scrub on the bottles after you’ve, you kind of like peel off the major part of the label first and then there’s this residue underneath. And then you take your oiled up sponge and rub it over that. And oftentimes you can just scrub that stuff right off right there. Or you may want to kind of rub some oil over it and then leave it in the sink for a while just to let it sit, with the oil and contact with the glue and then come back and then give it another round later. I have some in the sink right now that are waiting for their second round of treatments. And, yah, but I mean this is a good idea because those glass bottles, especially when they’re colored glass, you know, Amber or the blue glass or green, and when they’re made into the nice little tincture bottle of Boston round shapes, you know, that’s, there’s a lot energy and input to create that kind of specialty glass. And when you just throw it in with general recycling, you know, there’s some, there’s some net loss there, so better to reuse them. And I mean, you may not ever have to buy more tincture bottles again.

Katja (22:39):
You guys, seriously true.

Ryn (22:39):
Honestly, there’s always somebody in your local herbal community who is like, I’m just sick of washing these and I will give you all of them if you take care of cleaning them. YOu can have them.

Katja (22:51):
Yeah. So sometimes when the labels are really annoying, I I actually like a little steel wool, which seems counterintuitive on glass, but actually works great and I have never yet scratched glass with it.

Ryn (23:08):
Well, you just be gentle. You’re not driving down too hard. You’re just moving it across the surface.

Katja (23:13):
And do it with like water or soap or something or oil. Something to lubricate the scrubbing action. But sometimes when, when a label is just really tenacious and I’m feeling frustrated with it, a little steel wool and suddenly you’re like, why didn’t I do this 20 minutes ago? I would have been done by now. Yeah.

Ryn (23:38):
Oh but hey, but the oil, right, that can be good for other things aside from just your, your tincture bottles that you’re reclaiming there. But I mean so the thing is that, and actually this is true for your teeth as well that there are some stains that are in fact comprised of things that are oil soluble but not water soluble and not particularly going to respond too much to soap either. So, you know, with your teeth, this is why people do the oil pulling thing, right. Where you kind of swish and move some kind of oil around in your mouth for awhile, and then spit it out, and your teeth feel all clean and great.

Katja (24:12):

Ryn (24:13):
Yeah. But this also applies to like if you have metal fixtures in your kitchen.

Katja (24:19):
Oh. Like if you have a stainless steel refrigerator door and there’s 10 million fingerprints on it then a little olive oil is fantastic because it really just dissolves the finger oils that leave all those marks all over your stainless steel. It’s great. Yeah.

Katja (24:40):
Yeah. So just like a light cloth with just a little bit of oil on there and use that to wipe it down. And then maybe after that you come in with the vinegar spray. Do that.

Katja (24:50):
Yep. And it’s a great way to work with, like, you have a bottle of olive oil and there’s a little bit left in the bottom and you’re like, That’s been on the counter for awhile. I should probably get a new one. That’s perfect.

Ryn (25:04):
Yeah. Or if you have done the oil change in your home cooking and you’re no longer consuming corn, soy, canola or generic vegetable oils because you know that they are extremely bad for you, then you might be wondering, what am I going to do with all of this? Well if you’ve got a friend with a bio-diesel engine, I guess you could give it to them, otherwise go ahead and use it for cleaning.

Last Pieces of Our Cleaning Arsenal

Katja (25:29):
That’s really on our minds lately because we are working on the last of the videos for the cardiovascular health course and thinking a lot about helping people change oils in their diet. Yeah, it makes such a difference. Alright, so that is, seriously you guys, that’s all we have under our sink. That’s it. That and a giant pile of towels.

Ryn (25:57):
Yes. The towels are important here.

Katja (25:59):
Yeah. We only use cloth towels. We don’t have paper towels. We don’t really use paper anything except toilet paper. We do have that. But we have all different kinds of cloth towels and cloth rags. And that is actually really helpful because different types of towels work in different kinds of ways. So for like washing glass, I really prefer the flour sack towels because they’re lint free. So that is very, very effective. But sometimes you really need like a really scrubby terry cloth towel that kind of has like a really coarse loopy Terry weave or whatever.

Ryn (26:47):
They look like waffley sometimes.

Katja (26:47):
Yeah. Sometimes those waffle ones, which I really love for the cast iron. But I like to cut the waffle ones up into little squares, because when you’re washing cast iron, like you will wreck the towel after like four or five washes and you also don’t need the whole towel. You really just need like a sponge size. So one waffle towel will last you basically a year. Each one will last, you know, a couple of weeks because cast iron you don’t have to wash every single time, you only have to wash it if there’s like some real gunk in there. And so with one waffle towel you have like a whole year. And that waffle tell maybe is one that you’ve used for a couple of years and now it has some holes in it and now it’s time to like cut it up and use it as rags to clean your cast iron. I really like also those flour sack towels to be like a green, reusable Swiffer kind of system. So here’s what I do. I have a long handled scrubbing brush, so it’s like a scrubbing brush with a like full length handle, like a broom. And I just get the flour sack towel wet with hot water. Maybe I put a little Dr Bronner’s on it and maybe I put a little vinegar or whatever. Maybe I spray the floor a little bit first with my smells good. And then just scrub, as if you were sweeping. But instead you’re kind of mopping. But the towel is the part that’s getting up all the dirt and all the whatever. And then you can just move the scrubber around to different parts of the towel and you’ll see the towel will get dirty in that spot. And then move it to a different spot and then rinse it out with hot water again and use it again. If this sounds novel then you probably grew up in the U S, but this is how I learned how to wash floors when I was an exchange student in Germany and they thought it was really funny that I didn’t know how to do this. But that’s because I grew up with like the kind of mop that had a sponge on the end and the little ringer outer lever. But I gotta tell you, after I learned how to do this, I never used that kind of mob again because those sponges just always have a little piece falling off. And this is so much better because you just, you’re, you’re just watching the floor with a towel, with a scrubber behind it. So it like gets up any of the stuff that’s like a little caked on food drip on the floor or whatever. And then like when you’re done, you throw the towel in the laundry, it’s fantastic. It lasts forever.

Ryn (29:35):
Yeah. Now you throw it into the towels. Laundry. You’re going to need to separate your laundry here if you don’t already. We have a whole separate basket for kitchen towels and cleaning towels and so on.

Katja (29:47):
Yeah, we don’t, we don’t integrate those into any other laundry. Not even with bath towels.

Ryn (29:53):
Because then your bath house starts to smell with a little hint of some old greases in here maybe.

Katja (29:57):
Yeah, exactly. Exactly. And when I wash those towels, I usually do a prewash with vinegar just to cut any grease. Like if it was something that I washed something really greasy with, then I usually rinse it out with hot water before I toss it into the laundry.

Ryn (30:13):
Yeah, right, in the sink.

New Speaker (30:13):
Yeah, and the hot water gets lots of the grease out. But I still do a prewash with vinegar for that load of towels. Just so that if there’s any other crud left in there, it comes out really easily.

Ryn (30:27):
Sometimes we put a bit of orange oil into there as well and you can just pour like a half a cap full into the bleach tray in your washing machine. And that works out fine. That orange oil stuff, it comes in like a, I don’t know, a bottle, like the size of a hand span or something. That is orange essential oil. It’s somewhat diluted. It’s not like 100% full strength, but it is extremely strong anyway. You never need a lot of that.

Katja (30:57):
Yeah. Like in this culture, I think the tendency is towards, Oh, I must need more. But really like one of those bottles of orange oil should last like a year. You really only need a tiny, tiny bit. So that if you use that then just remember that honestly, it’s super strong. You just need a tiny bit. Yeah. So anyway, yes, we have piles of different kinds of towels and I have my favorite type of towel for every job. And then we have like a basket of various types of scrubby things, so different kinds of scrubby brushes and of course sponges. I really like the ones that are made out of Coconut hulls and Walnut hulls and they’re like biodegradable. You know those green nylon scrubbies. I love those. But the brown ones are made out of Coconut and Walnut and they’re biodegradable. They’re just this scrubby, but they’re biodegradable. So I like those better. And of course steel wool. I really love steel wool for washing out the stainless steel sink. And also the stainless steel pots.

Ryn (32:12):
Yeah, and we have some of these scraper things too, and I think they’re made of nylon.

Katja (32:18):
They are, so they’re not biodegradable, but on the other hand, they last forever and you can get recycled ones.

Ryn (32:24):
Yeah, they work really well. It’s just something that you kind of grip in your hand and it just has an edge to it and you can use that to scrape things off with pans. And they’re really effective.

Katja (32:35):
Yeah. They are.

Ryn (32:35):
Also good for scraping off labels off the tincture bottles.

Get Moving the Right Way

Katja (32:39):
And then I guess the last thing in our cleaning tool kit is elbow grease. Which is great.

Ryn (32:49):
Yeah. Very effective. Super important. And you know, you may have heard us say before that doing chores, doing yard work, doing things around the house, that counts his movements. That counts as some of your movement time for the day. So, you know, if you are carrying baskets of laundry up and down the stairs, and if you’re scrubbing away with the towels and all of that, then I would say two things. One is, count that as movement time and feel good about moving your body around some more in your day. That’s good. And the other one. Oh wait, what is the other one? Totally lost it. Oops. I don’t know. Give me a minute. It might come back.

Katja (33:35):
I think that, you know, a lot of the, go ahead.

Ryn (33:38):
I found it. Yay. It was, think about your alignment when you’re doing these things, you know? So if you’re scrubbing the floor, then it should be in a position where you can work through a range of motion and not feel pain in most of the parts of it or all of the parts of it. Maybe there’s some stretchy sensation in there, but it shouldn’t hurt you. And after you’ve done some chores and some work, you should feel better than you did beforehand. If you don’t. If you have pain in your hips or in your low back or something else, then maybe consider the way you’re lifting things or the posture that you’re in while you’re bending over to scrub something. It might not be ideal. And maybe there’s another way that you can arrange your joints that’s going to be more sustainable for that kind of movement.

Katja (34:19):
And definitely always remembering to hinge at the hips instead of bending in the middle of your back. That helps me a lot. But I mean, scrubbing the floor, like if you scrub on your hands and knees, that’s not popular anymore. And all the cleaning products. It’s like, it’s about the convenience. Like this chemical means that you don’t have to work so hard. And I would rather work so hard because that’s movement. That’s my free gym time and it really is free because the chemical cleaners are expensive and vinegar is not expensive. And if I am having my workout scrubbing the floor, then I’m not paying for a gym membership. And now my floor is clean and I have had a workout. So like I’ve stacked my life. I got something, I got two for one, basically. You can listen to a nice podcast while you’re doing it and have three for one.

Ryn (35:23):
Now we’re talking.

Katja (35:23):
Yeah. So I like to, you know, we have to go down two flights of stairs to do our laundry. And occasionally I’m feeling tired and grumpy and I’m like, grrr, I wish the washing machine was in our actual apartment and not in the basement. And then I’m like, no, that’s not what I wish. I’m so grateful that the washing machine is in the basement because I am going up and down these stairs like 10 times today and I’m really happy about it. I just have to remind myself that I’m really happy about it.

Ryn (35:55):
Yeah. That’s the thing. It’s just, you know, constantly reframing it for yourself and then you’ll feel better. So that’s what, you know. You can get fancier than all of this, but we kind of don’t these kinds of things we’ve been talking about these clean, basically everything. They’re cheap. You don’t need more than that. So that’s what.

Katja (36:16):
Yeah. Why make it more difficult for yourself? Take the difficult and put it into the elbow grease.

Ryn (36:22):
There we go. Yeah.

Katja (36:24):
Excellent. Well, I hope that you have fun cleaning your house with chemical free greatness.

Ryn (36:31):
Yeah. And if if you have any brilliant ideas that we missed out on or haven’t heard yet, then we always love to hear from you, the listeners. You can reach out to us in lots of ways. You can email us at info@commonwealthherbs.com. You can just visit the website and go to our contact page. You can find us on the social media. We’re on Facebook, we’re on Instagram. We’re technically on Twitter. Yeah, we’re on YouTube.

Katja (36:54):
It’s Commonwealth herbs everywhere. Just find us

Ryn (36:58):
And don’t forget that we have a brand new mini course all about Nettles available right now. You can check it out at commonwealthirbs.com/nettles. And for 10 bucks you can learn all kinds of stuff about Nettle, how to identify it, how to work with it, how to make a great cup of tea and how to make some tasty food

Katja (37:15):
And if you’re here local, it’s the perfect thing to get you in the mood for herbstalk. Herbstalk is the first weekend in June, which is a number. It’s some number. I’m looking at him like he somehow knows. Neither one of us has a calendar in front of us. Wait, but he’s looking it up for you.

Ryn (37:34):
Herb stock this year is on June 1st and 2nd, Saturday and Sunday. It’s at the armory in Somerville, which is right near Boston. But if you’re in Massachusetts, if you’re in the Northeast, you should come to Herbstalk. Tickets are still available. Herbstalk.org. Yeah, we will be there. We’re teaching two classes. One of them is on clinical skills for herbalists. So if you are a practitioner, or about to become one, or thinking about, it we have some pearls of wisdom gleaned over the years to offer to you around that. And we’re also teaching a class on movement skills for herbalists. Because as you may know by now, from listening to us were pretty hyped about this whole movement thing. We think it’s really important and I want to hear more herbalists talking about that and integrating that into their recommendations. So that’s the goal.

Katja (38:24):
I can’t wait. It’s going to be a great weekend.

Ryn (38:25):
And that’s just two. There’s like 40 classes over there.

Katja (38:28):
Yeah. There’s so many classes and there’s so many beautiful herb products. So bring your dollars because you will want them all. All of the wonderful herbal artisans around New England come and there’s always so many beautiful things. I can’t stand it.

Ryn (38:46):
Take all that money you saved on cleaning supplies.

Katja (38:47):
Bring it to Herbstalk.

Ryn (38:47):
And bring it to Herbstalk.

Katja (38:50):
Yes. Excellent.

Ryn (39:05):
And we’ll see you there.

Katja (39:05):
Bye bye!

Ryn (39:05):


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