Amazingly, These 5 Plants Can Help You Clean

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Squeaky is all about the borderline genius hacks and ideas that keep literally every inch of your space pristine.

If your herbs are growing faster than you can eat them, then it's time to incorporate them into your cleaning routine. Yes, cleaning!

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Plants and herbs are nature's powerhouses that can add additional germ-fighting and bug-repelling oomph to your homemade cleaning recipes. Plus they usually smell amazing, so you can skip the fragrance additives found in store-bought cleaners that can irritate allergies or asthma.

Read on for five multitasking plants that do more than just flavor your food. You'll want to raid the garden and mix up a batch of these all-natural recipes to clean your kitchens, floors, bathrooms, and windows.

Basil Hand Soap

Plant basil in pots near gathering areas to ward off flies and mosquitoes, and when you're tired of making pesto, try this easy hand soap recipe. Brew up a basil 'tea' to release the leaves' fragrant oils, which have antibacterial properties, and you'll enjoy washing your hands with a liquid soap that gently cleans with a lovely herbal scent that's uplifting and grounding, no artificial fragrance necessary.

Things You'll Need

Instructions:

Boil one cup of water and pour it over the fresh basil leaves. Cover and let steep until cooled, then remove the basil leaves from the water. Combine the basil-infused water with one cup Castile soap in a 16-ounce liquid soap dispenser. Add essential oil, if using, and replace lid.

Lavender Rug Refresher Powder

Ahh, lavender. Combine the relaxing fragrance of this pretty purple plant with its disinfectant power in a simple carpet and rug deodorizer. Baking soda absorbs odors and grease while lavender adds a fresh scent and helps eliminate unwanted germs that get tracked in.

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Things You'll Need

Instructions:

Blitz baking soda with dried lavender buds in a food processor or a spice grinder to get a fine powder. Sprinkle the mixture on rugs or carpets and let sit for at least 30 minutes. Then vacuum up.

Peppermint Glass Cleaner

The menthol that gives peppermint its fresh, crisp aroma contains antibacterial properties — plus the minty scent is a natural pesticide for ants and mice! Mix up a batch of this cleaner that leaves glass sparkling clean and also keeps pests from entering through your windows.

Things You'll Need

  • 1/4 cup peppermint leaves

  • 3/4 cup grain alcohol (like Everclear)

  • 1 cup water

  • 1/4 cup distilled white vinegar

  • Pinch of cornstarch

  • 16-ounce spray bottle

Instructions:

Put the peppermint leaves in a jar and cover with the grain alcohol. Replace the lid, let the mixture infuse for two to three days then strain out the leaves. Combine infused alcohol with one cup water and ¼ cup vinegar and a pinch of cornstarch in a 16-ounce spray bottle and shake well. Spray on windows and use a newspaper or a terry cloth to wipe clean.

Rosemary All-Purpose Cleaning Spray

Add the natural disinfecting properties of rosemary and its woodsy scent (which is said to improve memory and focus) to a simple all-purpose cleaning spray that naturally cleans surfaces like counters, floors, and bathrooms. This two-ingredient cleaner can be used to clean just about anything, but ​do not use it on marble​.

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Things You'll Need

Instructions:

Add rosemary sprigs to a jar and cover with white vinegar. Use a plastic or nonmetal lid so that the vinegar won't corrode the metal. Let the mixture infuse for one to two weeks, and then strain. Combine 1/2 cup of the infused vinegar with 1/2 cup of distilled water in an 8-ounce spray bottle.

Thyme Stainless Steel Cleaner

Stainless steel doors, handles, and sinks get a workout in the kitchen. Make appliances shine with this streak-free cleaner that lifts grubby smudges and dirty prints with the extra germ-fighting power of naturally antibacterial thyme.

You'll need

Instructions

Put thyme sprigs in a jar and add ½ cup rubbing alcohol. Infuse five to seven days, and then strain. Combine with 1/2 cup of distilled water in an 8-ounce spray bottle. Spray onto refrigerator doors, dishwashers, sinks, oven hoods and wipe with a soft cloth. Rubbing alcohol has a strong scent that dissipates quickly so open a window if you need to ventilate!

What's your favorite way to use herbs in cleaning?

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Stephanie Gerber is the founder and editor of the beauty and wellness site, HelloGlow.co. She lives in Nashville with her husband and three children.