At Seventh Generation, we’ve always been amazed by the power of plants, and their ability to clean, nurture, and inspire. The good news is that there are lots of fun and easy ways to flex plant power in and around your own home.
Let’s start with cleaning, one of our favourite topics!
Let lemon and salt work their magic
Sprinkle coarse kosher salt on a cutting board or butcher block, then using a halved lemon with the cut side down, scrub the salt against the wood. Scrape away any gunk, then rinse. If you have a garbage disposal, grind up the used lemon half to clean and refresh the disposal. You can also use salt and lemon juice to scrub dirty cookware or stained coffee mugs.
Put your olive oil to work beyond cooking
We all love the subtle flavour olive oil imparts in our cooking, but olive oil is surprisingly versatile. It can be used to clean cast-iron pans, get paint off your hands, help repair scratches in leather furniture, protect rattan and wicker furniture, shine stainless steel or polish wood furniture.
Keep crawlers outside
Sometimes insects and other critters can make their way indoors. Keep spiders outside with a homemade repellent of lemon essential oil and plant-based dish liquid. Long beloved for its scent and flavour, peppermint can help deter creatures that don’t enjoy it like we do—ants and mice.
For thousands of years, people have used the health and wellness benefits of plants to help nurture their bodies and homes.
Make herb-powered medicinal tinctures.
A tincture is an herbal concentrate made to bring out a plant’s medicinal properties. Many common herbs, like sage, rosemary, and mint have a variety of positive effects on the body. 
Lavender-up your drawers and closets.
Lavender sachets have long been used to freshen up indoor spaces. Tie up (or sew) dried lavender leaves in a piece of cloth, felt, or even a cut-up pillow case. Place the sachets in your drawers, closets, or even under your pillow. Lavender leaves are also wonderful sprinkled into a warm bath.
Help cool the burn with aloe.
Aloe plants are easy to find and easy to grow. Plus, the gel inside the leaves is a wonderful remedy for soothing burns and cuts.
Say “shoo” flies.
Dip strips of paper into a mixture of simple sugar, honey, and water to make homemade flypaper — then hang it where houseflies concentrate. And to capture those annoying fruit flies that invade your kitchen, muddle some fruit in an empty jar, then cover with some paper or plastic wrap with a small hole in it.
Freshen the air. Put a quart of water on the stove, then when it’s simmering, add one of these lovely combinations for some DIY aromatherapy:
- Lemon, rosemary, vanilla
- Lime and ginger
- Lime and fresh thyme leaves
Finally, let’s look at some of the ways you can make plants shine in the great outdoors.
Embrace peppermint in the garden.
Manage unwanted insects in your garden with herbs.
Start by planting some lemon balm. The furry leaves produce a lemony aroma, which can help deter unwanted insects. You can even crush up the leaves and rub them on bug bites. Sage is another herb that has insect-repelling properties. Bundle up the leaves and place them on an outdoor fire, or some hot coals, and the scent can help ward off pesky insects.
Let us know in the comments if you are going to try any of these cleaning and wellness tips!
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