Summer is long over and the beautiful days of fall are making their final transition to winter. Most are preparing for the hibernation of the coming months. It is during this time, when the windows are all closed and the cleansing breeze is no more, that our homes seem to become a breeding ground for germs.
But never fear…it seems as though there are hundreds of products on the market advertising to kill any and all germs (can you sense my sarcastic tone). They are laden with synthetic chemicals, such as Triclosan, that are now known to cause the development of “superbugs.” Superbugs are germs that have become resistant to antibacterial, antimicrobial, antiseptic cleaning agents and medicinal antibiotics. Using such products only contributes to the overgrowth of these superbugs and is especially dangerous in areas where there are children, the elderly or sick people.
Be encouraged! There are many things you can do to keep you home disinfected and your family healthy. In addition to herbal immune system builders (i.e. Elderberry Syrup/Tinctures, Cold-Kicker Remedy, and supplemental vitamins and minerals) you can kill germs for pennies on the dollar with these homemade antibacterial/disinfecting sprays.
During the time of the Black Plague, this recipe was developed and used as protection by doctors treating the sick.
Herbal Antimicrobial Spray
-1 part Lavender
-1 part Thyme
-1 part Sage
-1 part Mint
-1 part Rosemary
1. Fill 1 quart jar with equal parts of fresh herbs, or 1/2 full with dried herbs. Then cover with organic, raw, unfiltered apple cider vinegar.
2. Let mixture marinate for at least 6 weeks. Strain.
3. Pour herbal infused vinegar into gallon jug and fill jug with distilled water to dilute. Transfer into spray bottle for use.
4. Use mixture on all hard surfaces (cutting boards, door handles, counter tops, etc.) for disinfecting purposes. Simply spray on and let air dry.
While waiting for your Herbal Antimicrobial Spray to marinate, whip up this concoction for a very effective alternative.
All-Natural Disinfecting Spray
-1 cup distilled water
-20 drops lavender essential oil
-20 drops of thyme or eucalyptus essential oil
-10 drops tea tree oil
Directions: Mix all ingredients into a spray bottle and use as a disinfectant on all hard surfaces. Simply spray on and let air dry.
-There is a ton of research to confirm that folk recipes such as these, using herbs and essential oils to kill germs, were actually based on good chemistry and science. Many essential oils, such as lavender and thyme, are even more antiseptic than phenol, which is the commercial standard for the antimicrobial industry.
-Did you know that in the United States, a product can only be labeled as a disinfectant or antimicrobial agent after it has been registered as a pesticide with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)? This is why you will never see essential oils with antiseptic properties advertised as antimicrobial.
-Herbs and essential oils are not known to cause or increase antibacterial resistance. In fact, these natural botanicals have a remarkable ability to kill a multitude of germs, which is exactly why they have been used for thousands of years in home remedies.
-Remember: No home can be made completely sterile, no matter what product you use.
So what are your favorite ways to keep your family and home healthy this time of year?