In The Hands-On Home (Sasquatch Books, 2015), Erica Strauss provides readers with more than 100 recipes, tips and inspirational ideas. This no-nonsense, seasonal guidebook to reducing consumerism and increasing DIY covers everything from cooking and preserving to nontoxic home and personal care.
You can purchase this book from the Capper's Farmer store: The Hands-On Home.
One day when my son was about three, I turned from doing the dishes to see that he had taken a large bulk container of cinnamon out of a kitchen drawer, opened it, and proceeded to methodically—almost lovingly—grind every teaspoon of the spice into my favorite area rug in the living room. There was a splotch of dusky reddish brown stretching from one end of the carpet to the other, and my son looked as if he’d spent the afternoon rolling in the red dirt of Georgia. I’m happy to say that six thorough vacuumings and a bath later, there wasn’t too much trace of the cinnamon on either my rug or my son.
The funny thing is, my carpet smelled great after that. Twenty dollars’ worth of bulk cinnamon worked a treat in freshening up the fibers of the carpet. I got to thinking that maybe an odor-absorbing powder would be a good way to keep my wall-to-wall carpets and rugs fresh in between deeper cleanings. This carpet-refreshing formula kills dust mites (which love your carpet almost as much as your bed), works even better than cinnamon, and it’s much, much cheaper.
While essential oils are optional, they’re a nice addition. Dust mites particularly hate eucalyptus, cinnamon, tea tree, and clove.
MAKES 1 QUART
3 cups baking soda
1 cup borax
2 to 3 teaspoons essential oil (optional)
In a medium bowl, combine the baking soda, borax, and essential oil of your choice, if using. Mix well, then transfer to a widemouthed quart mason jar fitted with a Mason Jar Shaker Lid. The freshener will last indefinitely, though the essential oil scent may fade over time.
Generously sprinkle the carpet freshener all over a manageable-size section of carpet. (Don’t do your entire house at once!) Run your vacuum cleaner over the freshener without turning the vacuum on; the rotating bristles of the vacuum will help work the powder down into the carpet fibers. When the powder has been worked into the entire section, let it sit for an hour or so. Vacuum the carpet (power on this time) to suck up the carpet powder, dead dust mites, and funky odors. Repeat with other sections of carpet.
Note: Don’t allow kids or pets into an area you are treating with this carpet freshener. You don’t want four-legged friends or enthusiastic crawlers transferring it from their paws or hands to their mouths. If you have any concerns about pets or kids getting into this, just use plain baking soda instead. While I use this carpet freshener without issue on all the carpeted areas in my home, do test this in an inconspicuous spot to make sure it’s compatible with your carpet materials and dyes before you pour it all over your priceless, handwoven heirloom Persian rug.
©2015 By Erica Strauss. All rights reserved. Excerpted from The Hands-On Home: A Seasonal Guide to Cooking, Preserving, and Natural Homekeeping by permission of Sasquatch Books.