Fall Cleaning

by Danielle Schufreider

Fall is finally here! Now that you will be spending more time indoors, here are a few tips to make your space more enjoyable while keeping it toxin free.


Make your home smell like fall. It wouldn’t feel like autumn without the aromas of spicy cinnamon, cozy vanilla and warm pumpkin. You can bring those scents into your home without store bought air fresheners. Here are a few DIY all-natural ways to fill the air with the scents of the season.

  • Simmer a large pot for a few hours with water and ingredients like apples, cinnamon sticks, fresh ginger, vanilla, anise and nutmeg. You can also use a crockpot and set it on low with the top off.
  • Make your own scented pine cones. Grab a few pine cones from outside and soak them in a bowl for an hour to wash off any debris. Then, place the cones on a foil-lined baking sheet and bake them at 200º in oven for around 30 minutes. Allow the cones to cool before tossing them in a large zip-lock bag with essential oils. Leave them in the bag for 2-4 weeks and you will have a great smelling seasonal decoration.
  • Create a room spray by combining 30-50 drops of pure essential oils with 3oz of vodka in a 4oz glass spray bottle. Give the bottle a shake, then spray throughout your house.


Prevent pests from moving in. Cooler temperatures mean rodents and insects, including beetles, stink bugs, ants and mice, will begin to seek shelter by moving indoors. One of the easiest ways to prevent pests from entering is to block their passageways.

“Inspect the outside of your home for holes, cracks or gaps. Pay special attention to areas around siding, chimneys, soffits, dormers and dryer vents. Spray-foam insulation will stop most bugs, but steel wool and silicone caulk offer the best protection from all pests — even rats and mice,” says Kari Warberg Block, pest prevention expert and founder of earthkind® and Stay Away® natural pest prevention products.

Do some fall cleaning to make your place cozy and clutter free. Look for all-natural cleaners or make your own using ingredients you already have on hand like soap, vinegar and lemons. Kari recommends using the following homemade cleaners that will keep your space clean with the added benefit of repelling pests:

  • Fill a spray bottle with a 50/50 mix of white vinegar and water to clean surfaces (except marble or granite) — the vinegar will kill germs and wipe out the scent trails pests follow.
  • For marble or granite countertops, the acidic pH of vinegar or citrus cleaners can eat away at the stone, so just use warm soapy water instead.
  • Grind a lemon peel (lime or orange will work too) in your garbage disposal once a week. The citrus scent will keep funky odors — and ants — away!

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