When you are an organic or health-conscious farmer working to grow crops and raise animals for food, cleaning your farm in the healthiest way possible is really important. When we bought our farm earlier this year, I started researching how we might be able to keep our farm clean without bad chemicals that I don’t want my family eating or ingesting. I started looking for healthy options that would hopefully be as effective as standard cleaning chemicals, without the adverse effects.
A few goals I had for these healthy cleaning options:
1. Disinfecting. Keeping clean areas for our visitors and animals is important to us.
2. Reducing the smells associated with a farm. This is a no-brainer, you don’t want your coup to SMELL like a coup!
3. Cost-effective. As start-up farmers, we don’t have a lot of extra money for fancy solutions. We need things that are effective on the cheap.
Here are the best three products I have been able to keep our farm clean organically:
1. Cedarwood Oil
This stuff is AMAZING and smells great! I have been able to find so many uses for Cedarwood oil, both inside and outside the home. One of the best reasons to use Cedarwood Oil is that it’s naturally flea-resistant and it will also KILL fleas, by dehydrating the flea within 48 hours after making contact. Outside, I mix Cedarwood oil and water and spray all over inside my barn and coup. Since I started spraying this, we have been virtually flea free and we have Angora goats, chickens, rabbits, and all kinds of animals. This is also pretty safe to spray on animals themselves. Inside the house, we had a small flea infestation and spraying Cedarwood oil and vaccuuming cured the issue in just a day. No need to bug bomb and expose your family and self to noxious chemicals, Cedarwood oil works better than any flea product I have ever used!
This is the Cedarwood oil I use, not super spendy but it really works. I have read you want to use Red Cedar oil like this one. I have used about an 8th of this bottle, using it all over my farm and house for months….. a little goes a super long way.
2. Peppermint Oil
The smell of Peppermint oil is a delicious, effective coverup for barnyard smells but is is also very purposeful as well. Bugs including spiders, fleas, bees, wasps, ticks…. all hate Peppermint oil and especially spiders. I spray Peppermint Oil all over my house and this fall have seen no spiders since I started spraying (and we get some big mamajamas here on the farm). Peppermint oil sticks itself to spiders feet and they hate it. Their loss, our gain!
For Peppermint Oil, because I use it for so many things I got a big cheaper bottle. I don’t ingest this Peppermint Oil (I have another kind for that), but a 4 oz bottle like this one I use will do the trick, and keep your wallet happy!
3. White Vinegar
I read somewhere that between White Vinegar and Bleach, White Vinegar actually does a better job disinfecting than Bleach. They said that White Vinegar does a better job resisting bacterial growth than bleach, for a longer period after the initial cleaning. I get the cheapest white vinegar I can find at the grocery story, White Vinegar is White vinegar.
The ultimate organic farm-cleaning blend: For spraying all of our animal enclosures and outbuildings, we blend together Cedarwood Oil, Peppermint Oil, White Vinegar, and a nice squirt of Dawn dish soap. Per small outbuilding, we spray about one full bottle of this mixture in there per month after mucking it out.
For rodent control, you can mix together about a cup of Diatomaceous Earth, a few drops of essential oils (we do peppermint and citrus), and about half a cup of water in a spray bottle. Shake and spray. The Diatomaceous Earth will return to powder form shortly, but the rodents won’t return for quite a while.
Let me know if these mixtures work for you, or if you have any other tips and tricks for organic farm cleaning.
Thanks for reading!