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When it comes to tidying up like a witch, there’s a lot more to it than just wiggling your nose at something messy. Here, BUST’s resident occultist shares how to add a touch of magical intent to your cleaning routine.

Everyone knows spring cleaning is a thing, but for witches, it’s a whole-ass ritual. Typically it’s done on Ostara, the celebration of the spring equinox, which generally falls between March 19th and 21st. But you can adopt some of these pagan-inspired procedures any time you feel like transforming your cleaning routine into a more meditative self-care practice.

The key to cleaning like a witch is intent. Not only will you be getting rid of grime while you work, but you’ll also be focusing on attracting prosperity, protection, and health to your home, while clearing your space of any bad vibes that may be lingering in the dusty corners. These objectives will be enhanced by the specific herbs and essential oils that you’ll use in your homemade cleaning supplies. The non-toxic recipes that follow cover all the bases—financial well-being, healing, and safety, with a special emphasis on purification, but feel free to alter any of these spells to suit your needs. Refer to the “Herbs and Their Magical Properties” at the bottom of this post to create your own mixtures by choosing herbs and oils that correspond to your intent and to aromas you feel drawn to. You can also add more of a certain ingredient to boost a specific power or scent. 

As you go from room to room, be sure to wipe down the doorframes and windowsills. These are great places for old energy to hang out, so wipe it away to block negative energy from getting in. Be sure to wash the outside of your front and back doors, too. When they are dry, sprinkle a line of salt along the sills and right inside the entrance of your front and back doors for protection. 

1. Before Getting Started, Look To The Skies

The kinds of spells witches cast depend on whatever the moon is doing at the time. Generally, when the moon is getting bigger (waxing) you want to concentrate on attracting good things to your life. When the moon is getting smaller (waning) it’s better to concentrate on casting out things you no longer want in your life. For example, you may have financial concerns. If the moon is waxing, you should focus on drawing money towards you. But if it happens to be a waning moon, set your intent instead on getting rid of debt or removing financial stress.

The moon phase also determines the motions you’ll be making while cleaning. If the moon is waxing and you want to bring something good into your life, sweep, mop, or wipe clockwise. But if the moon is waning and you want to get something negative out of your life, make those movements counterclockwise. Be sure to focus on what you are doing, stay clear on what the herbs and motions you are using represent, and visualize what you want to manifest or get rid of. 

Another fun, moon-related task you may want to undertake is making a batch of moon water to use in your mop bucket. To make moon water, put water in a lidded jar and place it outside under the new or full moon and let it sit overnight, absorbing the moon’s vibes. New moon water is ideal for cleaning since it represents new beginnings, but full moon water works for everything.

2. Setting The Scene

Once you’re ready to begin, keep in mind that when it comes to magical house cleaning, you should start at the furthest place in your house from your front door, and work your way around to it (if you have multiple floors, work top down toward the door). This is because you want to get all the negative energy to leave by moving it outside of your home. 

De-clutter and reorganize ahead of time so you can really focus your spells on deep cleaning. Go through all of your closets, drawers, cabinets, shelves, and other hidey-holes, and be sure to give those surfaces a good wipe down. Dust everything before you reorganize and put it back. This is the time to get rid of the old to make room for the new; not just physical things, but energy, too. 

Next, take some time to relax and focus on your intentions. It also helps to invite the elements of earth, wind, fire, and water into the space to help boost your spell work. For example, you can open all the windows and let the element of wind blow through your home. Light a couple of candles to represent fire. Earth is represented in the herbs you will be working with in the spells below. And water is the medium you are using to clean. 

Now make a simmer. This will get your air smelling fresh while you work, and you want to purify the air to help rid your surfaces of old, stale energy. I have a cauldron I use for this, but you can just use a regular shmegular pan. Get two cups of water simmering. While it is heating up, mix the simmer ingredients in a bowl using your hands. Focus on what each item represents as you add it, and what your intent is. Pour the herbs into the water and let it simmer on a low heat. Stir occasionally and focus on the motion: clockwise to bring things and counterclockwise to get rid of things.

When you are done cleaning, you need to dispose of the simmer off of your property. You can put it in compost or strain the solids and put them in the trash, then take that out immediately and dump the water off the curb. 

“Focus on what each item represents as you add it, and what your intent is.”

Cleansing/Purification Simmer: 

  • ½ cup salt (money, protection, purification)
  • 1 teaspoon whole cloves (money, protection, purification, healing)
  • ½ cup dried chamomile (money, purification)
  • 2-3 drops peppermint oil (money, protection, purification, healing)
  • The peel and juice of two lemons (protection, purification)
  • 5 cinnamon sticks (money, protection, purification, healing)

3. Windows Are The Eyes Of Your Home

It’s great to kick off your serious scrubbing with windows, because once your windows are sparkling, positive energy can shine in. Work from the top down using the super-simple homemade window wash recipe here. It is equal parts white vinegar and water, plus some essential oils that cover all the bases of abundance and purification of bad vibes. Spray this mixture on your windows, and use a paper towel or microfiber cloth to shine ‘em up. Make sure you focus on intent, and pay attention to the direction you are wiping. 

In a spray bottle mix:

  • 1 cup white vinegar 
  • 1 cup water
  • 20 drops lemon oil (protection, purification)
  • 20 drops lavender oil (protection, purification, healing)
  • 10 drops peppermint oil (money, protection, purification, healing)

Shake well. Feel free to add more oil if you want to boost the smell.

4. Surfaces Are The Skin Of Your Home

For all your surfaces, you can make an all-purpose cleaner from one part baking soda, two parts white vinegar, and oils of your choosing (based on your intent), topped off with water, in a spray bottle. Mix the vinegar and the oils in the bottle first, shaking the bottle to combine them. Then use a funnel to add the baking soda a little bit at a time. Let the fizz settle down, then fill the bottle to the top with water. Put the cap on and shake again vigorously. This can be used on all surfaces, from counters to fridge to doorways. If the baking soda starts to settle on the bottom, just give the mixture another good shake.

Cleansing and Protecting Surface Cleaner:

  • 1 cup white vinegar
  • 10 drops lemon oil (protection, purification)
  • 10 drops lavender oil (protection, purification, healing)
  • 2 drops peppermint oil (money, protection, purification, healing)
  • ½ cup baking soda 
  • water

5. Floors Are The Feet Of Your Home

Now it’s time to get out your witch’s broom. (This is just your standard broom, but you’ll be using a magical herbal sweep mixture.) For this spell, you want to mix equal parts herbs and base. Cornmeal is used for prosperity, and baking soda for cleansing. 

Mix the herbs in a bowl. Add baking soda and mix with your hands. (Remember to focus on intent and the motion in which you stir.) Sprinkle this mixture lightly around your floors starting at the furthest corner from the door, and be sure to get the corners and under and behind all the furniture. This mix can be sprinkled on hard floors, carpets, and furniture, and then swept or vacuumed back up along with dust and dirt. When you sweep, focus on your intent and the directoin you are sweeping, and sweep towards the door, starting at the furthest corner. Throw the sweep mixture and dirt and dust out in a trashcan off of your property. If you are vacuuming floors and furniture, be sure to empty out the vacuum bag right after and dispose of the dirt off of your property. 

Another  vacuum boost is to add a drop of  essential oil that coordinates with your intent  onto the filter of the vacuum. The heat and air from the vacuum will get the aroma drifting all over the room. 

After you’ve swept, get the floors to shine with an infused floor wash. Start by boiling two cups of water. Combine the dry ingredients below in a bowl;  mix with your hands while focusing on your intent. Add the dry ingredients to the water and let simmer for 15 minutes. Then turn off the heat and let the mix steep for at least an hour. Strain out the solids and dispose of them off of your property. Stir 1 cup of white vinegar and the juice and rinds of two lemons into the liquid. Fill a mop bucket with warm water (including your moon water if you made some) and add the mix. You can also add your favorite natural cleaner here, like castile soap (use about ¼ cup soap per every 3 – 4 cups water). Remember your intent and your motions as you clean. When you are done mopping, either flush the mop water down the toilet and watch it disappear down the drain, or dump it off your property. 

You can also add a little magic to any of the natural cleaning products you normally use (like castile soap) by dropping in a couple drops of your favorite oil that coincides with the intent you want.

Purification Sweep (Makes 1/2 cup, enough to sweep one room):

  • 1 Tbsp dried rosemary (protection, purification, health)
  • 1 Tbsp dried lavender (protection, purification, healing)
  • 1 Tbsp dried thyme (purification, healing)
  • 3 medium bay leaves (money, protection, purification, healing)
  • ¼ cup baking soda

Cleansing/Purification Floor Wash: 

  • 2 cups water
  • 1 cup white vinegar
  • Rind and juice of 2 lemons (protection, purification)
  • 12 cinnamon sticks (money, protection, purification, healing)
  • ½ tablespoon black pepper (protection, purification)
  • ½ cup dried chamomile (money, purification)
  • 12 bay leaves (money, protection, purification, healing)
  • ½ cup whole cloves (money, protection, purification, healing) 
  • 1 cup dried rosemary (protection, purification, health)
  • 1 cup pine needles (money, protection, purification, healing)
  • 1 cup dried sage (money, protection, purification, healing)

6. Wrap It Up Buttercup

End your cleansing ritual by lighting a sage bundle and, starting from the furthest corner of your home, go from room to room thinking about the magic you just created and the changes you hope to see in your life. Be sure to really focus on corners and entranceways. Finally, blow out all your candles, thank the elements, and make sure you’ve disposed of your wishful waste off of your property.  

Herbs and their magical properties

Prosperity/Money:
Allspice, Basil, Bay Leaf, Bergamot, Chamomile, Cedarwood, Cinnamon, Clove, Fennel Seed, Ginger, Hyssop, Nutmeg, Orange, Oregano, Patchouli, Peanut, Peppermint, Pine, Sage, Salt, Sesame Seed

Protection:
Anise, Basil, Bay Leaf, Bergamot, Black Pepper, Cayenne, Cedarwood, Cinnamon, Clove, Cumin, Cypress, Fennel Seed, Frankincense, Garlic, Hyssop, Lavender, Lemon, Lilac, Marjoram, Mugwort, Mustard Seed, Myrrh, Onion, Parsley, Patchouli, Peppermint, Pine, Rose, Rosemary, Sage, Salt, Sandalwood, Violet

Purification/Cleansing: 

Anise, Bay Leaf, Black Pepper, Cedarwood, Chamomile, Cinnamon, Clove, Eucalyptus, Fennel, Frankincense, Garlic, Hyssop, Lavender, Lemon, Lime, Marjoram, Myrrh, Onion, Parsely, Peppermint, Pine, Rosemary, Sage, Salt, Sandalwood, Star Anise, Thyme, Vervain

Health/Healing: 

Allspice, Bay Leaf, Cedarwood, Cinnamon, Clove, Eucalyptus, Fennel Seed, Garlic, Ginger, Honey, Lavender, Mugwort, Myrrh, Nutmeg, Orange, Oregano, Peppermint, Pine, Rose, Rosemary, Sage, Sandalwood, Spearmint, Thyme, Violet, Willow   

By Callie Watts
Illustrated by Ale de la Torre
This article originally appeared in the Spring 2020 print edition of BUST Magazine. Subscribe today!

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