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DIY

DIY Cleaning With Essential Oils: Green Your Home

I cringe every time I think about how my mom used things like Comet, Pine-Sol Zep, and Tide when I was growing up. essential oilsBack then when I would smell those things, that meant mom was busy cleaning.  I grew up thinking that was the “clean” smell.  Now I have a totally different view of what clean is supposed to

smell like. It’s supposed to smell like the earth, a natural smell, I guess I’d say. The perfect way to make sure your living space is clean and healthy and germ-free is to use safe cleaning products that you can make yourself, using natural and inexpensive ingredients. It’s cost-effective, simple, satisfying and rewarding. Not only do essential oils help make your home smell good, many essential oils have strong antiseptic, antiviral, antifungal, and antibacterial properties, which make them the best defense against those pesky germs!  Time to clean out your cupboards of those toxic commercial cleaners, and replace them with better no-toxic DIY cleaning products.

DIY Essential Oils Recipes

Lemon All Purpose Cleaner Recipe

Ingredients:

Instructions:

  1. In a large measuring cup or bowl combine water and vinegar.
  2. Add baking soda a little bit at a time so that the mixture doesn’t fizz up and overflow.
  3. Add drops of oil
  4. Pour mixture in spray bottle
  5. Shake

 

Lavender Air Freshener Recipe

Ingredients:

Now, I used 30-40 teaspoon drops of lavender oil, because I wanted it to be slightly stronger, but you may want to test it with 20 drops first before adding more, just in case!

Instructions:

Spray this on anything. It is wonderful to spray on mattress (let dry for a moment) or in between the sheets.

 

Furniture and Stainless Steel Cleaner Recipe

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup oil (vegetable oil, avocado oil, or olive oil)
  • 1/2 squeezed lemon
  • 8-10 drops of lemon essential oil

Instructions:

Add to bottle and use a few drops on clean towel to rub onto surface.

 

Powder Dishwasher Detergent

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups washing soda
  • 1 cup baking soda
  • 10 drops of lemon essential oil

Instructions:

Combine all ingredients and store in a sealed container. To use, add about 2 tablespoons to the soap compartment of your dishwasher. Drop back to 1 1/2 Tablespoons if you find spots on your dishes.

 

Liquid Laundry Soap Recipe

Ingredients:

  • 1 gallon Jugs (I use old vinegar bottles)
  • 3T Borax
  • 3T Washing Soda
  • 2T dish soap (I like to use Dr. Bronners)
  • 10-20 drops of Essential oils (I always use a few drops of Tea Tree, then I mix it up with peppermint, orange, lemon or lavender oils)

Instructions:

Boil a pot of water and pour into jug. When it cools slightly pour in your ingredients (I use a funnel for this, makes it much easier) shake around until mixture dissolves. When the mixtures cools fill the jub with water. Use 1 cup per load.

 

4 Other Uses with Essential oils

  1. Add a few drops of rosemary into your shampoo/conditioner bottles. Rosemary helps stimulate the scalp and promotes circulation and hair growth.
  2. Add about 12 drops of your favorite oil to your bath to help relax. Wild Chamomile, Mellow Mix and Lavender would be great choices.
  3. Add a few drops to your favorite lotion or oil.
  4. Use in a diffuser.

What are your favorite ways to clean with essential oils?

3 DIY Organic Body Care Recipes to Beat Seasonal Dry Skin

With the cold air and breezy winds, our skin takes quite a beating during the cold dry winter months. Chapped skin and lips are no fun, so how do we keep our skin moisturized all winter long?  I have a few organic body care recipes I like to keep on hand, especially during the winter when we need to take extra special care of our skin.

You will find that I use coconut oil in all these recipes. There is no doubt in my mind that coconut oil is best skin care product you can use. That being said, a small amount of people are allergic to coconut oil, and can show irritation. Its stability, antimicrobial properties, moisture retaining capacity makes it an ideal protective agent against dry skin and cracking of the skin. Pair this with vitamin-E and it will add to this property greatly.

3 DIY Organic Body Care Recipes

Whipped Body Butterorganic body care whipped body butter recipe

This is a great all body moisturizer from head to feet to help protect you from the cold dry months. I would recommend putting this on right when you get out of the shower, which will help it to absorb into your skin better.

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup shea butter (It has natural antibacterial properties and is great for preventing stretch marks, for wound healing, and as an anti-aging treatment for skin. It naturally has an SPF of about 5)
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil 
  • 1/4 cup jojoba oil (you could use olive oil or almond oil)
  • 1/4 cup cocoa butter
  • Optional: 10-20 drops of essential oil. Peppermint, lavender, chamomile, tea tree
  • Few Drops of Vitamin E

Directions:

Gently melt and stir over medium-low heat until the mixture is liquid. Remove from the heat and allow the mixture to partially set up. I usually stick it in the fridge and check every 10 minutes. Once the mixture is partially set, add the essential oils of your choice, and whip with a hand mixer or mixer (until the body butter is fluffy and stiff peaks have formed.) Spoon into your favorite container.  I like to use mason jars.

Chap stick/Lip Balm Recipe

Don’t throw away your old chap stick containers…clean them out and save them to make your own healthy, organic chopsticks. This recipe is so simple and quick. My kids love to personalize them with their own choice of essential oils.

Ingredients:

  • 4 tsp  Organic Coconut oil
  • 2 tsp beeswax  (used as a natural thickening agent)
  • Add in:  1-2 drops of essential oils, we like peppermint and chamomile
  • 6-8 drops of vitamin E

Directions:

You can do this over stove top in a small double boiler pan, or you can do this with a glass measuring cup.  Just slowly melt coconut oil, add in beeswax stir until combine and melted. Take off heat… let cool and add in essential oils and vitamin E.  Pour into containers.  I like to stick them in the fridge until ready.

Face Cream Recipe

Ingredients:

  • Coconut Oil

For most people, pure coconut oil is all that is needed for moisturizing the face. It is naturally full of collagen supporting lauric acid and is easily absorbed by the skin. Even for oily and acne prone skin, coconut oil’s natural anti-bacterial properties make it a great option.

Directions:

I always put a tiny scoop on right after I wash my face or shower. I like to keep a jar of it in my bathroom, so I don’t forget.

4 More Tips for Healthy Winter Skin

  1. Pass on hot showers. I know nothing sounds better than hoping into a nice hot shower when you come in from the cold, hot water dries out our skin and strips it of our natural oils. Instead try a luke warm shower and limit that too 5-10 minutes.
  2. Water. Water is naturally hydrating, so keep up on your water during the winter months as well. Aim for 8 glasses of water a day.
  3. Thermostat. When our home is too hot, it can make the air even drier. Keeping the thermostat at a comfortable temperature between 68-72 degrees F will help protect your skin.
  4. Change out of wet clothes. Wearing wet clothes and shoes can irritate your skin and cause, redness and itchiness. Make sure to remove wet gloves, socks, and pants as soon as possible.

If you don’t want to make your own products try these:

What do you use to keep your skin protected from the winter cold?

3 Easy Ways to Start Your Own Organic Garden

Have you thought about starting your own organic garden? There are so many benefits to starting your own organic garden: it’s cost effective, especially when you plant the vegetables you buy and use most in your home; it helps reduce the toxic chemicalorganic gardens and pesticides that we get from conventional foods, and you don’t have to worry about what kind of fertilizers and pesticides they are spraying on your crops; and it’s really a wonderful tool for your family, especially if you have young children, get them involved!

Make sure to start with organic garden seeds from a reputable company like Botanical Interests.  This will ensure that your seeds are Non-GMO and grown without pesticides.

Here are 3 easy ways to start your own organic garden:

1.  Kitchen Window Herb Garden

If you are new to gardening and want to see what all the fuss is about. Start small. Try growing a few herbs right in your kitchen. You can even just start with one or two plants! For growing herbs in your kitchen. It’s best to have a south-facing window that gets direct sunlight for at least 4-6 hours per day during the winter. If you don’t receive that much light, use supplemental lighting such as florescent shop bulbs to ensure proper growth of the herbs during the winter.

When you’re taking care of your new herbs, don’t forget the most common killer of houseplants: not enough water. To monitor the thirstiness of your plants, poke your finger into the soil once every 3-4 days. If the soil feels dry, it is time to water.

Some good choices for your window herb garden:  parsley, chives, rosemary, thyme, sage, marjoram and winter savory and peppermint.

2. Raised Beds

I’m a big fan of raised-bed gardening. This is what we do in our family. Here are some reasons you might want to consider raised beds as well:

  • More control over the location of the garden, you can pick a good spot which gets the best sun.
  • Ability to choose the best soil for your particular plants.
  • More efficient draining.
  • Because the beds are raised it can be easier on your back and knees due to less bending and stooping.
  • Easier to keep out weeds (one of my favorite reasons).
  • The soil warms up earlier in a raised bed, so you can plant earlier and extend your growing season.
  • Better ability to keep out ground-dwelling pests (chicken wire is great at keeping moles away).
  • Perfect for kids who like to help in the garden.

Head over to This Old House to learn how to build your own raised bed.

3. Container Gardening

Container gardening is wonderful for people who live in the city or apartments without a yard. No yard is no excuse for why you cannot grow your own food. Containers come in every size…you can use small ones for your windows, larger ones for your porch, deck, or balcony, or you can hang them too! Containers also make it easier for you to control the soil, light, water and fertilizer.

Some Important Tips for Container Gardening:

1. Go Bigger

The greatest challenge of container vegetable growing is watering, because the soil dries out faster in pots than in the ground. A bigger container or pot will help it not dry out as fast, so get the biggest you can fit in your particular space. It’s fine to mix compatible plants in a single large pot. Make certain that any container has holes so excess water can drain away from the soil.

2. Watering is Key

Those “self-watering” containers have a reservoir beneath the soil topped with a grid through which the roots can reach down to the water. With these containers you won’t have to water as often, but you still have to be careful and watch to keep it filled. And in the hot summer, mature plants will empty that reservoir fast, so you may have to fill it daily. To help, try spreading some mulch over the soil in pots just as you would in a garden, to keep moisture from evaporating.

3. Start with Herbs

They are easy, especially if you begin with transplants, and will add a fresh-grown taste to almost any meal. Just remember to give them the conditions they prefer. All herbs need full sun, but some, such as rosemary, prefer dryer soil and fewer nutrients; basil needs more fertilizer and watering.

4. Move it

What is good about containers is that you can move them. In the morning you can stick them in the sunshine, and just keep moving them to follow the sun.  It might take some remembering on your part but with a container garden you’ll have a lot of options.

Additional Resources to Help You Start an Organic Garden:

Have you started your own organic garden yet?  What was the easiest or hardest part for you?

 

DIY: Naturally Dyed Easter Eggs

naturally dyed easter eggs

By Will Merydith from Fairfield, Iowa, USA (Natural Easter Colored Eggs) [CC-BY-SA-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Did you know that you can dye Easter eggs naturally using herbs, spices, fruits and veggies?  Dyeing times are a little longer and the colors are less intense than chemical dyes, but these naturally dyed Easter eggs are a better choice for your family and for the environment.

There are two ways to dye Easter eggs naturally; either boil raw eggs in the naturally colored water, or soak hard boiled eggs in the colored water overnight.  The first way is faster if you’re only using one or two colors but if you want to use a lot of different colors, its easier to make the colored soaking water and use smaller bowls to soak the hard boiled eggs in the refrigerator overnight.

To make the natural dyes, choose a natural ingredient from the list below.  The quantity that you use will determine how dark the color is.  Add distilled water and either cream of tartar or white vinegar to a non-aluminum pot.  Use 1 TBSP cream of tartar or vinegar per cup of water.  If you’re using raw eggs, boil them in the colored water like you normally would to cook hard boiled eggs.  You can then either remove the eggs or if you want them darker you can continue to soak them in the refrigerator.

If you’re using hard boiled eggs, you can make batches of different colors, then use smaller bowls to soak the eggs overnight in the refrigerator. If the eggs don’t come out as dark as you want the first time, you can make a darker colored soak water and let the eggs soak a second time.

Natural dyes are made with just a handful of ingredients.  You’ll need water, the natural material for coloring, and a mordant to help the colors penetrate the eggshell.  The mordant can be cream of tartar or white vinegar.

Naturally Dyed Easter Eggs Instructions:

  • Place the eggs in a single layer in a pan. Add water until the eggs are covered.
  • Add vinegar or cream of tartar.
  • Add the natural dye materials. Use more dye material for more eggs or for a more intense color.
  • Bring water to a boil.
  • Reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes.
  • If you are happy with the color, remove the eggs from the liquid.
  • For more intensely colored eggs, remove the eggs from the liquid. Strain the dye through a coffee filter or cheesecloth.  Cover the eggs with the filtered dye and let them soak in the refrigerator overnight.

Here’s a list of some herbs and spices you can use and the colors they yield:

Hibiscus flowers – Reddish blue/lavender
Turmeric root powder – Deep gold
Curry powder – Pale orange
Chili powder – Reddish brown
Paprika – Orange
Dill seed – Golden brown
Beet Juice – Pink
Coffee – Brown
Cranberry Juice – Pink
Red Cabbage Leaves – Blue
Onion Skins – Red or Yellow depending on the type of onion
Orange Peels – Pale Orange
Grape Juice – Lavender
Spinach Leaves – Green
Pomegranate Juice – Red

Find many of these natural dye materials HERE.

What are your favorite Easter traditions? Share with us in the comments below.

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