Swap Out Commercial Cleaners for DIY All-Natural Alternatives

Before you roll-up your sleeves and get down to a good, deep cleanse around the house, let’s talk about the type of cleaners you’re using. When you walk down the cleaning products aisle, the labels call out with powerful statements about killing bacteria and viruses. Other bottles claim to root out mold and demolish mildew or give your windows a streak-free shine. Sounds good, right? 

What if I told you there’s something better? Something safer. Something that will deep clean and leave behind a fresh scent without chemical components. Even better, what if I told you that it’s something you could make on your own? Here are 5 do-it-yourself cleaners that will be good for the environment, good for you, and good for your wallet

The basics: 

When you’re making out your shopping list, you’re going to want to stock up on white vinegar, baking soda, tea-tree oil, and lemons. These simple ingredients are powerhouse natural cleaners. As you dig into the recipes here or find others to experiment with online, you’ll quickly learn that at least one of these basics is a component you’re going to need. 

1. Glass cleaner

Grab a spray bottle and add two cups of water to it. Combine ½ cup of white vinegar, ¼ cup of rubbing alcohol, and a few drops of your favorite scented essential oil. I recommend trying a citrus scented oil or peppermint. Shake the spray bottle gently to combine the ingredients. Spray the solution on a microfiber cloth and apply it to your window or mirror to clean. 

2. All-purpose cleaner

You’re not going to want to use this one on your windows, but everything else is fair game. Combine ¾ cup of water with ½ cup of rubbing alcohol and a squirt of natural dish soap. Add the same essential oil you used to clean your windows. You can combine these in another squirt bottle for easy application. 

3. Removing mold and mildew

Tea-tree oil is a natural disinfectant and one you ought to keep around the house for a myriad of uses. One task ideal for tea-tree oil is banishing mold and mildew. Add a couple of teaspoons of the oil to 2 cups of water and spray the mixture on the area you wish to clean. You’re going to want to let it sit – the more deeply rooted the mold and mildew, the longer you want to leave it. When you’re ready to remove the cleaner, apply some baking soda. If you’re working on a vertical surface, you may need to make the baking soda into a thick paste with a bit of water. If you’ve cleaned a horizontal service and the tea-tree treated water is still pooled there, just sprinkle enough baking soda to form a paste. Using a small brush, scrub the area gently and then rinse. For tougher stained grout and tile, try using some peroxide, either on its own or in a paste with baking soda. Apply, let sit, and then scrub as needed.

4. Garbage disposal

If you’ve got a garage disposal that smells a little funky, there’s a natural freshen-up for that, too. The next time you’re enjoying an orange or using lemon in a dish, save the peels. Fill an ice cube tray with them and top each cube off with white vinegar. For an added aromatic boost, throw in sprigs of fresh herbs like rosemary or lavender. When you want to freshen things up, toss in a frozen cube and turn on the garbage disposal.

5. Wood polish

Treat your wooden furniture to a natural clean with a few items from your kitchen. Combine the juice of one lemon with a tablespoon of water and a tablespoon of grapeseed or olive oil in a small jar. Seal the jar tightly and shake the ingredients until they emulsify. Using a clean cloth, apply the mixture to your furniture.

by Anjie Cho


Recipe: Fire Water from Stiggly Holistics

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The charming Sacha Jones of Stiggly Holistics shares her recipe for Fire Water.  This is a savory cleansing concoction that Sacha drinks every morning. I highly recommend this drink-- it's a wonderfully warming broth.

It’s also a huge part of the menu for the group cleanses that she organizes. If you are interested in a guided cleanse, Sacha organizes cleanses at least once every season.  She welcomes participants at ALL levels and it's international!

Sacha recommends drinking Fire Water every morning.  After you wake up and have a full glass of water, then move onto your Fire Water.  It is a great "zingy", super cleansing kickstarter and the perfect replacement for coffee.  Sacha explains, “it’s very cleansing, has anti-inflammatory properties, good for digestion and blood sugar balance.  It’s pretty awesome!”

Fire Water - The Basics:

  • Boiled water, enough for your mug
  • Fresh squeezed juice from a half or full lemon
  • Cayenne pepper, to taste
  • Cinnamon, Ginger Powder & Turmeric, approximately ¼ teaspoon each
  • Pink Himalayan Salt (or other high quality sea salt) & fresh cracked Black Pepper, a pinch of each
  • Virgin coconut oil, 1 teaspoon 
  1. Boil the water.  Sacha reminds us “remember not to watch your kettle - you know what they say!”
  2. Squeeze the lemon juice into “your biggest, most favourite, chunky ceramic mug."
  3. Add the cayenne pepper to taste, as well as the other spices, salt and pepper. The above measurements are general guidelines.  Sacha recommends you “play with the quantities, start with smaller pinches of each if you prefer."
  4. Then top off the Fire Water with virgin coconut oil
  5. Finally, Sacha instructs us to “stir, sit down, breathe, smile, and when it's cool enough, sip.  And enjoy.  You will likely want to stir it as you go, to keep all the lovely ingredients from settling to the bottom”.

Finally, a lovely video of Sacha making Fire Water


Everything You Need to Know About Thieves Essential Oil

We're fans of essential oils, especially in the cooler seasons, when the change of weather and increase in stressful situations can wreak havoc on immune systems. You can check out our list of fall favorites here, but one oil that deserves a post of its own is Thieves. Thieves is a combination of several other oils and has an interesting back story as well as a laundry list of uses for both the body and the home. So why the name "Thieves"? The story goes like this:

When the Black Plague hit Europe, four spice traders found themselves forbidden to trade and had to find another way to generate income. Since the plague was claiming many victims, and most were afraid to touch the bodies of those who had died or were dying, these spice traders began to enter homes and loot the bodies and homes of the victims. To prevent themselves from becoming casualties as well, the four thieves rubbed a mixture of vinegar, oils and spices on their feet and bodies before entering the homes. 

When the king found out about these four thieves who had somehow managed to find immunity, he threatened to have them killed if they didn't share their recipe, which they did. Once the king had the recipe, he shared it with the kingdom and it eventually made its way all the way here!

Of course, we don't have to worry about the Black Plague in our modern day, but we do still get the sniffles and have to watch our immune systems closely when the weather begins to get chilly! Just like in days past, Thieves oil can help us to fight off sickness and maintain a healthy body

While there are many recipes for Thieves oil, depending on who you ask, the ratio of oils is generally very similar. 

For a small amount of oil, try:

10 drops of Clove oil
9 drops of Lemon oil
5 drops of Cinnamon oil
4 drops of Eucalyptus oil
3 drops of Rosemary oil

If you need a much larger amount, use:

80 drops of Clove oil
70 drops of Lemon oil
40 drops of Cinnamon oil
30 drops of Eucalyptus oil
20 drops of Rosemary oil

 

You can use these basic recipes to adjust for the amount of oil you need, but be sure to always use therapeutic grade essential oils, as other kinds may be toxic. We recommend seeking out Fair Trade as well! 

Once you've mixed your oil in a glass container, how do you use it? Thieves has a wide range of uses, but these are some of our favorites:

  • Mix Thieves in a 1:1 ratio (1 drop to 1 oz) with Witch Hazel or water to use as a general disinfectant and all-purpose cleaner
  • Mix in a 1:1 ratio (we like 9 drops of each) with carrier oil and massage on feet, back and chest to support a healthy immune system
  • Add one drop of Thieves to at least a cup of water and drink, cool or warm, to support immune system and lung functioning. You can even add a drop of lemon oil to make a great tea for throat pain!
  • Add a few drops to steaming water and use as a steam facial to support head, chest and lungs
  • Diffuse or add a few drops to a cinnamon stick to make your holistic space smell warm and welcoming, like the autumn and winter seasons, and to purify your indoor air!

We'd love to hear your favorite ways to use Thieves in your holistic spaces. Happy mixing!

by Anjie Cho 


What To Do With Castile Soap

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If you've been to a health store, you've probably seen Castile soap, most likely Dr. Bronner's. Castile soap is a soap made with natural oils and chemical reactions. The only chemicals involved in making Castile soap are sodium hydroxide and/or potassium hydroxide (commonly known as lye). Since these chemicals are all used up when they react to the oils, Castile soap is chemical free, non-toxic and eco-friendly. Not only is this soap completely safe and holistic, it has multiple uses outside the shower! 

All-purpose Cleaning

Since Castile soap is safe to use anywhere, it makes the perfect ingredient for all-purpose cleaner, in fact, my favorite DIY recipe for non-toxic cleaner includes Castile soap! Take a peek at the recipe below for making your own eco-friendly all-purpose cleaner. 

All Purpose Cleaner

1/2 cup vinegar
1 cup hot water
1/8 tsp Castile soap
optional (but recommended!) - 9 drops essential oil (Eucalyptus or Tea Tree oil is naturally antibacterial/antimicrobial)

Pour into a spray bottle and shake before each use

If you're not the DIY type, check out the Citrus All-Purpose Cleaner from Celadon Road. I discovered the Celadon Road all-natural cleaning line last year, and I've been using it ever since! I love it!

Mop It Up

Hardwood floor cleaner can be expensive and potentially toxic, depending on the brand, but if you have a little Castile soap and some hot water, say goodbye to spending your hard-earned money on cleaning supplies! For a three gallon bucket of hot water, just add half a cup of Castile soap and a mop for shiny floors (unless they're carpeted) and a clean, holistic space. 

Sop It Up

We mentioned above that using the Castile soap/hot water solution with a mop on carpet might not work, but you CAN make a carpet cleaner using the same ingredients! Instead of renting carpet cleaning gear or paying someone to do it for you, mix a cup of water and 1/4 cup of Castile soap in a blender until you get a foam consistency. Then use that to clean your carpet holistically, without toxins and without making a dent in your wallet.

Castile soap is often sold in the personal care aisle, so we know it's great for use as body wash, shampoo, pet shampoo and even for acne treatment, but its power goes far past that one room. Next time you're on the health aisle, remember all the amazing ways Castile soap can help you create a nurturing space, and pick up a bottle! 

by Anjie Cho


eHow.com Video: Herbal Homemade Conditioner You Can Make in Your Own Kitchen

 Herbal Homemade Conditioner You Can Make in Your Own Kitchen

Herbal Homemade Conditioner You Can Make in Your Own Kitchen

Here's a simple and easy recipe to make your own herbal hair conditioner. I use this every week. I whole-heartedly believe in all natural and organic materials in all areas of your life, including your beauty products.  Please share some of your own great recipes!

see more eHow.com videos here

Video Transcript:

I'm Anjie Cho, and this is how to make herbal homemade conditioner in your own kitchen.

Most hair conditioners that you find in stores use harmful and or synthetic chemicals that will not only, over time, dry your hair out, but may also be toxic. Though these chemicals preserve the shelf life of the product, they do absolutely nothing to preserve the health of your hair. This herbal homemade hair conditioner can be made in your own kitchen with just a few simple items.

Note, this hair conditioner is very similar to a hot oil treatment, and it's really great for dry hair but also for oily hair too. You'll need some good quality oils, such as jojoba oil, olive oil or coconut oil. I prefer to use raw extra virgin oils if possible.

You gently warm the oil so it's warm to the touch, and then you can add some herbs or essential oils of your choice. Basil is really great for oily hair and promotes hair growth. Chamomile, like the tea, is great for fine normal hair, and it also gives golden highlights. You can use a teabag and just take it out when you're done. Clary sage oil is great for dandruff treatment. Lavender is also great for dandruff and itchiness. Peppermint is good for dry hair and promotes hair growth so again you can use a teabag or you can just use the peppermint and strain it. Finally, tea tree oil is great for oily and dry scalp.

To make this homemade hair conditioner, or to use it, you can use up to half or 2 teaspoons if you have long hair like me, and apply it to dry or damp hair. Massage it first into your scalp then down to the ends. Leave it in for an hour or two, shampoo and rinse.

This hair conditioner will heal and nourish all types of hair. It will condition dry and brittle hair as well balance oily hair.

by Anjie Cho