Sunday, May 10, 2009
Health and beauty
*Wash your face and hair. Just a drop for each. Mix with a dime-sized amount of baking soda for the greatest cleansing experience of your life!
*Use in the shower. Again just a drop for each your hair and face and a little squirt on a washcloth or poof for the rest of your body. Finish up by using it to shave your legs, a drop for each leg.
*Use in kids' bathwater. A good squirt in the bathwater, no other soap needed.
*Hand soap. Fill the hand soap bottle up with water and put a little squirt of castile soap in there. If it doesn't make enough suds for you put another squirt in.
*General cleaning. A drop or two for cleaning or scrubbing anything up in the kitchen or bathroom.
*Laundry. A good squirt or two in with the wash water. Also great for washing cloth diapers!
*Dishes. A good squirt in the dishwater.
*Carpet stains. Gets those right up. A drop or two on a damp clean towel or squirt the fabulous cleaner/disinfectant spray on it.
*Cleaner/disinfectant spray: This is wonderful. I love this. Take a spray bottle and fill it about a fourth full with vinegar, just the white kind. Fill the rest of the bottle up with water. Then put in a squirt of castile soap and a few (three or four) drops of tea tree oil. Use this to clean literally everything -- counters, sinks, toilets, freshen carpets and furniture, and it even kills pesky little bugs. Vinegar naturally kills germs and so does tea tree oil, and castile soap cleans, so you have a fabulous cleaner and disinfectant just like that. What's also so wonderful about this cleaning spray is that it is perfectly natural, nontoxic, and you don't have to call poison control if your two-year-old decides he'd like to clean the carpets with it. It is not poison like commercially produced harsh chemical cleaners, which are harmful to the entire family as well as the environment.
Since you only use a drop or a squirt at most for everything, this terrific stuff lasts a long time. Coupled with the fact that you can use it all over the house, it is great for the money. You can get a 16 oz. bottle for less than $10 and it will last forever. (Unless your two-year-old, the clean freak that he seems to be although he also loves to make as many messes as possible, decides to pour out one third of a bottle straight onto the carpets.)
I have not found that I like to use it to mop the floors; it leaves a thin filmy residue on the floors at my house. Could be the cheap floor covering. And a word about an interesting science experiment, if you put straight vinegar and straight castile soap together you will get some oily globs. Make sure you have some water in there first before you put those two together. Not harmful at all, just a bit annoying.
Saturday, May 9, 2009
I had read on the Internet that someone thought you could buy Kirk's castile soap at Target, so I went looking today. Couldn't find it. Asked someone. She told me it was over with the shampoo and body wash. Still couldn't find it. Asked someone else. She got on it for me, paging someone and then calling her. Then she took me back over there to the health and beauty area. STILL couldn't find it. So I said, "Do you have a natural/organic area?" So the young lady paged the person again, who told her where the natural/organic area was. It was the aisle before where we were looking, before you get to the facial cleansers area. When I saw it I squealed with delight and actually hugged the girl! It was right beside the big Burt's Bees area, and I started to ask where that was since I figured it would be close.
Anyway, they had a bunch of different kinds. The 16 oz. bottles are $8.39. (I paid nearly $10 for the same size bottle at Whole Foods.) They had the bigger bottles for $13 and some change but they didn't have it in the tea tree oil variety so I just got the 16 oz. bottle. They also had a couple of the little "trial size" bottles in lavendar and though I don't like lavendar I grabbed them anyway so I could place them throughout the house. (I use castile soap in all the bathrooms, the kitchen, and the laundry room.)
This was a delightful find! It's cheaper at Target than at Whole Foods, and Target for me is a lot closer. There are so many uses for this wonderful substance as far as health and beauty and cleaning goes, and a little bit goes a very long way.
Friday, May 8, 2009
Tea tree oil
There are so many ways to use these fabulous products but here are a few of my favorites.
Vinegar: Add it to the laundry wash water, use less detergent and softer clothes. Use it in a spray cleaner. Mop the floor.
Baking soda: So many beauty uses for skin and hair. Great scrubbing agent for cleaning up around the house.
Borax and washing soda: Make laundry detergent with it. Make dishwashing detergent and bathroom cleaner.
Tea tree oil: Wonderful on the skin. Very good as a household disinfectant.
Castile soap: Also wonderful on the skin and hair. Use it to make household cleaning spray. Use it in the laundry.
To make laundry detergent, use two cups borax, two cups washing soda, and a grated up bar of Ivory soap. Mix together well, store in an airtight container, and use a tablespoon or so per load. Add some vinegar in with the wash water for very fresh, clean, and soft clothes.
You can mix half borax and half baking soda and use that in the dishwasher (about tablespoon or less per load) and even wash dishes in the sink in a pinch. It's also good for scrubbing!
Since the borax box is bigger than the washing soda box I always end up with more borax, so I make a jar of a little washing soda and mostly borax (maybe 1/3 washing soda to 2/3 borax, it doesn't really matter) for scrubbing the bathroom sink, toilet, and bathtub.
For a wonderful household cleaner and disinfectant, get a spray bottle and fill it about 1/4 full of vinegar. Fill the rest with water and then add a squirt of castile soap and a few (as in three or four) drops of tea tree oil. Shake and spray on anything to clean and disinfect!
A couple of sort-of failures here -- a mix of borax and washing soda does not make the greatest thing for washing dishes in the sink, but it does work. Castile soap is not good to mop the floor with. It leaves a filmy residue. And if you mix straight vinegar with straight castile soap you get this odd reaction where oily globs are formed. Just make sure the water is in there first before you mix those two.
TTO and castile soap are available at the health food store; I've bought TTO at Wal-Mart and I hear that castile soap is at Target (I hope so, Target is closer to me than the health food store.) Baking soda and vinegar are sold at all stores. Borax and washing soda are usually in the laundry aisle of the grocery store.
The truly wonderful thing about these natural products is that they are far superior to commercially made synthetic cleaners because they are safe, clean better, are usually cheaper, and do not pollute your house and body. Some people seem to believe that their home is not clean unless they have used toxic chemicals but if you'll stop and think a minute ... who's smarter, God or man? Nature trumps science EVERY TIME.
Enjoy being green and thrifty!
Tuesday, February 10, 2009
For really quick jobs the homemade pads work well but for heavier jobs its easier to just vacuum. It actually might be worth the expense to buy the pads that go in the sweeper, but I tried that a few days ago and it didn't work. I went way out to the "big box" store that I don't like anymore and after walking all over the store looking for them it appeared that not only were they out, they don't even carry them anymore. Big bummer.
Since my son loves to run the carpet sweeper on the floor I'll make him a sticky pad but I don't think I'll keep making them for normal use.
Thursday, January 29, 2009
My experiment with making carpet sweeper pads to fit into a name-brand carpet sweeper was met with guarded satisfaction. There are some drawbacks but I pronounced the experiment an overall success.
The pads that come with the sweeper or that can be bought separately work wonderfully but are a bit pricey and seem to be only sold at the notorious big-box discount store that is too far and too much trouble for me to patronize regularly.
My 21-month-old son loves to push the sweeper around on the carpet so I thought I'd try my hand at making some sticky pads to put in it. (May as well use free labor, right?) My original list of supplies included cardboard and double-sided tape but a quick trip to my favorite dollar store yielded only some super-cheap regular tape, the wide kind. Not to be outdone, I figured I could make this work.
I took a cereal box (never throw those away, they are so very useful) and cut out a rectangle that I thought would fit inside the sweeper (it did, exactly) and wound some tape around it. Winding the tape around it was a bit tricky at first but gets easier with practice. After the tape was applied I wrestled it into the sweeper and gave it to my son to try.
To my smug satisfaction, it worked pretty well! It picked up fairly well, not as good as the pads that are made to go in it, but good enough. The compromised stickiness along with the slight difficulty of getting the pad in and out of the sweeper are drawbacks but for a dollar you can make dozens of these things and pick up the crumbs off the carpet during those times when you don't have the energy to pull out the vacuum cleaner and run it.
Wednesday, January 21, 2009
The Green Living Tips blog hydrogen peroxide tips list has several uses for hydrogen peroxide, including that of a bathroom disinfectant and laundry additive.
For an excellent explanation of how hydrogen peroxide works along with other non-chlorine bleaches check out a wonderful piece on What is Non-Chlorine Bleach? on Bright Hub.
What are some of your favorite hydrogen peroxide uses? We already use it for first aid and for oral hygiene.
Now I just need to find a place to get it very cheaply!
Tuesday, January 20, 2009
I clean everything with natural products and make my own cleaners, and was intrigued to find this wonderful list of 25 Safe, Non-Toxic Homemade Cleaning Supplies. Here are two that I am going to try, copied from the site:
Disinfectant all purpose cleaner: Mix a few drops of castille soap, 2 cups water, and 15 drops each of tea tree and lavender essential oil. You can spray this on all surfaces, like cutting boards, counters, toilets, walls, (except it will streak glass). This stuff disinfects but is so safe you can actually spray it on your baby - you can’t say that about most commercial household cleaners.
Herbal disinfectant: Choose one fresh herb - lavender, eucalyptus, juniper, sage, thyme, or rosemary. Simmer the leaves and stems for 30 minutes. You can use any amount of water, but the less you use the stronger the solution and disinfectant properties. Strain, pour liquid into bottle, and use on any surface but glass. If you add a dash of natural soap or biodegradable dish detergent it will cut grease.
Back to me now; I know these will work because I have a bottle of nontoxic disinfectant that is made with thyme. The label says it even kills the virus that causes AIDS. Tea tree oil is antifungal, antimicrobal, pretty much anti-anything bad and makes a wonderful cleaning additive.
Monday, January 19, 2009
Clean and deodorize a drain by pouring in 1 cup baking soda, then one cup hot white distilled vinegar. Let this sit for 5 minutes or so then run hot water down the drain.
Deodorize the garbage disposal by pouring in 1/2 cup baking soda and 1/2 cup hot white distilled vinegar. Let sit for 5 minutes then run hot water down the disposal.
Deodorize and clean the garbage disposal with white distilled vinegar ice cubes. Make them by freezing full-strength white distilled vinegar in an ice cube tray. Run several cubes down the disposal while flushing with cold water.
Clean the microwave by mixing 1/2 cup white distilled vinegar and 1/2 cup water in a microwave-safe bowl. Bring it to a rolling boil inside the microwave. Baked-on food will be loosened, and odors will disappear. Wipe clean.
Clean the shelves and walls of the refrigerator with a half-and-half solution of water and white distilled vinegar.
Remove mineral deposits from coffee makers with white distilled vinegar. Fill the water reservoir with 1 cup or more of white distilled vinegar and run it through a whole cycle. Run it once or twice more with plain water to rinse clean. (Check the owners’ manual first.)
For stained and smelly plastic food containers, wipe them with a cloth dampened with white distilled vinegar.
Discourage ants by spraying undiluted white distilled vinegar outside doorways and windowsills, around appliances and wherever you find the pests coming in.
Clean the wheel of a can opener using white distilled vinegar and an old toothbrush.
Remove the smell of spoiled food from a refrigerator by first rinsing the area with soap and water. Spray surfaces with full-strength white distilled vinegar and wipe them down with a damp cloth or sponge. Fill some containers with baking soda and place inside. Close the door and leave for a few days.
Renew sponges and dishrags by placing them in just enough water to cover them. Then add 1/4 cup white distilled vinegar. Let them soak overnight.
Shine colored porcelain sinks by scouring them with undiluted white distilled vinegar.
Clean grout by letting full-strength white distilled vinegar sit on it for a few minutes and scrubbing it with an old toothbrush.
Kill germs all around the bathroom with a spray of full-strength white distilled vinegar. Wipe clean with a damp cloth.
To remove grime, mildew, and scum from the tub, tile, shower curtain or door, wipe with undiluted white distilled vinegar. Rinse with water.
Get rid of stubborn bathtub film by wiping it with white distilled vinegar and then scouring with baking soda.
Clean shower door tracks by filling them with white distilled vinegar and letting it sit for a few hours. Pour hot water into the tracks and wash and scrub away the scum with a toothbrush.
To clean a scummy showerhead, pour 1/2 cup baking soda and 1 cup white distilled vinegar into a sandwich bag and tie it around the showerhead. Let this set for an hour after the bubbling has stopped. Remove the bag and then turn on the water.
Deodorize the toilet bowl by allowing 3 cups white distilled vinegar to sit in it for about a half hour before flushing.
To make the toilet bowl sparkle, pour in a cup or more of diluted white distilled vinegar and let it sit several hours or overnight. Scrub well with the toilet brush and flush.
Freshen air in the bathroom by spraying into the air a solution of 1 teaspoon baking soda, 1 tablespoon white distilled vinegar, and 1 cup water.
Get a shining finish on a no-wax vinyl or linoleum floor by cleaning it with a solution of one cup white distilled vinegar for every gallon of water.
Apply full-strength white distilled vinegar directly to tough linoleum stains. Leave it on for 10 to 15 minutes before wiping it up. If that doesn’t work, apply white distilled vinegar again and then sprinkle some baking soda over the white distilled vinegar. Scrub the area with a brush or sponge. Rinse clean with water.
Some carpet stains can be removed with a paste of 2 tablespoons white distilled vinegar and 1/4 cup salt or baking soda. Rub into the carpet stain and let dry. Vacuum up the residue the next day. (Always test on an out-of-sight part of the carpet first).
Clean up pet accidents by first blotting up the area and then adding a white distilled vinegar-and-water solution. Blot until it is almost dry. Then sprinkle baking soda over the area and let it dry. Vacuum up the residue the next day.
Get rid of mildew, dust, and stale odors by wiping down walls with undiluted white distilled vinegar on a cloth or a sponge mop.
Clean wood paneling with a solution of 1/4 cup olive oil, 1/2 cup white distilled vinegar, and 2 cups warm water. Wipe on with a soft cloth.
Get decals off walls or doors by letting undiluted white distilled vinegar soak into them for several minutes before trying to peel them off. Repeat if necessary.
To kill germs, spray full-strength white distilled vinegar on doorknobs and then wipe them dry.
Remove the smell of a dead mouse or other rodent (after removing all animal remnants) by wiping down the area with either white distilled vinegar or bleach. Then place a fabric softener sheet in the area to remove any lingering odors.
To remove film in glass baby bottles, fill with equal parts hot water and white distilled vinegar. Let sit for at least an hour. Scrub with a bottle brush.
To clean and disinfect baby toys add a good-sized splash of white distilled vinegar to soapy water.
Clean vinyl baby books or board books by wiping with white distilled vinegar. Wipe clean with a damp sponge or cloth.
Clean scissors that have become sticky (after cutting tape, for instance) with a cloth dipped in undiluted white distilled vinegar.
Clean and deodorize urine on a mattress with a white distilled vinegar and water solution. Then sprinkle the area with baking soda and let dry. Brush or vacuum the residue after it is dry to the touch.
Sunday, January 18, 2009
Prevent lint from clinging to clothes by adding 1/2 cup white distilled vinegar to the wash cycle.
To remove soap residue that makes black clothes look dull use white distilled vinegar in your final rinse.
Get stained white socks and dingy dishcloths white again. Add 1 cup white distilled vinegar to a large pot of water, bring it to a rolling boil and drop in the articles. Let soak overnight.
Some stains on clothing and linens can be soaked out using equal parts milk and white distilled vinegar.
Before washing a mustard stain, dab with white distilled vinegar.
Attack spaghetti, barbecue, or ketchup stains with a white distilled vinegar and water solution.
Remove perspiration odor and stains on clothing, as well as those left by deodorants, by spraying full-strength white distilled vinegar on underarm and collar areas before tossing them into the washing machine.
Forgot that you left wet laundry in the machine and it now smells moldy? Pour a few cups of white distilled vinegar in the machine and wash the clothes in hot water. Then run a normal cycle with detergent.
Remove smoky odors from clothes by filling the bathtub with very hot water and 1 cup white distilled vinegar. Hang the garments above the steaming water and shut the door so the steam can penetrate the fibers.
Keep the steam iron clean and in good working order by getting rid of mineral deposits in steam vents and spray nozzles. Fill the water chamber with a solution of equal parts white distilled vinegar and distilled water. Set it in an upright position and let it steam for about 5 minutes. When the iron is cool, rinse the tank with water, refill and shake water through the vents onto an old cloth. Test before using.
Remove scorch marks from an iron by rubbing it with a warmed-up solution of equal parts white distilled vinegar and salt. If that doesn’t work, use a cloth dampened with full-strength white distilled vinegar.
Remove musky smells from cotton clothes by sprinkling them lightly with white distilled vinegar and then pressing them.
Get cleaner laundry! Add about 1/4 cup white distilled vinegar to the last rinse. The acid in white distilled vinegar is too mild to harm fabrics, yet strong enough to dissolve the alkalies in soaps and detergents. Besides removing soap, white distilled vinegar prevents yellowing, acts as a fabric softener and static cling reducer, and attacks mold and mildew.
Eliminate manufacturing chemicals from new clothes by adding 1/2 cup white distilled vinegar to the water.
Remove soap scum and clean the hoses of your washing machine with white distilled vinegar. Periodically run the machine with only a cup of white distilled vinegar in it—nothing else added to the wash cycle.
Friday, January 16, 2009
I love it and use it for many things around the house: in the laundry room, kitchen, and bathroom. There are plenty more ways to use it as well.
It's usually less than $2 for a large jug of it, which makes it incredibly economical given the many ways you can use it around the house.
Thursday, January 15, 2009
1. Use to remove stains from carpets, clothing and other fabric.
2. Use to clean windows, nothing makes windows shine like vinegar and newspaper.
3. Use to clean dishes, vinegar removes grease.
4. Vinegar can soothe a jellyfish sting.
5. Use vinegar to keep your car’s chrome shiny.
6. Use as a hair rinse to remove shampoo residue.
7. Use in your laundry to reduce static cling and soften clothes.
8. Use to neutralize and deodorize the air in your home. Simmer vinegar on the stove to remove stale household odors.
9. Put a couple of teaspoons of vinegar in the water for cut flowers to keep them fresh longer.
10. Use to soothe a sunburn. Saturate a cloth with vinegar and place directly on the burn.
11. Mixed with water, vinegar can help to break a low grade fever.
12. Run through your coffee maker to clean and deodorize.
13. Use to clean soap scum and mildew in the shower.
14. Use to soothe a bee sting.
15. Swallow one teaspoon of vinegar to stop hiccups.
16. Clean your waste baskets and garbage cans with vinegar to deodorize.
17. Wash your windshield with vinegar to deter ice and frost.
18. Use vinegar to remove fruit or grass stains from hands.
19. To highlight hair, spray your hair with vinegar before sitting in the sun.
20. Add vinegar to your vaporizer for easier breathing.
21. Add a teaspoon of vinegar to water to use as a sore throat gargle.
22. Adding vinegar to laundry will cut static cling and eliminate lint.
23. Mix with dish detergent and water to control weeds.
24. Wipe out your clothes hampers with vinegar to keep them smelling fresh.
25. Spray vinegar around doors and windows to control ants and other insects.
26. Remove skunk odor from your pet’s fur by bating them in vinegar.
27. Use vinegar to clean rust from tools, screws, bolts and more.
28. Use to wash no wax floors.
29. Pour down the kitchen drain and garbage disposal to help keep it smelling fresh.
30. Soak your showerhead in vinegar to remove mineral deposits and deter corrosion.
31. Poor straight vinegar through the cracks in your sidewalk to keep the grass from growing through.
32. Soak paintbrushes in warm vinegar to soften.
33. Use vinegar to remove salt from shoes.
34. Mix with olive oil to clean wood furniture.
35. Sponge vinegar onto leather to clean and freshen.
36. Rub vinegar over scorch marks to remove.
37. Use vinegar to tenderize meat.
38. Use vinegar and cotton swabs to clean out your computer mouse.
39. Clean lunchboxes with vinegar to remove food smells.
40. Add vinegar to your bathwater to soften skin.
41. Rinse your hair with vinegar to help control dandruff.
42. Clean piano keys with vinegar.
43. Use to help remove chewing gum from hair.
44. Use to help dissolve a sticky mess from your kitchen cabinets.
45. Soak a piece of stale bread in vinegar and place over calluses and corns.
46. Septic tank uses should clean their toilets with vinegar to help keep down germs.
47. Spray wallpaper with vinegar and water to aid in the removal process.
48. Use to clean copper and polish silver.
49. Vinegar in the tub helps to soothe sore muscles.
50. Drinking a couple of teaspoons of apple cider vinegar is said to keep the mosquitoes away.
51. Using vinegar when washing diapers is said to help prevent diaper rash.
52. Use vinegar and water to keep computer and peripherals dust-free.
53. Use to remove mildew.
54. Use vinegar to remove sticker and decal residue.
55. Use vinegar to clean and freshen your fridge.
56. Run vinegar through the dishwasher to clean, deodorize and remove mineral deposits.
57. Use when washing dishes to cut the grease.
58. A little vinegar in the stew pot will help prevent corned beef from shrinking.
59. Vinegar will remove odors from your hands.
60. Spray clothes with vinegar and water to remove wrinkles.
61. Use vinegar to remove crayon stains from clothing.
62. Vinegar removes bloodstains from fabric.
63. Sprinkle vinegar on places you don’t want your cats to go.
64. Wash pets in vinegar to prevent fleas and ticks.
65. Use to clean outdoor furniture and freshen after months of winter storage.
66. Use to clean bird droppings from furniture, decks and playground equipment.
Thursday, January 1, 2009
My overall take on substituting homemade for storebought is this: YES!! Homemade works at least as well as storebought, and is cheap and easy. (But keep storebought tucked in the closet somewhere, you may need it.)
For the individual ideas --
Unpaper towels: Wonderful. They work great. I grab them and use them all the time. You really don't need to have any regular paper towels in the closet except for maybe when you have company who prefers them in the bathroom.
Cloth all-purpose bags: These are great for stashing everything! I am still not using them at the store because 1.) I don't have any in the right size and 2.) I don't have any of any size in the car. I'm working on that. I still use the plastic store bags that I inevitably come home with as trash can liners.
Cloth diapers: They're wonderful. They are somewhat of an expense up front but you can greatly reduce that by making your own out of old clothing and sheets around the house or from yard sales. I do recommend keeping a few disposable ones handy for the diaper bag.
Homemade dish detergent: Works great in the dishwasher and for cleaning everything in the bathroom, just not so much for washing dishes in the sink. That is mainly a matter of convenience, it seems. I'm just used to grabbing the container of dish soap and squirting. I even made some liquid by adding the dish detergent mixture to some water in an old dish soap container but I go through it so fast. This idea is not a dud, just one that didn't work out so great for me for washing dishes in the sink. It's awesome for the dishwasher.
Homemade laundry detergent: Fabulous! I wash my cloth diapers in this detergent only, and use it on our other laundry as well. I do love scented laundry detergent, so I do still buy Arm and Hammer, the natural kind.
As I have put these ideas into practice in my home I have found myself making fewer and fewer trips to the store for paper and cleaning items. That is a huge plus in my book, along with the savings.