DIY Cleaning Supplies
Since I've become increasingly interested in reducing my exposure to chemicals commonly found in everyday products, I've decided to start making my own household cleaning products. It's also more economical and as long as I keep the staples at home, I never have to worry about running out of anything. If you're interested in making your own cleaning products, here's a list of staple products that you'll need to have on hand:
Borax** For laundry soap, some people use it, some people don't. This is often found in commerically available natural detergents but there are some concerns about the safety of its use. I’ve included a few recipes so you can decide whether you want to use it or not. Another factor to consider when using Borax, is that it typically works best in hot water.
Distilled White Vinegar
Naptha Soap/ Zoate Soap *** May also use use a plain white soap, such as Ivory. In my own home, I will only use Fels-Naptha for cleaning the bathroom since this isn't exactly non-toxic and I already had it on hand. I will use castille soap in all other instances. Again, you can make your own call on this one.
Castille Soap (I like Dr. Bronner’s)
You'll also need spray bottles, a cheese grater, mason jars, measuring cups and spoons and foaming soap dispenser to complete your kit.
Click here to download my [FREE] DIY Cleaning Supplies guide for all the recipes!
Everyday Coconut Oil Hacks
You have already seen how I use coconut oil to make my DIY toothpaste & how I incorporate it in my daily natural deodorant routine. Now, I'm back with a quick video to share a few of my new favorite recipes. How do YOU use coconut oil?
*****QUICK RECIPE REFERENCE*****
DIY “VICKS” RUB: Add some peppermint or eucalyptus essential oils
LUBE & MASSAGE OIL: Especially helpful for perineal massage
ECZEMA BALM: in case baby has sensitive skin! Add some calendula oil
POST-WORKOUT BALM: Make your own Icy Hot w/ peppermint essential oil, cayenne pepper and coconut oil
MOMMY BALM: Add some witch hazel and calendula oil to calm immflamuation and irritation from varicose veins and stretch marks.
***DON’T USE CALENDULA OIL WHILE PREGNANT!***
I Tried Natural Deodorant... Here's What Happened.
Switching from traditional anti-perspirant to natural deodorant is NOT a transition one should undertake without careful and thorough consideration. First of all, do NOT attempt to do this during the summer time. Don’t even play yourself. You’re just setting yourself up for failure. I recommend waiting until the cooler fall and winter months to make this transition. Perfect timing aside, you also have to be willing to be patient. Here’s my experience…
Before I transitioned, I did a lot of research into which brands actually worked. Fortunately, I was able to narrow my search down to a handful of prospects. I started with the highly recommended Primal Pit Paste. Initially, I used the actual paste. First, I had to get use to the idea of actually rubbing my deodorant on. And then I had to accept that I was using DEODORANT and not antiperspirant, which is what I was accustomed to. I enjoyed the sample containers enough to purchase the full-sized deodorant sticks. I also loved the selection of scents; my favorites were the jasmine and lavender scents. I did notice that the stick form had a stiff consistency and that it applied best after being warmed up slightly on the skin. Other than the awkward application and the damp feeling that periodically developed under my arms, natural deodorant wasn’t that bad.
A few days into my transition it started to happen. The skin under my arms got scaly and leathery as it got darker. It became itchy and inflamed. And worst of all, it stank. Not me though… just my under arms. A scholarly search on Google revealed that I was likely experiencing a “pit detox”, however the remedies were a bit more involved than I was ready to commit to.
And with that, I was back to regular schmegular degular antiperspirant. I needed to give my pits a break.They cleared up on their own and a few weeks later, I was ready to jump back on the natural deodorant market. This time, I found a few new brands that were appealing. Schmidt’s brand natural deodorant and a relatively new brand I found in Whole Foods, called Nfuse. Schmidt’s, like Primal Pit Paste (PPP), had baking soda listed as a primary ingredient. Also like PPP, the scents selection was a plus (I chose Rose Vanilla). The second brand, Nfuse, did not utilize baking soda. Instead, it contained magnesium. I knew that magnesium was something that most people were deficient in and that it was best absorbed topically. It also came in a minimal, but still acceptable three scents (I chose lavender).
Newly committed, I began using my rose vanilla schmidt’s. Like clockwork, the “pit detox” happened. This time around, I decided to use bentonite clay under my arms as a “detox mask”. I’m not sure if it actually did anything to speed up the “detoxification” process but I felt good about my effort. As I was waited for my pits for clear up, I relied on my lavender Nfuse. They eventually cleared up, but in the meantime, I had decided that I preferred the Schmidt’s. So I immediately went back to using it regularly.
This time, I was in for a rude awakening. My pits got even more inflamed than before, even itchier, even darker, even smellier. Enough was enough and I knew good ol’ Google had the answer to my dilemma.
Turns out, pit detox is NOT a thing. Instead, what I experiencing was a severe, but typical reaction to the baking soda. In short, the pH of baking soda is not ideal for prolonged contact on skin. This is lovingly referred to as “baking soda burn”. And burn it did; with that, I reluctantly decided that baking soda based options were now out of the question.
That evening, I washed up and applied my new alternative, homemade magnesium spray. Biggest. Mistake. Ever. You know that feeling when you apply typical anti-perspirant on freshly shaved skin? Multiply that by 1000 and add 2. I dried my tears and the stinging subsided a few minutes later. I resolved to avoid any additional potential irritants and simply used coconut oil. I had read that it works during my research, so why not? Day one of coconut oil left me optimistic. Day two on the other hand… well, by midday, it was apparent that I needed to head back to the drawing board. I tried relying solely on my lavender Nfuse but unfortunately, that didn’t last any better than the coconut oil.
I really was not ready to go back to conventional antiperspirant, so I gave it one last ditch effort. The next morning, I applied a thin coconut of oil then applied my rose vanilla Schmidt’s. I was hoping for the best of both worlds--- an effective deodorant without the irritation. It worked! Cautious of getting my hopes up too soon, I tested it out for a few more days.. It kept working, with no irritation. FINALLY!
Just to be on the safe side (and use up the Nfuse deodorant I still had) I added a few steps to my pre-existing nighttime routine; these consisted of washing my underarms again and applying the Nfuse. I wanted to reduce the chance of the baking soda causing any irritation, even with the coconut oil layer. I consider it an extension of the my pre-existing nighttime skincare routine.
And that’s it! Of course, I say that’s it, as if this new routine is not more involved than my previous “swipe it & forget it” antiperspirant routine. But for several reasons, this small change was important for me to make. And I’m happy to have finally found something that works.
So, have you tried natural deodorant? What do you think? Have found something that works? Let me know!
Thanks for reading!
Why Essential Oils In the First Place and What Are They?
Less toxic, multi-purpose, all-natural essences derived from plant sources. I was initially drawn to essential oils to use in aromatherapy but as I learned more about their properties, I was hooked on their versatility. I mean… these things can literally be used in and for almost anything!
Common Uses for Essential Oils
DIY Cleaning Products
DIY Skin/Body Care products
You should dilute your essential oils with a carrier oil to prevent irritation and from developing a sensitivity when used topically. Coconut oil is commonly used but feel free with experiment with carrier oils based on the use and personal preference.
**Medicinal use, to include ingestion and internal, is not regulated by the FDA. I also have yet to hear a certified/clinical aromatherapist actually suggest or condone the consumption of essential oils. I'm not saying there isn't one out there, but it's generally NOT recommended by these individuals. It’s a pretty controversial debate with, what I believe to be, valid arguments on both sides. I’m not recommending that you do or you don’t consume them; that’s a personal decision so proceed at your own risk. If you do decide to use essential oils internally, it’s extremely important to do your research and be able to verify the source of your products.
My Favorite Essential Oils
These are the oils I would recommend for everyone, especially those just starting their essential oil collection. Even if you bought no other oils, you would find great use and benefit for these:
- Lavender oil: The perfect essential oil to start your collection. It’s known primarily for it calming and soothing properties. Try diffusing in your bedroom just before bedtime to promote relaxing and restful sleep.
Peppermint oil: A stimulating oil; Perfect for making your own DIY toothpaste and other bath and body products. May also be used post-workout for sore muscles.
Lemon (& citrus oils in general): Bright and uplifting. Diffuse for a quick pick-me-up. These also contain anti-bacterial properties and are great for making DIY cleaning products to use at home.
Tea tree oil: Derived from the Melaleuca plant, I like to use this for it’s medicinal properties. It’s been shown to support immune function and great for DIY skin care products. It’s antibacterial and anti-microbial so it’s definitely a must-have for every holistic first-aid kit.
Eucalyptus oil: A cleansing and refreshing oil, can be used to cleanse your home or your nasal passages. Those prone to congestion may find relief from diffusing this oil or adding to a warm bath.
My Favorite Scent Combinations
Some of the best ways to use essential oils are as blends. You can purchase pre-made blends for a specific purpose OR you can make your own. Here’s some of my favorite combinations from my own collection:
Lavender + Peppermint (diffuse, topical)
Wild Orange + Clove (diffuse)
Citrus Blend + Ginger (diffuse)
Eucalyptus + Peppermint (diffuse, topical)
Proportions are strictly based on personal preference. Experiment to find ratios that work for you :)
Places to Purchase
MLMs (Great way to build your collection and to learn; however, expect to pay a premium and potentially have minimums to meet in order to qualify for special pricing)
Mountain Rose Herbs (Online Retailer)
Bulk Apothecary (Online Retailer)
Amazon (Duh... it's pretty much great site for buying ANYTHING and essential oils are no exception)
Various Health Food stores and sites
Just be mindful that quality varies greatly and it largely unregulated. Again, your personal use is going to determine what quality of oils you should look for and purchase. Just be sure to do your research; trust what someone may tell you about a product but always verify it for yourself.