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Posts Tagged ‘essential oils’

It’s Thursday night and your perfectionist-in-laws are arriving at your house tomorrow.  You know your mother-in-law is going to be scrutinizing the inner rim of your toilet bowl.  She’ll also be  wrinkling her nose at the lingering smell of last-nights fish that you cooked a little too long.  You truly want to be environmentally friendly, but this is an emergency!  In desperation, you reach for the Clorox and break out that plug-in air-freshener  while spraying Oust and Febreeze on every exposed surface.  You can be environmentally friendly later, right?

Been there.

The good news is, you don’t have to do that ever again!  While none of these recipes can boast, “scrubbing bubbles that cut your work time in half”, they do work quite well and won’t leave behind that chemical-smell that has your family rubbing their eyes and noses for hours.

A few things to keep in mind:

You won’t get the same foaming action from natural products that you do from commercial products.  Less foam does not mean less cleaning power.

You won’t get the same ‘squeaky clean’ feel  with natural products.  As with skin and hair care, that ‘squeaky clean’ doesn’t really mean ‘clean’.

Natural cleansers sometime require a bit more muscle and time than commercial products to produce the same effect.

Let’s take a look of some traditional ‘natural cleansers’.

Vinegar

Most cleaning recipes call for white vinegar.  It is cheap and effective.  I like to be a bit unconventional, though.  I prefer cider vinegar.  It is a little more potent and it’s what I usually have on hand.

Vinegar is said to do everything from cleaning your coffee pot to removing chewing gum, but does it really work?  Well, if you have read any of my other posts, you know I’m a proponent of blending ingredients for the best effect and vinegar is no exception.  Of course, there are a few exceptions to that exception.  Namely, when cleaning your coffee maker.  A straight vinegar/water mix is all that is necessary.

How does vinegar work?  White vinegar is usually derived from alcohol and contains appx 5% acetic acid, which is corrosive, so is capable of working like some of the commercial cleansers by ‘eating’ away dirt and oils, but it uses a natural process that is friendly to both the environment and our bodies.  It also contains tartaric and citric acid.  These are weak acids, but effective for cleaning and sanitizing, nonetheless.

Sodium Bicarbonate

Baking soda is mainly  used as a washing powder and scrubbing agent.  It works wonderfully for safely scrubbing everything from metal pans to teeth.  It has the added benefit of being a natural deodorizer.  A small cup placed in your fridge, on the bathroom sink or in the corner of the closet will eliminate many of the stinky odors that are otherwise difficult to get rid of.

Lemon Juice

Much like vinegar, the lemon contains natural acids that work wonderfully for breaking up mineral deposits, eliminating odors and sanitizing.  Lemon is also bleach alternative.

Borax

This is used as a natural laundry booster, multipurpose cleaner, fungicide, preservative, insecticide, herbicide and disinfectant.

Castille Soap

This can be either a powder or liquid, but I prefer the liquid form.  It is most often made from olive oil, though other oils can be used.  Like any soap, it draws dirt and oil to it so that you can wipe or rinse it away.

Cornstarch

Cornstarch is most often used to pull out oils from fabrics like clothing, carpets and upholstery.  It attracts the oil and eliminates the stain safely.

Essential Oils

It only requires a few drops of essential oil in a mix to make it antibacterial and there are many to choose from.  We’ll look at some of the most effective oils.  When used in a cold-air diffuser,  these don’t just mask odors.  They actually alter the structure of the molecules that are causing odors, thereby eliminating them.  They also increase the amount of oxygen in the air.

This is a simple list, but these basic ingredients have all been used for hundreds (sometimes thousands) of years to clean both our bodies and our homes.  Please, don’t make the mistake of thinking that these ingredients have no negative effects, though.  If you soak your hands in strait lemon juice or vinegar for an extended period of time, you are going to have problems.   If you spray boric acid (borax) in your eyes, it is going to burn and cause damage.  Use some common sense, please.  The recipes and information to follow is intended for cleaning and you should use some basic precautions.  Keep them away from small children and don’t spray them in your eyes/ears/nose/mouth.  That should do it.

General All-Purpose Cleaner:

1 part distilled water

1 part vinegar

1 Tbsp Borax

5 drops each essential oils of  lavender, peppermint and tea tree

This can be used to clean tile, plastic, glass, mirrors, ceramic and vinyl.  It contains ingredients known to be both anti-bacterial, anti-fungal and antiseptic.  It will eliminate odors, germs and minor stains on surfaces.  I keep a bottle of this handy.  Don’t worry.  The smell dissipates when dry.

Abbrasive Cleanser

Lemon slices

2 parts Baking Soda

1 part Salt(common table salt)

Sprinkle the salt/baking soda on the area to be scrubbed (tub, toilet, pots and pans, etc).  Squeeze the lemon gently and scrub over the area to be cleaned.

Air Freshener/Disinfectant

Any of the following essential oils are wonderful for cleaning the air and neutralizing odors.  Add 5-7 drops to 1cup distilled water.  This can be used as an air freshener or sprayed on linens, carpets or any other place you need to eliminate odor and sanitize.

orange

lemon

peppermint

tea tree

eucalyptus

lavender

lemongrass

Dish Washing Liquid

1 cup castile soap

1 Tbsp borax

5-7 drops essential oils (see list above)

Mix well and use as you would normal dish soap.

Laundry soap

1/2 cup vinegar

1/4 cup baking soda

Add to laundry and wash as usual.  This will help with both odor and stains, as well as adding softness to both the water and the clothes.

Another fantastic tip for keeping the air in your home clean and odorless is to load up on the plants.  Live plants remove toxins and odors from the air and physically clean  and purify the air.  They work amazingly well for removing even the toughest odors like cigarette smoke and burnt food.    Here is a very informative article concerning a study preformed by NASA.  It’s definitely worth a read.

So, there you have it.  Some of the simplest cleaning products that are probably already in your cabinet.  Give some of them a try and you just might find yourself throwing out all the commercial products you’ve accumulated!

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Please remember that I am not a medical doctor. I’ve never had formal medical training. I can’t diagnose your ailments or cure your disease. I can only offer you information that has been passed down for centuries. Most of the statements you will find are not backed by the FDA, the CIA, the FBI, or the KGB…in fact, no government agencies at all are willing to say that any of them even work at all, but that’s another story…

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What is a carrier oil? Well, you can follow the link and get the technical definition, or you can read on and I’ll break it down for you.

Most Essential Oils (E/O’s) shouldn’t be applied ‘neat’, which means they should not be applied directly to the skin. Why not? That’s a whole other blog entry! You’re just gonna have to trust me on this one. Don’t apply E/O’s directly to your skin. There are exceptions, of course, but we’ll touch on those later.

So, if you can’t apply E/O’s neat, how do you use them? You add them to a carrier oil, which dilutes the E/O, making it safe to apply to the skin.

That’s not all carrier oils do, though. Of course, all of them are edible and are a great alternative to butter or margarine, but many of them provide amazing healing properties for both your insides and outsides. A quick peek in your kitchen cupboard might reveal several of the more common carrier oils like Olive Oil or Safflower Oil. We’ll get to those soon, but let’s start with two of my personal favorites.

All Natural Hair Therapy
Grapeseed Oil

Vitis Vinifera is the formal name of this wonderful carrier oil. It comes from the seeds of….you guessed it!…grapes!

When used internally, grapeseed oil has powerful antioxidant properties, as well as the ability to raise HDL and lower LDL’s. Itcontains Vitamins A, E, C and beta-carotene, as well as Omega 3, 6 & 9. With those credintials, how could anyone argue that this oil is amazingly healthy for you!

What it can do for your insides is nothing compared to what it can do for your skin, though.
Grapeseed oil is one of the most beneficial oils available for any type of skin, but especially for those with problem or allergy-prone skin. It is high in antioxidants, vitamins A, B & C, polyphenols and resveratrol. Not sure what that means in terms of skin care?

Antioxidants inhibit the production of free-radicals which are known to cause skin cancer and have a negative impact on the ability of natural body lipids to maintain proper moisture levels.

Polyphenols are a type of flavonoid that contain potent antioxidant abilities which are capable of protecting the body from damage by oxidizing free radicals.

Resveratol, another antioxidant, also has antifungal properties.

Vitamin A works like an antioxidant to neutralize harmful elements in our skin. It helps prevent wrinkles and resist infections, fade brown spots, and smooth surface roughness, so our skin keeps its youthful appearance.

Vitamin B increases the amount of moisture our skin retains so it is less likely to become irritated.

Vitamin C, also an antioxidant, neutralizes free radical molecules in the skin, helping protect skin from the harmful effects of UVA and UVB rays.

Simply put, grapeseed oil has the ability to reduce the signs of aging while helping to heal and protect our skin from future damage, which is why it is one of my favorites and is often found in my products like my Facial Toners, Scar Cream and Achin’ Joints Balm.

Sesame Oil

Sesame oil has been used to heal for centuries, due to the fact that it is naturally antibacterial against common skin pathogens including staphylococcus and streptococcus. It also contains natural anti-viral and anti- inflammatory properties.

It works as an emollient when applied to dry, cracked skin, psoriasis and eczema. This makes it a wonderful oil to use to keep the skin supple and soft.

A common misconception is that all oils are bad for the skin, however, as with most of the carrier oils I will be discussing, that isn’t always the case. Sesame oil helps to control breakouts by neutralizing the toxins that cause them on both the surface of the skin and below the surface. It also tones the skin so you look younger, longer. Sesame oil is even safe enough to use on baby skin to protect against rashes caused by the acidity of body waste.

Sesame oil is reported to be a UV protector, and when used after exposure to the sun, sesame oil soothes burns, heals sun-damaged skin and protects.

Sesame oil also works wonders on hair! It is known to nourish and feed the scalp, helps to control dandruff and kills dandruff-causing bacteria. It is a wonderful treatment for lice infestations, also. It also is known to protect the hair and repair damage from everyday abuse.

We aren’t done with Sesame Oil just yet, though. It is reported to help the joints maintain flexibility and to soothe sore muscles, which made it the perfect addition to my Achin’ Joints Balm. It kills bacteria, making it useful for ear infections, sore throats and even as a defense against the common cold.

This oil is still being studied and used all over the world, so there is no telling what else it can do. My own personal experiences with this oil have astounded me over and again!

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Both of these oils can be found at any health food store and many grocery stores. However, as with all the ingredients I use in my products, you are going to get the most benefit from pure, unrefined, and organic oils.

Want to try out the benefits of Sesame Oil for yourself? Here is a great recipe you can try at home!

Infection, cold weather, wind and water can all cause us a bit of ear pain at any given time. In our house, here is how we deal with all of that…

.5 oz Sesame Oil
5-7 drops each of the following Essential Oils:
Lavender
Peppermint
Bergamot
Tea Tree

Warm it gently to just above body temperature (appx 100 degrees F). The easiest way to accomplish this without overheating is to place the oil blend in a glass bottle, cap it and place in a cup of warm tap water until you reach the desired temp.

Place 2-3 drops of oil in each ear. Allow it time to run into the ear, then place a piece of cotton in the ear to prevent it running out.

Please note: Always consult your medical practitioner if you suspect an ear infection and never use any essential oils on babies under 2 years of age. I am not a medical doctor and I am not attempting to diagnose any conditions or prescribe any medical treatment.

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