Posts Tagged ‘lemon’

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’.


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.


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 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.




tea tree




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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Once more for the record:  I’m not a doctor.  I have no formal medical training.  I can’t diagnose, treat or heal any medical conditions.  The info provided is strictly my own opinion and the results of my own personal experience and research.  Always consult a medical professional if you suspect illness or disease.  None of these statements have been approved by any governing agency, domestic or foreign.

What do you really know about your immune system? If you are like most people, the answer is, not a lot. Everyone knows the basics. The immune system is what keeps us from getting sick. It’s the system that kicks out the bad germs, bacteria and viruses.

I’ve sat here for an hour now trying to decide the best way to simplify how the immune system works so that I can explain to you how to help keep it strong. What I’ve decided is that there is no easy way to break it down.  Instead, I’ll be pointing you to several other well-written, easy-to-understand websites. I suggest that you check out this article at Howstuffworks.com if you are interested in knowing how the immune system works. Otherwise, just understand that the immune system is affected by and/or related to every single organ of the body and requires some very specific things to keep it working properly.

First of all, it needs to be fed. Vitamins, minerals, elements, enzymes…all of these are necessary to keep your immune system strong and focused. So, is the answer a multi-vitamin or supplement? I don’t believe so. The body absorbs vitamins, minerals and nutrients from food sources much more rapidly and efficiently than when taken in the form of a pill. This is one of those rare facts that homeopaths, doctors, nutritionists and the universe can all agree on.

That doesn’t mean that you need to eat 50 different fruits and veggies a day to get all the nutrients that your body needs. Mother Nature is a multi-tasking expert. Most fruits and veggies contain a whole little package of vitamins and nutrients within them. A few, recently dubbed ‘Super-foods‘, contain a big package of vitamins and nutrients.

It has also been proven that organic foods contain higher levels of these vitamins and nutrients. I know all the arguments…organic costs too much, it doesn’t look as pretty, it’s harder to obtain….I’ve heard and felt them all. The truth is, though, they are cheaper over time. The few extra dollars a week spent on organic instead of non-organic will help ensure a stronger immune system, which leads to fewer sick days, less money spent on medicine and increased energy and productivity.

Many fruits and veggies also contain antibacterial, anti-fungal and anti-viral elements. Imagine them as steroids for the immune system without the side-effects, if you will. Sometimes our immune system will get overloaded with processed foods, environmental toxins, viruses, germs and a gazillion other depressants. It’s hard work fighting off all those enemies! Whose system couldn’t use an extra bit of muscle?

Here are a few foods that will help keep your immune system strong and healthy:

carrots, cucumbers, leafy greens (lettuce, spinach, kale, etc), eggplant, tomato, broccoli, asparagus, peppers, onions, garlic, oranges, avocado, honey, apples, berries (blueberries, raspberries, strawberries), lemons, limes, grapefruit, papaya

Raw veggies are best, but really, who wants to munch down on a raw onion? Any form you eat them in (except canned) is great, just don’t microwave them or over-cook them. Try steamed asparagus drizzled with fresh lemon juice and dash of sea salt. A fresh fruit salad sprinkled with some freshly grated coconut, raisins or nuts and a hint of fresh mint. Add some extra onion and garlic to your meals. It doesn’t have to be complicated and you’ll feel so much better!

Our immune system also requires a constant, fresh source of oxygen to function properly. How often do you take the time to just sit and breath? Do you know the best way to breathe? Did you even know there was a ‘best way to breathe’? This is one reason that I always recommend yoga. The combination of breathing and movement helps stimulate the organs of the body, which promotes better function and a stronger overall health.

The skin, too, plays a part in the immune system. It is our first defense against a whole army of deadly bacteria and germs. It is the largest organ of the body and is capable of absorbing just about anything that comes in contact with it. That is why it is incredibly important to have a good skin-care regimen that is free of chemicals and unnatural ingredients that the body often sees as ‘foreign material’.

While your skin will fight it as long as possible, eventually it will catch up with you and suddenly you have a rash from your soap, dandruff from your shampoo and a nasty case of acne from the same kind of makeup you’ve used for years!

Check your labels when you go to buy your next bottle of face cleanser. Remember that just because it says ‘made with natural ingredients’ doesn’t mean it’s made with ALL natural ingredients. Here are a few ingredients to avoid:

mineral oil,  lanolin, PABA, formaldehyde, phenol acid (urocanic, salacylic and others), propylene glycol, parabens (methyl, propyl and others), Sodium lauryl sulfate (also Sodium Laureth , Ammonium Lauryl, and other “sulfates”)

Some natural ingredients to look for that contain antibacterial, anti-viral, anti-fungal and other immune-boosting properties ( and many other beneficial characteristics including moisturizing, healing and protecting) include:

shea butter, kokum butter, cocoa butter, mango butter, grapeseed oil, olive oil, sesame oil, aloe vera, honey, beeswax, tea tree, lavender

There are times, though, that even the healthiest diet and a proper amount of exercise aren’t enough and our immune system goes on the blink. What then? Then you make a doctor’s appointment and gladly snatch the prescription he hands you for an antibiotic, right? Well, you could do that. It’s not my first course of action, though. Here is what I do for myself and my family. I’ve gotten a few friends hooked on it lately, too, I’m afraid. Are you ready? It’s kinda complicated…

~I take a lemon and squeeze it til there’s not a drop of juice left. I leave the seeds and pulp in it because they have their own healing characteristics, but you can filter them out, if you prefer.

~Then I add a teaspoon full of some local honey that I always keep on hand.

~I add to that 1 dropper full of astragalus extract. I prefer Teeter Creek Herbs for extracts.

~I stir it all up, then drink it.

Does it work? I think so. It’s been years since my daughter’s last ear infection, which she used to get at least twice a winter. My last bout of strep throat, which used to happen every year in the spring and fall, hasn’t made an appearance in over five years. We haven’t had a sore throat, a cough or the flu in years. For general health and prevention, I take this 2-3 times a week. At the first sign of any illness, even if it’s just that yucky I-don’t-feel-sick-but-I-don’t-feel-good stage, I take a dose every 6 hours until I feel better. I’ve never had to take more than 2 doses. Usually within hours I am back to feeling good.

Why would it possibly work? Well, several reasons.

~Lemon is an antiseptic that helps kill of germs and bacteria while ‘sanitizing’ the system. It cleanses the throat and the stomach, stimulates the digestion and helps keep the system clean.

~ Honey. This is often called a ‘miracle food’ for good reason. It was mentioned as far back in history as the Egyptian Hieroglyphics for it’s ability to heal and nourish the body, both inside and out. Besides being antibacterial, it is also anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, helps heal skin cells, moisturizes, speeds healing, stimulates growth and much more. Read more about honey here!

~Astragalus. Many studies have been done on this Eastern herb and they all show the same thing. It is a valuable herb for stimulating the immune system. This herb seems to not only strengthen the immune system, but it actually helps the body produce immune cells. For more info on some of the studies and effects of astragalus, check out this site.

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