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Posts Tagged ‘essential oil’

My mother gave me an old set of wooden dishes from when she and my dad were first married, and they had been looking pretty shabby and in need of polishing. For a while now, I’ve been meandering around on the internet looking for a good wood polish to keep these wooden dishes looking nice, and I stumbled across a recipe that does the trick without a whole lot of hassle. Just rub it on, leave it sit for 10-30 minutes, and wipe it off. I tweaked it a little to my own liking (I’m a tinker-er, what can I say??), but as I was using it, I found that it is great for so much more than just polishing my wooden bowls.

It also makes a great conditioner for leather shoes and gloves, a really nice balm for dry skin, and honestly, my hair has never looked better since I’ve started using this exclusively as my only hair gel/protection from split ends. As someone who does henna, it’s an absolutely wonderful post-henna balm, too. Add some thieves oil, and you’ve got a great homemade Vicks-style chest rub, or any kind of healing lotion that you can put wherever the infection is. (Thieves oil is absolutely amazing, too, but that’s another post for another time…) This stuff is an awesome everything balm.

I just don’t know what to call it, since I use it for everything. And “Everything Balm” sounds weird. What to do, what to do…..

The good news is that it’s super easy to make, especially if you’ve made my lip balm recipe before, as it’s very similar.

Here’s what you need:

  • 2 Tbsp finely grated beeswax
  • 3 Tbsp olive oil
  • 3 Tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 capsule vitamin E oil
  • Popsicle stick to stir
  • 4-oz glass Ball jar

As far as grating the beeswax goes, it’s not a good idea to use a grater that you ever plan on using for food again–beeswax is hard to get cleaned off. Trust me on that one. I have a grater I use specifically for grating soap, beeswax, and other things I don’t want on the grater I use for food. Also, make sure your wax 100% beeswax, without paraffin or anything else in it. Beeswax is a bit on the pricey side, but it is definitely worth it.

Place the grated beeswax into your small glass jar (a 4 oz Ball jar will be just the perfect size for one batch) and place it in a pan of water on the stove. Use your jar as the double boiler, but there’s no need to really boil the water below. You just need to heat everything until the beeswax all melts. It needs to be fully melted: no clumps, no bumps, just smooth liquid. When it’s completely melted, add the coconut oil and melt that fully, too. Add olive oil and vitamin E oil. Mix well. Remove from heat, and that’s it! You’ll just need to let it cool a bit before putting the lid on.

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Almost all melted…

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Finished and cooled, well-loved (and almost gone) mixture

What I like about this is that the beeswax is melted in the container you’re already going to store it in. Melted beeswax is a pain to clean out of a pan, but this is completely no-mess. Not even a single dish needs washed afterward!

Now, the only question I have is what to call it…..

What do you think? What would YOU call it?

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Carpet freshener makes the whole room smell fresh and clean. Maybe it’s not a total necessity, but it’s nice to have. The good news is that it’s super easy to make.

Save an old parmesan cheese container, and fill it mostly with baking soda. Then, dump it back out into a bowl. This is so it’s easier to mix everything up. Shaking it all up in the same container doesn’t distribute the essential oils as well. In the bowl, shake some dried cloves, dried nutmeg, and about 20-25 drops tea tree oil. Stir well, and pour back into the shaker container.

Shake onto carpets, leave sit for about 5 min or so, and vacuum. (I’m going to assume this would work well on furniture/mattresses as well, but I haven’t tried it yet.)

There truly are a ton of tweaks of this on the internet, so play around with it to get a scent/texture you like. Some people put cinnamon in as well, or skip the spices and just use essential oils they like, or just use plain baking soda. If you’ve got light colored carpets, you may want to forgo the dark spices. I’ve got a light-ish speckled berber, and it doesn’t show, but if I had all white, I might not want to risk it.

As for the base, baking soda is good at neutralizing odors, but there’s some info out there that it doesn’t play nice with hepa filters on vacuums. I’ve got an older vacuum that uses a bag, so I don’t have to worry about that. Basically, the baking soda’s powder is too fine and clogs up the hepa filter, I think. Other sites suggest using cornmeal instead of baking soda if you’ve got a vacuum with a hepa filter, but I haven’t tried it, so I can’t vouch for whether that works. I’m not sure if cornmeal absorbs odors the way baking soda does, or if it simply acts as a way to dilute and spread out the essential oil scent.

Also, some sites recommend adding borax to the mix as well. I would suggest a bit of caution for this. While borax does occur naturally in the environment (hence it’s “all-natural” label), that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s safe to use in high quantities around pets and children. It’s not good to breathe in, and it irritates eyes in powder form. While I use it in my laundry soap and to sprinkle in the toilet to clean it, I certainly wouldn’t want to use it in my carpet powder. To me, there’s a difference between diluting it in water to use it and using it straight from the box.

Anyone else have any good carpet freshening suggestions?

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I have allergies. And I get lots of colds. And during the times I’m most suffering, Vicks is a close friend of mine. Both in the vapo-rub form as well as inhaled form.

So when I last visited my sister and saw her homemade version, I had to know more.

It’s very easy to make your own Vicks-style inhaler.

Find a small airtight container and put a cotton ball in it. This will be your inhaler container, so find one as small as you can that will seal tightly and hold a cotton ball.

For the actual solution, you’ll need a mix of 3 different essential oils: Peppermint, Eucalyptus, and Lavender.

On the cotton ball, add:

  • 8 drops peppermint oil
  • 20 drops eucalyptus oil
  • 28 drops lavender oil

When your symptoms are bugging you, simply take the lid off and take a deep breath through your nose. It really does help.

My sister uses it for her kids’ asthma, as a supplement to their inhalers, NOT to replace them. But I find it helps with my allergy congestion as well.

Here is an article from the National Association for Holistic Aromatherapy  about asthma, which also might be helpful for allergies as well.

Now, I’m not advocating that anyone with asthma use only this. Not at all. What I AM saying is that there are other options you could try if you suffer from asthma, allergies, congestion, etc. and see what works best for you. This is simply another option to try.

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If you try out an internet search on essential oils, you’ll get a ton of hits about aromatherapy. And not much about their use in cleaning products. I’ve ended up finding overwhelming, massive, and unhelpful lists of tons of essential oils, describing which ones have antibacterial properties, which ones have antifungal properties, which ones are safe to put a drop on your skin, and which ones are best for various cleaning products. Everyone has their own opinion when it comes to these things, and it’s just plain overwhelming.

And lots of sites out there claim you need a whole arsenal of essential oils to get various cleaning jobs done. But in my experience, any of those lists I’ve seen seem way too long. So which essential oils are the, well, truly essential ones? I can say I’ve been making a lot of my own stuff for a long time, and I have a total of five bottles of essential oil in my cupboard. And that’s even more than you really need. If you’re just starting out (or even if you’re not), here’s my short rundown of the essentials.

Tea Tree Oil

This is the main ingredient that gives the antibacterial kitchen and all purpose cleaner it’s truly cleaning kick. It kills everything while still managing to be pretty mild, and it smells nice too. It’s also a must for the deodorant recipe. And if you like the scent of this one, you can stop right here. It can go in your laundry detergent, shampoo, everything.

Lavender Oil

If you like a bit of variety, lavender is a nice scent. It’s very clean-laundry-ish, so this is the one I put in my detergent, dryer sheets, shampoo, and air fresheners. It’s also a good antibacterial one, but the tea tree oil is best for the spray cleaner. Maybe not truly a must-have, but it’s nice to have something different once in a while to take a break from the tea tree oil.

Peppermint Oil

This one is a good additive for homemade toothpaste, but you can just use peppermint extract instead if you have that. I’m not big on the scent, so it pretty much just gets used in my toothpaste.

Eucalyptus Oil

This one has a good fresh scent, but it is very strong. Think Vicks Vapo-rub. This one is a good one to add a drop or two to onto your pillow if you’re feeling congested. But go light on it. Eucalyptus oil seems to have more of a potent scent than the others. If you want to add it to dishsoap or something, four or five drops would do the trick.

Rosemary Oil

I ended up getting this one just because I started getting tired of the lavender scent (gasp! who could ever tire of lavender?!?). I just needed something a little different, and it has a nice, crisp, fresh scent that works well with laundry soap, dishsoap, and shampoo. I alternate this one with the lavender between batches just to change it up a bit.

So there you have it. Don’t let the immense amount of essential oils out there overwhelm you. As far as cleaning products go, you only really need one or two to get the various jobs done.

Which essential oils are YOUR essentials?

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If you made my hair gel recipe from last week, you might be wondering what else you can use all that unflavored gelatin for. This is a simple and wonderful recipe for an air freshener gel. Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 1 packet unflavored, clear gelatin
  • 1/8 tsp. rubbing alcohol
  • ½ Cup boiling water
  • ½ Cup cold water
  • 40 drops essential oil of your choice
  • 2 empty baby food jars

Dissolve the gelatin in the boiling water. Add cold water and stir until blended. Add the alcohol and essential oil and stir. Pour into jars.

Make sure to use an essential oil that is antifungal or mold will start to grow in it. Lavender, tea tree oil, clove, and eucalyptus, are some antifungal oils. There are lots more, but these are some of the basics. As always, if you find one you like, you can use it in lots of recipes.

When your jars are done, make sure not to place them in a warm place like on top of the TV or the gelatin will liquefy some. If this happens, place it in the refrigerator for a while so it can set again.

As the gel gradually evaporates/dries out, it releases the scent of the essential oil. They last a surprisingly long time, and when they’re dried out, just clean them out and refill!

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When I was getting started making my own household products, one of the first things I thought about was, “What do I buy the most of?” Other questions followed: Where will I see the biggest impact for my effort? What is one of my “biggest ticket” items? All of these questions helped me settle on eliminating store-bought hair products. The fact that I was just about out of shampoo and in need of more also helped in my decision.

Here’s the recipe that I have been using to replace my store-bought shampoo that I absolutely LOVE. And it’s simple. The hardest part for me was finding a container to store it in.

You will need: baking soda, water, essential oil for fragrance, and a plastic squeeze bottle (preferrably re-used, not purchased new)

Mix one Tablespoon of baking soda and 7 drops of essential oil per one cup of warm water. Give it a few good shakes to keep the baking soda from settling. Yep, that’s it. It really is that easy.

As far as fragrance, I usually gravitate toward lavender oil, but I also enjoy tea tree oil in this recipe, and lately, I’ve been hooked on the fresh scent of rosemary oil. If you’re just starting out with the essential oil thing, find one you like, and you can use it in all kinds of other recipes. Or, if you like the scent of the tea tree oil, that one comes in handy in recipes for disinfecting cleaners and deodorants, so you may want to just go ahead and put it in your shampoo as well.

This mixture is much more watery than the store-bought stuff, so refilling your old shampoo bottle won’t really work. You’ll need something with a smaller opening, like a squeeze bottle. I keep mine in an old dishsoap container, and that works really well for me. If you’re trying to eliminate plastic from your life, a glass bottle with an olive oil spout might do the trick too.

It definitely won’t suds up the way commercial products do, but I’m convinced the suds factor is only a comfort thing: we THINK things get cleaner because there’s bubbles, but I think it doesn’t really contribute to cleanliness. It will foam a little as it reacts with the excess oils in your scalp, and it sure gets my hair really clean. Just squirt it right onto your scalp and rub it in. I find it works so well, I don’t need to wash my hair nearly as often, and my hair is generally on the oily side.

Ok, now onto the conditioner.

You will need: apple cider vinegar (NOT white vinegar, trust me, I learned this one the hard way), water, and another one of those plastic squeeze bottles (or glass bottle).

Mix 2 Tablespoons of apple cider vinegar per one cup of water. Squirt some on, work it in, and rinse. I’ve found that it’s a bit of overkill to use it with every washing, so I use it only about every second or third time I wash with the baking soda solution. You’ll have to experiment with it to see how often you need to use it, depending on your hair type. You might end up needing to use it every time, but I don’t.

Try them out, and hopefully you will enjoy saving the money, reducing the plastic you continually buy, and cutting down on the amount of scary chemicals you come into contact with as much as I have.

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