Posts Tagged ‘Tea tree oil’

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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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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Homemade clove mouthwash

I have two different recipes for mouthwash I’ve tried, and two different opinions to offer. I love one and hate the other, and Husband loves the one I can’t stand. So here are recipes for both, with our tweaks, opinions, up-sides, and down-sides.

This first one is more similar to traditional commercial mouthwash than the next one. As I did a search to try to find where I originally got this recipe, I found variations of it absolutely all over the internet, so I don’t have a specific source to credit. And I made some changes anyway.
You will need:
  • 1 c. boiling water
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 4 drops tea tree essential oil
  • 4 drops peppermint essential oil
  • 1 small packet stevia powder
  • 1/2 cup vodka
  • Sterilized glass container with airtight lid

First, get a pot big enough to fit your glass jar and lid. Fill it with water and get it started on the stove. You’ll want to boil it for a few minutes to make sure it’s sterilized and also to make sure it won’t break when you pour boiling water in it. Meanwhile, prepare the rest of the ingredients for your mouthwash. When the jar is ready, pour the mixture in, put the lid on, and let it cool.

The first time I tasted this, I thought it was gross. Not that mouthwash is supposed to taste particularly good, but I just couldn’t stand it. After adding some stevia powder we had on hand from making toothpaste to sweeten it a bit, it was a little better, but still not my favorite. We also added some vodka to give it a bit of the alcohol-clean feel of Listerene. Husband likes it because it seems the closest to traditional store-bought mouthwash. I still think it tastes funny.

I found another recipe that seemed completely different, and not aiming to taste like commercial mouthwash. I found the original recipe here but will repost it to save you the extra click.

You will need:

  • 2 c. boiling water
  • 1 oz. whole, dried cloves (I don’t have a way of knowing how much it weighs, so I made a guess with 2 Tbsp. Seems ok to me.)
  • Sterilized glass container with airtight lid

As with the other recipe, you’ll need to prepare the glass bottle or jar by boiling it first. Put the dried cloves in the bottle and pour the 2 cups of boiling water over it. Put the lid on and let the cloves steep overnight. The following day, strain out the clove pieces. I think this one smells wonderful, and works well too. It doesn’t feel like the commercial mouthwash you’re used to, but it still has a bit of a “bite” to it that makes your mouth feel really clean. Make sure you rinse the sink really well when you spit it out though, because little splatters of it dry into dark brown spots. They don’t stain, but just look kinda bad.

As for finding the whole cloves themselves, I got ours from a local spice market. Check around at places that sell bulk tea or other spices or international foods and ask if they have or can get cloves.

Which recipe do you like better? Just curious….

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If you’ve been trying all my recipes so far, you’ve made:

You’ve graduated. You’re ready. Ready for one of my favorite recipes I’ve made so far: deodorant. Not that this recipe is particularly difficult, it really isn’t. It just took me a long time to actually jump in and make it. I don’t know why in my head it seemed like such a big deal to let go of my old deodorant, but now that I have, I absolutely love this stuff.

You will need:

  • Baking soda
  • Corn starch
  • A jar of virgin coconut oil
  • Tea tree oil
  • An empty wind-up deodorant container

In a small bowl, mix 1/4 cup baking soda and 1/4 cup corn starch. Add 2-4 Tablespoons of melted coconut oil. Mix into a paste, and stir in 10 drops tea tree oil.

The original recipe I got from I-don’t-remember-where said 2 tablespoons of coconut oil, but I find that’s just not enough to make the mixture into a paste. I suppose you could decrease the amounts of baking soda and corn starch, but I find it easier just to gradually add coconut oil a little at a time, mixing in until I get the right paste consistency that will pack back into my old deodorant container. I just made another batch of it a few days ago, and I maybe added 3 and 1/2 Tbsp coconut oil. Also, another helpful tip: I usually pop the jar of oil in the microwave until it’s liquified some. This way, it’s much easier to spoon out by the tablespoon and will mix more easily with the powdered ingredients.

The odd one out in this recipe is the coconut oil, as you’ve probably got all the others around. I had a hard time finding it, so I ordered it online. It is worth checking around though, because that will save you on shipping. The oil itself seems a bit expensive (I think mine was about $6 or so for a 12-oz jar, not including shipping) but it will last you a long time. And you’ll also use it for other recipes, so it’s good to have on hand.

Just a little info about coconut oil in case you haven’t worked with it before. Coconut oil melts at 76 degrees. So you should keep it in a cooler place in the summer if you don’t have AC. I’ve heard it keeps better in solid form. This also means that your deodorant might be a little bit of a softer paste in the summer than the winter, and as you put it on, might soften upon being rubbed on your skin. I think that’s a good thing since it stays solid, but then upon skin contact, goes on like lotion.

When I made the switch to this from my commercial deodorant, this was one of the hardest ones for me to stick with. I was really concerned it wouldn’t work and had to work hard to stick to my rules for switching. But as always, I grew to love this mixture, because it’s simply better than the commercial stuff. Here’s a few reasons why I love this recipe:

  • It has no terrible, harmful chemicals, and is free of aluminum
  • It smells absolutely divine (but not particularly masculine or feminine, husband and I both use it)
  • It doesn’t leave any residue on your skin that won’t wash off when you want it to
  • It doesn’t leave any residue or staining on clothes. Even my old “invisible solid” left residue and stains.

There are a few things to watch out for, though. I have not had problems with this, but others have said that baking soda can sometimes cause rash and irritation. I imagine you could reduce the amount of baking soda if this happens. I do notice this a bit if I put deodorant on right after I shave. If you’re a shaver, try shaving at night, applying lotion, and then using the deodorant in the morning. That’s what works for me.

As always, have fun saving money and eliminating nasty chemicals!

EDIT: I added about the equivalent of a capsule full of vitamin E oil to a batch I made, and it eliminated the post-shaving rash/irritation. It seems to go on just a bit more smoothly too. Just thought I’d add that if it helps someone out.

ANOTHER EDIT: In the winter, it came out so dry and crumbly because of the cooler temperatures in the house, that I added just a splash of olive oil to the mix, and that make it go on much more smoothly and not crumble apart in the winter.

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