Tag Archive: natural


essential oilTypically I do not like to post ‘just a link’ but in this case, I feel so strongly about the subject that I will. I have always maintained that just because you are paying top dollar for an essential oil that you are not necessarily getting the best and the proof is in the pudding!

In no way am I detracting from any of the brands mentioned nor trying to slander any brand, but this is an eye opener that everyone who loves and uses essential oils needs to know about. And in fact, I buy from some of these companies (mostly herbs since I buy the bulk of my essential oils from Liberty Natural). Some of the companies mentioned, I know them personally! This is just something to consider when making your purchase of essential oils.

Full article about 3rd Party Testing On doTerra, Young Living, Mountain Rose Herbs, Nature’s Gift, Now

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natural remedies

There is no ‘cure’ for EV-D68. There is no vaccine. Prevention is your best option. However, we all know how children are and I hate to say it, adults too. We forget to not touch our faces (rubbing the eyes). We forget to wash our hands and well, sanitizing everything in our world is just not practical. So, what does one do IF you suspect you or your child comes down with a suspected case of EV-D68? Or even the common cold?

First things first…Be mindful of your body and how you are feeling and especially with children, be watchful for first ‘signs’…sniffling, not as hungry, perhaps grouchy. You know yourself and your child best and your best bet is to be proactive in ‘catching’ onto something ‘not right’. The faster you start taking care of your child or yourself the faster you get better!

STAY HOME! You do not want to be out and about giving it to others nor do you want your already struggling immune system to pick up something else. I know, I know, its hard to find a babysitter. You can’t take off work. I know all the excuses. However, think about this. YOU OR YOUR CHILD got it because SOMEONE ELSE DID NOT STAY HOME.

And I hate to say this, but everytime you cough, cover your mouth. If you feel a sneeze coming on, do us all a favor and either use your hand or inside your elbow to stop the droplets. Use tissues whenever possible and wash your hands or use hand sanitizer after every cough/sneeze.

Next…its time to review home ‘preventions’ except this time you will be amping it up on how often to take.

Goldenseal tincture at the first sign of a cold or sinus problem is where I would start. Take 3-6 times DAILY depending upon severity. It will not hurt you.

Next, get that astragulus tea going and if you can get it, Buchu Leaf tea. Both are very beneficial for the lungs and sinuses. 3-6 cups daily.

SYMPTOM DEPENDANT HELP
Any and all may or may not include a fever which is a separate challenge. Generally the rule of thumb is that without a fever you do NOT have an ‘infection’ which is WHY if any drainage, sneezing or coughing begins you want to get on top of it pronto! Do not let that bug get a hold and allow it to turn into an ‘infection’.

Coughing: try to determine what type of cough it is.
Sinus coughs are going to most likely ‘start’. This is when the sinus drainage runs down the back of the throat and our reflex is to ‘cough’.
Herbs and food:
Horseradish root helps to dry sinuses up and reduce sinus swelling to allow easier nose breathing. Yes, its ‘hot’ but mix it up in some food and eat up!
Elderberry syrup or tea.
Ginger tea.
Peppermint tea.

Essential Oils:
Essential oils can be used topically for relief from runny noses that cause that ‘cough’ that drive so many of us nuts. Essential oils can also be used to help with other types of coughing and they are particularly good ‘killing’ viruses and bacteria to boot. Typically I recommend using ‘straight’ or ‘neat’ unless it’s a child and then I would dilute 50/50. 1 drop of essential oil to one drop of almond oil or even vegetable oil and apply directly under the nose…none of these should be used on someone with asthma, they WILL aggravate
Adults ONLY:
Eucalyptus
Peppermint
Children ages 6-16
Eucalyptus 50/50
Peppermint 50/50
I will not recommend using essential oils on children younger than 6 because I am not there to personally watch for a reaction and many cases of asthma are not known until later in childhood.

OTC Drugs for Coughs:
I do not like to give people anything over the counter for sinus drainage or coughing as it can have what is called a ‘rebound’ effect, meaning that taking the OTC that ‘dries’ up sinus drainage causes even MORE drainage. Drainage is the bodies way of getting rid of something ‘unwanted’ in the sinuses. Simply drying it up doesn’t do anything but suppress symptoms and may in fact prolong or make it worse. But this is up to you.

Chestal coughing: this is the type of ‘cough’ that you really know when you have a cold and if not helped quickly can quickly turn into bronchitis due to secondary bacterial infection. Once this starts the goal is to loosen the mucus/phlegm in the chest/body so that coughing is productive (gets it up and out). Again, you really don’t want to suppress a cough as it’s the body’s way of getting mucous up and out. However, I will say this, if coughing is very persistent or almost constant, you will want to reduce (not suppress) the cough.

A wet cough sounds ‘chesty’ and phlegmy.

A dry cough:
is less likely to produce phlegm (mucus)
can sound irritated, harsh, barking, or whooping

Herbs for chest coughs:
White Horehound
White horehound is used as an expectorant to loosen congestion in the chest and relieve a dry cough. In addition, it is an anti-inflammatory used to relieve bronchitis and coughing related to asthma. It relieves pain during coughing and soothes the digestive tract. This can be found as a ‘candy’, tincture or tea. My suggestion is to use the ‘candy’ in children and a tea for adults if the coughing is not too bad. Otherwise, go directly to the tincture form.

Marshmallow is a proven mucus thinner and expectorant. This maybe used as a tincture, tea or syrup. This can be combined white horehound for helping to reduce phlegm.

Anise works well on very hard spasmodic coughs or a dry, irritating cough. Use 3-6 times daily as a tincture.

Wild cherry bark is a powerful cough suppressant and is used for dry, nervous coughs or coughing associated with a sore throat. Combine in syrup form with, garlic, onion, and slippery elm for a powerful combination.

If a cough reaches potential bronchitis stage then use Hyssops which is best combined with mullein, plantain, or white horehound. And should be used primarily as a tincture since it does not taste very good.

If you STRONGLY suspect that you or your child has ED-V68 then I highly recommend Devil’s Club. It is an excellent ‘go to’ for a cough that seems deep or bronchial in nature especially with a fever. It is also useful for pneumonia and is highly anti-viral in nature. Traditionally it is used as a strong tea though it is excellent as a tincture.
Boneset via strong tea 4-5 times daily would be indicated also given this is viral in nature.

Homeopathic Cough and Cold Remedies: I like to use homeopathic cough and/or cold/mucous remedies and have a complete single remedy recommendation listed here.

However, there are several very good commercially available combinations and these are what I personally use. Note on how to use homeopathic tablets. They are taken under the tongue or slightly chewed and then allow to melt. Typically with the ones listed below I recommend 3 tablets. You should see results within 15 minutes (lessening of symptoms). Personally I repeat as needed as often as needed. So if symptoms lessen, take again once symptoms begin to return. That may be every 15 minutes…take as NEEDED. You will find yourself increasing the time in between usually within a few doses. IF you notice that symptoms are not getting better after 3 doses (ie you take it 3 times spaced 15 minutes apart) then you need a different remedy.

There is ONE homeopathic single remedy that stands out though for ED-V68 and that is Aconite: first stage of colds and coughs with sudden onset, develops after exposure to cold
air or wind, often with high fever, often with restlessness or fear, chill from drafts, heat
comes on during sleep, very thirsty, pupils contracted
Worse: night or after falling asleep, warm room, touch, fright, noise, light
Better: motion helps the chill but in general sitting still helps, open air

Heel’s Bhi Mucus Relief (formly known as ‘Bronchitis’)
As a side note, I can personally attest to the effectiveness of this homeopathic as I developed severe bronchitis in January of 2014 to the point of not being able to catch my breath. This was the ONLY thing that allowed me to get better!
Boericke and Tafel – Bronchitis and Asthma Aide 100 tabs

If you are experiencing coughing/colds not as severe as bronchitis then I recommend the following homeopathic syrup:

Boiron Chestal for Cough Syrup, Honey
Yes, it is in honey so not suitable for those under 1 year of age. They make 2 types, one for adults and one for children. Save the money and just buy the larger size for adults…they are the exact samething. You may take this as needed.
There are other homeopathic cough and cold syrups available, but this is the one I find to be the most effective. Do NOT waste your money on Boiron’s cough/cold tablets. I have found that they do NOT work well.

Fever and Pain:
Frankly at this point and time I would stick with the OTC such as Tylenol and Ibuprophen since they will work the best and more quickly. However, in the single homeopathic remedy worksheet found here, you will find single remedies for fever. Please note, homeopathics do work well for fevers also, however, you must keep a close watch on children for when the temperature begins to return. Children have a hard time handling temperature ‘spikes’ and can have seizures if their temperature suddenly climbs very quickly.
I will also say that I typically do NOT try to reduce a fever unless it gets above 103 degrees. Yes, you have to monitor and be sure dehydration does not occur, but a fever is the bodies natural response to killing germs, bacteria and viruses as many of them cannot handle the ‘heat’ (pun intended).

Herbs for fevers:
Most effective is Yarrow which can even reduce even very high fevers. Tea or tincture.
Holy Balsi aka Tulsi leaves as a strong tea drink three to four times a day.
Boneset via strong tea 4-5 times daily.

Herbs for pain relief associated with coughs/colds/viral infections:
Ginger root as a tea (and btw ginger root found at the store will grow at home!)
Boneset via strong tea 4-5 times daily.

It is my sincerest wish that you find this information useful. Many of the above suggestions will work for the common cold, upper respiratory infections of all sorts and maybe helpful with the flu also.

Survivingshtfmom-
Laura Macklem

PS…I am not a professional medical doctor, I just enjoy sharing knowledge and hope to empower you to take care of yourself. As always, do not hesitate to consult professional medical practioners in the event you feel its necessary.

homeopathy

Homeopathic Remedies for Fevers and Coughs

What is Homeopathy?
Homeopathy is basicly the use of almost untraceable amounts of animal, plant and mineral substances that help to stimulate the body to heal itself. Homeopathic remedies that ‘heal’ are basicly the substance that would induce the ‘symptoms’. It is based upon the belief that like cures like.
The basis of homeopathy rests with matching the specific symptoms (physically, mentally and emotionally) of the illness or injury with those of the given remedy. If a remedy does not work, you can safely assume that the chosen remedy did not closely match the symptoms. In order to ‘choose’ the correct remedy you will want to ask a series of questions before choosing a remedy. You will want to choose the one that most FITS the description of the remedy. You may not have all the ‘symptoms’ that correspond to a homeopathic remedy, but you want the one that has the MAJORITY of the ‘symptoms’ for the remedy. In order to ‘choose’ the correct remedy you will want to ask a series of questions before choosing a remedy. You will want to choose the one that most FITS the description of the remedy. You may not have all the ‘symptoms’ that correspond to a homeopathic remedy, but you want the one that has the MAJORITY of the ‘symptoms’ for the remedy.

Homeopathy can be a very safe and effective way to handle many health challenges. It is fairly inexpensive and very easy to use. You can some on ebay and amazon but personally I like to order from abchomeopathy online.

General Guidelines for How Much to Take.

For the majority of colds and flues, you will give a 30c potency. As a rule, I will use 3-5 pellets or tablets, wait 15 minutes to see if condition improve and/or symptoms subside noticeably. If not, I wait another 15 minutes and then give another dose of 3-5 pellets/tablets. Again, wait to see if improvement happens. If still no improvement, I will give one more time. If no improvement then another remedy is indicated.

IF you see improvement do not give another ‘dose’ of the remedy until symptoms begin to return or become worse again, then give another dose. This will be an ‘as needed’ approach.
Once a person begins to feel much better drop back to only 3 pellets, 2-3 times daily until healed and then one ‘dose’ of 3 pellets daily for 2 more days.

Please keep in mind that there are many remedies for coughs, colds and fevers but typically you will find only 1 or 2 that WORK WELL in that particular person and for that particular illness. Not all colds, coughs and flues are the same!

Fevers: A fever is the body’s attempt to fight infection. In most cases, the fever is
actually helping the body kill the bacteria or virus that is causing the infection. Generally, fevers of 103 degrees or lower are safe; the exceptions are newborns younger than six weeks, those with chronic illness or immune system compromised conditions, and people who tend to have convulsions with fever. If you or your child has a fever and meet any of the exception seek immediate medical help.

Questions to ask yourself or the person you are trying to help to find the ‘right’ remedy for a fever. You may not have to ask all the questions  but this is the list:

How do you feel?
Tell me what’s bothering you.
Tell me more.
Anything else?
What makes it worse?
What makes it better?
When do you notice the fever the most?
How did the fever start?
Are you hot or cold or both?
Do you want to wrap up?
Do you want warm or cool air?
Where in your body do you feel the fever? Heat or cold there?
Do you want warm or cool drinks?
What emotions do you feel prior to and since getting sick?
How quickly did it come on?

Having gathered as much information as possible next look at the remedies below single out the ones that immediately match the answers given. Then look at each remedy selected and choose the ONE that most resembles the ‘symptoms’ (answers) and use that one.

Fever remedies:

Aconite: first stage of colds and coughs, sudden onset, develops after exposure to cold
air or wind, often with high fever, often with restlessness or fear, chill from drafts, heat
comes on during sleep, very thirsty, pupils contracted
Worse: night or after falling asleep, warm room, touch, fright, noise, light
Better: motion helps the chill but in general sitting still helps, open air

Arsenicum:
chill from 12-2 a.m., periodic (fever comes and goes,) heat of face with
chilled body, thirsty for constant small sips, head feels better from cold, but rest of body
wants warmth, very chilly, increased appetite after chills, restless, fearful, worried
Worse: cold drinks, worry
Better: warm drinks

Belladonna:
sudden, intense fever, chill beginning at 3 p.m., dry, burning heat without
chills, face and body burning hot, face red or redness anywhere on body, hands and
feet icy cold, right-sided symptoms, craving lemonade, but generally little thirst, twitching
face or body during fever (main remedy for convulsions/epilepsy after becoming
heated), throbbing, bursting headache, pupils dilated, can go into delirium and
hallucination
Worse: 3 p.m., sun, light, noise, jarring, drafts, motion,
Better: light covering, bending backward, leaning head against something

Bryonia: slowly developing high fever and painful inflammation, great thirst for large
amounts, left frontal headache, face pale during chill, deep red during heat, irriatable,
wants to be left along, wants to go home, anxiety about finances, very aggravated by
motion, touch
Worse: motion, anger, cold, wet weather, eating
Better: open air, lying still

Chamomilla:
common children’s remedy, especially during teething, perspiration with
chills, heat only in back or front of body, shuddering with heat, one cheek red and hot,
other pale, excitement, irritability, nothing makes them happy, want things then throw
them away, desires to be held, but it doesn’t always comfort
Worse: 9 a.m. or 9 p.m. or in bed at night, teething, warm covering or uncovering, anger
Better: being carried, sweating, heat, fasting

China:
famous remedy for fevers from malaria or fevers that come and go, thirst with
chills, headache with heat, skin sensitive to touch during fever, weakness or fatigue after
prolonged fever, worse after diarrhea or loss of vital fluids, most sensitive and irritable
during fever, anxiety before chills, sensitive to light, noise, odors, spaced out during chill
Worse: motion, open air, drafts, uncovering, touch
Better: hard pressure, warmth

Eupatorium Perfoliatum: fever with severe pain, especially bone pains, chill
beginning in back or hands, thirsty before or during chill, vomiting bile, craves cold things
during fever, warm things during chill, yawning and stretching before chill
Worse: morning from 6-9 a.m., cold air, motion, smell or sight of food
Better: vomiting bile, conversation, sweating, lying on face

Ferrum Phosphoricum: fever with few other symptoms, early stages of fever, fever
after head injury, headache and flushed face, inflammatory states
Worse: right side, night
Better: lying down, cold applications

Gelsemium: fever with weakness and trembling, chill running up and down back, chill
begins in hands or feet, face flushed dark red, eyelids heavy, blurry vision, worse
anticipating something, especially a test
Worse: fright or excitement, spring, humid weather,
Better: profuse urination, sweating, shaking,

Hepar Sulph: fever with suppurating glands, chills without heat after, can’t get warm
enough, needs all parts covered, fever blisters about mouth, voice hoarse
Worse: uncovering, evening and night, cold, dry air, winter, touch
Better: covering, heat

Lycopodium: chill in afternoon especially 4-8 p.m., forehead furrowed during fever, eye
pain during heat, anxious, wants someone in same room but doesn’t want to interact
Worse: in bed, after sleep
Better: rising from bed, warm drinks, motion, urinating
Mercurious: night-time fevers with sweats and weakness, sensitive to both head and
cold, runny nose, salivation on pillow at night, metallic taste in mouth, urine odorous
Worse: rising from bed, too warm or too cold, sweating, lying on right, changing weather
Better: moderate temperature, rest, morning

Natrum Muriaticum:
fever or chill 10-11 a.m., begins in fingers or toes, severe
headache, especially on right side, especially after grief, complains little, reserved,
craves salty things
Worse: 10-11 a.m., heat of sun, exertion
Better: open air

Nux vomica:
fever with violent heat and chills, after overeating or drinking, headache in
back of head, very irritable
Worse: uncovering at all, turning in bed, open air,
Better: lying very still, warm drinks, heat

Pulsatilla: patternless, constantly changing, clingy, no thirst, wants open air or open
window, tearing in eyes, fever with desire to urinate with nothing passed, numb hands or
feet with chill
Worse: 2-4 p.m., warm room, turning in bed
Better: cold bathing, motion, open air

Rhus-tox: fever with aching, stiffness, restlessness, thirst for small quantities, desire to
stretch, heat on left side, chill on right side or heat on back side of body,
Worse: cold, damp air or weather, getting wet
Better: warmth, warming up body with movement

Next up are the coughs and colds.
Again, we begin with questions-
Questions to ask:
How do you feel?
Tell me what’s bothering you.
Tell me more.
What does the cough feel like?
Anything else?
What makes it worse?
What makes it better?
What body position aggravates the cough?
What body position helps the cough?
What foods do you want?
Do you want warm or cold drinks?
How does swallowing feel (swallowing solids, liquids, empty swallowing?)
What emotions do you feel prior to and since getting sick?
What external things bother you? (light? sound? dust? touching throat? odor?
etc)
What kind of weather were you in prior to the cough?
What activities aggravate the cough? (breathing? moving? eructation? talking?
sneezing etc.)
What other conditions accompany the cough? (chills? sleepiness? fever?
diarrhea? etc)
What type of cough is it? (barking? deep? distressing? dry? paroxysmal?
suffocative? whistling? etc.)

Having gathered as much information as possible next look at the remedies below single out the ones that immediately match the answers given. Then look at each remedy selected and choose the ONE that most resembles the ‘symptoms’ (answers) and use that one.

Aconite: first stage of colds and coughs, develops after exposure to cold air or wind,
often with high fever, often with restlessness or fear
Worse: night or after falling asleep, breathing in, lying on either side
Better: lying on back

Allium cepa:
cough from colds or allergies, often with lots of watery discharge from
nose that irritates skin and watery discharge from eyes that is not irritating, cough is
painful, may grasp the larynx with pain at each cough
Worse: evening, warm room
Better: open air

Antimonium-tartaricum: noisy, rattling, loose cough – sounds like chest filled with
mucous but cough too weak to expel mucous, especially in elderly or young children,
person may be irritable or not want to be touched, main remedy for pertussis (whooping
cough)
Worse: night, especially 10 p.m. to midnight, becoming irritated, lying
Better: sitting, bending head backwards

Arnica: pertussis remedy, painful, racking cough, person fears each cough, holds chest,
weeping with pain of cough, nose can bleed with cough or burst eye vessels, holds chest
wit each cough, thick, sticky, yellow, can be bloody mucous
Worse: pain
Better: lying with head low or outstretched

Bryonia: severely painful cough felt in whole head and chest, dry cough with each
movement or deep breath, afraid of breathing in
Worse: eating or swallowing, overheating, lying with head low, ascending, raising arms,
bending head backward
Better: open air

Belladonna:
Sudden high fever, cough in paroxysms (many at a time), bursting
headache with each cough, bright red face
Worse: motion, deep breath, dust, touching larynx, yawning, bright light, noise, night
Better: less stimulus – resting in dark

Causticum: irritating, tickling cough, difficult to expectorate, but keeps coughing
deeper to try and get it up. Can have cough at any hour, but vanishing during the day is
a strong indication for Causticum. There may be urinary leakage with the cough.
Worse: Drafts or cold air, becoming heated at night, lying, bending head forward,
talking, bathing
Better: Cold drinks, rainy weather

Coccus Cacti: Paroxysmal (many at a time), tickling cough at 6 or 7 a.m. or 11:30 p.m.,
cough can be dry or produce ropes of thick mucous
Worse: becoming heated, warm rooms, warm drinks or food., lying, rinsing mouth, winter,
in alcoholics
Better: Cold or open air, cold drinks, cold food

Drosera: hard, deep, violent, paroxysmal cough, irritated airways, tickling and dry
throat, suffocative cough, can press the pit of stomach to start cough, but cough so
painful must hold chest, can have bloody expectoration
Worse: being enclosed
Better: sitting up, walking slowly

Hepar Sulph: dry or productive cough, mucous is thick and yellow if present, cough
dry at night, loose in morning, cough all night long, chilly, wants to be covered
Worse: chill
Better: warmth, expectoration

Ipecac: very dry cough, asthma, irritated or tickling cough in paroxysms, choking or
gagging with cough, frequent vomiting with cough
Worse: night, esp. 7 p.m., deep breathing in, esp. morning in bed, eating, warm room
Better: after expectoration, cold drinks

Kali-Carbonicum: cough at night, esp. 2-4 a.m., dry, tickling cough, bronchitis,
productive cough (sputum comes up), stitching pains in chest with cough, may be
vomiting
Worse: 2-4 a.m., on first going to sleep, cold air or draft, lying, exertion, deep inspiration,
warm food.
Better: Sitting upright or bent forward

Lachesis: cough from allergy, severe infections or heart problems, sensation of crumb
or obstruction in larynx, any attempt to talk causes cough
Worse: all night, disturbing sleep, wakes with cough as soon as falls asleep or in morning
on waking, stuffy room, lying on left, drinking
Better: open air, after expectoration

Mercury: paroxysms of cough at night and from warmth of bed, dry at night, yellowgreen
expectoration during day, tickling behind upper part of sternum, sounds and feels
like chest very dry, hoarseness, diarrhea, salivation, with running nose or nasal
congestion, can’t get temperature right, too hot or too cold
Worse: night, talking, sweating, drafts, artificial light
Better: rest, morning, moderate temperature

Phosphorus: every cold ends in cough and chest infection, dry, tickling cough, painful
cough, burning in chest with cough, headache during cough, must squeeze chest with
pain of cough, exhaustion, trembling from cough, can vomit with cough
Worse: cold air, talking, nervous, entrance of stranger, strong odors, morning in bed and
at night when falling asleep or waking from sleep, lying on back
Better: cold drinks, eating refreshing things, soda, fruit, sleep, dark

Pulsatilla:
cough from allergy or asthma, loose rattling with green, juicy
expectoration, dry cough evening, loose morning, can have tearing with cough or
urinary leakage
Worse: evening or night in bed, becoming cold, warm room, smoky room, warm drinks,
exertion, lying, measles, before menses or if menses suppressed by pill
Better: open or cool air, gentle walking, sitting, deep breath, lying propped on pillows

Rumex: intense tickling with cough, covers mouth in cold because it causes cough
Worse: 11 p.m. morning, cold air, entering or leaving warm room, undressing, uncovering,
bending head backwards, pressing on pit of throat
Better: turning on right side

Spongia: dry, hacking, barking cough from allergy, asthma or infection, suffocative
cough, can turn blue, burning in throat, chest, larynx with cough
Worse: around midnight, both day and night, cold, dry air, cold drinks
Better: warm food or drinks, eating or drinking, sucking on hard candy or cough drops,
sitting, bending head forward

Squilla:
sudden, violent, dry, paroxysmal cough with headache, copious sputum, but
only in morning, may pass stool, urine or have tears with cough, sore chest and abdomen
with cough, urge to blow nose after cough
Worse: taking deep breath, cold drinks
Better: expectoration, sitting up

Please keep in mind that I, Laura Macklem, survivingshtfmom, am NOT a medical professional…I am passing along information that I personally use that may or may not help you. If in doubt, please seek professional medical advice, especially in the event of a medical emergency. I am an advocate of self-care, not harm.

floors

When cleaning your home the ‘natural’ way it can become confusing as to what to use, when to use it and how…in this article I will give really simple ways to clean various types of floors from tile, natural stone, laminate, wood/bamboo and vinyl. Each type of floor has its own quirks and as always, if in doubt about something, try in a small spot first before doing the whole floor.

First up the basics that you will need:

Liquid Castile Soap (how to make)
Hot/Warm Water
Mop (your choice of type)
Optional: Spray bottle if you use the micro cloth type ‘mop’
Essential Oils (tea tree, lavender, lemon, eucalyptus)
Recipes for Natural Spray Cleaner (floors, counters, etc.)

OF NOTE: if you use citrus essential oils it is essential that you do NOT use them on any type of vinyl flooring as citrus oils will eventually break down the petroleum based flooring. Also, please note that I do NOT include orange essential oil, this seems to really break down any type of petroleum based flooring very quickly.

OF NOTE: do not use Castile soap on waxed wood flooring unless you intend on ‘waxing’ them again in the future. Safe to use on ‘sealed’ floors.

To start, ALWAYS sweep/dust mop your floor well to eliminate as much dust, dirt, etc. on the floor to make cleaning it easier.

On all TYPES of flooring (except for waxed wood floors) simply put 1/8 of a cup per gallon of water of the liquid castile soap (made from my recipe which is very concentrated). If desired, add 40 drops of tea tree, lavender, lemon or eucalyptus essential oil. Stir this well in your kitchen sink or bucket. Damp mop only especially with wood, laminate or bamboo flooring. A wet floor of any type can be a hazard so use wring that mop out well…but with wood, laminate and bamboo too much water left to ‘dry’ will eventually cause problems. If you really want to be extra careful use an old towel to dry the floor.
This will work on tile, marble and natural stone floors…just remember to follow manufactures instructions on properly SEALING your natural stone floors as needed to keep them looking new!

If you have a micro mop/swifter type mop use as you would normally use but instead of using the commercial brand sprays see this Liquid Castile Spray recipe for direction on making your cleaner. You will use a damp pad or towel (I have been know to use those cheapie wash rags you can get from Walmart for use with my ‘swifter’. Be sure to change out as needed. I typically change ‘pads’ out after using one for about a 50 square foot area just to keep from spreading dirt around .

Alternatively I found this on Mamatron for laminate, tile and vinyl flooring:
(DO NOT USE ON WOOD, BAMBOO or STONE FLOORS)
How to Make Your Own Homemade (DIY) ‘Pergo’ Laminate Flooring Cleaner
To a measuring cup or jar, add the following:
• 1 part Water
• 1 part White Vinegar
• 1 part 70% Isopropyl (Rubbing) Alcohol
• Few drops of liquid dish detergent
Mix all ingredients together and pour into a fine mist spray bottle.
How to Use Homemade (DIY) ‘Pergo’ Laminate Flooring Cleaner
1. Sweep or vacuum your floors first
2. Spray the cleaner in a fine mist, low over the surface area to be cleaned
3. Allow to set for a few minutes, then use a microfiber mop or towel to wipe it up.
You’ll notice right away that this mixture cleans effectively and with ease, dries quickly, and it is so simple to use. NO BUCKET REQUIRED!
When you have finished mopping, just toss the microfiber mop head or towel into the laundry until next time. Do not use fabric softners with your microfiber mop heads…stops them from absorbing water!
I also found this on TipNut for harwood floors and have used on my own natural stone floors. REMEMBER when using vinegar on natural flooring to always follow up with damp mop clear water just in case. I have edited amounts based upon previous experience with vinegar on natural flooring. BE SURE TO DRY THE FLOOR (WOOD).
Here are several different recipes for mixing up your own cleaners for hardwood flooring, just a few simple ingredients are all that’s needed. Keep in mind that a little goes a long way, you just need enough liquid to dampen the mop (or cloth) and scrub away.

If you’re happy to damp mop with straight water, try adding about 10 drops of essential oil per gallon of water for extra cleaning muscle. Some suggestions: lavender, tea tree oil, pine or eucalyptus oil will add antiseptic qualities.
You’ll also find tips on this page for removing scuff marks, how to test for wax (and remove it), a few DIY polish recipes and a scratch repair method that may surprise you.

Getting Started: Sweep or vacuum surface to remove as much dirt and dust as possible.
Directions:
• When using one of the recipes below, damp mop only. Saturating the floor with liquid may cause spotting or warping of the surface. You can either lightly spray one section at a time or lightly spray the mop head.
• Scrub in the direction of the grain of the wood to grab and remove as much of the dirt as possible.
• Wipe dry with a soft cloth after washing.
Mix 1 gallon warm water with your choice of the ingredients below…

Solution #1
• 1/8 cup vinegar
• 1 TBS Castile liquid soap

Solution #2
• 1/2 cup white household vinegar (*Is it safe to use? See notes below)

Solution #3
• 1/4 cup borax
• 1/2 teaspoon liquid Castile soap

Solution #4
• 1/2 cup vinegar
• 10 drops essential oil of choice

Solution #5
• 1/8 cup liquid Castile soap
• 1/4 cup vinegar

Solution #6
• 1 TBS liquid Castile soap
• 1/8 cup vinegar
• 1/4 cup brewed black tea

Tea Mixture:
Steep 1 bag of tea in 2 cups of boiling water and leave until it comes to room temperature. Remove tea bag and soak cloth in liquid, wring out then wipe floor clean. Dry with a soft cloth. The tannic acid in the tea will help bring wood to a shine.

For Oil-Finish: Damp mop with straight water after first cleaning with the recipe below.
• 1 TBS rubbing alcohol
• 2/3 cup hot water

*Is vinegar safe to use? Isn’t it too acidic for hardwood?
If you poured a bottle of vinegar directly on the floor and allowed it to sit, it would most likely damage the surface. However, in the mixtures above it is well diluted and only used as a damp mop (meaning excess liquid is squeezed out). Vinegar is an excellent household cleaner and brings a lot of muscle to the job. If you’re concerned about the effects it may have on the finish over the long-term, consider doing a clear water rinse after wiping floor with a mixture that has vinegar as an ingredient (then wipe dry as usual).

Removing Scuff Marks
• Keep a spray bottle with a mixture of 50/50 vinegar, water and about 15 drops of essential oil of your choosing.
• Sprinkle scuffs with baking soda then spray solution, let fizz for a few seconds.
• Scrub marks until they are removed then dry with a soft towel.

Wax Testing & Removal
• Wet your fingers with water then flick into a corner of the floor where there’s not much traffic. If there’s wax on the surface, the floor will turn white under the water beads (may take a half hour or so to turn white).

To Remove Wax:
• Scrub the surface with mineral spirits using a household sponge with a nylon scrubby side. Wipe dry with a soft cloth as wax is dissolved. Repeat process a second time if needed.
DIY Polish

Wash surface as usual and dry thoroughly. Using one of the mixes below, apply polish to surface then wipe dry with a soft cotton towel.

Recipe #1
• Mix equal parts olive oil and white household vinegar.

Recipe #2
• 1/4 cup vegetable oil (or olive oil)
• 2 TBS cider vinegar
• 3 TBS vodka

Recipe #3
• 1 TBS olive oil mixed with 1 tsp lemon juice. Apply to a clean, dry mop and treat floors after cleaning.
Quick Tip: You can also spray commercial furniture polish onto the mop head and then wipe over surface.

Scratch Repair
• Rub a crayon that is the same color as the flooring into the scratch, filling the space as full of the wax as you can.
• To seal in place, heat with a hair dryer to soften the wax, allow to cool for a few seconds then buff with a soft cloth.

Lots of different ways to get the job done and many can be used to clean walls, cabinets and other items in your house…have fun!

kitchen

In an effort to save money I have posted on making my own liquid laundry detergent…it works and works well, taking out stains, no smell left and is safe for the environment and septic systems. If this interests you please visit:

Going forward to save money and have just a few ingredients that are relatively cheap and easy obtain at this moment I will be doing a series based on ‘areas’ in the home that we are looking to keep clean.

Today, we will be looking at keeping the kitchen area clean, including dishes, floors, windows, etc.

What you will need:
Vinegar
Borax
Baking Soda
Washing Soda
Containers/Spray Bottles
Someway of measuring (spoon, cup, etc.)
Essential Oils
Castile Soap or other natural soap (liquid and bar)

How to make liquid soap from bar soap

Dishwashing Detergent Powder:
Very simple and works great!

1 part Borax
1 part Baking Soda

Mix the Borax and baking soda together. I like to make large batches at a time and use a ‘repurposed’ plastic container with a tight lid that once held pretzels and I do keep a dedicated large tablespoon for ease of use in the container itself.
Add to your dishwasher’s detergent compartment, and run as usual. I typically use about 1 Tablespoon per load of dishes in the dishwasher. Borax and baking soda are both natural disinfectants and mild abrasives – just what you need to blast away stuck on food and germs.

If you have hard water add a rinsing agent to get rid of spots:

What you need:
White Vinegar

To make the transition from commercial to natural dishwasher rinsing agent:
1. Finish using up any commercial rinse agent that remains in your dishwasher.
2. Instead of refilling with the commercial rising agent, fill the well with white vinegar.
3. Run your dishwasher as usual.
4. Refill the dispenser as needed.

Liquid Dishwashing Soap:

What you will need:
Pan/Pot
Water
Castile Bar Soap
Liquid Castile Soap
Washing Soda
Essential Oils (optional)
Squirt Bottle Container

Ingredients
1. 1 1/4 cups boiling water
2. 1/4 cup (tightly packed) castile bar soap, grated
3. 1 tablespoon washing soda (use a little more for a thicker soap)
4. 1/4 cup liquid castile soap
5. 10-30 drops essential oils (optional; I use 20 drops orange and 10 drops tea tree)
Instructions
1. Add grated castile soap to boiling water and stir until dissolved.
2. Add washing soda and stir.
3. Add liquid castile soap and stir.
4. Let mixture cool, then add essential oils.
5. Transfer to repurposed soap dispenser and use as regular dish soap.
Notes
1. Soap mixture will harden as it sets. If it’s too thick to pour, just add a tiny bit of warm water and give it a good shake to loosen it up.
2. The amount of washing soda you use will dictate how thick the soap gets, so adjust accordingly. The temperature of your kitchen is also a factor.
(taken from naturesnurtureblog.com)

Stainless Steel or Appliance Cleaner:

What you will need:
Spray bottle
Vinegar
Cleaning Cloth/Cotton Rags

I like to reuse spray bottles (you can reuse one if you clean it out well! Windex bottles or other spray bottles that had multipurpose cleaners in them, just be sure to clean/rinse well) or if you are very cautious you can buy new ones fairly inexpensively. And instead of paper towels use either washable ‘rags’ or even cut up old tee-shirts (you can buy a bag of ‘rags’ on amazon by the the pound for just under $7).

Fill a spray bottle with undiluted white vinegar. Then, spray on all of your stainless steel surfaces, and wipe dry with a soft cleaning cloth. Simple and effective!

Marble Counter Tops:
What you need:
Natural Liquid Soap Or Grated Natural Bar Soap
Spray Bottle
To make a safe cleanser for a home marble countertop, fill a spray bottle with 1 tablespoon of natural liquid soap, such as Castile soap, (how to make liquid soap out of bar soap) and 1 quart of warm water. Shake the bottle to mix them thoroughly. Alternatively, grate 1 to 1 1/2 tablespoons of your favorite natural or organic bar soap, and dissolve that in the same quantity of water.
To clean the countertop, mist it lightly with the mild soap solution and wipe it clean with a soft, damp, lint-free cloth.
Use a second cloth to buff the stone dry if you wish.
DO NOT USE LEMON JUICE, VINEGAR OR ANY OTHER NATURAL CLEANER THAT IS ACIDIC AS IT WILL ETCH THE MARBLE AND/OR GROUT!
ALSO, ESSENTIAL OILS SHOULD NOT BE USED ON MARBLE OR GROUT AS MANY OF THEM WILL ‘EAT’ GROUT.
Some acidic and highly pigmented liquids, such as red wine and fruit juices, can quickly stain marble. Remove these stains with a poultice. First, wipe the stained area with bottled or distilled water. Then mix up a thick paste of more water with an absorbent material such as chalk, white flour or kaolin clay. If the marble is white, you can use a bottle of 6 percent hydrogen peroxide for your liquid, instead of water. Tape plastic over the poultice to keep it from drying out, and leave it for 48 hours. Wipe away the poultice with water, and repeat if necessary.

Porcelain, Tile, Kitchen Counter Tops: (not marble)

What you need:
Spray bottle (optional)
Baking Soda
Salt (optional)
Tea Tree Oil (option for spray only)
Water
Rag/Towel

Dust surfaces with baking soda (just a little!), then scrub with a moist sponge or cloth. If you have tougher grime, sprinkle on some salt, and work up some elbow grease.
Just like using Comet or other commercially available cleansing powders. Keep that in mind…a little goes a long way and to avoid residue you will need to rinse/wipe well.

Alternatively, I have found that you can get a 1 quart spray bottle, fill with warm water, add 3 tablespoons baking soda, 20 drops tea tree essential oil. Shake well, spray, rinse.

Oven Cleaner

Conventional oven cleaning chemicals are loaded with toxic ingredients, including ethers, ethylene glycol, lye (sodium and potassium hydroxide), methylene chloride and petroleum distillates. The products are harmful to skin and eyes, and the fumes are unhealthy. Instead, go natural!
Baking Soda and Water: Coat the inside of your dirty appliance with a paste made from water and baking soda. Let stand overnight. Then, don gloves and scour off that grime. Make spotless with a moist cloth.

(taken from thedailygreen.com)

Disinfectant Kitchen Spray:

What you need:
Spray Bottle
Water
Liquid Castile Soap
Tea Tree or Lavender Essential Oil

Mix 2 cups of water, 3 tablespoons of liquid castile soap and 20 to 30 drops of tea tree or lavender essential oil. Spray or rub on countertops and other kitchen surfaces.

Let sit for a minute or two and then wipe off with a wet rag.

Can be used to clean the refrigerator including the seals. Do NOT use citrus oils on plastics or other porous materials as they will MELT or CORRODE them over time.

Glass Stove Top Cleaner:

What you need:
Preferred method of cleaning is a ‘magic eraser’

Otherwise you will need:
Water
Baking Soda

Take 1/8 cup warm water and add enough baking soda to make thin paste…scrub as you would using commercial glass stove top cleaner.

Kitchen Floor Cleaner:

Do NOT use on real wood or bamboo floors!!!

What you will need:
1. 1 cup water
2. 1 cup vinegar
3. 1 cup alcohol
4. 2-3 drops dish soap (Castile, Dawn, etc. click here on how to make your own)
5. 10 drops lavender essential oil
6. 6 drops tea tree essential oil
7. Fine-mist spray bottle – 24oz
8. Microfiber or other dry mop
YES, YOU CAN USE THIS IN YOUR SWIFTER MOP OR OTHER SPRAY AS YOU GO COMMERCIAL MOPS.
Instructions
1. Add all ingredients to spray bottle and shake to combine.
2. Sweep/vacuum the floor.
3. Spray cleaner on the floor (or other surface).
4. Wipe up with a microfiber cloth.
Notes
1. As with all cleaners, please do a spot test to make sure this will work on your floors!
2. For a mop and bucket version, try this: For a gallon of water, you could try 1/2 cup of vinegar, and 1/3 cup of alcohol, plus a few drops of dish soap.
3. Remember really wring the mop out so that you do not leave a lot water on the floor to ‘dry’.

Kitchen Sink Cleaner:
What you will need:
Baking Soda
Sponge or Rag

Sprinkle baking soda into sink and scrub out…rinse.


Garbage Disposal Cleaner:
Bonus: You also sharpen the blades at the same time!!!

What you will need:
Vinegar
Baking Soda
2 Lemon or Oranges Slices
OR
20 drops essential oils of your choice
OR
2 Tablespoons Lemon Juice
Ice

Garbage disposals not only get really stinky if you don’t maintain them, the blades will also go dull. Here’s is a fast and easy way to eliminate odors and sharpen the blades.

Instructions:
Put ½ cup baking soda down garbage disposal
Put 20 drops essential oil of choice into ½ cup vinegar
OR
Put 2 thin slices lemon or oranges down garbage disposal and then add ½ cup vinegar to disposal
OR
Put 2 Tablespoons Lemon Juice into ½ vinegar and pour into disposal

Let sit for a minute

Then put 6-10 ice cubes down disposal
Turn on water
Turn on garbage disposal and allow to run until you no longer hear chopping.

Get Rid of Drain Flies:

What you need:
Vinegar
Pan/Pot

Instructions:

Gently heat 2 cups per drain of vinegar in pot/pan.
Pour down effected drain(s).
Let sit for a few minutes.
Run warm water to flush out.
Repeat as needed.

Get Rid of Fruit Flies:

What you need:
Small wide mouth glass or ceramic bowls
Apple cider vinegar

Put small amount of apple cider vinegar into small wide mouth bowls and place around known areas where the fruit flies are. Let sit for a day. You will trap them by drowning. Personally I like to use an all purpose natural cleaner to sneak up on the small bowl before they notice me and spray real quick to make the ones on the rim wet so they can’t fly and then I rinse down the sink. Repeat as needed.

Alternatively you can make this trap for fruit flies:

What you will need:

1 pint mason jar or 1 recycled baby food jar, with lid if you still have it.
A hammer and standard nail (if you have the mason jar or baby food jar top)
OR plastic wrap, rubber band and a fork/skewer/toothpick if you don’t have the top.

1/4–1/2 cup apple cider vinegar, wine, stale beer or bourbon
Optional: small piece of old, overripe fruit
2-3 drops of dishwashing soap

Directions
Using the lid method:
Punch 8-12 holes into the lid, just big enough for the fruit fly to enter. Big enough you can get the tip of pen into it.
If you don’t have the lid:
Get plastic wrap, or wax paper (old sandwhich baggie?) and a rubber band to tightly cover the top of the jar. Poke holes into it with a fork, skewer or toothpick.
Fill the jar with about a half inch of apple cider vinegar, wine, beer or liquor. Stir in a couple drops of dishwashing soap (if you want), then place a small piece of overripe fruit into the middle of the liquid (if you have), if you do use fruit be sure that the fruit is sticking out of the liquid.
Set your traps where you see the fruit flies. Empty and repeat every 2 to 3 days. You can put down the drain, compost pile, etc. Just get them gone!

Preventing Fruit Flies/Drain Flies
1. Clean your produce as soon as you get home, and store it loose or in a new bag, rather than in the plastic bag you got from the store.
2. Cover your fruit bowl or store fruit in the refrigerator.
3. Don’t put food or beverage containers in waste paper baskets.
4. Use, freeze or compost all overripe fruits and vegetables.
5. Don’t keep any vegetable or meat scraps in your garbage can inside your home. Not only does regularly taking out the garbage keep flies away but ants and other creepies.
6. Take out your compost.
7. Wash all dishes and clear the drains in your sink.
8. Run garbage disposal regularly.
9. Don’t leave wet dishrags in the sink, on the countertops or in the washmachine.
10. Clean the seals of your refrigerator door, the top and under the fridge.
11. Clean under and around your dishwasher and stove.
12. Allow the first inch of the soil in your houseplants to dry out before watering.
13. Make sure you have good window and door screens.