I’d love to be able to go completely non-toxic, but I’m definitely still want products that WORK. You know? It’s been about a year that I’ve been working on replacing the personal care and household products in my home with more natural and less-toxic alternatives. It really began with me realizing that I was avoiding cleaning certain things because of the side effects it would have on me. Bleach would give me a huge headache after cleaning with it. Scrubbing bubbles left me feeling a little dizzy. Windex did the job, but sheesh, almost $4 a bottle? And that’s nothing compared to the personal care $$ I was spending on lotions, soaps, makeup etc. It really adds up. But boy, do they work great! I didn’t really think that I had much of a choice, so I just kind of accepted that chemicals were the way to go.
I started learning about more natural remedies, products and approaches to life more and more over the past few years. I heard somewhere along the way that Europe bans over 1300 chemicals from their products but that of those, the US only bans 9. NINE. What the what?! Turns out that there are a lot of little secrets and work-arounds that companies can use to get away with putting known carcinogens and hormone disruptors in the products we use daily. And they can lie about what’s in their product too. Or just not tell you. Kinda like how juices will say “100% Juice!” on the front, but you flip it over and it says that water is the first ingredient, quickly followed by three kinds of synthesized or processed sugar. So you’re like, “What the heck, Juice?” and it replies… “Oh, no no, I meant, this contains 100% juice!” Sorry, that seems like a lie to me. And that’s just JUICE. At least juice prints the ingredients on the back. Some products, like perfumes, simply don’t have to tell us what’s in them. I could go on… That’s not even the half, nay, the tenth of it. But I’m not going to lecture on it here. You can google and read til the cows come home, and even after they go to sleep, reading up on all this stuff. Honestly, that tiny bit of info was enough for me to start pursuing more natural options for myself.
Thing was, I didn’t exactly know where to start. All the “all-natural” product lines out there were SO EXPENSIVE. I mean, I guess they should be? I honestly don’t know. So I started to feel like this au naturale lifestyle might be out of my reach. Kind of like how Whole Foods is out of my reach. Fall 2014 I first heard about essential oils from a client with a weakened immune system. She said she swore by Thieves oil from Young Living because it boosted her immune system and helped her to not get sick. Which was quite a feat, considering all the kiddos she has. And she CANNOT get sick, because it’s really bad news if she does. So, that kind of piqued my interest. She relies heavily on a little bottle of oil. If that could help someone with a weakened immune system, wow. I immediately thought of my Dad, who has the same thing going on due to some transplant surgeries and the anti-rejection drugs he has to take daily. Didn’t really do anything about it, just thought, “Neat.”
Christmas, I got some body butter and body wash from my sweet cuz-in-law with the most glorious scent. Carrot seed, rosemary, and spearmint. Amazingly enough, no, you do not smell like a good stew when you wear this. It’s perfect. And I have a very strong memory link with scents, so since I used it while I was in Steamboat Springs, Colorado during a beautiful snowy winter trip, whenever I used it, it would always transport me back there and make me feel really relaxed. Obviously, I really loved this stuff and wanted to make my own versions. So I started pinning ideas onto Pinterest boards and ordered myself some shea butter, coconut oil, cocoa butter and asked a friend to bring the essential oils she used to play with and make some body butter!
While I was looking for body butter recipes, I ended up finding a LOT of other recipes of things I realized that I could try making. I noticed that a lot of them had essential oils for ingredients too. Tucked that info away for a little bit. Household cleaner, glass cleaner, toilet cleaner, face wash, body wash, body scrub, lip balm, bug spray, sunscreen, after-sun spray, and even things like a focus roll-on to help me with my attention problems, stress-relief, and natural remedies for common aches and pains. Like a true Pinterest addict, I started separating all these ideas into different boards so that I could one day come back and make them. Just like I save all the interior design and swimming pool ideas for the house I don’t own yet!
Well, since the first of the year, I have made a lot of different concoctions. Some of them were a total bust, like these dishwasher tabs. I even tried it twice more to make it work. Nope. They just don’t work. No matter how cute the label is, if you’re ineffective, you’ve got to go! I think it was the Borax. I am still undecided on that stuff.
Not to worry, I have made quite a few other things that are effective, so I thought I’d share some of those ideas and recipes with you! I found most of them all over the internet via Pinterest, but ultimately adjusted and tweaked the recipes to get them working just the way I need ’em to! There’s also price estimates on what it costs to actually make this, based on a really nerdy spreadsheet that I made, ha!
Carpet Deodorizing & Flea Repellant Powder
10 oz baking soda
10 drops tea tree essential oil
10 drops RepelAroma essential oil
Combine ingredients in an sugar shaker and shake well before each use. Put saran wrap or a ziploc bag under the screw on lid between usage to retain the essential oil properties for longer.
Cost: $7.25 per 10 oz. jar Refill: $2.25
3.5 oz. Dr. Bronner’s Castille Soap
1 TB jojoba oil
5 drops elemi essential oil
5 drops lavender essential oil
5 drops geranium essential oil
Combine ingredients in an 8 oz. foamer bottle and shake well before each use.
Cost: $6.00 per 8 oz bottle Refill: $5.00
2 ounces witch hazel
5 drops tea tree essential oil
3 drops frankincense or elemi essential oil
5 drops lavender essential oil
3 drops geranium essential oil
Combine ingredients in an 2 ounce dropper bottle and shake well before each use.
Cost: $4.50 per 2 oz. bottle Refill: $3.50
Manly Body Wash
1/3 cup castile soap
1 TBSP raw honey
1/2 tsp jojoba oil or vitamin E
1 TBSP vegetable glycerin
10-20 drops Essential Oils
Combine ingredients in a 4 oz. pump or squeeze bottle and shake well before each use.
Cost: $6.00+ per 4 oz. pump bottle Refill: $4.50+ (price varies depending on essential oils used)
4 ounces vinegar
4 ounces distilled water
5 drops lemon essential oil
Combine ingredients in an 8 oz spray bottle and shake well before each use.
Cost: $3.50 per 8 oz. bottle Refill: $1.75
Along the way, I’ve always been open to sharing the joy of making my own stuff with my friends. It really makes me feel great to know that I’m doing something positive and healthy for my family, especially when it also ends up saving us a lot of money in the long run. Because I have so many friends who, like me, wanted to get in on this DIY thing but found it hard to bulk purchase items when you’re not sure if it’s even going to work out, I started to offer to do “Make & Take” parties at friends’ houses. I bulk purchase all the supplies and prepare recipe cards and pre-set stations up for the party-goers to whip up their own homemade goodies. Plus, I am continuing to accrue quite the stash of Young Living Essential Oils (that turned out to be more than just good smells for my body butters, whodathunkit?), so I am prepared to share the love!
Just did one this past weekend and it was such a blast. We even try to include a little educational component about why we’re using what ingredients. If you’ve wanted to check this out for yourself, but it’s been a little too much of an undertaking, trust me, I understand. This is like, almost a year in the making that I’ve settled into what has really worked and what has flopped. Friends & family, please feel free to join me for a party or ask me about setting something up for you and your buddies. I think these are so fun and like I said, I love sharing the love. #lesstoxiclifestyle #essentialoilsftw #diy