Homemade Non-Toxic Bug Spray

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Summer is in full swing, and that means that bugs are biting!!!  There’s only so much we can do to prevent bug bites – wear long sleeves and pants, bug spray, etc.  However, one problem with many bug sprays out there is the ingredients!  The worst of the offenders is DEET.  This ingredients is known as a skin, lung, and eye irritant, and on top of that, when used often, it can cause neurological damage, and in very rare cases, even death!  Yikes!  So, personally, I want to stay away from that ingredient.

A couple of other ingredients that the CDC say are the most effective in repelling bugs are Picaridin and IR3535.  The IR3535 can be irritating to the skin, eyes, and respiratory system, but other than that, it is reported as safe.  Well, I think I would prefer an alternative, because I like to enjoy my time outside, not to spend it dealing with irritations!  Isn’t that what the bugs are?

I couldn’t find much information on Picaridin.  For the most part, it sounds like this ingredient is your best bet if you are looking for a store bought bug spray that “seems” to be the safest regarding toxicity.  However, from what I’ve read, there haven’t been many studies to determine it’s safety or side effects as it’s a fairly new ingredient, and I’m always leery of new ingredients.

So, with these three ingredients reported to be the best, where does that leave us? As I said, I really am not fond of any of them.  Well, I’ve got good news – ESSENTIAL OILS!!!  There are tons of essential oils that are great for repelling bugs.

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This pin just names a few!  I looked into each of the oils to figure out which is the best of the best.  I landed on rose geranium, lavender, citronella, and white thyme.  The rose geranium is supposed to be the best repellent for ticks.  Lavender is supposed to be excellent for repelling mosquitos.  White thyme is great for repelling chiggers.  Lastly, citronella is great for repelling mosquitos, flies, chiggers, ticks, and other bugs!

I’ve also read that lemongrass is supposed to be excellent at repelling all types of insects, however, I also read that beekeepers use lemongrass oil to attract swarms of bees.  Though I’m sure that it’s used in a specific manner to do this, different than it would be used in this repellent, the thought of a big swarm of bees chasing me was enough for me to leave it out.  The nice thing is that you can always add it if you wanted to.  This recipe works great from my experience, but if you want to use different essential oils – feel free!

Another quick note – I used witch hazel and distilled water as a base.  The witch hazel allows the water and essential oils to mix together – without it, they won’t mix!  However, if you don’t have witch hazel, you could also use vodka.  In my opinion, the advantage to using witch hazel is that it’s great for the skin – a lot of people use it as a toner.  Vodka, on the other hand, isn’t exactly known for being beneficial to the skin.  However, if you don’t have witch hazel on hand and you do have vodka, it will work just as well!

Okay, now that we’ve gotten all of the notes out of the way, let’s get to the recipe!

HOMEMADE NON-TOXIC BUG SPRAY

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup distilled water
  • 1/4 cup witch hazel
  • 10 drops each of your chosen essential oils.  I used 10 drops of lavender, 10 drops of citronella, 15 drops of rose geranium, and 10 drops of white thyme

Directions

Place all of the ingredients into a spray bottle, and shake well to combine.  Label the bottle if desired.  Note: a dark bottle is best – I had this clear bottle on hand, so made it in this, but dark is better when dealing with essential oils.

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Now you can enjoy the outdoors, bug free, without having to worry about those iffy ingredients in store bought bug spray! Spray all over, avoiding the eye/face area.  Reapply as necessary (every hour or two) Enjoy! 🙂

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Homemade Non-Toxic Antiseptic Ointment – Works as Well as Neosporin!

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I am so excited to share this with you!  This is my own personal recipe that I use for an Antiseptic Ointment.  We have two fluff babies with their claws intact, and that results in some accidental scratches here and there.

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This ointment is perfect for little scratches like that!  It’s also good  for minor cuts, burns, and blisters.  It could also be used for warts and fungal skin conditions.

I love this stuff, because it works just as well, if not better, than Neosporin, and it doesn’t have any of the iffy ingredients that Neosporin does.  The EWG website rates Neosporin First Aid Antibiotic Cream with a 5.  That’s too high in my book.  Some of the health concerns listed from the ingredients in the cream are organ system toxicity, endocrine disruption, biochemical or cellular level changes, skin irritation, and reproductive toxicity.  All of that was reason enough for me to come up with my own recipe for an antiseptic ointment.

Not only is this ointment non-toxic and effective in treating minor cuts and scrapes by preventing infection, but it is also really good for your skin, so it protects the skin as it heals and aids in the body’s process of restoring the skin as it heals.  Every single one of the ingredients in this ointment has antibacterial, anti fungal, and antiviral properties.  The coconut oil, aloe vera oil, and grapeseed oil all have moisturizing and repairing properties that benefit the skin.  Even more, the coconut oil and aloe vera oil are soothing and can help to take the sting out of those little scratches.

I am going to get straight to the recipe for all of you that are anxious to hear it, but after the recipe I am going to display some pins that show the benefits of the ingredients in this ointment.  If you’re interested, read on after the recipe!

HOMEMADE NON-TOXIC ANTISEPTIC OINTMENT

Ingredients (Makes about 2 oz.)

  • 2 Tbsp. Organic Unrefined Extra Virgin Coconut Oil
  • 1/2 Tbsp. beeswax pellets (you can get these on Amazon here)
  • 1 Tbsp. Grapeseed Oil
  • 1 Tbsp. Aloe Vera Oil
  • 15 drops Grapefruit Seed Extract
  • 10-15 drops Tea Tree Essential Oil
  • 10-15 drops Eucalyptus Essential Oil
  • 10-15 drops Lavender Essential Oil
  • 2 oz. glass jar or container (I got mine on Amazon here)

Directions

1.) In a small sauce pan, melt your coconut oil and beeswax pellets over medium heat, stirring constantly, until completely melted.

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2.) Remove from heat and add your grapeseed oil, aloe vera oil, essential oils, and grapefruit seed extract.  Stir to combine.  Poor into your glass container.

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3.) Allow the ointment to thicken by placing it in the refridgerator for an hour or so.  Once thickened, place the lid on the jar.

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You’re good to go!  You will find that this does take on an ointment consistency and not a lotion consistency.  I scooped some on my finger so you can see.  It really has the same consistency as Neosporin.

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So that’s the recipe!  Anytime you have a minor cut or scrape, wash it thoroughly and then slather some of this ointment on it and you will be healed up in no time!

Now, as promised, if you’re interested, the following pins show some benefits of the ingredients in this ointment.

COCONUT OIL (There’s SO many with this one, but you can easily see the infection fighting properties as well as the skin benefits in the long list shown)

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GRAPESEED OIL

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ALOE VERA OIL

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LAVENDER ESSENTIAL OIL

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TEA TREE ESSENTIAL OIL

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EUCALYPTUS ESSENTIAL OIL

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GRAPEFRUIT SEED EXTRACT

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As you can see, all of the ingredients are excellent for preventing infection and for taking care of your skin as your boo boo heals!  Enjoy! 🙂

DIY Homemade Lip Balm

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I have a confession to make, I am slightly addicted to lip balm!  Seriously, I can’t go to bed at night without applying my lip balm.  At least it makes for some soft lips.  Anyway, I wanted to share my lip balm recipe with all of you!  This is a really easy recipe, and it only has 3 ingredients!

The base of this is coconut oil, so that makes it a very versatile lip balm!  What?!  How can a lip balm be versatile?  Well, as it turns out, this also doubles very nicely as an excellent cuticle balm.  Massaging this into your cuticles and nails make for some really healthy, long, and strong nails.  I use this stuff for both my lips and my nails.

Another reason why this lip balm is so fantastic is because coconut oil can be used to treat and prevent cold sores.  It is a great natural alternative to some of the harsh medications out there.  Since this lip balm uses coconut oil as it’s base, it serves as a great way to reduce incidence of cold sores and to treat one when you have one.

Side note:  If you do get a cold sore, I recommend coconut oil and lysine as an effective treatment method.  I don’t get them very often, but if I get a cold or the flu or my ragweed allergies are exceptionally severe, one sometimes rears it’s ugly head (maybe once every year or so).  This lip balm along with lysine usually gets rid of it lickity split (Normally, it goes within a week, whereas if I don’t use this treatment method it sticks around for 2-3 weeks…not cool).

While on the subject of cold sores, here is a pin that links to a site that gives some excellent natural remedies for those stinkers.

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Okay, so back to this lip balm.  This stuff is really smooth and goes on nicely.  The peppermint oil in it is very soothing on dry lips, so you can get relief from the symptoms of dry lips while the coconut oil goes to work to moisturize and repair.  This stuff is great, and it is easy to make, all natural, and non-toxic.  A winner by all means in my book!

DIY HOMEMADE LIP BALM

Ingredients/Materials:

  • Lip balm tins – you can just wash out an old empty tin, or you can buy empty ones on amazon here.
  • 3 Tbsp. Organic Virgin Unrefined Coconut Oil
  • 1 3/4 Tbsp. organic beeswax pellets (you can get these on amazon here)
  • 10-12 drops of peppermint essential oil

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Directions

1.) In a small saucepan, melt the coconut oil and beeswax pellets over medium heat, stirring constantly until completely melted.

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2.) Once completely melted, add the peppermint essential oil, stir to combine, then fill the tins with the mixture.  Allow to cool and harden.

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3.) Put covers on tins.  Your lip balm (or nail/cuticle balm) is now ready to use.

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Awesome!  Enjoy! 🙂

 

 

 

 

Homemade Non-Toxic Jewelry Cleaner

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So, today, I was admiring my wedding ring, and I notice it was looking pretty grimy.  I thought about going and getting some jewelry cleaner, but when I looked at the ingredients in most jewelry cleaners, they were NOT good!  For instance, a very common ingredient in jewelry cleaners is ammonium hydroxide.  This ingredient alone can cause some pretty terrible consequences to your health when you’re exposed to it.  Some of these include the following.

  • The Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) classifies ammonium hydroxide as extremely hazardous when it comes in contact with the skin.  Considering that jewelry comes in direct contact with skin, I don’t think it’s a great idea to use something classified as extremely hazardous to the skin on it.
  • Ammonium hydroxide can produce tissue damage on mucous membranes.  When exposed to this chemical, our bodies can store it, and it can build up in our organs wreaking havoc on our health.
  • Chronic high levels of exposure can damage blood vessels and cause harm at the cellular level.
  • Inhaling ammonium hydroxide vapors can cause respiratory irritation.

Yuck!  No thanks!  And that’s just one ingredient.  A couple other common ingredients in jewelry cleaners that can be harmful are sodium metasilicate and butoxyethanol.  Both of these have many dangerous qualities that can damage your health.

Well, the good news is that you don’t need to use these jewelry cleaners, because I have a fabulous recipe that works wonders for jewelry.  I made it tonight and my ring is sparkly, shiny, and beautiful!!!

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Okay, for real, here is a pic after I cleaned the ring, you can see how great it looks!

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So, back to my story.  After noticing that my ring was looking grimy and looking up ingredients in normal jewelry cleaners, I decided it would be a better idea to make my own – enter Pinterest!!!  There were a lot of recipes for homemade jewelry cleaner.  Most of which had the ingredients baking soda, dishsoap, and salt, like the following pin.

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I decided to use the baking soda, but came up with a recipe of my own that actually doesn’t use the salt or the dish soap.  I got the idea for the other ingredients from my Non-Toxic glass cleaner recipe.  I remembered that when trying to find the perfect recipe for glass cleaner, cornstarch really gave my mirrors an amazing shine and clarity.  I settled on the following ingredients: baking soda, cornstarch, water, and vinegar.  I was really pleased with the result!

HOMEMADE NON-TOXIC JEWELRY CLEANER

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup water
  • 1 Tbsp. Baking Soda
  • 1 Tbsp. Corn Starch
  • 1-2 Tbsp. White Vinegar

Directions:

1.) Place your water in a small saucepan and bring to a boil.

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2.) Remove from heat and add the baking soda, cornstarch, and vinegar.  It will get all fizzy and stuff – super fun, I felt like a kid in chemistry class!  Stir until the cornstarch and baking soda are dissolved.

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3.) Place your jewelry in the pan and let it soak for 10 minutes.

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4.) Remove your jewelry from the pan, and use a soft bristle toothbrush to scrub the jewelry.

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5.) Rinse the jewelry in water and place on a dishtowel to dry.

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That’s it!  You’re all done, your jewelry is shining like new, and you don’t have to worry about any nasty chemicals in order to have sparkly jewelry!  Enjoy! 🙂

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Safe, Non-toxic, Effective, and Easy Homemade Deodorant

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Check out this pin from Pinterest:

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Most popular brands of deodorant are incredibly toxic and can cause all sorts of disruption in our bodies.  This pin just lists 5 such ingredients.

  • Aluminum: Aluminum has been linked to breast cancer in women, prostate cancer in men, and has also been linked to an increased risk of Alzheimer’s disease.  The main ingredient in most all deodorants is Aluminum.  You would be shocked at how much aluminum your body absorbs just from daily use of a deodorant containing it.  If you don’t believe me, read on to see how I found out just how much this is the case!
  • Parabens: Ugh!  I hate these things, and unfortunately, they don’t just show up in deodorants – they also show up in MANY of our personal care products such as lotion, shampoo, conditioner, makeup, soaps, etc.  Parabens are linked to birth defects and organ toxicity.  They disrupt our delicate hormonal balance and can cause hormonal cancers.  Although I make a majority of my personal care products myself, when I do buy a beauty product, I make it a HUGE point to only buy paraben free products.
  • Propylene glycol: This is a petroleum based material that is used to soften cosmetic products.  Studies have shown that it can cause damage to the central nervous system, liver and heart.  Propylene glycol also exacerbates overgrowth of candida.  Due to the normal American diet being filled with sugar and other junk food, candida overgrowth is prevalent in many of our digestive tracks and can cause symptoms such as fatigue, brain fog, depression, yeast infections, rashes, poor nutrient absorption, weight gain/loss, etc.
  • Phthalates: These chemicals are tricky, because usually your ingredient list won’t list them outright.  They show up in cosmetics, synthetic fragrances, body care products and medical goods.  Anytime you see “fragrance” or “parfum” listed on your ingredient list, there are usually phthalates hiding in there.  Phthalates affect our endocrine system by disrupting hormone receptors.  This causes an increased risk of birth defects in pregnant women, and increases the likelihood of cell mutation.
  • Triclosan: Triclosan is utilized as the odor killing part of antiperspirants because of its anti-bacterial properties. It is also commonly used in antibacterial soaps, hand wipes and gels.  Triclosan is actually classified as a pesticide by the FDA. It is also classified as a probable carcinogen by the Environmental Protection Agency. This classification is why some companies have removed it from their products, but unfortunately, it can still be found in many products.

You may think that we use such a small amount of deodorant when we use it that our bodies wouldn’t absorb very many of these chemicals – WRONG!  A few years back when I became very ill, I had a hair analysis done to see if any toxic metals showed up and to see what my oxidation rate was doing.  At the time, I was using a popular brand of deodorant (rhymes with schmecret 😉 ).  My hair analysis came back showing an EXTREMELY high amount of aluminum in my system, and I was told that normally when it’s that high, it means I had been or was being exposed to something causing this (Yikes!  Not what I wanted to hear as I was already dealing with trying to recover from being ill anyway!).  I racked my brain, and the only thing I could think of was my deodorant. I stopped using that deodorant and started making my own.  A year later, I had another hair analysis done, and the aluminum levels had gone down to a completely normal level (we all have a small amount no matter how careful we are).  Phew, I was relieved, however – this just goes to show how much of these nasty chemicals that our bodies actually absorb and store – even if we are only using a small amount of product!

As I said, I stopped using store bought deodorant a few years ago after doing some research and finding out how incredibly toxic many of the ingredients in mainstream deodorants are.  I tried quite a few different “natural or organic” store bought deodorants for a few months, but it never failed that when I would read the ingredients, there was at least one that was undesirable.  I decided to take matters into my own hands and try making my own.  I tried quite a few different recipes, and the one I’m going to share with you is the BEST!  It works so well, not a trace of body odor, and it’s actually quite moisturizing for you skin because of the coconut oil.  In all honesty, I’m not one to normally get BO, but I made this deodorant for my hubby, and it works great on him as well, so I am convinced that this one is the absolute best and effective recipe.

While trying to concoct the perfect deodorant recipe, I kept coming across recipes that called for “aluminum free” baking soda.  I was so confused, because I didn’t think baking soda had aluminum in it.  I knew baking powder commonly has this in it, but not baking soda.  I would search for aluminum free baking soda, and it was so hard to find.  I did my research, and you will be glad to know that I was right on this one.  Baking soda DOES NOT contain aluminum.  Some brands put “aluminum free” on their packaging, and it’s true that it is aluminum free, but it is just a marketing tool.  So, one more time: baking soda DOES NOT contain aluminum.

Okay, now that that is cleared up, let’s talk about this deodorant recipe!  This recipe is SO easy, and it works wonders.  It only contains 5 ingredients and the fifth one (essential oils) is optional!  I really like to add the essential oil though – you can make some really nice scented deodorants and not have to worry about the fragrance containing any of those hidden chemicals.  In the summer, I like to use a combination of lemon, sweet orange, and lime essential oils.  In the fall and winter, I like lavender and peppermint or sweet orange, clove, and cinnamon.  Since my hubby doesn’t want to smell like a girl, I made his to be scented with vanilla, clove, and coriander seed oils – smells so nice!  However, the essential oils are optional, so if you are sensitive to them, you can leave them out.  Let’s go ahead with this recipe!

HOMEMADE DEODORANT

Ingredients:

  • 1/3 cup organic virgin unrefined coconut oil
  • 1/4 cup baking soda
  • 1/4 cup arrowroot powder
  • 1 tsp. Beeswax organic pastilles (Beeswax pellets)
  • 5-20 drops of your favorite essential oil

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Directions:

1.) In a medium mixing bowl, combine the baking soda and arrowroot powder.

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2.) In a small sauce pan, heat the coconut oil and beeswax pellets over medium heat, stirring constantly until melted completely.

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3.) Poor the melted coconut oil and beeswax pellets over the baking soda and arrowroot powder.  Stir until well combined and smooth.  Add your essential oils and mix well.

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4.) Pour the mixture into an empty deodorant container (you can get these here), or you can poor into a jar and just use your fingers to apply.  I prefer the deodorant container because it’s easier, and the containers are cheap.

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5.) Put in the refrigerator for 15-30 minutes and let it harden a bit.  Take out and let it harden the rest of the way out of the refrigerator (This will avoid it hardening too much, making it impossible to twist the applicator up – yes, I did learn this the hard way!).  Label your deodorant container if desired.

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6.) When solid, roll up the applicator and apply like you would normally apply deodorant.  If you decided to store it in a jar, just use your fingers to apply.

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Perfect!  Safe, non-toxic, no harmful chemicals, easy to make, and completely effective!  Enjoy! 🙂