One of the first “alternative” healing methods that ever interested me was aromatherapy. I loved the idea that so many plants were actually a powerhouse of amazing properties and that you could use their very essence to tap into healing. The idea that one woman may decide to take a variety of drugs to help with headaches and another may look to flowers and leaves and get better results is kind of intoxicating. Unlike eating a plant or a flower aromatherapy revolves around inhaling the plant essence.
Aromatherapy oils are actually essential oils sourced from plants. You can get them highly concentrated or inside carrier oils where they are diluted. They range from lavender to lemon and everything in between and they offer a number of therapeutic benefits, cleaning help and even health benefits.
Ten Ways to Add a Little Aromatherapy Magic to Your Home
1. A Homemade Water Diffuser and Room Freshener. Add six to eight drops of your favorite essential oil to a bowl of very hot water. You can then place the bowl on any table or counter where you need it. Another trick is to add the drops to a pan of boiling water or even to your shower. Choose your essential oils based on your mood or need. For example, if you want relaxation, lavender or neroli scents are ideal. If you’re looking to get rid of germs, try the antiseptic qualities of tea tree or juniper berry.
2. Room Deodorizer. Add a few drops of essential oils to water in a spray bottle and keep it handy in rooms that often need freshening, like the bathroom or kitchen. You can also spray freshen linens with lavender spray to help you relax or spray them with ylang ylang to make the mood more sensual.
3. A Closet Freshener. Add a few drops of essential oils to some pieces of cotton or wool cloth and place in drawers or on closet shelves, a little goes a long way. A cloth hankie is perfect for this. Lavender, cedar or sandalwood are nice choices.
4. Heat Diffuser. You can make use of your heating vent by placing a few drops of essential oils on a cotton ball or wool ball and place inside a heating vent or just in front of it. When your furnace kicks on the blower will help spread the scent throughout your home. You can get the same results putting a saucer of water and oils on top of your radiator. This is an easy way to use heat for disbursement without investing in aromatherapy gadgets or special diffusers.
5. Sinus Remedy. If you’re ill or struggling with congestion you can make your own steam inhalation remedy. Place eucalyptus oil, ginger oil, or tea tree oil in hot water. Put a towel over your head and lean over the water to trap the steam and breathe deeply.
6. Refrigerator Deodorizer. Place several drops of orange, mint or lemon oil in a bucket of warm water. With a clean sponge, use the water to clean out your refrigerator.
7. Counter Cleaner. Add lemon, thyme, or eucalyptus oil to equal parts distilled white vinegar and water. Use it to clean your kitchen and bathroom surfaces as you normally would.
8. Light bulb room freshener. Place a drop of your favorite oil on your light bulbs but make sure to do this when the bulbs are cold. When the bulb heats up after you turn it on, it will heat the oil and fill the room with scent. For increased energy and invigoration use grapefruit, peppermint, lemon, or black pepper.
9. Furniture polish. Add four to six drops of lemon essential oil to half a cup of olive oil. With a clean dry rag, use the oil to polish wood furniture.
10. Make aromatherapy compresses. A ginger infused compress can help with sore muscles or the onset of a cold. A chamomile compress works well on sunburns, rashes, sprains, and menstrual cramps.
Essential oils fill your home with fresh and natural scents and the healing powers of the plants they are sourced from. You can be sure you’re providing your loved ones with a safe environment free from harmful chemicals when you use aromatherapy oils to clean and deodorize your home, freshen it up, or comfort life’s bumps and bruises.
Recommended: The Complete Book of Essential Oils and Aromatherapy
If you are looking for a safe, non-toxic cleaner and overall household helper, white vinegar is a near perfect solution. This humble substance can be used in a variety of ways to clean and disinfect your home. I love to fill my sink with hot water, pour in some vinegar and a cloth rag, and give the house a through cleaning. I love the smell and wish it would last longer… it just smells so clean without the smell of noxious chemicals. Here are some ideas for how to use vinegar in your cleaning.
Vinegar can help remove odors from clothes and drains. For drains, pour about 1 cupful of baking soda into the smelly drain. Then pour in about 2 cups of vinegar and leave overnight. In the morning, flush with hot water.
For removing odors from clothes, add 1/4 cup of white vinegar and 1/4 cup of baking soda to your laundry. You can add this at the beginning of the wash cycle or during the rinse cycle. This mixture has a fabric-softening effect as well. I also used to add a 1/4 cup to my cloth diaper laundry to remove any lingering smell. Worked like a charm.
2. Drain Clog Remover
In addition to eliminating drain odors, vinegar can help unclog drains. Follow the steps in #1 above. The foaming action dislodges many clogs.
3. Toilet Cleaner
To clean and disinfect your toilet bowl, sprinkle in about a cup of baking soda. Then pour in 2-3 cups of white vinegar. You will find your kids more willing to help you clean if it involves a fizzy toilet! Seriously, they will ask if they can clean the toilet. When the fizzing dies down, use your toilet brush to clean as usual. The vinegar inhibits the growth of mold and mildew as well as killing germs.
4. All-Purpose Spray Cleaner
You don’t need to buy chemical spray cleaners. Just mix 1/2 cup of white vinegar with 3 cups of water, 10 drops of tea tree oil, a teaspoon of liquid soap, and 15 drops of your favorite essential oil in a 1-quart spray bottle. Use this disinfectant spray on countertops, sinks, floors, and any surface that needs cleaning.
5. Mold Eradicator
Vinegar is effective against mold. Spray your shower with white vinegar and allow it to soak for about 20 minutes. Then scrub and rinse. Add some tea tree oil to the vinegar for even better effectiveness. Spray your shower after each use to prevent mold from forming again.
For a moldy shower curtain, add a quart of vinegar to the washing machine when you wash the curtain.
6. Weed Killer
Pour or spray white vinegar directly onto weeds. Thoroughly wet the leaves and let the vinegar soak into the ground.
7. Window Cleaner
Mix 1 teaspoon of vinegar and 1/2 teaspoon liquid soap per cup of water. Spray onto windows and wipe thoroughly, or dip a cloth into a bucket of this solution and wipe. Use a squeegee to scrape off the cleaner.
Many great uses and we’ve only scratched the surface! For more check out Vinegar: Over 400 Various, Versatile, and Very Good Uses You’ve Probably Never Thought Of.
Air fresheners can be expensive and many of them are too strong or have a chemical smell that’s just not pleasant. Most of them have a smell that gags me anyway but sometimes I do like to spray a little something around the house to give it a festive smell. During the holiday season I stock up on Aura Cacia Candy Cane Aromatherapy Mist (LOVE that stuff!!) and other times I make my own.
Making Gelatin Air Fresheners
Step #1 Decide what type of scent you’d like to have. Lavender is calming, eucalyptus is invigorating and deters spiders, and lemon is fresh and clean. Purchase the essential oils online at a place like Mountain Rose Herbs, Amazon, or at other natural grocery stores like Whole Foods. Craft stores may have some too for making scented floral arrangements but they may also infuse them with synthetic fragrance too.
Step #2 Bring one cup of water to a boil and mix in four packets of unflavored gelatin. Stir until the gelatin has dissolved and then remove from heat. Ethical vegans may not want to use gelatin so an alternative may be needed for them.
Step #3 If you want it to have texture, you can add items like lemon peel, eucalyptus leaves, cloves, or even flowers.
Step #4 Add up to ten drops of your chosen essential oil and a cup of cool water.
Step #5 Pour into your chosen container, baby food jars work well. Cap or cover with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator to cool.
When cool, you’ll have gel air fresheners you can place wherever you need, or want, them.
However, if you’d rather mist the offensive area or spritz freshener where you need it, you can make a spray air freshener.
Spray Air Fresheners
Step #1 – Again, choose your favorite essential oil or a combination of oils.
Step #2 – Get a spray bottle. If you use homemade green cleaners you likely already have some of these.
Step #3 - Add one cup of witch hazel, which you can also buy at the dollar store or drug store.
Step #4 – Add 10 or more drops of your preferred essential oils, cap, shake and spray when needed.
You can also place essential oils on pine cones, potpourri items or other decorations around your home for a natural air freshener without the expense or the chemicals. You can even dry them at home yourself in a dehydrator.
Natural, green moms can have all the luxuries we used to have… now they are just safer and healthier for our us and our families.
Our new place has wood laminate floors. So far I am not crazy about them… I would much rather have real hardwood floors but it is what it is. They get scuffed easily and they feel so thin it is like walking on vinyl. It is actually a very thin layer of wood with a couple paper layers on top that are printed to look like a wood grain. Then a coating seals the paper.
You can easily strip the top coat and start degrading the paper if you use harsh chemical cleaners and then you have ruined laminate floors. But all the scuffs and visible spots make you want to clean it… a lot! Oily cleaners are a no-no because it collects on the surface and attracts dirt and dust.
I think I have found my system for dealing with these floors and it is no muss no fuss… just the way I like it… green too. Just remember that if you have new laminate floors under warranty you will need to pay attention to their rules but you should be fine.
1. Sweep the loose stuff – I use a good old fashioned broom and dustpan and sweep up crumbs and other loose debris.
2. Fill a small bucket with warm water and add 2-4 tablespoons white vinegar.
3. Take two terry cloths and wet them in the water and vinegar solution. Wring them out and walk across the floor with them with sweeping motions. Scrub scuffs with your toes.
4. After the floor is clean you can let it air dry or take two microfiber towels and walk with them on your feet to dry and dust the floor.
Viola…beautiful floors and the vinegar smell only lasts 15 minutes or so. Another super easy way to clean these floors is to use the Rubbermaid Spray Mop. The spray bottle can be filled with vinegar and water, or any cleaner you want, and the cloth pads are washable. LOVE it!
TGIF! Have an awesome weekend everyone!
As an update to my post about my youngest son and his speech issues I just wanted to mention that I am having him tested by a speech pathologist. I am just waiting on a time and place from them but I figure there is no harm in testing. If he has a problem then we will discuss recommendations at that time. So that will be a big relief for me to have that done.
Hopefully this weekend I will start planting the seeds for potty training. I am kind of lost when it comes to this since I didn’t potty train my other two kids actually. My mom did, although I can’t exactly recall the circumstances or the reason, LOL. I just know I had to do bupkiss to train them. I have asked her if she wants to make the third time the charm but she has declined to train “the one that can’t even talk”.
Okay on to interesting links:
My friend Cara at The Household Helper has a contest going on that I thought you all might like to know about. Her site is a treasure trove of info for running a frugal, organized home. And today she has added a FREE report that addresses Uses For Vinegar, Baking Soda and Salt: Tried & Tested Uses For Health and Home and contains 60 uses for each! So if you want to know how you can use these pantry items as more than just food check that out. She is also giving away two cleaning kits! Each kit contains three sponges, a couple rags, cleaning gloves, a spray bottle and a box of baking soda in a handy-dandy caddy. These tools will help you get started cleaning with the recipes in her free report.
If you are looking for a reason to get crafty this winter might I suggest crafting for a cause? Candace recently sent me a link to a project she did with her daughter and it is part of a bigger crafting project that will benefit a holocaust museum in Texas. 1,500,000 innocent children perished in the Holocaust. In an effort to remember them, Holocaust Museum Houston is collecting 1.5 million handmade butterflies. The butterflies will eventually comprise a breath-taking exhibition, currently scheduled for Spring 2012, for all to remember. So take a couple hours to craft some butterflies for a good cause. We will be. :)
Another link I loved recently was this tutorial for taking boring white burp cloths and embellishing them with quilt binding, ribbon, or Ric Rac. This same procedure could be used on prefold cloth diapers which is actually what was used for this project. So cute!
I am always on the lookout for good anti-vaccine info and I found this link really interesting. If you have ever wondered if vaccination may cause allergies like a peanut or egg allergy you may be on to something. It shows how certain vaccines are actually used to cause anaphylaxis (allergic reaction) in laboratory animals. The stuff we are giving to our babies is then a substance KNOWN to cause allergic reactions in animals. It is NUTS! This link was passed on to me by a mom had her child vaccinated only to have him become allergic to eggs immediately after.
And lastly I loved this article from Jennifer Lance about how a British study found that adults who choose vegetarianism had higher IQs as children, leading us to conclude that Smart Kids Become Vegetarian Adults.
Have a weekend all!