What I Learned Last Week

This is my cat 48 hours after peppermint oil.img_91121-e1496264279669.jpgI know that essential oils should always be used with care, especially when dealing with children and animals. But in spite of that, I applied a few drops to a tick on his left shoulder and THEN checked my oil books. If I had done my reading FIRST as I should have done, I would have learned that peppermint oil can be toxic to cats and I would have tried a different remedy to get rid of the tick. Thankfully, my kitty was unharmed, but I spent a very uneasy 48 hours, watching for signs of lethargy and loss of appetite. I am happy to report that Mr. Blue is still alive and well! Whew!

And speaking of toxicity, I also learned something interesting about Magic Erasers. I learned that the pad itself is made of melamine, so it is its basic structure that makes it such a great cleaner. It works like a gentle sandpaper on sinks and showers, thoroughly removing soap scum and dirt. There’s no true cleaning agent in the pad, but it does include formaldehyde- an ingredient not noted on the container. The makers of Magic Erasers claim that the small amount of formaldehyde in the pad is not a concern.

Last week, I tried Norwex Micro-Cleaning Hand Pads. The Norwex pads are also made of melamine but have no added formaldehyde. The pad worked the same magic on my bathroom surfaces and even held up better than the Magic Eraser usually does. The Norwex pads are more expensive, but they last longer, so maybe they don’t cost that much more over time. I think I’ll opt for the more expensive pads without toxic residue. By the way, I don’t sell Norwex, and I’m not being paid for this blog post. This is just my unsolicited review of my newest discovery.

So there you have it: two unrelated lessons I learned last week. What are YOU learning?

Bandito Blend

Bandito Blend

You’ve probably heard the legend about a group of thieves who managed to avoid sickness as they plundered the homes of those who had died of the Black Death in 14th century Europe.  There are many versions of this tale, but most of them say that the bandits applied a mixture of oils or herbs to their clothing.  Some stories say that the oils they used repelled fleas which carried the disease.  The true details are not known, but the undocumented ones have inspired many present-day combinations to help avoid sickness.

Beeyoutiful’s unique combination of frankincense, cinnamon, clove, lemon, rosemary and eucalyptus oils make up a wonderful-smelling blend called Bandito Blend.

  • Frankincense (Boswellia carterii) – supports respiratory health, antimicrobial
  • Cinnamon (Cinnamomum zeylanicum and Cinnamomum cassia) – antiseptic, antimicrobial
  • Clove (Syzygium aromaticum) – antiseptic and antimicrobial, also an analgesic
  • Lemon (Citrus limon) – cleans and sanitizes, provides a light citrusy tone
  • Rosemary (Rosemarinus officinalis) – antimicrobial, supports respiratory health
  • Eucalyptus (Eucalyptus radiate) – antimicrobial, supports healthy immune system and respiratory system
Here are some suggestions for the use of Bandito Blend:
  • Topical Uses:  Before going out during cold and flu season, apply with a carrier oil (we suggest Almond Oil) to soles of the feet, back of wrists, and neck.  You can also apply to skin with a carrier oil if you are feeling run down or have been exposed to an illness or you have become ill.  Rubbing diluted Bandito Blend (mixed 50/50 with carrier oil) down the spine can help release tension and support the immune and nervous systems.
  • Diffusing:  Bandito Blend an be diffused full-strength in order to help maintain a microbe-free home.  This is beneficial during cold and flu seasons.  Your home will be filled with the delicious aroma of spices while also being cleansed of unwanted germs.
  • Cleaning:   Add 1 drop per ounce of water for an all-purpose spray.  Add 10-15 drops per gallon of water to wash floors. 

If you’ve used other “thieves” blends, we invite you to try Beeyoutiful’s Bandito Blend.  We think you’ll enjoy the spicy aroma AND the affordable price!

Recipes for Natural Cleaners

Natural Cleaning Products, Smith Family Resources recipes

Last year I blogged about our homemade glass cleaner and wood cleaner.  The article that I shared on Pinterest has been re-pinned 174 times!  So, in case you missed it on our old blog, here are those recipes again…

Homemade Glass Cleaner recipe, Smith Family Resources

Homemade Glass Cleaner

 2 Tbsp. distilled white vinegar
1 qt. water
5 drops lemon essential oil
($1.99 spray bottle purchased at Publix)

Homemade Wood Cleaner, Smith Family Resources

Homemade Wood Cleaner

8 oz. distilled white vinegar
8 oz. water
8 drops lemon essential oil

Have you made any cleaning products that have worked well in your home?
Share your recipes with us!

Click here to order Beeyoutiful essential oils
to add to your own homemade cleaners!

Baking Soda and Vinegar Meet Shower Head

Hard water.  If you have hard water, you know it.  Over time (and not very much time either), a crusty white build-up appears anywhere water stands even for a short time.

Observe my shower head…

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I had read that a shower head could be cleaned easily with some natural cleaning products, so I decided to tackle the job.  I put about half a cup of baking soda in a small bowl and poured about 3/4 of cup of vinegar into a quart-sized plastic bag.

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My shower head is on a hose, so I was able to take it down for the cleaning.  I began by running a little water through it and then pressing the shower head into the bowl of baking soda.  Then I placed the shower head in the bag of vinegar and secured the bag with a rubber band.  The baking soda and vinegar fizzed up when I first put it in, and that initial reaction loosened up a lot of the build-up.  When the fizzing calmed down, I let the shower head rest in the tub, submerged in the bag of vinegar.

After one hour, I removed the bag, rinsed the shower head and wiped it clean.  Here’s the amazing result!

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Three cheers for baking soda and vinegar!

Homemade Soft Scrub

DSC_0062This is my favorite homemade cleaning product!

Homemade Soft Scrub

Combine all ingredients to make a thick liquid paste.  Pour into a squirt bottle.
For cleaning:  Apply to sponge or directly to surface and wipe with damp cloth or sponge.
Rinse with water.
When I first made my Soft Scrub, I doubled the recipe and filled several bottles.  When I reached for it a few days later, I found that the thick liquid paste had become a thick, solid paste.  I was able to use it by adding more water.  Now I make just enough for the day’s cleaning.
What’s YOUR favorite homemade cleaning product?

Natural Cleaning Products

Yesterday, a friend asked me for advice on the best way to make homemade laundry soap.  Her question reminded me that I started a “Natural Year Challenge” in 2013 and never finished!  I was challenged and intrigued by Andrea Fabry of Moms Aware, Inc., and I blogged about my progress for a while.  You can read those posts here.  Looking back over those this morning, I discovered that I made it through Month 4 and left off at the Kitchen!  Maybe this summer, I’ll resume the challenge…

I began Andrea Fabry’s challenge by buying or gathering all the products that would be used for making my own natural cleaning products:  borax, washing soda, baking soda, vinegar, castile soap (liquid and bar), essential oils, and a grater for the bar soap.

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Using these products, I learned to make my own foam soap, soft scrub, dishwasher detergent, and laundry detergent.  There’s so much more to learn!  Obviously, I’m a pretty slow learner, and your encouragement always helps.  If you’re making your own cleaning products, please share your recipes and advice.  I’ll be sharing my recipes here and I’d love to try yours as well.

Now, to answer my friend’s question!  Here’s my laundry detergent recipe:

Liquid Laundry Detergent

  • 3 cups boiling water
  • 1 oz. castile soap (1/4 of a 4 oz. bar)
  • 1/4 cup washing soda
  • 1/4 cup borax
  • 10 cups water

Boil 3 cups of water.  Grate castile soap and add it to the boiling water.  (I use Kirk’s Castile Soap which I have bought at Publix but can also be purchased on Amazon.)Kirk's Castile Soap

Stir until castile soap is dissolved.  Add washing soda and borax, and stir until dissolved.  Pour into a large container and add 10 cups of water.  Stir or shake, and then let set for 24 hours until it forms a liquid gel. 

Use 1/2 cup of the detergent for each load.  This may vary depending on your washing machine and the hardness of your water. 

For the record, my detergent has yet to form a liquid gel; it’s pretty much just liquid.  But it gets the clothes clean, so I guess it doesn’t matter!

I add vinegar in the fabric softener dispenser to help with smells and stains, and I occasionally add essential oils to the detergent:  eucalyptus oil because it kills dust mites, tea tree oil because it disinfects, and lemon oil because it smells good!

I use liquid detergent because of our hard water.  Powdered detergent tends to clump and not dissolve.  If you prefer a powder, here’s Andrea Fabry’s recipe:

Powdered Laundry Detergent

  • 1 cup washing soda
  • 1 cup borax
  • 4 oz. grated castile soap

Grate castile soap using a cheese grater or food processor.  Make the shavings as thin as possible to allow for dissolving.  Combine all three ingredients using a fork or whisk, and stir quickly and thoroughly, or use a food processor to do this in a matter of seconds.

Store in container of choice. Use 1-2 tablespoons per wash, depending on the size of the load.