Adventures in Living a Natural Lifestyle

Sharing my adventures in living a more natural lifestyle, information about essential oils and natural home, health, and beauty recipes!


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Norwex & Young Living: a “Natural” Fit! (A Product Review)

Norwex

I finally did it, I jumped on the Norwex bandwagon.  I’ve known about Norwex for awhile, having first encountered their products at a local vendor expo that had a lot of chemical-free, natural living companies represented.  I was more than impressed but I honestly couldn’t justify the pricetag that came with their products.  I have been invited to several Norwex Facebook “parties” over the years and resisted for a long time because I used to be pretty anti-MLM.  But after joining Young Living and really jumping in headfirst into this crazy business I started to really reconsider my stance on MLM companies and began attending my friend’s various parties in order to help support their growing businesses.  It was only a matter of time before I finally attended a Norwex party.

In mid-January a friend invited me to attend her Norwex Facebook party and I figured I’d check it out.  I was impressed so I commented on a few of the posts and asked a few questions.  I was fortunate enough to be selected as a random winner for a free EnviroCloth.  This was fortuitous, because I still probably wouldn’t have spent the money on it myself.  So, early February rolls around and my new, free, baby pink (a color I never would’ve purchased myself) Envirocloth arrives in the mail.  I send my obligatory “Thank You” message to my friend who sent it to me and go on about my day.  The cloth probably sat on my dining room table untouched for several days before I finally admitted to myself that I should probably get some cleaning done and reached for it to try it out.  Y’all… Norwex is a GAME CHANGER!!!

Seriously, it was Facebook status worthy.  Here’s my post from February 7th, 2016:

“Okay y’all, as much as I’ve resisted I am officially on the Norwex bandwagon. I had attended a friend’s party a couple weeks ago and was lucky enough to win a free EnviroCloth. It arrived in the mail this past week and I had some cleaning to do today so thought “what the hell, I’ll give it a shot!” Let me just tell you, I cleaned my ENTIRE kitchen with this one cloth!

I have historically not enjoyed cleaning with microfiber because it leaves little balls of fluff everywhere and isn’t very absorbent (like the water just sort of sits on top of it you know?). Well, this Envirocloth is in a whole other league! It was absorbent enough to clean my kitchen counters, my glass stove top (and even got all the crusty bits off), and was still going so I actually cleaned the front of my oven/stove (I’m embarrassed to say when the last time it was cleaned was).

So yeah, Norwex’s Envirocloth and Young Living’s Thieves Household Cleaner will never not be a part of my cleaning routine!!! (There will be a very positive product review on my blog in the near future) Now to invest in the travel size envirocloths, the dusting mitt, and that kitchen scrubby cloth thing! Maybe I’ll find some extra cash lying around when I clean the sofa cushions….”

The very next week, another friend decided to host a Norwex Facebook party.  I was so impressed with how my new EnviroCloth had tackled my kitchen cleaning that jumped on her party and shared the testimonial that I had posted to my own timeline.  I decided to stick around and learned even more about Norwex’s products.

So, what makes Norwex microfiber so special, you ask? Really it seems to come down to quality.  I’ve used lots of microfiber cloths and I have to admit, I’m not a fan.  They just don’t seem to really absorb anything and I wind up with all kinds of fluffy balled up bits that come off them in the wash.  Honestly, paper towels just seemed to work better for cleaning my counters and dusting.  But my inner hippy dies a little every time I use a dozen (or two) paper towels when I get around the cleaning.  But Norwex Microfiber is made up of teeny tiny (1/200th the size of a human hair is what they say) polyester and polyamide fibers which are tightly woven together to create a really strong piece of fabric.  You can literally feel the difference when you pick up an EnviroCloth. The microfiber helps create an electrostatic charge which picks up dirt and debris rather than just moving it around.  In addition, many of their products, including the ever popular EnviroCloth, contain what they call BacLock which is a natural antibacterial silver-based agent that is activated when wet and helps prevent bacterial odor, mold or mildew growth within the cloth itself.  So you can toss that old sponge you keep microwaving… blech!

I can’t do justice to their products like their sales reps can when it comes to explaining all the amazing products that Norwex has to offer so you should totally attend a party (local or online) if you get a chance.  But in the meantime, it was this video that really impressed me:

x

 

So I was pretty much sold and created a wish list of products I was really interested in trying.  I loved my EnviroCloth and was using it to dust in addition to cleaning my kitchen counters so I knew I wanted to try Norwex’s Dusting Mitt!  Plus, I’ve got 5 dogs and a tiny human that love to put finger prints on my French doors and figured the Window Cloth would get some use.  Plus there were some other products I was interested in like their Makeup Removal Cloths, Baby Body Cloths, the All Purpose Kitchen Cloth, and maybe even one day their famous Mop System.  So my wish list quickly became bigger than my pocket book would allow.

Turns out, Norwex does these incentives to encourage people to join their sales team where you can get a sampling of their products (or even a whole starter kit some months) for FREE (just pay s&h).  My friend who hosted the party had jumped on board and decided to be a Norwex consultant already. The February 2016 Jump On Starter Kit consisted of an EnviroCloth, a Window Cloth, a Dusting Mitt, and a 2-pack of SpiriSponges.  While technically this is to encourage people to join their team, there is no sales requirement but you do have an opportunity to work the business and earn more free product if you choose.  I know I don’t have time to dedicate to learning a new business with my Young Living commitment but I couldn’t pass up a good bargain.  So I “jumped on” and paid my $9.99 s&h to get my free stuff ($42 worth of products)!  (You can get this deal too if you order before March 16, 2016 by following this link: http://www.norwex.biz/pws/idakostur/tabs/join-us-jump-on.aspx)

I’ve honestly never been as excited to clean as I was when my package arrived (which was surprisingly fast, so kudos to the packaging and shipping department at Norwex)!  Now, they recommend using just water with their microfiber products but y’all know I’m super in love my with Thieves Household Cleaner  and my DIY cleaning products (like my Natural Dust Repellent) so I opted to use both.  While it may not be necessary with the BacLock antibacterial silver I feel extra confident when I combine that with the cleaning power of Thieves and Lemon essential oils!  As before, my new EnviroCloth (that thankfully isn’t pink) didn’t let me down.  I was not only able to clean my entire countertop, my glass top coffee table (which I finished off with the Window Cloth and I honestly don’t think it’s ever been so clean) and my glass stove top but I also decided to clean the inside and outside of my microwave! I did use my natural microwave cleaning method for the inside but it was even easier to clean out with the EnviroCloth than a sponge like I have used in the past.  Plus, no nasty sponge germs! Winning!  And the outside of my microwave, which is the only stainless steel appliance in my kitchen so far, sparkles without having to use my stainless cleaning trick!

The Dusting Mitt also surpassed my expectations.  Norwex says you can use the Dusting Mitt dry or wet.  So I started with it dry and cleaned my television screen and the other electronic gadgets like the modem, router, and PlayStation 4. The amount of dust that my house produces is a little bit insane so by the time I had tackled these things my dusting Mitt was getting a bit dusty.  But I was able to shake most of it off in the trashcan and then used my DIY Natural Dust Repellent with it to help provide a protective coating on my wooden entertainment center, end tables, and the bottom of my coffee table.  Well, by then the Dusting Mitt was completely covered in dust.  I was really impressed with how well it picked up the big chunks on the bottom of my coffee table instead of just spreading them onto the freshly vacuumed floor (because I never have the sense to dust first and vacuum second…).  But I was curious how much further I could take this thing.  So I shook off the big chunks and rinsed the Dusting Mitt in my sink and set to taking on my bookcases.  Seriously, this thing just kept on picking up dirt and dust! I probably could’ve dusted my whole house, but I was way too lazy to give that a try last weekend!  That’s a challenge for another day.

And last but not least is the SpiriSponge. I honestly didn’t really care if I got this or not but it came with the Jump On special and was fortuitously timed.  My husband, who is an amazing cook, had just roasted a turkey in the oven the night before and the roasting pan still had some stuck on grime.  I had been scrubbing with our Ocello dish wand before I remembered about the SpiriSponge and thought I’d give it a try on the second half of the roasting pan.  Let me tell you, this was SO much easier.  Still required a bit of elbow grease but nothing like I was having to scrub with my dish wand.  Now I’m really intrigued by Norwex’s Spirinett and Pot Scrubbers! I may just get one to see if they help the hubby clean the cast iron (because I refuse to learn how to do it the right way so it’s the one cleaning job that remains his and his alone).

I haven’t had a chance to really use the Window Cloth a lot, besides on my glass top coffee table and my microwave and oven doors.  It did an exceptional job but the real challenge will be my front storm door and French Doors leading to the back porch.  Lots of puppy noses and tiny human hand prints to clean.  But that’s on the agenda for this coming weekend and I couldn’t wait that long to share my excitement about these amazing products with you.

In summary, the Pros and Cons of these Norwex products are:

Pros:

  • Safe for your whole family – No toxic cleaning chemicals necessary!
  • Prevents the spread of germs – Antibacterial silver agent prevents odor, mold, and mildew
  • Environmentally friendly – No paper towels mean you save a small forest over time!
  • Gets the job done and keeps on cleaning – You can use one EnviroCloth or Dusting Mitt to clean many things

Cons:

  • Cost – but if you factor in the fact that you’ll save a ton of money on paper towels when you use Norwex microfiber instead, then you come out ahead

So there you have it.  My wish list keeps on growing and I hope to be able to share reviews of more amazing Norwex product with you in the future.  I’m super excited to be planning a non-toxic home class with my friend and Norwex rep, Jane Kostur, in the next couple months where we will spotlight both Norwex and Young Living products that can help you rid your home of toxic chemicals and learn how to keep your home clean naturally.  I’ll share the dates of that class in the Events section of my website if you’re interested in attending.  Don’t want to wait that long? Contact Jane Kostur to learn how you can host a Norwex party or to find out when her next party is being held!  Many of the parties these days are online so you don’t have to be local or take too much time out of your busy schedule! Just hop on the Facebook event page and read at your leisure!

Note: I have not been compensated, either monetarily or with free product, for this review by Norwex or any independent sales consultant.  I merely like to share my love of natural products with my readers and when I can help our a friend in the process I love to pay it forward! 

 

Norwex & Young Living: a “Natural” Fit! (A Product Review) was originally published on Naturally Oily Adventures

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Thieves HouseHold Cleaner: DIY All-Purpose Wipes

Love this idea as a natural alternative to the Clorox Green Wipes I’ve used for years! I recently ditched them for my own DIY Thieves cleaner and DIY Natural Dust Repellent but miss the convenience of my wipes! Looking forward to my July Essential Rewards order because I’m biting the bullet and ordering the Thieves cleaner used in the recipe! Can’t wait to give this a try!!!

The Oil Posse

CW_ContainerWipes

This post is super exciting! It brings together the ease of quick clean-ups with the fresh scent of Thieves Household Cleaner.

It is quick and easy to make your own all-purpose wipes. Don’t worry we will walk you through the process.

CW_AllSuppliesSupplies Needed:

1 Container — we used an empty wipe (or baby wipe) container
1 Gallon Distilled Water
1 Bottle Thieves Household Cleaner
200 quality coffee filters

Instructions:

Fill container of your choice with approx. 4-6 cups of distilled water. We filled our empty wipe container about half full (see below).

CW_HalfWater

Now add 2-4 tablespoons of Thieves Household Cleaner. We added 1/4 cup (4 Tbsp) and this is what it looked like (see below) but we may add just 2 Tbsp for the next batch. Place lid and give a gently swirl.

CW_THHCAdd

Now add coffee filters and mash down until covered with the cleaning mixture. Place on lid, turn…

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Poopsplosions! (and a DIY Stain Remover that actually works!)

As you all know I have an amazing, beautiful, well-behaved 5 month old that I just adore! What this also means is that I often find myself up to my elbows in baby poop! The first 3 months or so it seemed like she had a diaper blowout (which we lovingly call Poopsplosions!) at least once a day and I found myself wondering if I should buy stock in Spray’N Wash I was using it so frequently.  Because I don’t have a real laundry room (my washing machine and dryer are in the garage and there’s no real horizontal or hanging space to speak of out there – definitely on my list of things to add when we finally get around to remodeling the house!) my bathroom was taken over by piles of dirty laundry, Spray’N Wash spray bottles, and old toothbrushes.  I could literally have two outfits at a time draped over the side of my bathtub soaking in a chemical concoction in a desperate attempt to not ruin yet another outfit with a yellow/brown poop stain… I spent way too long in the detergent aisle trying to find the strongest stain remover money could buy and tried, in vain, to ignore the fact that if I took the time to actually review the ingredient list I would cringe.

When I started my blog and did the week long series on natural cleaning products I noticed that my beloved Resolve Spray’N Wash MAX Laundry Stain Remover Spray was running low and I could no longer ignore the impulse to find out just how toxic this product was. So off to EWG’s Guide to Healthy Cleaning I went to investigate and this is what I found on the ingredient list (Read at your own risk if you love your Spray’N Wash routine):

  • Sulfuric Acid – Sulfuric Acid is a known carcinogen that (in mist form) has been linked to cancer in humans. It is a skin irritant that can cause contact dermatitis and severe skin corrosion, burns and eye damage as well as a respiratory irritant that can trigger asthma attacks and even cause pulmonary edema.
  • Artificial Fragrance – Artificial fragrances can cause skin and lung irritation and in severe cases even nervous system damage, especially in small children.  In addition, it is not anaerobically biodegradable and can cause water toxicity.
  • Alcohol Ethoxylates (C12-16, 7EO) – There is limited data on the effects of Alcohol Ethoxylates specifically but what is known from the impurities this ingredient may contain (e.g., Ethylene Oxide and 1 4-Dioxane) is that there is some concern for asthma and respiratory irritation as well as skin irritation.  More severe reactions such as pulmonary edema, nervous system impairment, liver damage, and reproductive effects are also possible.  In addition, Alcohol Ethoxylates can be toxic to aquatic life.
  • Benzenesulfonic Acid, C10-16-Alkyl Derivative – While there is almost no data and limited cause for concern for health risks, Benzenesulfonic Acid is known to be toxic to aquatic life and is not anaerobically biodegradable.
  • Tetrasodium Iminodisuccinate – There is almost no data for Tetrasodium Iminodisuccinate but some to suggest that it is toxic to aquatic life.
  • Sodium Cumenesulfonate – Again there is limited data on Sodium Cumenesulfonate but it is suggested that it could be a skin irritant and toxic to aquatic life.
  • Surfactants – Surfactants are chemical compounds that are often used as detergents, to loosen dirt and grime, in cleaning products and could be a variety of different chemicals.  This is primarily a concern on ingredient labels due to nondisclosure of specific surfactants and some are safer than others…

The concern for health risk is obvious but why the concern for aquatic life? Doesn’t my washing machine just drain into the sewer or my septic tank? How does that affect the rivers and ecosystems that rely on them?

When you are done washing your load of laundry, that dirty, soapy water is drained out of your machine through the pipes and into whatever waste collection system you have in your home.  If you are particularly eco-conscious this may be a grey water collection system (but I’m guessing if that’s you then you aren’t using Spray’N Wash or other toxic laundry detergents already) but most likely it is a city sewer system or a septic tank if you live in a rural area.  In a sewer system the water is run through progressively larger and larger system of pipes until it reaches the treatment plant where the raw sewage (this includes waste water from your toilet as well as any grey water from your sink, bathtub, washer, etc.) is processed.  This is typically a three stage process.  The first stage, or primary treatment, is similar to what a septic tank does in that it allows the solids in the waste to settle to the bottom and the scum to rise to the surface.  The solids are then collected where they are either deposited into a landfill or incinerated.   In a septic tank the water in between the solids and scum layer is filtered out through an outflow pipe and is sent to a drain field where it is absorbed by the surrounding soil and becomes part of the groundwater. The primary treatment generally removes about half the solids before the sewage either moves on to secondary treatment or is chlorinated to kill the remaining bacteria.  The secondary treatment removes organic materials and nutrients from the water with the help of bacteria. After the bacteria have eaten the organic waste the water is then funneled to a pool where the bacteria then settle out.  The bacteria in the secondary treatment may remove up to 90 percent of solids and organic materials. The third and final process, or tertiary treatment, usually adds chemicals to remove the nitrogen and phosphorous from the sewer water and chlorine is added to help kill any remaining bacteria.  The remaining water, or effluent, is typically dumped into a nearby creek or river, although in some cases it may be recycled to be used in irrigation (again back into the ground water) or for industrial purposes.  In some cases, treated sewer water may even be recycled into drinking water.

But this waste water is not benign and can have a detrimental effect on the aquatic life and ecosystems that depend on the running water from these creeks and rivers.  The treated sewage water may still have trace chemicals that can suppress the immune systems of fish and other marine organisms which may allow for the onset of diseases.  Heavy metals, pesticides, persistent organochlorines, plastics, surfactants and aromatic hydrocarbons may even disrupt the endocrine systems of aquatic life resulting in malfunction of sexual and bone development.  While this may not result in immediate damage visible to the public, like the three-eyed fish in the Simpsons or a sea of dead floating fish, over time it can cause a disruption in typical fish behavior including normal swimming, schooling, and migration patterns that may have a detrimental effect on their survival. Larger fish and other organisms may eat vast quantities of smaller contaminated fish resulting in bioaccumulation that may be thousands of times larger than the original level of toxins absorbed.  In addition, organic materials leftover from the treatment process will be consumed by natural bacteria in the waterways which consume greater amounts of oxygen and can suffocate fish and other sea creatures as the water travels towards and into the ocean. This leftover organic material, in extreme cases, may even block out sunlight preventing growth of aquatic plants that are food for fish and other animals that are part of the aquatic ecosystem.

So, now that you know more than you wanted to about sewage treatment and the effect the chemicals in our grey water has on aquatic life are you ready to start researching the ingredients on the backs of all your cleaning, dishwashing, and laundry products? Are you ready to throw them all out and start fresh with natural, chemical-free, and non-toxic products? Great! Join me on my journey!

Once I was aware of how toxic the Spray’N Wash I had been using was and the risks to not only my family’s health but also to the local aquatic ecosystems I naturally wanted to find an alternative that was less harmful.  I had talked with several other moms in my wonderful Sugar Plums online support group and found that a few of them did use less toxic methods of stain removal.  One mama in particular shared her recipe with me (so i can’t take credit for this but I’m not sure she’d want me calling out her name in a public forum) and I have been more than pleased with the results!

The one ingredient that the recipe called for that I didn’t have on hand is Dawn.  I don’t know why all these DIY recipes call for Dawn in particular, often “blue Dawn” specifically.  Maybe because it is such a popular brand of dishwashing liquid?  But we have been using Kirkland Signature’s Environmentally Responsible Dishwashing Liquid (which in hindsight actually scores lower than blue Dawn on EWG, mostly due to poor ingredient disclosure, but does avoid SLS, phosphates, dyes, and artificial fragrance and claims to be a biodegradable cleaning agent made from plant-derived ingredients so I choose to continue to use it for these reasons, but do your research).

Also, don’t be fooled like I was into thinking that since this is a stain remover that it will be a spray… I don’t know what I was thinking (I guess I really wasn’t because a quick glance at the ingredient list should’ve told me that this would not spray) but I originally added all the ingredients to a recycled Spray’N Wash bottle which then proceeded to bloat and gave me a moment’s pause and concern that it might actually explode! I assume the bloat was a reaction between the hydrogen peroxide and the baking soda and thankfully it didn’t explode! lol But this is a GEL formula and once I switched over to a glass bottle I had much better luck.  Also, the baking soda may settle to the bottom if you go too long between uses and you may need to occasionally stir your mixture.

DIY Stain Removing Gel

Ingredients: 

  • 1 cup Dawn dishwashing liquid (or your preferred brand – I iused Kirkalnd Signature Environmentally Responsible Dishwashing Liquid and I may even try Dr. Bronner’s Castile Soap during future batches but I can’t vouch for it’s effectiveness yet)
  • 1/2 cup Baking Soda
  • 1/2 cup Hydrogen Peroxide

Directions:

Combine ingredients into glass storage container.  Allow ingredients to combine and settle for a moment before placing lid on container.  Will create a gel.

Directions For Use: Spoon out a bit of gel and scrub onto stain using an old toothbrush.  Allow gel mixture to sit on stain for at least 1 hour (or I’ve let sit for up to a day or two until I got around to doing laundry).  Wash  (We use Ecos Natural Laundry Detergent) and dry as normal.

I was super impressed with the results.  Here is a picture so you can see just how well this stain remover worked on one of our Poopsplosions:

DIY Stain Remover Gel (2)

 

I admit I had some concern that the hydrogen peroxide would cause my colors to fade but I’ve used it with success on a variety of bright colors and even black with no fading or bleaching at all.  In fact, this recipe works way better than my old Spray’N Wash MAX ever did.  I had the opportunity over the weekend after a massive Poopsplosion to use this on one of my daughter’s Aden & Anais swaddle blankets (I almost cried when I saw the aftermath) and it got out ALL of the stain! I was thrilled!

Do you have a favorite DIY Stain Remover? I’d love to hear about it! Share the recipe below to keep the conversation going!


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An All Natural Cleaner Experiment: Do My DIY Cleaners Measure up?

Part 6 of my Clean Your Home Naturally (without Toxic Chemicals) series: An All Natural Cleaner Experiment

So I’ve been using my DIY Theives Cleaner for everything around the house lately! (Find my recipe here) So far it has worked beautifully for cleaning bathroom counters, the walls and outside of the toilet, kitchen counter tops, glass top stove, mirrors, and even glass.  Seriously, there isn’t much that this won’t clean! But after a recent online essential oils class I learned that Lemon essential oil is supposed to be able to remove crayon from walls.  While I have a child, she is only 4 1/2 months old as of the writing of this post and as of yet has not created artwork on any walls.  However, I do have one small wall next to the dog beds in the living room that has turned an unsightly shade of brown due to the amount of dirt that the dogs rub up against it daily. It’s in a dark corner and I generally just try my hardest to ignore it, which means it goes entirely too long between cleanings.  What this has afforded me, however, is an opportunity to really put my cleaners to the test.  After learning about the cleaning power of Lemon eo I wanted to see if it would tackle things other than crayon and figured dirty dog stains would be a good test.  But I also figured since this was a big enough surface area this would allow me to do a direct comparison of some of my other natural cleaning products.  Naturally I wanted to compare my DIY Thieves Cleaner and had a bit of Clorox Green Works all purpose cleaner left that I hadn’t thrown out yet so thought I’d throw that in too.  I had also recently made an All Natural Dust Repellent that included vinegar and Lemon eo and thought “what the hell?” and decided to include that as well just out of curiosity.  The picture below (while embarrassing to show just how dirty this wall had become) provides you will a good visual of the before and after.

cleaner experiment 1

And the results are:

  • Lemon eo – By itself I was less than impressed with Lemon eo as a cleaner for dirty walls (it does a great job removing sticky gunk and I’m sure crayon) but was not as effective as I’d hoped.  It did clean a bit of the dirt off but it took 2 tries with 5-6 drops each on a microfiber cloth to even get it as clean as you see pictured above.  It did remove some dirt but really isn’t a cost effective solution.
  • DIY Dust Repellent – I was most surprised by how well this recipe cleaned the dirt off the wall since it was designed as a dust repellent and not a cleaner.  Especially because I didn’t remember until after I had used it to clean that it also contains a bit of olive oil (to shine your surfaces and help repel dust)… Bonus: Not only did it actually clean the dirt off the wall, it smelled great!!! This one was my favorite considering it was just as effective as the DIY Thieves Cleaner and the Clorox Green Works all purpose cleaner.
  • DIY Thieves Cleaner – Cleaned every bit as well as, if not a bit better than, the Clorox Green Works all purpose cleaner with none of the chemicals! I expected no less! This really is my go to all purpose cleaner now.  Seriously, this stuff cleans everything!!!
  • Clorox Green Works all purpose cleaner – This cleaned the dirt and grime off pretty well but honestly seemed to struggle some with some of the harder to clean stains when compared to my DIY Thieves Cleaner

For the final part of my experiment I wanted to see how well the natural cleaners tackled old dried blood spots on my painted wall.  As any dog owner knows, dogs get injured from rough housing with one another and when they’ve got a spot on their ears or tail they love to shake which results in splattered blood spots all over your walls and furniture until the wound heals.  Since I have a pack the other dogs often “help” by cleaning the wound which can reopen the scabs and the process starts all over again.  Above my dirty wall was some remaining old dried blood splatter so I thought I’d give it a whirl!  I knew my DIY Thieves Cleaner was up for the challenge but wanted to really give the Natural Dust Repellent a go to see how the lemon and vinegar would work at cleaning this challenging task.

cleaner experiment 2

As you can see from the above picture, the results were every bit as good as I hoped for!!! The Dust Repellent removed all the old dried blood stains with only a little bit of scrubbing for some of the harder to remove spots.  I’m super pleased with how well this recipe worked for a task it wasn’t really designed for!  My hubby hates the smell of vinegar but the Lemon eo is way better at masking the scent than my Thieves it’s nice to have another cleaning recipe on hand. But honestly I’ll probably just add Lemon eo to my Thieves cleaner in future batches to get the most bang for my buck.  This also avoids the olive oil in the Natural Dust Repellent, which I will reserve for dusting!

 

Have you done any all natural cleaning experiments in your home? Share the results below to keep the conversation going!!!

 

Did you miss Parts 1-5 of my Clean Your Home Naturally Series? Find them below:

Intro: Clean Your Home Naturally (without Toxic Chemicals) this Summer!

Part 1: How To Clean Your Microwave Naturally

Part 2: How To Clean Your Stainless Steel Appliances Naturally

Part 3: How To Clean Your Toilet Naturally

Part 4: How To Keep The Dust Away: A DIY All Natural Dust Repellent 

Part 5: How To Deodorize Your Carpet Naturally + BONUS DIY Spot Cleaning Recipe!


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How To Deodorize Your Carpet Naturally (without Toxic Chemicals) + BONUS DIY Spot Cleaning Recipe!

Part 5 of my Clean Your Home Naturally (without Toxic Chemicals) series – How To Deodorize Your Carpet Naturally + BONUS DIY Spot Cleaning Recipe!

I’ve mentioned before that I have 5 dogs… 5 mostly inside, spoiled, rotten dogs. In addition to breeding mutant size dust bunnies, having this many dogs in the house means my area rug gets dirty… really, really dirty.  And quite frankly, it smells like dog. Not only is there enough dog hair shed that I could stitch together a sixth dog, but dogs are gross and eat things they shouldn’t which frequently results in upset tummies and try as I might I cannot convince them to hoark it up on the hardwood where it would be much, much easier to clean.  Hence the inspiration for today’s post.

Several years ago I spent my tax return on a Dyson DC25 Animal Upright Vacuum Cleaner (that’s when I knew I was officially an “adult” spending my tax return on responsible things) because I knew that I would always be accompanied by a dog pack (back then it was only 3).  And I absolutely LOVE my vacuum cleaner.  But as anyone with a lot of dogs knows that even with the best vacuum cleaner starts to smell like dog eventually.  So when I was researching all natural cleaning tricks and recipes and stumbled upon Life As Mom’s All Natural Carpet Deodorizer I knew I had to give it a shot!  I was quite pleased with the results.  Not only did it freshen my carpet but made the house smell good while I cleaned and my vacuum smells much better too!   (For another bonus recipe head on over to Life As Mom’s original blog, linked below, to get an air freshener variation!)

carpet 2

All Natural Carpet Deodorizer

Ingredients:  

  • Glass jar with lid
  • 1 cup Baking Soda
  • 10-20 drops of Lemon essential oil

Directions:

Combine Baking Soda and essential oil in glass jar.  Screw lid on and shake well to evenly distribute the oils.  Gently shake, liberally covering your carpet or area rug.  Let sit for 30 minutes or more before vacuuming up.

* The original recipe called for 1/2 cup Baking Soda and she said it would cover a 5×8′ area rug.  I doubled the recipe and honestly could have added a bit more to better cover my 8×12′ rug.

Source: http://lifeasmom.com/2013/09/all-natural-home-air-freshener-and-carpet-deodorizer.html

 

Shortly after I got my rug all cleaned and I was sitting back enjoying my hard work, one of my lovely dogs decided that they would hoark up the grass they had eaten earlier that day… Yummy! Historically we had just used Woolite Carpet Stain and Odor Remover, Pet + Oxygen (which I’m sad to say scored an F on EWG for containing surfactants, hexoxyethanol, acrylates copolymer, and artificial fragrance – yuck!) but since I had been keep with an all natural cleaning routine I figured I could find a better way to clean this spot up without the toxic chemicals.  After a brief search I stumbled upon The Prairie Homestead’s blog and recipe for an all natural carpet cleaner.  The author also had dogs with similarly disgusting behaviors so I thought it would be the best place to start.  It worked surprisingly well.  What I can tell you is though, make sure to start with LESS baking soda than I picture below.  I used way too much and it took several tries of spraying the vinegar:water solution to get it all out.  If you use too much, you’ll know because it will make a white spot on your carpet (which by all accounts is better than dog vomit but still irritating).

DIY Spot Cleaner

Ingredients:

  • Baking Soda
  • Lemon essential oil (optional)
  • Distilled White Vinegar (DWV)
  • Water
  • Towel or rag

Directions:

  1. Combine Baking Soda and a couple drops of your Lemon essential oil (you can use some of what you mixed up for the carpet deodorizer) and shake well to distribute the oils.
  2. Sprinkle* Baking Soda mixture on spot and let sit for at least 1 hour to overnight.                                                                                                                          spot cleaner 1 *Sprinkle being the operative word – I used WAY too much in this pic! (you want just enough to absorb any liquid)
  3. Mix a 1:1 ratio of DWV to Water in a spray bottle.
  4. Generously spray Vinegar:Water mixture on Baking Soda allowing it to fizz                                                                                                                                     spot cleaner 2
  5. Cover the spot with your towel or rag and press to absorb moisture.   As the original author points out it is not advised that you scrub the carpet as this could damage the fibers.  I’ll be honest, I scrubbed it… a lot! It didn’t seem to damage my carpet. But proceed with caution.
  6. Repeat if necessary (or if you didn’t heed my wisdom and used too much Baking Soda, repeat the spray mixture until it stops fizzing.  I promise you will eventually get all the Baking Soda out!)

Source: http://www.theprairiehomestead.com/2010/10/frugal-natural-carpet-cleaner.html

 

Have you tried either of the above recipes or do you have another preferred all natural method of cleaning your carpet? I’d love to hear it! Comment below to keep the conversation going!

 

Did you miss Parts 1-4 of my Clean Your Home Naturally Series? Find them below:

Intro: Clean Your Home Naturally (without Toxic Chemicals) this Summer!

Part 1: How To Clean Your Microwave Naturally

Part 2: How To Clean Your Stainless Steel Appliances Naturally

Part 3: How To Clean Your Toilet Naturally

Part 4: How To Keep The Dust Away: A DIY All Natural Dust Repellent 


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How To Keep The Dust Away (without Toxic Chemicals): A DIY All Natural Dust Repellent

Part 4 of my Clean Your Home Naturally (without Toxic Chemicals) series – How To Keep The Dust Away (without Toxic Chemicals): A DIY All Natural Dust Repellent

I don’t know if it’s because we own an older home or because we have 5 mostly inside dogs (yes, you read that right!) or because we are lazy housekeepers – most likely a combination of all of the above – but we have a serious dust problem in our home. Often it feels like we can dust and 2 days later there is already a fine layer of dust building up… it’s a never ending battle. So naturally when the spring cleaning bug hit me one of my missions was to find an all natural dust repellent.

In the past I, like most consumers, used Pledge to dust my home and clean my wood. But upon closer inspection of the ingredients I learned that Pledge contains butane, propane, isobutane, (all three of which are GRAS by the FDA but who really wants to clean your home with gases?), dimethicone and silicone (both of which are persistent in the environment because they not anaerobically biodegradable and they can be toxic to aquatic life). Not to mention there is no telling what sort of nasty artificial fragrance they used to create their “lemon” or “pine” smells and we all know that artificial fragrances are known allergens and skin irritants. So needless to say, I ditched the Pledge years ago (but the hubby still uses it, much to my dismay – the conversion to green cleaning is taking a bit longer than the conversion to recycling, composting, gardening, farmer’s markets, and clean eating… if he cleaned with his stomach we might have more success! Lol).

I do most of the dusting in our home anyway and most recently I have been using the Clorox Green Works “naturally derived compostable cleaning wipes” to dust my furniture because as I’ve mentioned numerous times before I was a sucker for “natural” advertising and these are “compostable” so they must be good, right!?! Needless to say, I never actually put them in my compost so on some level I knew that it was a bit too good to be true. While certainly better than Pledge in terms of toxicity, Clorox Green Works wipes still contain some questionable ingredients, including formaldehyde (a known carcinogen that can cause skin irritation and is toxic to aquatic life), lauryl pyrrolidone (also a skin irritant and toxic to aquatic life – I was starting to feel like I’ve been killing all the fishes…), and artificial fragrance (which can be an allergen and skin irritant). And on top of that, they never did clean as well as Pledge…

I knew I could use a simple microfiber cloth to dust with. Hell, I grew up using those old school blue dish rags just dampened with water to dust as a child (one of my least favorite chores – perhaps this is why I’m terrible at dusting now… I blame Mom! Lol). But I wanted something with a bit more power to repel the dust that will inevitably settle back in as soon as I finish dusting. So I set out to find a natural dust repellent that would rival the old tried and true Lemon Pledge. I found what sounded like the perfect all natural alternative from another all natural blogger and set out to give it a try. (The first time I made this I had run out of Dollar Tree spray bottles so I simply mixed up half the following recipe in a measuring cup, stirred well to mix the oil up, dipped my microfiber towel in and wiped my surfaces with it. It worked just as well as in the spray bottle but I prefer the sprayer for ease of application.) It worked beautifully and smelled delicious!!! Couldn’t even smell the vinegar (which is a big deal since the hubby has a nose like a bloodhound where vinegar is concerned!). Check out my before and after pics to see a close up of how well my All Natural Dust Repellent worked and the shine it gave my wooden coffee table (ignore the scratches – while this DIY All Natural Dust Repellent is great at removing dust even it can’t repair the damage that years of wear and tear has put on my coffee table)!

dust - before and after

All Natural Dust Repellent

Ingredients:
• 1 cup water
• 1/4 cup vinegar
• 2 tsp olive oil (this helps shine and protect your wood)
• 10-15 drops of Lemon essential oil* (makes your home smell naturally fresh and clean!)
*Other citrus oils like grapefruit, wild orange, tangerine, or bergamot would work well too!

Instructions:
Combine ingredients in spray bottle. Shake well. Spray on surface and wipe with microfiber towel for natural shine!

Source: http://www.onegoodthingbyjillee.com/…/all-natural-diy-dusti…

 

Do you have another all natural method of removing dust and preventing buildup in your home? I’d love to hear about it! Comment below to keep the conversation going!

 

Did you miss Parts 1-3 of my Clean Your Home Naturally Series? Find them below:

Intro: Clean Your Home Naturally (without Toxic Chemicals) this Summer!

Part 1: How To Clean Your Microwave Naturally

Part 2: How To Clean Your Stainless Steel Appliances Naturally

Part 3: How To Clean Your Toilet Naturally


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How To Clean Your Toilet Naturally (without Toxic Chemicals)!

Part 3 of my Clean Your Home Naturally (without Toxic Chemicals) series: How To Clean Your Toilet Naturally.

Let’s face, no one really enjoys cleaning the toilet. And when you factor in all the gross chemicals involved it makes the whole process even less desirable. When I caught the spring cleaning bug over the weekend I knew I had to find a way to clean my toilet naturally so that I could at least generate some excitement about the process. I was surprised at the number of natural cleaning methods I found so I’ll share them below as well as share what method I used (I’ll spare you the before and after pics this time!).

Let’s begin by looking at some common store-bought toilet cleaners and why you’ll want to avoid them!

Bleach – Sodium Hypochlorite is the main ingredient in bleach and is a known allergen and skin irritant. It can cause severe skin burns and eye damage and is toxic to aquatic life. (Not to mention that if you are clumsy like me you’ll wind up bleaching everything else in your home by accident…)
Lysol Toilet Bowl Cleaner – The main ingredient in Lysol’s Toilet Bowl Cleaner is Hydrochloric Acid which can not only cause severe skin burns and eye damage but also acts as an upper respiratory irritant and can contribute to asthma attacks and pulmonary edema.
Scrubbing Bubbles Toilet Cleaning Gel – Scrubbing Bubbles Toilet Cleaning Gel contains Polymers, which are not only toxic to aquatic life but also skin and eye irritants, Sodium Laureth Sulfate, another skin irritant, and artificial Fragrance which can be an allergen or skin irritant.
2000 Flushes Automatic Toilet Bowl Cleaner – 2000 Flushes Automatic Toilet Bowl Cleaner, while convenient (IF it truly does “clean with every flush”) also contains several harmful ingredients, including Surfactants, which are toxic to aquatic life as well as being skin and respiratory irritants; 1,3-Dichloro-5-Ethyl-5-Methylhydantion, which is a known allergen and skin irritant; Chlorine Bleach (see above); and artificial Fragrance.

So now that you’re ready to throw out your toilet bowl cleaners, let’s look at some common household ingredients that you already have on hand that help clean naturally!

Baking Soda – Baking Soda is a natural abrasive that can help you scour your toilet bowl and act as a natural deodorizer. However it does not have any germ-fighting qualities. Pair it with Vinegar for the ultimate toilet bowl cleaning duo!
Borax – Not everyone has this on hand but it is easily found at your local grocery store. Borax is often mistaken as Boric Acid (which is toxic!) but it is NOT the same thing! Borax is actually Sodium Tetraborate which is non-toxic unless ingested in very large amounts. It’s a great, old-fashioned multi-purpose cleaner. It is commonly used as a natural laundry detergent but can also be used to clean, whiten (it doesn’t bleach, just removes stains) and deodorize your bathroom or kitchen and even used to rid your home of ants naturally!
Citric Acid (or Lemon Juice) – Citric acid is a natural, eco-friendly and cost-effective cleaning agent/ingredient, especially effective at removing stains and hard water buildup. Citric acid is also found in lemon juice and while we may not all have citric acid laying around our home, many of us have lemon juice in our fridge! (Note: Lemon essential oil does NOT contain citric acid) You can order citric acid through Mountain Rose Herbs here: https://www.mountainroseherbs.com/produ…/citric-acid/profile
Essential Oils – I’ve already discussed how awesome I think essential oils are as additions to homemade cleaners (because of germ-fighting properties and ability to prohibit bacteria and fungal growth) and cleaning the toilet is no exception! Oils such as Tea Tree and Thieves are especially effective. But others oils, such as Peppermint, Eucalyptus, Lavender, Rosemary, and Citrus oils, also have germ-fighting properties as well!
Vinegar – Vinegar is a natural acid that is mild enough to not irritate the skin but is effective at cleaning, disinfecting, and eliminating odors. Use in combination with Baking Soda or Borax for an especially effective toilet bowl cleaner!

Another wonderful way to help rid your toilet of those awful rings (especially if you get the hard ones around the rim of the toilet that never seem to come out no matter how much you scrub) is to invest in a natural Pumice Stone (just like the one your grandmother uses on her feet!). I found mine on Amazon for less than $5. Buy it here:http://www.amazon.com/Pumice-Scouring-S…/…/ref=sr_1_fkmr0_1…

I found several great methods of using the above ingredients to clean my toilet over at DIY Natural but opted for my own method, which I’ve included below.

How to Clean Your Toilet Naturally:

Ingredients:
• Borax (or Baking Soda)
• Thieves cleaner (find my recipe here)
• Pumice Stone

Directions:
• Pour ½ – ¾ cup of Borax (or Baking Soda) in toilet bowl. Let sit for 15 minutes to 1 hour. Use toilet brush to scrub inside of toilet then flush.
• Use Thieves cleaner to spray the inside and outside walls of the toilet bowl and clean with sponge.
• Use the Pumice stone on any hard surface stains or toilet bowl rings that did not come out with the above methods.

Keep the conversation going! What’s your favorite all natural method of cleaning the toilet? Comment below!

Did you miss Part 1 and 2 of my Clean Your Home Naturally Series? Find them below:

Intro: Clean Your Home Naturally (without Toxic Chemicals) this Summer!

Part 1: How To Clean Your Microwave Naturally

Part 2: How To Clean Your Stainless Steel Appliances Naturally