Less is More: 5 Household Items For Natural Beauty & Cleaning

August 30, 2013

I’m sure you’re seen the recent headlines about the plethora of chemicals in skincare and household items. With the increased knowledge of the dangers we surround ourselves with daily, more families are choosing to take the “less is more” approach with, natural products. Many women have decided to undertake a more natural way of living and are seeking out more holistic remedies and nature’s own beauty products.

If you’re considering harnessing the power of nature, look no further than some simple ingredients you may have around your house already.

Here are 5 items every household should have on hand for natural living.

Essential Oils

Lavender, Peppermint and Tea Tree Oil are all known to be anti-septic, anti-viral, anti-bacterial and anti-microbial. Keeping these oils on hand will cover a multitude of uses.

  • Tea Tree is great for skin issues like burns, bug bites, nail fungus and acne.
  • Lavender can used in products like homemade body scrubs and bath soaks. It also can be used in the house in a burner or spray bottle for its relaxing properties  and tension headache cures.
  • Peppermint is perfect to uplift the spirit. It also works wonders for coughs and congestion.Other uses include stomach issues and to ease headaches. A few drops of an oil on a tissue kept on your desk can be sniffed as often as you please to offer a pick-me-up or a feeling of serenity depending on the particular oil you choose.

You can also use essential oils like lemon, grapefruit, rosemary, and eucalyptus in homemade cleaners. Once you get used to the scent of real oils, not synthetic products, you will quickly realize how “fake” those other ones smell. If you plan to try any essential oils, thoroughly read instructions or  pick up a book on essential oils that covers all the safety issues and offers instructions. Even natural items like oils can be toxic if taken internally or used undiluted on the skin. Do not use essential oils on children until you’ve read safety info and instructions.

Baking Soda

An item with almost unlimited uses, baking soda is great for cleaning and absorbing odor:

  • Use for any cleaning that requires a mild abrasive – like stove tops, sinks and refrigerator doors.
  • Use in pools for Ph/alkalinity control. It is cheaper than pool store chemicals.
  • Unclog drains when mixed with vinegar.
  • Use as a natural tooth whitener when mixed with toothpaste – or even on its own if you don’t mind the taste.
  • A box in the fridge and freezer absorbs odors.
  • It works with litter boxes for the same reason – place a layer under your litter.
  • Scrub your skin with a paste of baking soda and water to exfoliate.
  • Scrub dishes with stuck on foods, cleaning brass, silverware and copper.
  • Mix with water to form a thick paste that can be placed on bee stings to take away the burning pain.
  • Use for sunburn relief.

Apple Cider Vinegar

Used for thousands of years as a health tonic and often claimed to be a “miracle product,” apple cider vinegar is popular with the health conscious. I’m not talking dollar store ACV- get a good organic one, like Bragg’s. Simply mix ACV with water and drink for a multitude of uses: to soothe an upset stomach, to get rid of hiccups, to soothe sore throats, to break up the mucous in the body and promote nasal draining. Many people claim that drinking it in water daily will maintain the proper PH in the body and therefore lower chance of infection.

Apple cider vinegar can remove build up in hair and add shine. Psoriasis sufferers claim that ACV on a cotton ball rubbed on their skin helps reduce inflammation and prevent further break outs. Two capfuls added to a warm bath can help draw out toxins. Used as a foot soak, ACV helps aching, sore swollen feet.

Whole books have been devoted to all of the uses but one of my favorites is to kill those annoying little fruit flies that hitch a ride home with you on a banana. Put ACV in a bowl and add a few drops dish detergent. Place in an area you see the fies. You’ll find them dead in the water each morning. Repeat until gone.

Epsom Salt

Epsom salt is known for replenish natural magnesium levels in our bodies and as a detox when adding to a warm bath. Soaking in epsom salt helps remove splinters and can help with itchy skin. Do-it-yourselfers love to make scrubs using epsom salt and oil and use them for glowing skin. In the garden, epsom salt can repel slugs and boost growth in tomato or rose plants by adding a teaspoon or two below the plant in the soil or in other gardens to replenish magnesium levels in soil.

Sea Salt

Not only does salt make food taste better, it makes an excellent  gargle to soothe sore throats. I also use a salt water rinse when my children lose a tooth to clean out the “hole” and disinfect. Mix salt with vinegar to make a paste to clean tarnished copper. Sea salt and hot water is known to remove stains like blood from clothing. Sea salt used with warm water in a Neti pot rinses the nasal cavity which some people swear by during cold season to keep colds away. Salt can also be used as a body scrub, much like sugar, to slough away dead skin and leave you glowing.

 What ways do you use these ingredients?

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