Non-Toxic Household Cleaning Supplies To Use For Your Spring Cleaning

diy zero waste cleaning supplies

The weather here in St. Louis might be completely confused as to what season it’s supposed to be, but I am not. It is spring time, and that means one thing:

Time for spring cleaning.

I much prefer to use natural products around the house, both because they are cheaper and because they are healthier for my toddler and infant sons to be around since they are all over every surface.

It’s also very nice that these recipes contain various combinations of a few basic ingredients, most of which are already in my pantry. I love knowing exactly what I’m introducing into the environment around my babies.

Most common ingredients in almost every homemade cleaner:

white vinegar

essential oils 

castile soap

baking soda

Related: 5 Eco-Friendly (and cheap!) Paper Towel Alternatives

 

All Purpose Cleaner

diy all purpose cleaner

photo credit and recipe from The Bold Abode

Dean is crawling all around now, and sticking everything in his mouth. To protect his little system and keep him safe, we really like this natural all-purpose cleaner.

Adding extras like lemon essential oils give the cleaner a “classic clean” scent, as well as add the benefits of the essential oil’s cleansing properties.

If you choose to add citrus essential oils to your cleaner, be sure to either use a glass spray bottle or a plastic bottle specifically designed to hold essential oils. Otherwise, the citrus oils can eat through the bottle, and then you would have more things to clean up.

Tub Scrub

homemade shower cleaner

photo credit and recipe from One Essential Community

This shower cleaner mixes together in about a minute, and lasts for a long time. It leaves the shower soap scum-free.

We don’t currently have hard water, but this spray would still be just as effective as if we did have hard water.

I love how cheap this shower spray is to create and use. Paired with a scrub brush from the dollar store, this is super affordable and it just works.

Window Cleaner

homemade window cleaner

photo credit and recipe from Farm Girl Inspirations

When I was little, my grandma taught me to use plain vinegar in a spray bottle and wipe down the mirrors and windows with a crumpled up page of newspaper. It leaves the glass with a streak-free shine, but also leaves the room smelling like vinegar.

This version doesn’t smell as harsh, especially if you add a few drops of essential oils to the mix.

I’ve still not found anything better than a crumpled up piece of newspaper when cleaning glass though. I imagine something like a Swedish dish cloth would be the best reusable option that won’t leave behind pesky tiny fibers all over your clean surface.

We have two Swedish dish cloths and I absolutely love them. They are so incredibly absorbent (one dish cloth recently soaked up 4 ounces of orange juice with ease!), strong, and even dishwasher-safe.

Air Freshener

homemade air freshener

photo credit and recipe from Bren Did

Story time: When I was in college, my lab partner and I stayed at school late so we could spend more time on our dissection. However, we had a social function after that, and we smelled strongly like formaldehyde. So we drove to Walmart and bought a bottle of Febreze and sprayed ourselves heavily with it, like a preteen boy who has just bought his first can of Axe.

This was obviously before I became the crunchy hippie I am today.

That story makes me horrified at my younger self.

Now we use a homemade air freshener, and we can create our own scent blends for pennies on the dollar.

This is also good for spraying in shoes, gym bags, and other stinky things.

Wood Polish

homemade furniture polish non-toxic

photo credit and recipe from Mom 4 Real

Did you know that homemade wood polish not only smells great and is a very effective dusting spray, but also that it helps buff out scratches?

It’s true!

During the packing process from our Iowa-to-Nevada move, we scratched up the floor to our living room in one. long. scratch. down the center of the room.

After I spent over 20 minutes trying to color it in with 4 different colors of crayons, I remembered that olive oil on polished hardwood blends scratches in like normal. And voila, 2 minutes later, the whole room looked brand new.

Toilet discs

diy toilet cleaning tabs

photo credit and recipe from One Good Thing By Jillee

If there’s one chore I hate, it’s cleaning the toilet. Thankfully, my saint of a husband doesn’t mind, so he cleans them for me. One thing we agree on though is the use of toilet discs. The fizziness helps clean the toilet with minimal effort, without adding all sorts of harsher chemicals to the air.

I like this recipe especially because you don’t even need a mold for the tabs, you can just dry them on parchment paper. Super simple and super cheap.

Stain remover

diy stain remover

photo credit and recipe from My Frugal Adventures 

Can we please take a moment of silence for all the adorable baby clothes and accessories that have been sacrificed to baby poop or pureed broccoli spit-up?

So many cute clothes and bibs. Why they even make white baby pants and onesies is completely beyond my comprehension.

This recipe contains Dawn dish soap, so it’s not completely “all natural,” but it is a simple and effective stain remover for sure.

Keep it in a squeeze bottle (old ketchup or mustard bottles work) and apply to stains before washing. Don’t forget to air-dry stained clothes until maximum stain removal is complete, as heat will set in the stains.

Related: How to do laundry when you don’t have hookups

Zero Waste Cleaning Supplies

Don’t forget about your other cleaning supplies! Paper towels are truly harmful to the environment and honestly an unnecessary expense. I much prefer washable options like old socks (awesome for dusting!) or old work t-shirts cut into rag size.

I love this idea of using old towels to make reusable swiffer pads from Natural Nesters!

diy swiffer pads

I always hated the wastefulness and expense of single-use mop pads, so this option is much better for the environment and your pocketbook. The instructions require very minimal sewing, so anyone can do it, even if you don’t have a sewing machine.

If you just really hate sewing, I’ve also gotten away with tucking long rectangles of old t-shirts into the tuck spaces of swiffer dusters. It works very well, requires new sewing, and unhemmed jersey knit still holds up well to repeat washings.

While I haven’t ever personally used Norwex cloths, I’ve heard from multiple friends that they are awesome. I like the idea especially since you just use water and then can wash them. I’m all about washable options.

Be sure to check out this post for more ideas on paper towel replacements and other zero waste cleaning supplies options.

I love to find ways to make our lifestyle more eco-friendly, zero waste, and healthy. By making our own cleaning supplies we can limit the trash created by the repeated purchase of plastic bottles and containers, limit the exposure of our children’s systems to the harsh chemicals of standard cleaning products, and still ensure a clean living environment for our family.

And when a box of baking soda is $0.62, it’s also a crazy-cheap way to live, which I’m all about.

Do you make your own cleaning supplies? Drop a comment with your favorite recipe!

If you found this information helpful, please help me help others by hitting one of the share buttons below to share with your community!

diy zero waste cleaning supplies

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9 Homemade Beauty Products That Make Perfect Frugal Gifts for Her

easy diy gift ideas for her

I grew up in the 90s, when every girl got either a shower gel gift set from Bath and Body Works or a collection of Lip Smackers lip balms as a gift for basically any occasion.

As nostalgic as these things make me, the ingredients make me shudder.

I have a (general) rule that if I can’t pronounce it, I don’t use it.

I’ve been on the hunt for some frugal homemade beauty products to make as gifts for the ladies in my life, especially as Mother’s Day draws near.

One of the biggest struggles of my mom life has been doing those simple things to feel pretty again. In between the constant spit-up, dirty diapers, and the need for showers to last under 3 minutes, it has been  difficult to give myself some pampering.

And also, can we please take a minute and talk about how expensive buying natural products can be? I’m all for organic, vegan, locally-sourced skin care, but I’m not about to fork over a bunch of money for it, especially when I can make my own.

So when I found these recipes, I was overjoyed! And bonus: You probably already have most (if not all, depending on your current level of commitment to the natural lifestyle) ingredients in your cabinets.

9 Frugal Homemade Beauty Products (That Make Perfect Gifts!)

Coconut Oatmeal Sugar Scrub

diy exfoliating coconut oatmeal sugar scrub

photo credit and recipe from Meg O. on the Go

Sugar scrubs are a super easy DIY project, and completely customizable. Choose between white and brown sugar, customize the oil (for body scrubs I prefer avocado, coconut, or jojoba), and even add in some essential oils if you want (but please avoid citrus oils as they can make the skin photo-sensitive).

I really like this recipe because of the addition of the oatmeal. Oatmeal is gently cleansing, as well as soothing to dry or itchy skin.

This scrub is perfect for sensitive or dry skin.

Plus, it smells like oatmeal cookies. Totally a plus.

Homemade Rose Water  diy rose water

photo credit and recipe from Frugal Family Home

Did your grandma ever talk to you about rose water?

Mine didn’t, but I learned about it on my own. And apparently it’s a classic addition to the skin care routine.

Rose water balances the oils on the skin, gently correcting oily skin. It’s also soothing, and aids the skin in healing in case of sunburn.

Word on the street is it plays a big part in smoothing out the skin and shrinking the appearance of pores.

15-Minute Lip Balm

easy diy lip balm

photo credit and recipe from A Better Way to Thrive

My husband and I are addicted to lip balms. But ever since we realized that the alcohols in most lip balms and chap sticks actually dry out the lips (great marketing, I guess, since it means you need more?), we became much more careful of what we actually purchase.

I prefer to make them at home to keep the costs down, plus I like to play with different essential oils and create my own.

Also, one time I melted some chocolate in my lip balm concoction and it was one of the best life decisions I’d ever made. So keep that in mind. Maybe create a Thin Mint-style by melting some chocolate chips and adding a drop or two of peppermint essential oil.

DIY Dry Shampoo easy diy dry shampoo recipe

 photo credit and recipe from Living Well Spending Less

As I stated above, showers for me in this stage of life are about 3 minutes long before Mr I’m-ONLY-Happy-When-Mommy-Holds-Me is totally over me not holding him.

It’s for this reason that I love this recipe for homemade dry shampoo.

I’ve used this recipe for a while and it blends well. I don’t have anything to compare it to as far as store-bought, because I’ve never been a fan of aerosol-powered products, but I really like this recipe. And I smell like a cookie, so that’s perfect for me!

Homemade Bath Bombs

easy diy homemade bath bombs

photo credit and recipe from A Beautiful Mess

Are there really moms who have time to take a bath? If you happen to know one, add a few of these beauties into her gift. They are gorgeous, easy to make, and perfectly customizable.

Plus, since they are dry and won’t “go bad”, your supply will last a long time.

Which is good, because I don’t know many moms who have time for regular baths.

Aloe and Green Tea Facial Scrub

easy diy aloe green tea facial scrubphoto credit and recipe from Sweet Simple Living

Every good skin care routine includes an exfoliating step to scrub off the dead skin cells and bring the fresh new cells to the surface. So of course this step should do double-duty!

Aloe and green tea are both so beneficial to the skin. Aloe is hydrating, and the caffeine in the green tea stimulates blood flow to the cells. Combined, these are an anti-aging powerhouse.

Maybe don’t mention that it’s anti-aging when you gift it, but consider your audience.

My tired-as-a-mother eyes would be allllll about anti-aging right now. 29 is too early for wrinkles, thank you very much.

Lavender Milk Bath
homemade lavender milk bath recipe

photo credit and recipe from My Frugal Adventures

 

 

Another bath recipe? I know, I know, but this one is so soothing and relaxing, I had to include it! If there is one thing I know from navigating motherhood alongside my friends, it’s that just because we are sleeping, that does not mean we feel relaxed.

Sometimes Mama needs to chill.

Milk in the bath is an age-old tradition, meant to aid the skin in restoring fatty acids and soothe irritated skin.

Along with milk, this recipe also calls for magnesium-containing epsom salts, which help the muscles relax, as well as aids with a gentle systemic detox.

So basically, if you know a stressed-out and over-exerted mama, this is your go-to gift for her. And also, maybe offer to watch the kids for an hour while she soaks.

Peppermint Foot Soak

homemade peppermint foot soak

photo credit and recipe from A Cultivated Nest

Another pampering classic, the foot soak is amazing after a long day of chasing little people, or working outside the home, or when you’re just in need of a reset.

Since the feet have the largest pores on the body, they are a great choice to utilize when you need to detox (or give your body good things, like magnesium).

Foot soaks can be scented or non-scented. The peppermint in this recipe is both soothing and energizing, restoring your feet to their best function.

Cinnamon Vanilla Whipped Body Butter

diy whipped body butter

 photo credit and recipe from A Cultivated Nest

And finally, I couldn’t have a homemade beauty products roundup without including the number one beauty gift classic, the body butter.

Whipped body butter is lightweight, nourishing, and moisturizes the skin without leaving it feeling heavy or slick.

Because a little goes a long way, it’s an inexpensive gift as well. There is no need to give someone more than 4-8 ounces of body butter. It will probably take them a long time to use it all up.

Wrap It Up

So there you have it – my top 9 frugal homemade beauty product gift ideas. Gift them to your mom, mother-in-law, college bestie, or yourself (I won’t tell).

I may or may not be making some of these again for myself this week during my GYST day. All the recipes are so simple, they will be easy to add to my day, and the benefits will last for months!

If you found this article helpful, would you please share it? I would be so thankful!

easy diy gift ideas for her

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Skip the Salon: DIY Haircut for a Long Layered Hairstyle

Save money when you skip the salon and do a DIY haircut for long hair at home!

I’ve done all sorts of crazy things in order to save money. My most recent? A DIY haircut for a long layered hairstyle.

I have cut Peter’s hair since we were first married. Using lots of pictures and the best set of clippers ever, I have successfully managed several easy mens haircuts for him including mohawks, faux hawks, and crew cuts.

When it comes to my hair, though, it’s a sad story. My last professional haircut was the big post-wedding chop (almost 2 1/2 years ago!) and it got cut all the way up to my chin. It wasn’t really the best look for me. Chin-length hair makes my face look too round.


Pregnancy made my hair grow very long very quickly, and now that my sweet babe is 15 months and running everywhere but oh-so-attached to Mommy, I can’t go anywhere for a fresh hairstyle without him clinging to me or wailing in the backroad.

Hardly relaxing.

But my hair was getting super long and starting to dread itself into one big circular super-attractive nest on the back of my head no matter how many times I brushed it, so it was time to do something about it.

 

I decided to save $25 and a guaranteed stressful event and attempt a DIY haircut for long hair.

This technique is super easy, but doesn’t take off much length. Luckily I had noticeably layered hair and Peter was able to cut the length off at the longest layer. After the total length was where I wanted it, here are the steps:

DIY Haircut for Long Hair

  1. Bend over and gather all hair *over* your head and tie it together with a ponytail holder (think about making a ponytail over the top of your head and in front of your face instead of behind it).
  2. Adjust the ponytail holder to the about 2 inches above the ends of the hair and made your cut just underneath.
  3. Release the holder and flip your hair back over your head.
  4. Done!

I did this with a standard pair of scissors and a ponytail holder. You can also use a pair of clippers to buzz off the hair instead of cut it. This will probably be faster and result in a “cleaner” cut on the hair (my scissors are pretty dull).

It took 5 minutes, I could keep Tristan happy, and it was free! The final result was a long layered hairstyle that looked professional, but without the price tag. I’ll be doing this once every six weeks or so, whenever I need a touchup. If it gets too long, I can just move the ponytail holder higher up on my hair (if I’m doing it myself) or have Peter cut it higher again. The cutting process will help resolve any unevenness that might happen.

how to cut your hair at home with layers

 

Related: Why I ditched my yoga pants

It really is very empowering to be able to do things ourselves at home. In case you’re keeping track, so far I’ve made our toothpaste, baked our bagels, birthed a baby, and now added cutting my own hair. It all started as a way to save money but it’s morphed into this lifestyle of self-sufficiency and a more natural, wholistic mindset that resonates with my soul at a deep level. I can’t imagine living a life on any other path.

The one thing I haven’t been able to do successfully is make my own shampoo. Thankfully, Brandless has me covered with an amazing shampoo for just $3 – without all the nasty chemicals of most commercial shampoos! Get your first two items free when you use this link!

Looking for more ways to save? Be sure to join my email list to receive my 25 ways to save list! This list isn’t just “use  coupons at the grocery store” simple ideas. These are intense, actionable ways to save real money and make a big difference in your budget.

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3 Habits of Healthy Millennials

healthy millennials, healthy habits, healthy people, wellness habits
I am a millennial, and I’m fairly stereotypical. We are fun creatures, at least I like to think so. We’re basically the same as everybody else, but we do things a little differently most of the time. If you happen to visit the house of one, here are three things you might expect to experience:

You can smell their diffuser going before you even open the door.

Millennials tend to be more naturally-minded, and avoid the toxic chemicals found in most commercial air fresheners. The maintenance man at our apartment complex told us once that he enjoyed walking past our door because it always smelled good. We almost always have an essential oil diffuser going! Essential oils play a huge role in our home from our homemade cleaning solutions to our hygiene products to our air freshener.

They don’t wear their shoes inside the house.

Studies show that not wearing shoes in the house helps with overall cleanliness. I would prefer no shoes at all, but  we wear house shoes to keep our feet from getting dirty. Tristan hates shoes in general so he wanders around in just socks, and I am jealous (my socks wear out too quickly if I do that).

Their kitchen looks like a laboratory.

Millennials are more health-conscious, but heaps of student loans and other bills have forced us to save money whenever possible. One of the ways we do this is DIY-ing our favorite health foods.

Fermented foods and drinks are so nutritious, but they take up so much counter space! Once you get going with one ferment it’s hard to stop. Kombucha, kefir, sauerkraut, sourdough, and even salsa and ketsup are all popular homemade ferments that you might find on a hippie’s counter top. And don’t forget the bone broth in the crockpot or Instant Pot!

What else would you add to this list?

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What You Need in Your Natural Medicine Cabinet

how to stock a natural medicine cabinet, natural medicine, natural wellness cabinet, healthy medicine cabinet, medicine cabinet makeover

Today I’m going to take you through our natural medicine cabinet.

When transitioning to a more natural, wellness-based lifestyle, one of the major changes is how you treat illness. A wellness-based system looks at not just symptom relief, but immune support.

Your body comes equipped with a natural immune system. When you give it standard OTC medicine, you run the risk of suppressing the immune response, dragging out illnesses for longer than necessary.

Supporting the immune system requires a holistic approach that includes not only symptom relief but also natural detoxification and organ support.

The best part about a natural cabinet is that everything has multiple uses, so you don’t just have random things sitting around. Many of these staples are also ingredients for DIY projects like homemade toothpaste, homemade air fresheners, and facial moisturizers.

Ready for the tour? Here’s what’s in my cabinet:

IMG_0635

Activated charcoal – for detoxing or food poisoning (also put in tooth powder for whitening!)

Witch hazel – an astringent, great for cooling and healing the skin.  I typically use this with any sprays that I would make with essential oils as it tends to evaporate faster than water.

Tallow – High in vitamin A and E, this healing balm is what I use with a drop of melaleuca essential oil to keep my eczema away.  I’ve also mixed in frankincense, lavender, and peppermint to help soothe my skin after a bad sunburn.

Organic raw honey – also good for skin healing and antibacterial properties.  I usually use this for a face wash but I also use it for sun burns.

Echinacea tea – For immune support, especially if I’m coming down with a cold.

Raw organic coconut oil – For skin health, burns, and antibacterial protection.  I also add essential oils to this.

Magnesium oil – nothing helped my first trimester food aversions like spritzing this oil on my stomach before meals!  It absorbs easily through the skin and works quickly.

Bentonite clay – to remove toxins, either as a face mask (which is amazing!) or taken internally.  It attracts toxins to itself and is then easily excreted.

Cranberry capsules – to treat UTIs or kidney infections

Essential oils – I use all sorts of essential oils for just about everything.  I apply either directly to the skin (following precautions for safe dilution), diffuse aromatically (especially when we don’t feel well we like to diffuse the respiratory and protection blends), and take internally (be very careful about internal use, make sure if you are ingesting that it is 100% pure grade, not just “contains 100% pure”). If you would like more information about essential oils, see my post on safe usage.

Fractionated coconut oil – to dilute essential oils.  It’s always liquid, it doesn’t have that coconut aroma to it so it doesn’t interfere with the aromatic benefits of the essential oils.  It absorbs quickly and doesn’t stain clothes (or microfiber couches – ask me how I know this).

Veggie caps  – for making our own capsules!  Especially for ingesting Oregano (a hot oil) and DigestZen (which doesn’t taste that great when you’re nauseous), this is the perfect way to get the benefits when we need them!

So that’s a peak into our medicine cabinet!  One thing we don’t have yet that I would like to get soon are epsom salts for detox baths.  Also great during pregnancy to help stop preterm labor!

What’s in your healthcare cabinet?

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