I believe in using natural ingredients in my daily life and that is why I strive to use essential oils whenever possible. However, I don't have a lot of different kinds of oils (Of course this is because I like to keep things as simple as possible!). So I have a basic go-to assortment of what I call my Five 'Must-Have' Essential Oils because they cover just about everything I need to use them for on a daily basis. So whether you use essential oils already, are new to them, or if you're considering getting started, then these are the five oils I personally recommend you have!
Feel free to download and print this FREE instruction card about the Five "Must-Have" Essential Oils and their uses!
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Since phosphorous was banned in NY as an ingredient in dishwasher detergents (and many other states as well) I have wanted to start making my own automatic dishwasher soap. Banning phosphorous was good for the environment, but not good when it came to getting clean dishes. So why bother buying the soaps when I can make it myself and get the same, if not better, results for less money? Well, I finally did it! It is a simple recipe, and though I am not thrilled about using Borax, I already had it in the closet so I chose to use a recipe that included it. I still don't use it in my DIY Laundry Soap, but considering the fact that the dishes have a final extra high temperature rinse, I tried the recipe with Borax and it was a success! This works really well so until I find a better DIY alternative and or run out of Borax, it's the recipe I will be using!
Warning: Do not inhale any of the powdered dust that is created. I recommend wearing a dust mask as you make it. FYI - this is true for ALL powdered dishwasher soaps! Check out the MSDS for Powdered Cascade.
For Additional Information:
I found this after I made the soap above. It has some very useful information about the different ingredients that go into making DIY Dishwasher Soap and how to correct a few problems you might have with respect to your dishes getting clean or not. 10 Things You Should Know Before Making Homemade Dishwasher Detergent.
Laundry does not end. Whether its towels, sheets, or just clothes, there always seems to be more to do. I hated having to buy laundry detergent, fabric softener, bleach, and even dryer sheets. Everything was so expensive! And we used it up so quickly that it always seemed like we were on the verge of running out. In fact, it was so ridiculous that I finally decided that doing laundry needed to be simpler too!
With just a few common household ingredients and directions from mommypotamus, I made my own laundry soap! I also no longer buy bleach, fabric softener or dryer sheets!
Other Laundry Alternatives (more information at mommypotamus):
Fabric Softener: a little white distilled vinegar
Bleach Alternative: peroxide
Stain Remover/de-greaser: Lemon Essential Oil
And, if I am using the dryer (instead of line drying) I use Woolzies Dryer Balls instead of dryer sheets! I will never buy dryer sheets again!
Tired of all those nasty chemicals? Interested in something more natural? Well here is a recipe we use to battle the bugs that uses all natural essential oils. If you're not sure what essential oils are, they are basically natural oils usually made by distillation of specific parts of a plant (bark, leaves, stems, etc.). The resulting oil will have the fragrance and the useful properties of the plant it was extracted from.
Essential oils should not be taken internally. When applied to the skin they should generally be diluted. The recipe shown will make approximately 4 ounces at a 3% dilution.
Aside from the essential oils and witch hazel, you will also need a mini funnel and a 4 ounce spray bottle (preferably amber colored to preserve the essential oils) to make this simple recipe.
It will cost approximately $45 initially (including the funnel & spray bottle), however, you will have enough supplies to make the 4 ounce repellent mixture 24 times - thats 96 ounces total! Thats only .45 cents per ounce and if you do not get the funnel and spray bottles, it will cost even less :-)
Note that the All Terrain brand includes many of the same ingredients as our homemade recipe (with a few extra), however our recipe, though it costs more initially, is actually less money in the long run. How many of us really only use one bottle of bug spray over the summer?
Saving money by making the repellent yourself is awesome.
Being healthier by NOT putting potentially harmful manmade chemicals on yourself and your family is PRICELESS.
If you are interested in more information on using essential oils check out "Do-It-Ourselves: Essential Oils."
I don't even use regular dish soap in my home anymore (I use Dr. Bronners liquid castile soap instead.). However, after much research, and despite the fact that there are some concerns regarding the environment, I still think using the dish soap is the lesser of two evils when compared to the commercial brand weed killers. I would choose to have a tablespoon of Dawn dish soap infiltrate into my groundwater rather than RoundUp’s potentially carcinogenic ingredients.
I have modified the recipe to work with a smaller 1-liter pump sprayer as making a gallon or more of the product seemed wasteful (I do not see myself using it that much plus the large sprayers are expensive and need to be stored somewhere.). Instead I purchased a 1-liter pump garden sprayer (50% off) at RiteAid for $3.99 plus tax. Also, after much research regarding the ingredients and their purposes, I have determined that this homemade weed killer should only be used on weeds in the patio or driveway or anywhere far away from plants and soil I do not want to harm. In my gardens I will continue to maintain the weeds by pulling them by hand or raking.
I added the ingredients to a 1-liter pump sprayer and let it sit until the next morning. Before work I sprayed the weeds on a small patio made of rubber tiles (made from recycled tires!). I returned home 8 hours later and the weeds were DEAD! Using just a strong bristle brush/broom I was able to sweep the weed away! The weed killer was a success and definitely saved me MONEY and I still have plenty of the soap left for future batches of weed killer ☺
A couple of last minute pointers:
Hi there! I'm Kathie, the author behind Creating A Simpler Life blog. I'm excited to share our longterm projects (and planning) toward building our future retirement homestead in the Adirondack Mountains of New York. In the meantime I will be sharing all the other little things we do that are part of creating our simpler life!