As I mentioned in my other healthy living blogs, I'm always on a quest to find natural and toxin-free personal and household products. An extra bonus is those natural, homemade products almost always end up cheaper than store-bought products! Kin's been using the 3-ingredient coconut deodorant for 2 years and he hasn't purchased a single deodorant since.
Today, I'd like to offer some of the other natural products we use in and around the home. Enjoy :)
1. Car air freshener: coffee grounds
Who doesn't love the smell of coffee? What you might not know is coffee grounds makes an excellent natural air freshener for your car! Apparently you can use used coffee grounds as well, but we've been using fresh hazelnut coffee grounds. Oh, the possibilities with all the amazing flavours out there!
How: put 2-3 tablespoons (30-45 mL) coffee grounds onto a piece of tissue paper. Wrap it up with a ribbon like a pretty gift.
2. Dry Shampoo: cornstarch
For those days when you simply don't have time to wash your hair, dry shampoos are great to freshen things up. Did you know cornstarch works very well as a dry shampoo? No more aerosol bottles! I keep my dry shampoo cornstarch in a spice shaker in the washroom.
How: sprinkle some cornstarch on greasy ends of hair. Leave for 1 minute. Pat away the cornstarch with your hands.
3. Oven cleaner: baking soda, salt and water
For those who have the unfortunate experience of liquids (or solids) spilling onto a heated oven floor, you know how difficult it is to scrub the burnt food off. A quick fix is to use the super-hot self-clean function in most modern oven. I have reservations about using the self-clean function too often, so I usually try to naturally clean the oven myself. This is definitely not the most effective recipe (you still need to use a fair amount of elbow grease), but everything in the recipe is edible, which gives me peace of mind over the types of gases store-bought oven cleaners can release.
How: use equal parts baking soda, coarse (kosher) salt, and water to form a paste. Apply with a scrubbing pad.
4. Pot cleaner: baking soda and water
Burnt food not only get stuck on ovens, but sadly, also on pots and pans. This method is great for stainless steel and also enamelled cast iron pots and pans (love my Le Creuset Dutch Oven. I seem to cook and bake everything in it. Can't believe I never had one till this year!). It's gentle enough not to make any scratches.
- Bring a small amount of baking soda and water (more than enough to cover the bottom of a pot) to a boil.
- Watch the carbon dioxide fizz and work for you!
- Add more baking soda if necessary.
- Scrub off burnt food with a wooden spoon.
5. Window Cleaner: vinegar & water
Who knew just vinegar & water can give windows a brilliant shine? Check out other natural window cleaners here.
How: 1/2 cup (125 mL) vinegar + 4 cups (1 L) water
6. Bug repellent: citronella oil
I'm always wary about the combination of sunscreen and bug repellent. Citronella oil is a natural alternative, though some people, especially children might be sensitive to it.
I also avoid putting on sunscreen if I can (many toxic chemicals there!)... I try to wear hats and cover up well when I am outdoors for an extended period of time.