Baking soda has to be the most widely used and versatile tool in the Natural Cleaner’s Toolbox. Whole books have been written dedicated to this powder. It is cheap, easily to find in any supermarket and has literally dozens of uses. If you want to discover some great ways to use baking soda in your home then read on.
1. Make Toothpaste:
This is something my husband and I have been doing for about 6 months now and we love it. It does take a little getting used to since we a used to sweet tasting toothpaste and this is salty. I cannot go back and now hate the sweet taste of conventional toothpaste. My dentist also commented lately how good my gums were looking and my husband no longer has sensitive teeth since making the switch.
Simply mix together 1 Tablespoon of coconut oil with between 1/2 – 1 teaspoon baking soda (start on the low side until you are used to it). Add in 5 drops of peppermint oil and you are done. Just dip your toothbrush into the mixture and brush away.
2. Clean your face:
This is another trick I do myself. I keep a small jar of baking soda in the bathroom, I pour about 1 teaspoon of powder onto my palm and mix with enough water for form a paste. I apply to my face and rub gently. Baking soda will act as a cleanser and has a mild exfoliation effect. Rinse in clean water.
3. Clean brushes and combs:
Natural oils and hair products build up in our combs and brushes over time. To keep them clean and fresh, mix 1 teaspoon baking soda in a small basin of water and soak brushes and combs. Rinse and allow to dry.
4. Make a bath soak:
In a food processor blend 1/2 cup rolled oats until they become a very fine powder. Add 1/2 cup of baking soda and 15 drops of lavender essential oil. Mix well. Add half of the mixture to your bath, swirl to dissolve. Lay back and relax!
This is a great combination if you have skin irritated by sunburn or eczema.
5. Clean burnt food off pans:
If you are anything like me you won’t be a stranger to burnt offerings in the bottom of your saucepans. Simply boil 2 inches of water in the bottom of the pot for a few minutes. Add 1/2 cup baking soda and leave overnight. In the morning simply give a gentle scrub. Rinse and wash as usual.
6. Deodorize the fridge:
I love broccoli and cauliflower but I hate the way they smell, especially when opening the fridge first thing in the morning! To combat smells in the fridge put a small container on the shelf full of baking soda.
7. Shine silverware:
Make a paste out of 3 parts baking soda and 1 part water. Rub onto the silver with a clean cloth. Leave for 15-20 minutes. Rinse and dry thoroughly.
8. Clean the bath and sink:
Make a paste from baking soda and water. Using a clean cloth rub the paste over surfaces. Rinse with water and dry with a clean cloth.
9. Deodorize carpets and soft furnishings:
Add a few drops of peppermint essential oil in to half a cup of baking soda. Sprinkle over carpet and couches. Leave for 20 minutes then vacuum.
10. Clean the toilet:
Turn off the water at the cistern. Flush a few times to remove water from the bowl. Sprinkle in baking soda. Scrub with a toilet brush. Turn on the water and once cistern is full, flush to rinse.
11. Freshen your bins:
Add baking soda to the bottom of your rubbish bins to help absorb foul odors.
12. Unblock drains:
Before you go calling a plumber, give baking soda a try. Tip 1/2 cup of baking soda into the sink. Pour on white vinegar and watch the fizz. Keep adding vinegar until the fizz stops. Pour a jug full of boiling water down the drain and your blockage should be fixed.
13. Soothe Itchy Skin:
Next time you have an itchy mosquito bite grab the baking soda. Mix 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda with a little water to form a paste. Apply to the bite for itch relief.
14: Cure Stinky Feet:
Mix baking soda and water into a paste. Apply to feet and allow to dry. Also try sprinkling some Baking Soda into shoes for odor absorption.
15. Boost Shampoo:
Add a teaspoon of baking soda to your shampoo before use and wash as per normal. The baking soda helps remove dirt, oil and residue build up from hair products.
16. Put Out A Fire:
Turned your back for a second and turned back to find a small fire in your pan? IT happens! Grab the baking soda. Throw a handful at the base of the fire to extinguish.
17. Remove Stains From Coffee/Tea Cups:
Make a paste out of baking soda and water. Rub the stains. Rinse and wash as per normal.
18. Make Mouth Wash:
Mix 1 teaspoon baking soda in a glass of water. Swish about, spit and rinse. Done!
19. Relieve Diaper Rash:
Add a couple of teaspoons to your baby’s bath water to help soothe a sore bottom.
20. Clean Your Floors:
Mix half a cup of baking soda in a bucket of warm water. Use to mop your floors. Add any essential oil you like for extra cleaning power.
Phew! That is only 20 uses but trust me when I tell you there are many, many more. I have tried all 20 of the list. How many have you done and what is your favourite way to use Baking Soda?
There are times in life when we need a bit of a pick me up. Whether it be at a time of illness, physical exertion or over indulgence during the silly season. Our bodies get put through a lot and sometimes it’s nice to give them a wee treat. This recovery smoothie ticks all the right boxes, healing and soothing, regenerating and best of all it tastes fantastic!
We have not had a good start to the week in our house. My 4 year old son Alex has had a tummy bug for the past two days. Tummy bugs in kids certainly take their toll on everyone and everything in the household. We are all looking a bit rugged. The Hubster and I have not had a lot of sleep. The poor washing machine has had to work extra hard this week. Luckily my homemade Laundry Liquid has been up to the task. The couch took a real beating and now has a distinct sour smell embedded in the cushions. Luckily nothing my DIY Carpet Deoderizer can’t fix. The dog hasn’t been walked so is going about the house looking all sad and dejected. My two youngest haven’t had the attention they think they deserve so are setting about getting some any way they can. And to top it off we all have a bad case of cabin fever.
Today is a new day. The sun is shining which means that I can catch up on a mountain of washing. The two youngest can be encouraged outside to burn off some energy. The dog and go chase balls and cats out the back. The windows are all thrown open and I am airing out the house from illness. Alex is on the mend but still looking very pale and lethargic. He has not kept anything down for days so the next couple of days will be spent building him back up again. That means sipping some of Mum’s bone broth, which is great at healing the gut, is chock full of minerals and is easy to digest. Some recovery smoothies and dry toast.
When our bodies have been under stress either by illness, exercise or excess it is good to show them a little love and replace some of the lost electrolytes. My Recovery Smoothie ticks all the boxes and it is delicious.
- 1/2 banana
- 1 cup coconut water
- 1 teaspoon raw homey
- Pinch sea salt
- 1/4 cup frozen mango pieces
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1 teaspoon coconut oil
Put all the ingredients into a blender and blend until smooth.
Easy and so good for you.
Coconut Water- Coconut water is the liquid found inside a fresh coconut when it is cut open. It is clear, slightly sweet and mildly nutty in flavour. It is high in carbohydrates and has four times as much potassium than banana. It is easier to digest than coconut cream or milk which is why I use it instead in this recipe. Coconuts have many health benefits and are excellent for healing tummies.
Banana- another great source of natural carbohydrates and minerals.
Raw honey – Honey contains many minerals, vitamins and enzymes. There have been studies done that show that a large percentage of honey sold in supermarkets have been ultra-filtered and no longer contain any pollen. This processing means that they cannot guarantee that the homey has retained all it’s health benefits. It is up to you what to use. I choose raw homey but feel free to substitute for any honey you like.
Sea salt – I add in a wee pinch of salt because you lose salt in the body during vomiting and during exercise.
Mango – An excellent source of carbohydrates and vitamins. Especially Vitamin C. One cup of mango will give you all your vitamin C requirements for the day. And they taste amazing!
Cinnamon – Is a powerful antioxidant, is anti-inflammatory and has been used in the treatment of vomiting.
Ground ginger- ginger is well known for helping with nausea making it a good choice when recovering from a tummy bug.
Coconut oil – For add good source of fat and for its anti-inflammatory and gut healing properties.
With winter here and so many illnesses spreading through our schools and preschools I think this smoothie is going to be a regular feature in our house. I’m okay with that though as it is simply divine. If you know of anyone who needs to give their body a wee pick-me-up, please feel free to share the recipe.
All appliances need some maintenance and care every once in a while. Most of us purchase an appliance, use it and do not consciously think about it again until something goes wrong. At least I am guilty of this. Apparently those little white booklets that come with our purchases tell you what you are supposed to be doing, but hands up who actually reads them! Didn’t think so. In order for our appliances to work at their best and last the distance we should be taking better care. Recently my dishwasher reminded me it was well over due for some TLC. If your dishwasher is crying out for some attention and not working as well as it should, try a deep clean to set things right again. If you want to know how to clean your dishwasher easily using only one natural ingredient then read on.
I have been fiddling around lately with a new and improved version of my dishwasher powder. I have been tweaking the recipe over a few weeks, doing a few washes to put it through its paces and changing the proportions if needed. Finally I thought I had a finished product I was really happy with. The first load I did everything came out clean, sparkly and smelling seriously good. I was happily high fiving myself when the next load came out just as good as the first. Feeling confident I made myself a big jar full.
Fast forward two weeks and I noticed the glassware coming out of the machine looking cloudy. Then a few days later there appeared to be grease on all the plastic containers and the kids drinking cups. The cutlery was the next, it started to have smudgy marks all over it. Then finally by the end of the week even the plates were not looking clean. I was gutted. Maybe the powder I had been so proud of was failing. Back to the drawing board.
So I tried another combination of ingredients but no improvement. Then another and another. Nothing was working and by now it was obvious something was seriously wrong with our dishwasher. My Hubby has a clinical allergy to washing even one dish by hand so this was serious! Luckily I had an uh-huh moment and remembered it had been several months since we had last cleaned the dishwasher. This was a job we used to do at least once a month. Usually we would have noticed problems before now so my guess is that the new powder was actually helping keep the machine itself cleaner too which is how we were able to leave it so long.
But now we had some work to do to get the dishwasher working well again. Luckily it is really easy to do and requires only one cheap, natural ingredient most of us already have in our pantry. Vinegar. The first step is to take out the filter in the bottom of the dishwasher. Boil the jug and soak the filter in very hot water in a bucket. If it is really greasy, as our was, then add a small squirt of dishwashing liquid. Once all the grease is softened give the filter a good scrub and rinse. Put it back into the machine.
Next put 1 cup of vinegar into two bowls. Place one bowl on the top rack of the dishwasher and one on the bottom rack. Perform a rinse cycle and then leave the door closed to steam clean for 20 minutes. Once finished empty the bowls into the bottom of the dishwasher and give the inside of the door a wipe down.
Your dishwasher should now perform a lot better. Mine certainly did and I am pleased to report I am back high fiving myself on the latest version of the recipe.
Have you cleaned your dishwasher lately? Maybe you should give this a go.If you do let me know how you go by leaving a comment below.
Eczema or Atopic Dermatitis afflicts many young children and will often be experienced by more than one family member. Unfortunately there is not cure for Eczema, therefore treatment plans focus on management. A child with Eczema is very sensitive to environmental triggers and how we clean our home and what we expose the skin to can greatly effect skin integrity. A few weeks ago I wrote a post that looked at cleaning products in the home and how they can effect your child’s Atopic Dermatitis, you can read it here. This week I want to be more specific and look at one area in particular that has a direct impact for skin sensitivity. The laundry. If you want to know more about how to wash your family’s clothes best in order to help prevent Eczema flare ups then read on.
I was a paediatric nurse for a long time before starting my family. During that time I saw many infants and children come through our doors with itchy, red, bleeding and often times infected skin. Although Eczema is considered a common childhood disease, it should not diminish how life effecting growing up with Eczema can be. For these children simple pleasures like swimming in the sea, rolling down a grassy hill and playing in a sandpit can either set off a flare up, cause pain or increase the chances of a secondary infection. Even sleep, which is a necessity for proper growth and development can be severely affected. Summer which for most children is a favourite time of year is the worst for children with Eczema as the heat often makes symptoms worse.
Maintaining good skin integrity is what management of Eczema is all about. A flare up can be caused by a number of triggers but a common one is exposure to laundry detergents. Laundry detergents are comprised of many ingredients, most of them synthetic and many of them toxic. A detergent will generally consist of surfactants, builders, bleaches, brightener, fragrances, enzymes and preservatives. Many are manufactured by using petrochemicals and most are not biodegradable.
- Surfactants – help to dissolve oil and grease
- Builders – help to soften water and increase the efficacy of detergents
- Bleaches – whiten clothing by making stains transparent
- Brighteners – make clothes luminously white
- Fragrances – make your clothes smell nice rather than the chemical smell that would be present.
- Enzymes – digest organic stains and solvents
- Preservatives – make the shelf life longer.
Our skin is our first line of defense to prevent toxins from entering our body. Depending on the structure of a molecule the cells that make up your skin can prevent it passing through. However oily, non-polar substances will be absorbed by the cells simply on contact.(source) Surfactants found in laundry detergents are one such substance and can readily be absorbed by the skin. Many of these surfactants have been linked to cancer, skin irritation, dizziness, headaches and breaks in the DNA chain.They also pose environmental threats.
Bleaches make our clothes nice and white but are potentially dangerous chemicals to have around. If bleach gets mixed with many other chemicals it can let off dangerous gasses such as mustard and chlorine gas. Bleach will also react with the fats and oils found on our skin and dissolve tissue. This is why your skin feels slippery if you ever get bleach on it.
Brighteners work by absorbing “ultraviolet light and emit it back as visible blue light. This blue light masks any yellowing that may be present in the treated material and makes it seem brighter and whiter than it would otherwise naturally appear to the eye” (source) In fact this is an optical illusion as your clothes just appear cleaner without actually being so. In order for brighteners to make your clothes glow white the substance needs to remain on the fabric after washing. Therefore our skin is exposed directly to this chemical for extended periods of time. Optical brighteners can cause skin irritation and rashes.
Fragrances in laundry detergents have strong links with skin and eye irritation and allergic reactions.
For most of us the laundry is one of the hardest working rooms in our home. I know i do a load of laundry most days and I am sure there are families out there who do a lot more than that. Imagine then the amount of clothes coming out of your machine and being worn by your family every week that is potentially contaminated with chemicals that could be affecting their health. This is particularly true with families that have Eczema. Every day your child is exposed to chemicals through the clothing that covers their sensitive skin that is known to cause irritation and diminish skin integrity. No matter how many times you slaver on creams to try and hydrate and soothe the skin, the problem will persist if you continue to wash your clothing and bedding the same way. Changing the way you wash can go a long way towards managing skin conditions and sensitivity.
So what is the alternative? You do not need to stop washing altogether although I would suggest that many of us do wash clothing a lot more than it actually needs, which also decreases the clothing’s longevity. Many of us also use too much detergent each cycle. More does not equal cleaner! Avoid using fabric softeners. I know we all love the soft, cuddly feeling that they provide but you only get that by the chemicals used to provide that feeling remaining in the fabric after washing. This increases the chance of skin irritation. Try adding half a cup of white vinegar to the rinse cycle. The vinegar contains small amounts of potassium and sodium which helps to soften hard water and dissolve mineral build up. Double rinse clothing to try and minimise the amount of detergent and chemicals left trapped in fabric.
Changing to a natural based laundry powder or liquid I believe is the best way to help reduce skin irritation and is better for the environment too. A natural, homemade laundry detergent is soap based. Pure soap contains no preservatives, fragrances or synthetic chemicals that can cause irritation. Soap on its own however is not very effective in the laundry as it will form soap scum in the presence of hard water. This can easily be solved by the addition of natural water softeners such as salt and washing soda. The ingredients of natural laundry detergents are easy to source and easy to whip up. Not only does going natural help to alleviate some of the irritation caused by synthetic chemicals for children with Eczema it is safer overall for the whole family. If you would like a recipe to get started there is one on my blog post Battle of the laundry which you can read here.
*If you cannot source coconut oil soap you can use Castile Soap which is more readily available.
If you make any of your own products in your home i would love to hear about it. Please leave a comment below. Also any other tips and tricks for managing Eczema naturally.
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