Natural Home and Beauty

I'm the first to admit that when I find a beauty or cleaning product that works well for me, I am reluctant (and skeptical) to try homemade things. I want to stick with what works for me. But, as I started doing research into the chemicals that are found in my products, I was shocked at what they do to our bodies. Some are cancer causing. Several are neurotoxins (a poisonous protein complex that acts on the nervous system).  They can attack the immune system, cause asthma, disrupt the endocrine system, cause baldness, and MUCH more.  Granted, these things happen with prolonged use, but think back on how long you have been using your products.  These chemicals are in our body soaps and lotions, toothpastes, hair gel, shampoo and conditioner. The list goes on.  

Changing your products is a personal choice.  For me, it was weighing on my heart and mind, so I decided to do something about it.  And so far, I don't miss my old products, which totally shocks me.  As I said, I was skeptical about how well these products would work.    

I looked into buying some already made natural cleaners, but when I read the ingredients, I knew I could make them on my own. It turns out that making my own products is healthier and it saves me money! I didn't think I had the time to make my own things. I'm a busy wife and Mama. But the recipes I'm going to share with you don't take much time at all. I even turned it into family time and had my girls help me make a few things.  They are also learning a lot through this process.  

There were two books and one website that really helped me along this journey. They are:

The Naturally Clean Home (great for recipes and the positive benefits of essential oils).

The Green Beauty Guide (this is a great resource for learning about harmful chemicals and their affects).

Passionate Homemaking (click here and scroll down to the bottom of the recipe page).

I will continue to share more resources as I find them. If you have resources or recipes, please share! I'm always looking for more. 

A Word about Recipes: Sometimes you have to adjust the quantities to fit your needs. If you don't like a scent or a texture, change it up! You have freedom here to do what best fits your preferences and needs. You can skip the essential oils all together, but before you do, read about EO's below.

A Word about Vinegar: Many people don't like the smell of vinegar. I don't blame you. My Aunt said it made her relatives house smell like a big pickle! No one wants that. But these recipes are not just straight up vinegar. There are other ingredients and essential oils that mask the smell. In my all-purpose cleaner, I had to adjust the water and essential oil so the vinegar smell wasn't so strong. It still worked great.

A Word about Essential Oils: Refer to my post on essential oils

A Word about Castile Soap: There are several brands of castile soap. I use Dr.Bronner's Baby Mild (unscented), which I get from Target, Krogers, or my local health food store. It's made from water, coconut soap, olive oil, hemp, and vitamin E. It also has citric acid, which is used as a preservative. It's reasonably priced, especially considering what you can use it for: shampoo, body wash, mouth rinse (I haven't tried that yet, and I'm not sure if I will), diaper soak, baby laundry detergent, baby bath, cleaning products, and much more. They also have scented soap. I chose to go with Baby Mild because of the versatility. But I have a friend who chose the lavender scented, and she's happy with it.

Household: (these recipes have been taken from The Naturally Clean Home book listed above)

Dishwashing Detergent
  • 2 Cups Washing Soda (found in the detergent isle of your grocery store) 
  • 1 Cup Borax (found right next to the Washing Soda) 
  • 1 Cup Baking Soda 
Combine all ingredients and store in a plastic container. To use, add about 2 tablespoons to the soap compartment of your dishwasher. If you find your glasses are getting a residue buildup, reduce this amount to 1 1/2 tablespoons. 

Scented Dishwashing Detergent
  • 2 Cups Washing Soda
  • 2 Cups Borax
  • 20 drops of an essential oil of your choice
Combine all ingredients, taking care to blend in the essential oil well. Store in a plastic container. Use 2 tablespoons per load of dishes.

Basic Liquid Laundry Formula
  • 2 1/4 Cups Liquid Castile Soap 
  • 1/4 Cup White Distilled Vinegar
  • 1 Tablespoon Glycerin (found in most health food stores and local pharmacy)
  • 3/4 Cup Water
  • 10-15 drops essential oil of your choice 
Combine all ingredients into a plastic container or squirt bottle. Shake once or twice before adding to wash. To use, add 1/4 cup per average load; 1/2 cup for extra large or heavily soiled loads.

All-Purpose Stain Spray
Make an extra bottle to put in the bathrooms or under the kitchen sink where it's handy. 
  • 1/4 Cup Vegetable oil-based soap 
  • 1/4 Cup Glycerin
  • 2 Tablespoons Borax
  • 10 drops peppermint or tea tree essential oil
  • 1 3/4 Cups Water
Combine all ingredients in a plastic spray bottle and shake well. Spray generously onto stain. Launder as usual. Shake before each use to mix Borax.

All-Purpose Cleaner
I use this on my mirrors, which not only cleans well, but helps with fogging after a shower. I also use it on my surfaces. It's antibacterial, antiviral, antibiotic, and anti-fungal. On the mirror, wipe a few times to get rid of streaks. When I first used it, it seemed watery and I thought I'd have to wipe forever, but I was surprised at how quickly it worked.
  • 1 1/2 Cups Vinegar
  • 1/2 Cup Water
  • 8 drops of either lavender, citrus, or tea tree oil
Combine all ingredients in a plastic spray bottle. Shake well before each use. Spray solution onto surface and wipe with a dry cloth or towel.

For an abrasive cleaner, you can fill a shaker jar with baking soda. Any shaker container will work, an old spice container, or even a glass container would work.

Dust Spray
Here's the recipe I tried taken from The Naturally Clean Home:

  • 1/2 c oil soap (I used Murphy's Oil Soap)
  • 3/4 c water
  • 5 drops sweet orange essential oil
  • 15-20 drops cedar essential oil
Mix all ingredients into a spray bottle. Shake gently. Spray on wood surface. Wipe with a dry cloth.

My notes: I didn't put the cedar oil. I didn't have any. I would have because I think it would smell great. I used the orange oil because I did have that in my cabinet. It adds a nice scent, as well as added antibacterial benefits. You really could omit the essential oils altogether, but I like the smell and the added benefits of essential oils.

I liked the consistency of the spray. It was light and easy to spread around the wood surface. It picked up all the dust and left a nice, clean shine. If you like a high gloss in your wood spray, you could add a little more Murphy's Oil or reduce the water.

I have to include a note about the Murphy's Oil Soap ingredients. All of them are good, except for the Tetrasodium EDTA. (Of course, I read up on this after I used it) Tetrasodium EDTA contains formaldehyde. It can be a strong skin and lung irritant in humans.

If you don't want to use Murphy's, here's another recipe for you. I haven't tried it but I'm sure it's a good one:
  • 1/2 c lemon juice
  • 1 tsp liquid castile soap (I use Dr. Bronner's)
  • 4 drops of bergamot, geranium, or sweet orange essential oil.
To use, follow the directions above.  
A good tip is to try these recipes on an inconspicuous spot on your furniture before you spray it all over. Some essential oils can adversely affect certain wood finishes.

Easy Toilet Bowl Cleaner
  • 1/2 Cup Baking Soda
  • 1/4 Cup White Vinegar
  • 10 drops tea tree essential oil
Combine all ingredients into a squeeze bottle. Add to the bowl, swipe with a brush, and you're done!

No-Scrub Toilet Bowl Cleaner
Use this cleaner in toilet bowls that have a ring around them.  You can dump this in your TB before bed, and viola! Your TB will be clean by morning. It's like having your very own toilet fairy.

  • 1 Cup Borax
  • 1 Cup Vinegar
  • 10-15 drops of essential oil of your choice
Combine all ingredients in a plastic measuring cup or bottle and pour all at once into the TB. Allow to sit overnight. In the morning, flush!

A Note about Coconut Oil: I have just discovered this glorious product and I am currently in love with it. In fact, with my girls in the room, I told my doctor that I'm in love with coconut oil. I heard them laugh and say, "Mommy's going to marry coconut oil!" I laugh, but I would marry it if I could, that's how much I love it! I use it in my deodorant, and as a lotion. (More about that below). This can be pricey, but it has so many functions and health benefits, it's worth it to me. You can purchase coconut oil at your local health food store or on-line. I'm still looking for other places to purchase this. I'll let you know if I find it. 

The health benefits of coconut oil include hair care, skin care, stress relief, maintaining cholesterol levels, weight loss, increased immunity, proper digestion and metabolism, relief from kidney problems, heart diseases, high blood pressure, diabetes, HIV and cancer, dental care, and bone strength. These benefits of coconut oil can be attributed to the presence of lauric acid, capric acid and caprylic acid, and its properties such as antimicrobial, antioxidant, anti-fungal, antibacterial, soothing, etc. To learn more about the health benefits of coconut oil, click here.

It is suggested to use cold-pressed, 100% virgin, unrefined coconut oil, especially if you want to use it for eating. However, refined is a good substitute if you just want to use it in your deodorant. It's cheaper too. I haven't eaten coconut oil yet, but I do use it on my lips when I don't have my Burt's Bee available.

A Note about Baking Soda: (Sodium Bicarbonate) This fine white powder is known for it's ability to absorb odors.  It is traditionally used as a tooth whitener because of its abrasive properties.  BS also makes a gentle antibacterial facial scrub, which is especially good for acne-prone skin. You can find this for less than a dollar at your local grocery store.  

A Note about Arrowroot: Arrowroot is a natural, talc-free powder that is used as a thickening agent.  You can find this at your local health food store.  I haven't checked anywhere else for this, so you may be able to find it in other places.  I'm just not sure.  I'll let you know if I find it.  

A Word about Apple Cider Vinegar: ACV is an all-natural remedy that helps the skin/scalp Ph balance. Healthy skin has a protective acid mantle that can be stripped away by overuse of alkaline body soaps. The skin is the largest organ of elimination; so maintaining an acid mantle assists the normal detoxification process.  (Information obtained through Passionate Homemaking)  It's CHEAP!  You can find it at your grocery store.   


  • 1/4 Cup Baking Soda 
  • 1/4 Cup Arrowroot 
  • 6-8 Tablespoons of Coconut Oil 
  • Essential Oil - as many drops as you want until you're happy with the scent. 
Mix all ingredients together. Store in a jar or container. Apply with fingers. This recipe is enough for a few months with two people using it. For original recipe and video tutorial, check out Passionate Homemaking. (That's where I got the recipe). You can also put this in an old deodorant stick container. I haven't tried that, but several people think it works well.

My notes about recipe: The first day I tried this, it was great! Loved it! The next day, however, my armpits got irritated. So, I adjusted the recipe by adding more CO and EO. That helped. I'm going to try a new batch with very little BS because my armpits are still sensitive. I have friends that use this recipe and love it as is. You just have to adjust it to your needs. But do NOT use this after shaving.

Shampoo/Conditioner :: Body Wash :: Face Wash
*Update* I have since started using Aubrey Organics for most of my hair and face care needs.  Their stuff is found in most health food stores, as well as grocery stores that carry organic products.  

Castile Soap
Put in a squeeze bottle and use with your puff or washcloth in the shower. I do not dilute, but you could. You could also add essential oils for scent.

  • 2 Tablespoons Apple Cider Vinegar 
  • Water 
Add ingredients to a clean spray bottle. Keep in the shower. After shampoo, spray on hair, and rinse. I've been using this on myself and my girls. It works great. It smells a little when you're first spraying it on, but the smell goes away after rinsing. It makes our hair soft and full. 

My note about natural shampoo and conditioner: One thing I noticed after using castile soap and ACV is that my hair is greasier by the time I go to bed or the next morning. So I have to wash my hair daily. This is because regular shampoos and conditioners strip too much of the oil from our skin, thus drying it out and making possible to not wash hair every day. Also, the castile soap is oil based. But washing my hair daily is a small sacrifice for healthier products.

Body Lotion
*Update* I have since started using Jason Body Lotion (and body wash).  These products are found in health food stores, as well as grocery stores that carry organic products. 

Coconut Oil

CO begins to melt at 76 degrees, so work fast. I spread a thins layer over my face, neck, and body. I allow a minute for the CO to dry. If you apply too much, you will be greasy for a while. Just spread sparingly and you shouldn't have a problem.

My skin has never been better! I used to have these annoying bumps on my arms. Not anymore! I think it's a combination of the CO and using an unscented body wash. I tend to have oily skin on my face, and I thought the CO would make my skin oilier, but it doesn't. When you're using natural things to wash your skin, you're not being stripped of too much oil. There is a healthy balance. It makes your skin totally different. I love it!

EASY Homemade Face Scrub

  • 1 Tbsp sugar (any kind will do, however cane sugar would be easiest to spread on your face) 
  • Oil (Melted Coconut oil, olive oil. Whatever you have on hand) 
Mix ingredients together in a bowl. Gently massage on face and neck. Rinse off with warm water and a washcloth. Wash face as usual.

You have to wash your face when you're done because the oil in the scrub makes your face greasy. Surprisingly, it worked well. My face was soft and felt really nice.

Homemade Honey Cleanser
  • 2 tbsp liquid soap (I use Dr. Bronner's Baby Mild Castile Soap) 
  • 1/4 c of honey 
  • 1/4 c of rose water (I used regular filtered water) 
Mix all ingredients together in a clean container. Give a little shake (not too much. You don't want too much foam). I used an old squeezable jelly container at first. I plan to put it into a pump container, which is suggested.

Makes 4 ounces

To use: Pour or pump a small amount into your palm and massage gently into your skin or hair. (I use a puff when I'm using it as body wash. I like the foaming action). Rinse thoroughly with water. (I haven't needed a conditioner when I use this in my hair).

Note: Honey is a lightener. Keep that in mind if your hair is dark.


So, folks, those are all the recipes I've tried so far. I have SEVERAL more, but I haven't tried them yet. If you have some to share, please let me know. I'd love to add them to my list. Or, if you're looking for a specific homemade recipe, email me or comment and I'll give you any recipes I have. I encourage you to check out the books and website I listed above. They are great resources.

1 comment:

  1. Wow! I am so impressed. I've been thinking a lot about making the switch to making all natural products myself. Glad to hear that it's going well for you. This is a lot of great information!

    Question: Did you make the change to natural gradually or did you go cold turkey?

    Thanks so much for this post!



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