Category Archives: Natural Living

Spring Cleaning: 16 Natural DIY Household Cleaners

16 Natural DIY Household Cleaners

Now that we are all moved in to our new home, I’m quite excited to tackle some DIY projects for the house. Since it’s also Spring cleaning time, one of the most important and urgent next project is: making new homemade cleaning products! Even in our old home, I concocted various cleaners for the home using safe and toxin-free ingredients for our own health and the health of our dogs.

There are so many harmful and harsh chemicals and fragrances in typical store-bought cleaning products that are linked to a variety of illnesses, so I try avoid them as much as possible. Our livers are already so burdened by the types of food we eat, as well as environmental toxins, so we should all make an extra effort to give it a bit of break and love. The good news is, you can easily make so many cleaners at home that do not cause any harm but are just as effective (and so much cheaper)!

After doing a bit of research, I put together the cleanest and the most effective homemade cleaning product recipes that I love from my fellow bloggers! Hope they work for you as well as they’ve been working for me!

1. All-Purpose Surface Cleaner: Two Ways

Image via Live Simply

Both of these all-purpose cleaners use simple ingredients you probably already have at home and are so effective in cleaning the kitchen, bathroom surfaces, carpets, and some appliances. Depending on the type of surface  you’ll be cleaning, choose either the vinegar-based or the castile soap-based cleaner!

2. Disinfecting Wipes

A healthier alternative to Clorox® Disinfecting Wipes, which contains a long list of toxic chemicals, these homemade disinfecting wipes use vinegar and essential oils for a safer and convenient way to clean almost anything.

3. Homemade Dusting Spray and Wood Polish

Image via Nourishing Joy

This dusting spray comes in 2 different versions (regular and simplified), and it’s so great for cleaning furniture and wood without leaving residues. I love that it works on so many different surfaces!

4.  No-Streak Window Cleaner

Image via Whole New Mom

It took me a while to find a natural glass cleaner that works as well as Windex without leaving a film or streaks, but this window cleaner really does work SO well! You can use it on everything, besides marble, and I’m always so happy and satisfied with the results.

5. Non-Toxic Dishwasher Detergent Tablets

Using a combination of simple ingredients and non-toxic liquid dish soap, these dishwashing detergent tablets are so easy and convenient to just pop into your dishwasher and let them do all the work!

6. Liquid Dish Soap

homemade liquid dish soap

This liquid dish soap is my own recipe that I’ve been using and perfecting for years now and I still love it! It cuts through grease easily and doesn’t leave a residue on the dishes like some DIY dish soaps I have tried.

7. Best Homemade Bathroom Cleaner Ever

Image via Crunchy Betty

When it comes to cleaning bathrooms, I absolutely hate doing it, and I want something powerful so I can get in and out quickly. This homemade bathroom cleaner works beautifully and I’m able to do just that with it, while still using non-toxic ingredients!

8. DIY Natural Toilet Bombs

Not only do these natural toilet bombs look pretty, they clean the toilet like nobody’s business! I also love that they make the bathroom smell so nice with the addition of essential oils. Plus, it’s such an easy way to clean the toilet!

9. Homemade Anti-Mold Spray

Seeing mold build up in your home is the WORST. Nothing grosses me out more, so I’m so happy to find a recipe that not only removes mold, but prevents it from starting! This anti-mold spray is so simple and easy to make, but the tee tree oil in it makes it a powerful but safe anti-fungal for your home.

10. Homemade Liquid Laundry Detergent

I have tried SO MANY homemade laundry detergent recipes in the past, and this one is my absolute favorite! It cleans my clothes just as well as the store-bought brands and makes A LOT for super cheap. I use castile soap instead of Fels Naptha soap, and love how great it works!

11. Homemade Dryer Sheet

There are so many harmful unnecessary chemicals in commercial dryer sheets so I stopped using them a long time ago. These reusable dryer sheets soften clothes and reduce static naturally with vinegar, and you can add your own scent to your clothes with addition of essential oils!

12. Natural Air Freshener with Essential Oils

Image via Hello Glow

Ever since I started making a conscious effort to avoid toxic fragrances, I actually get a headache when I walk in the store and pass the aisle with cleaners and air fresheners. This natural air freshener uses just 3 ingredients, and makes the house smell soooo wonderful with your favorite essential oils!

13. Natural Bleach Alternative

I know it’s a struggle for many people to find natural bleach that actually works. Well, look no further, because I couldn’t believe how well this natural bleach alternative took out stains from my clothes after an overnight soak! You can even use it in your washer, or as a cleaner for sinks, tubs, and toilets.

14. Grout Cleaner

Is there anything baking soda and vinegar CAN’T do? This DIY grout cleaner is so effective for cleaning all your tiled floors, and it’s perfectly safe to use. Grab an old toothbrush and get scrubbing, and you’ll have clean and sparkling tile grouts in no time!

15. Hardwood Floor Cleaner

Image via Clean Mama

Our new house has hardwood floors (which I LOVE), so I’ve been searching for a good, natural cleaner ever since moving it. This easy breezy hardwood floor cleaner recipe is so simple to make, and keeps our floors super clean and smelling nice!

16. Easy Homemade Carpet Cleaner

We don’t have carpets anymore, but our old apartment was carpeted and this easy homemade carpet cleaner was our go-to for stains and general cleaning. Especially with 2 dogs (one with skin allergies) who are laying on the carpet all the time, we didn’t want to use any toxic chemicals that they could be ingesting. This carpet cleaner worked beautifully every time for any kind of stains we had!

 

Spring clean your house with these toxin-free and natural DIY household cleaners!

Guest Post: How to Heal Hormonal Acne Naturally

Amie, from Rebelle Nutrition, is a fellow NTP and Beautycounter consultant with a passion for healing the body from the inside out. Like me, she was sick and tired of feeling sick and tired all the time, and turned her health around with the power of real food. She started having way more energy and vitality, but her skin issues and hormonal acne took a bit more work and digging around to solve beyond simple nutrition. So here she is to tell you what steps made the biggest difference and resulted in the radiant, clear skin she has now. I hope her story and advice help you on your skin care journey!


Amie Tollefsrud - Hormonal Acne

Eating real food but still suffering from painful hormonal acne?

Here are the steps you might be missing.

So you’re eating a nutrient-dense, whole-food diet but still have annoying (and painful) adult acne. This was exactly my story a few years ago when I first made the change to a paleo-ish style way of eating. My fatigue, joint pain, and acid reflux all improved drastically, but the one thing I could not seem to get a handle on no matter what I tried, was healing my hormonal acne. It continue to pop up, month after month, no matter how “clean” I ate or how dedicated I was to my “natural” skincare routine.

After about a year of research, trial and error, and intense healing, I discovered 5 key steps towards healing hormonal acne that have worked wonders for not only myself, but dozens of my Nutritional Therapy clients who come to me with the same problem. Keep in mind, these steps are intended for those people who have already made the switch to a nutrient-dense, whole-food diet. Improving the quality of the food you eat is the first step towards healing; after which, I recommend bringing in the “big guns” aka these 5 steps:

1. Don’t guess, test!

Unfortunately, there are plenty of nutrient dense foods that can still cause a histamine response (or “sensitivity”) in our bodies. This is especially true of foods we eat on a regular (or even daily) basis. Without rotation and a wide variety of different nutrients, our bodies can create antibodies to these foods, causing a number of physical manifestations such as joint pain, eczema, migraines, or painful acne. If you are eating a paleo style diet that has removed inflammatory foods like grains, dairy, soy, sugar and other processed goods, it might be time to look into food sensitivity testing. But don’t worry, you don’t need to run out and spend hundreds on expensive testing just yet. There is an easy at home test I like to do with clients, called the “Coca’s pulse test” that measures your pulse rate in response to eating certain foods. Here’s how to do it: 

Pick 1 food that you suspect may be causing you problems (coffee, eggs, milk) make sure it is only 1 ingredient and not a combination of different things (banana bread, for example, would not be able to decipher it is the bananas, wheat, or eggs causing the reaction).

Take your pulse for one full minute, record.

Put the chosen food in your mouth and chew but do not swallow for 20 seconds.

After 20 seconds, take your pulse again for one full minute with the food still in your mouth (do not swallow). Record your findings. Spit out the food and rinse your mouth if you plan to test again.

What are your results? An increase of 6 beats per minute or more indicates a stress response from that specific food, and may mean an elimination protocol may be needed. The higher the pulse increase, the greater the response. (Want to watch a video tutorial of this? Go HERE!)

2. Heal your leaky gut

You might be wondering, but WHY is my body creating antibodies to delicious and nutrient rich foods? The answer: your gut is “leaky”. Leaky gut is the term used to describe the process of increased intestinal permeability; which means that undigested food particles are able to make their way into the bloodstream – instead of being properly digested an used as fuel. This causes the immune system to elicit an “attack”, aka a histamine response or sensitivity reaction (i.e. increased pulse rate). Leaky gut is at the root cause of nearly every health symptom imaginable, and I find that repairing the gut lining is one of the most successful ways to improve a variety of skin related conditions – specifically acne. Some of my favorite gut-healing nutrients include L-glutamine, collagen peptides, plenty of nutrient rich bone broth, and DGL

3. Change up your skincare routine

I’m willing to bet that if you have acne, you’ve already tried nearly every product on the market, am I right? As a nutritional therapy practitioner, I tried so hard to make the oil cleansing method work for me, but all it did was create a mess of my bathroom and make my skin look greasy. When I finally learned about Beautycounter, a company that aims to remove harmful toxins and chemicals from their skincare products (without compromising performance), I was sold. I now consider myself to be a bit of a Beautycounter whore; but when I first started out, there were 3 products that improved my adult acne better than ANYTHING else I’ve ever tried. Seriously.

Charcoal Bar for cleansing (morning and night)

Purifying Charcoal Mask (2-3x a week for a spa grade facial)

Balancing Face Oil for moisturizer (I know what you’re thinking, oil on acne?!? But hear me out- Beautycounter specifically formulated this oil for acne prone skin, to moisturize and balance out levels of skin sebum and actually reduce excess oil production – how cool is that?)

4. Get off the treadmill

I know, I know. This is one that my clients, nor I, wanted to accept. But the truth is, if you have hormonal acne and you continue to do intense workouts in the form of running, cross fit, cycling, or anything that elicits a stress response in the body – this is likely to be a key player in the formation of your acne.

Intense exercise leads to heightened levels of stress in the body, causing increased cortisol output and insulin production. For women especially, this can also throw off the delicate balance of progesterone to estrogen – amplifying testosterone levels and causing increased oil production, clogged pores, and – you guessed it: acne.

5. Zinc supplementation

Zinc is an amazing skin-healing mineral that most of us are deficient in, despite eating a good diet. Zinc has been shown to lower chronic levels of inflammation and prevent acne-causing bacteria on the skin to become painful and inflamed. It also helps reduce the bacteria on the surface of the skin that causes acne, reduces keratin production that leads to clogged pores, and balances hormones by keeping levels of acne-causing testosterone in check. If you aren’t getting daily sources of zinc from foods like oysters or pumpkin seeds, I recommend experimenting with zinc supplementation in the form of zinc picolinate for around 3 months or so (make sure to work with a practitioner). 

There you have it! If you are already eating a real-food diet but still struggling with hormonal acne, I hope that these 5 key steps will be as life-changing for you as they have been for the clients in my practice. 

Want more? Download my free e-book: Acne Free in 30 Days HERE

Amie Tollefsrud is a Nutritional Therapy Practitioner and minimalist living in Maui, HI. She recently downsized to a tiny house by the beach with her husband, where she spends her days surfing, building her online business, and figuring out how to cook real food without a kitchen. Find out more by visiting her blog, Instagram, or Facebook page.

What Great Grandma Ate / Jean Choi is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.

Regarding other affiliate links and affiliate relationships: In order for me to support my blogging activities, I may receive monetary compensation or other types of remuneration for my endorsement, recommendation, testimonial and/or link to any products or services from this blog. Thank you for your support and understanding.

Guest Post- How to Heal Hormonal Acne Naturally

5 Natural Flea Repellants

natural flea repellantWe’ve never had issues with fleas, ticks, or any other bugs on our dogs until we moved to California. Being in the concrete jungle of NYC kept us far away from these problems for years. I actually freaked out a bit (okay, a lot.) when I saw tiny fleas jumping from my dogs’ skin for the first time, and soon realized that this is a common everyday reality living in a suburb.

Why I Refuse to Use Commercial Spot-on Flea Treatments

Frontline, Advantix, Advantage, and other chemical treatments may work well to kill fleas, but the active ingredient in commercial spot-on flea treatments is either a form of pesticide or insecticide that may cause various health issues. There are some scary stories out there about how dogs have experienced seizures or behavior changes after using these products (Thank you, internet). Even if your pets seem fine after using them, the ingredients in these products are less than ideal and may be causing long-term damage after cumulative use.

Just like how I refuse to put anything on my skin that’s toxic or poisonous, the same goes for my dog babies as well. The chemicals in these products (which also include flea sprays, shampoos, dips, and powders) also affect the people who own pets, especially children and pregnant women. After a lot of research and consideration, we decided to experiment with natural and safe methods. After a year of testing different sprays, creams, soap, and diet, I have found 5 most effective ways to keep fleas and ticks at bay:

**Please note that these methods are intended for dogs. Some may apply to cats as well, but do your own research before trying them out for your specific pet.

5 Natural Flea Repellants

1. Brewer’s yeast. Brewer’s yeast is a type of yeast used in beer and bread making. It is actually quite nutrient-dense with vitamins and minerals, especially vitamin B, chromium, and selenium. When using it for flea treatment, you sprinkle some on your pet’s food everyday. After regular use, you dog will excrete an odor (humans can’t smell it) that repels fleas. This has worked especially well for our dogs, and they seem to like the taste of brewer’s yeast.  Of course, if you dog’s a picky eater, he or she may not like it but I think it’s worth a try. This is the brand we use that we have gotten great results from.

2. Garlic. Contrary to popular belief, a small dose of garlic is safe for dogs, even beneficial! The studies that show that garlic can cause toxicity in animals was done with unreasonably high dosage of garlic extract, which isn’t a realistic serving. The Natural Vet’s Guide to Preventing and Treating Cancer in Dogs recommends a clove of fresh garlic per 10 to 30 lbs of weight a day for cancer prevention. When given in small doses, garlic can help boost the immune system, fight bacteria and fungal infections, and prevent fleas! Just like brewer’s yeast, fleas hate the smell of garlic.

For maximum benefit, crush garlic clove and let it sit for 10-15 minutes before adding it to food. I would start with 1/2 of clove for 10-20 lb dog, and a full clove if heavier than that. You can do this 2-3 times a week to get the benefit of repelling fleas.

3. Betadine solution bath. If you’ve never heard of it before, betadine is an antiseptic iodine solution useful for cuts and wounds. It also has the added benefit of soothing flea bites and skin allergies, as well as killing fleas for dogs! I love this stuff. I’ve actually seen dead fleas in the sink drainer after bathing the dogs with it. This is what I use.

natural flea repellant

natural flea repellant

After shampooing the dogs and rinsing them off, I fill a 4-cup measuring cup with water, and squeeze 2 squirts of the betadine solution in it until it looks like iced tea. I then pour it all over the dogs and massage it into their skin, underneath their hair. I don’t wash it off and just towel dry them with the solution still soaked in. It may stain their hair slightly but it’s only temporary and harmless. The dogs get instant relief from flea bite itches AND they are flea-free! We bathe our dogs every 2 weeks and that seems to be enough.

natural flea repellant

4. Lemon juice or vinegar. This is also a solution you can use during bath time or even make a spray with. Both the smell of lemon juice and vinegar deter fleas and ticks so it is an effective preventative treatment. If using at the end of a bath, you can use half of a lemon to massage and squeeze it into the dog’s skin. For best result, do not wash off. You can do the same with a half-water, half-vinegar solution.

To make a spray, you can mix lemon juice or vinegar with water, then spray the dogs before going outside. I have also heard of others adding apple cider vinegar to their dogs’ food to help with fleas as well.

5. Essential oils. Essential oils are a powerful and effective way to get rid of fleas. Some of my favorites are cedar, lavender, peppermint, citronella, lemon, and clove. I actually use peppermint castile soap to shampoo the dogs to help with fleas.

natural flea repellantWhen using essential oils, make sure you buy quality oils, and to dilute it when using it on your pets. You can make a spray by adding several drops to water, add a few drops to their collars or harnesses, or my favorite method: add 2-3 drops to coconut oil and massage into their skin before going outside. I do this before going on a long walk or hiking, and our dogs haven’t brought home fleas or ticks for a very long time!


Just like humans, our pets need quality food and care to live a long, healthy life. I love my dogs more than most humans I know (just being honest), so I will no doubt make sure that I provide them with the most natural and safest methods when it comes to things like flea treatments. If you have any questions, leave me comment below or contact me. Also, please don’t hesitate to mention any other natural methods you’ve used on your pets that has worked well for you!

natural flea repellant

What Great Grandma Ate / Jean Choi is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.
 
Regarding other affiliate links and affiliate relationships: In order for me to support my blogging activities, I may receive monetary compensation or other types of remuneration for my endorsement, recommendation, testimonial and/or link to any products or services from this blog. Thank you for your support and understanding.

5 NATURAL FLEA REPELLANTS