Category Archives: Natural Living

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

Homemade Clay Toothpaste

homemade clay toothpasteHomemade clay toothpaste is something I started attempting after I became a fan of Earthpaste, an all-natural toothpaste without chemicals and additives. I hate that conventional toothpaste contain hormone disruptors like triclosan and fluoride, unnecessary artificial sweeteners, and foaming agents like DEA which is linked with various cancers. No thank you. While Earthpaste worked for me for a while, I didn’t like that it had a sweet flavor and I thought it would be fun to make my own.

As a side note, my dental health has improved dramatically through the past several years as I changed my diet and started using natural toothpastes. Remember: your dental health reflects your overall health in general, so if you find that you are prone to cavities and inflammation in your gums, it’s worth looking into your diet and finding out what imbalances are happening in your body.

homemade clay toothpaste

homemade clay toothpaste

homemade clay toothpaste

Why Use Clay?

Clay, specifically bentonite clay, is known to contain an abundance of beneficial trace minerals and vitamins and has traditionally been used to boost immunity and to treat mineral deficiencies. It also has an amazing quality of binding to heavy metals, toxins, bacteria, and harmful substances so they can be removed from body. When used in toothpaste, it helps remineralize our teeth with calcium and magnesium, and its binding component also cleans out the mouth of any bacteria that may be forming.

Coupled with stain-reducing baking soda, the antibacterial component of coconut oil, and essentials oils that optimize their effectiveness, this recipe makes an awesome toothpaste that leaves your mouth feeling clean and refreshed.

Remember, When Using Bentonite Clay…

Bentonite clay should NOT come in contact with any metals. When this happens, it loses its effectiveness because it absorbs the metals that it comes in contact with. When using bentonite clay, use glass, ceramic, or plastic with your utensils and containers.

Also, I recommend you purchase bamboo toothbrushes to reduce your exposure to plastic (something like this). Making small changes to our daily routine can ensure that we reduce the amount of toxins that enter our body and the environment, while saving money at the same time if you go the DIY route!

homemade clay toothpaste

homemade clay toothpaste

homemade clay toothpaste
Homemade Clay Toothpaste
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Ingredients
  • 3 tbsp bentonite clay
  • ¼ cup filtered water + more, if needed
  • 2 tbsp coconut oil, melted
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 15-20 drops of essential oils (I like the combo of peppermint and thieves)
Instructions
  1. In a glass, plastic, ceramic container (do NOT use metal), mix together bentonite clay, melted coconut oil, and water with a non-metal spoon until well mixed.
  2. Add baking soda and essential oils and mix again.
  3. If the toothpaste is too thick, add a little bit of water at a time until it reaches the right consistency.
  4. Put in a glass or plastic container, where you can dip your toothbrush to use the toothpaste. Alternatively, if you have other people using the toothpaste as well, you can store in a bpa-free plastic squeeze tube.

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.

DIY Homemade Clay Toothpaste

Homemade Liquid Dish Soap

homemade liquid dish soapIn an effort to reduce toxins, chemical fragrances, and hormone-distruptors in my life as much as possible, I’ve been making many of my household cleaning products (It’s amazing what baking soda and vinegar can do). One product I’ve been experimenting with for over a year has been homemade liquid dish soap. Whatever recipe I found, I was never 100% happy with. They left a film on our dishware, the consistency was too thin, and/or they didn’t effectively cut through grease. After many trials and errors, I’m quite happy with my current formula and I’m excited to share it with you!

homemade liquid dish soap

homemade liquid dish soap

homemade liquid dish soapI want to mention that this recipe contains xanthan gum. While I don’t encourage ingesting it and I personally try to avoid it when I see it on the ingredients list, it’s considered relatively safe for anyone without digestive issues. It’s also the one ingredient that has been able to thicken castile soap beautifully from my personal experience (and I’ve tried many things), so I do use it to get that thick consistency of store-bought dish soap. If you want to avoid xanthan gum completely and don’t mind your soap being thin, you can leave it out.

In our household, C is the one that’s usually doing the dishes, and he really likes this soap. He’s actually quite picky when it comes to fragrances and rolls his eyes at my “hippie” homemaking, but he’s totally on board with some of my homemade products, including this one. It’s simple to make with relatively short ingredients list, cuts through grease fabulously, and I highly encourage you to try it out!

homemade liquid dish soap

homemade liquid dish soap

homemade liquid dish soap
Homemade Liquid Dish Soap
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. In a medium saucepan, heat the water to boil and then turn it down to simmer.
  2. Add washing soda and whisk until it dissolves.
  3. In a separate bowl, combine xanthan gum and vegetable glycerine, and whisk until xanthan gum is dissolved.
  4. Add liquid castile soap to the vegetable glycerine mixture and whisk again.
  5. Pour this into the washing soda water, and whisk until they are thoroughly combined.
  6. Remove from heat and let cool.
  7. Add essential oil drops, pour into a pump bottle, preferably made with glass.
  8. Use to wash dishes as your normally would.
Notes
The soap may separate or clump up in the bottle. If this happens, you can run hot water over the bottle and shake it to make sure that the liquid is evenly distributed before using.

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.

DIY Homemade Liquid Dish Soap