Archive for the ‘essential oils’ Category.
It’s been a mild winter for many of us, but that doesn’t mean we’re not giddily anticipating spring. On the next warm day, try opening your bedroom windows and airing out your sleeping space. And here are some tips for keeping your bedding fresh, clean and sanitary so you can count sheep, healthy and worry-free.
- Your mattress should be aired out twice a year. If you have the space, it’s a great idea to bring the mattress out into the sunshine for a few hours (UV rays kill mold and mildew)… then don’t forget to flip it over when you put it back on the bed. If you can’t bring it outside, another option is to prop your mattress up in a well-ventilated room and open all the windows for a few hours.
- Then, vacuum your mattress to eliminate dust, mites and dead skin.
- Wash your pillows in the bathtub (or on gentle cycle in the machine, if they’re down) with some mild liquid detergent, then put them in the dryer with a brand new, clean tennis ball to fluff them back up.
- Follow the manufacturer’s instructions to wash not just your sheets, but all your bedding — including quilts, blankets and mattress covers.
- While your bed is dismantled, it’s a great idea to vacuum those hard-to-reach spots underneath!
- A spritz of diluted essential oils makes a great air freshener. You can buy essential oils at Whole Foods and most natural markets and pharmacies. Simply mix 20-30 drops in a glass spray bottle with water, and use to freshen up your sleeping quarters with the aroma of your choice. We particularly like: lavender (it has a calming effect — the better for sleeping), peppermint (it’s cooling and sweet), and eucalyptus (an invigorating, sinus-clearing scent!).
It’s a big job, but the benefits are worth it. You’ll sleep better (and who knows, maybe even snore a little less!) with clean, cared-for bedding.
If your car is starting to smell a little funky from the summer sweat, there’s a subtle, natural way to clear the air that doesn’t involve hanging tacky, artificial-smelling Christmas tree air fresheners from your rearview. And you can choose your own flavor from a range of essential oils.
- A few same-sized squares of a breathable fabric (Cheesecloth is great for this and can be found in most kitchen supply stores, and even in the kitchen supply aisle of your local grocery.)
- A handful of cotton balls
- Several drops of your favorite essential oil (Suggestions: cedar, citrus, sandalwood, peppermint)
Sprinkle essential oil onto the cotton balls until they are pungent but not soaked. Place the cotton balls on one square of fabric, place another square over the top like a piecrust, and then either stitch, glue, or staple the two squares together.
If you’re feeling particularly inspired, you can attach a string or ribbon to hang the newfangled air freshener from your rearview. Else, just toss it in the console or under a seat. And enjoy the luxury of being stuck in traffic in a sweet-smelling, refreshingly summery car!
Even those of us who prefer to use natural, non-toxic products still occasionally reach for the “real stuff” when we are serious about cleaning. Case in point: when going after germs. No one likes getting sick.
But the truth is, there are natural alternatives to the chemical-based cleaning products that we grew up with and constantly see advertised on T.V. Stores like Whole Foods and even some mainstream groceries now carry alternative product lines that are better for the environment and for your body.
You can take it a step further and make your own disinfectant spray for very little effort and cost.
Certain herbs and natural substances have been used as antiseptics since ancient times. In fact, their natural antiseptic properties helped popularize the use of such herbs as lavender, mint, and thyme. Window boxes full of these fragrant herbs aren’t just a nice way to supplement your home cooking — they can actually freshen the air and keep insects at bay. And essential oils culled from these and other plants have potent antiseptic effects. The trick is to use these essential oils in the right amounts and combinations — otherwise they can be ineffective or, worse, toxic.
Here’s one great antibacterial spray that’s easy to make, smells amazing, and does the job quite nicely:
• 2 1/2 cups water
• 10 drops sweet orange essential oil
• 5 drops lavender essential oil
• 5 drops eucalyptus essential oil
Mix them together in a spray bottle, and go! You can use this one for cleaning countertops, bathrooms, and cutting boards. Essential oil sprays should last a long time if stored in a cool, dark place.
A computer store will always try to sell you an expensive, brand name computer cleaner. But what exactly is in it? Nothing natural, you can be sure of that. The truth is, you can concoct a simple cleaning solution at home that will clean your computer equipment—hard drive, keyboard, printer, and everything else that gets dusty and grimy*—and at the same time make your office smell amazing. An extra bonus? This homemade cleaner is a great natural germ killer, because of the antibiotic properties of grapefruit seed extract.
All you need is a spray bottle (glass is always best) and a few simple ingredients.
- 2 cups water
- 1 cup white vinegar
- 1 teaspoon GSE (grapefruit seed extract, sold in the bodycare department of most health food and supplement stores)
- 10 drops citrus essential oil (optional)
Shake it up, spray it on a chamois cloth, and give it a wipe!
* Note that this mixture should not be used on the surface of your screen.
Sometimes it’s hard to decide what’s worse: having moths in your closet eating holes in your clothes, or the noxious smell of mothballs. And they don’t just smell bad; they contain a nasty and toxic pesticide known as paradichlorobenzene. (Older mothballs were made primarily of naphthalene, which turned out to be quite flammable, and has since been outlawed.) Many mothballs also contain camphor, a foul-smelling insect repellent.
Fortunately, there are natural, delicious-smelling alternatives that dissuade moths from taking up residence in your closet and destroying your wardrobe.
- Cedar. Cedar chips, sachets, sprays, and even cedar hangers are available to outfit your closet with a toasty scent that moths don’t like.
TIP: every few months, you can sand down cedar hangers or blocks to bring out fresh aroma.
- Essential oils. If putting clothes away in storage for a season or longer, tuck a sheet of tissue paper that’s been sprinkled with lavender and rosemary essential oils. Moths don’t like the smell, but you will when you take your clothes back out.
- Lemon peels. For clothes hanging in a closet, you can hang whole, dried lemon peels among them.
Luckily, we don’t share the same flavor preferences as moths. Because of this, we can ward off closet invaders while making our clothes smell fresh… and healthy.