Thursday, February 4, 2010

Keep On Hand

So, yesterday I went to gym and did 14 miles in 2 hours.  (4 on the treadmill, 10 split between 2 different bikes).  I was exhausted last night and never got the post up that I had planned.  I apologize, I had been looking forward to this Natural Week for so long, and it seems life sometimes gets in the way.

But here we are today, and we will be discussing some common items to keep on hand in your home for cleaning and beauty purposes.  Some I've talked about before, but since I seem to have some new readers (you all rock!), I'll go back over everything, including some new ones!

Baking Soda:  This is my number one keep on hand thing.  It scours pots and pans, even removing burnt on things.  Some didn't believe me, but I've gotten e-mails from shocked readers who tried it and were amazed.  Put baking soda on a pot/pan, add just a tiny bit of water, just enough to make a thick paste.  Leave.  Depending on the severity of the mess, hours, or days.  G burnt something on a pan once that I was afraid was ruined, but we googled it, used the baking soda, let it sit for 2 days and voila!  Looks brand new.  I don't bother with fancy schmancy stainless steel cleaners for my pots and pans, just baking soda and water.  We get starch left after potatoes and pasta and it cleans that right up!

But it's not just good for pots and pans, you can pretty much use it to clean anything.  I've scrubbed a bathtub with it, it's removed paint spray (from being dumb and spray painting in my new living room) from hardwood floors, and can clean a carpet like no other!

Also teeth and hair.  If you've done something nice with your hair, and there is a lot of product in it, simply add baking soda to your normal shampoo and scrub away.  It removes build-up like no other!  Lately we've been using just baking soda for brushing our teeth (as we look into reviews for different natural toothpastes).  It gets your teeth clean, and is easy to keep in a shaker in your bathroom.

Vinegar:  Added to baking soda and you have a powerful cleaner, but it also works alone. Works in bathtubs with hard water stains, simply spray on some vinegar water (I use about 3:1 ration, 3 parts water to 1 part vinegar but this is just estimated), and scrub away.  Vinegar left in a dish in a smoky house will make the smell go away (but warning, it seems to draw the crap our, so the vinegar will look disgusting).  Lightly sprayed on carpets will keep them smelling fresh.  And a tiny bit of vinegar in your wash can keep the detergent from building up (but be careful, too much can damage the stainless steel drum).

Hydrogen Peroxide:  Not entirely safe (keep out of reach of children) but something most of us have on hand.  Gets blood stains out miraculously.  But it's also an amazing thing to help keep your teeth white.  Just take a capful and force it to stay in the front of your mouth (over your front teeth) while you hold it there for 30-60 seconds.  Also good to kill bacteria in your mouth.  But fair warning, do NOT do this after you brush with baking soda.  Baking soda is mildly abrasive and it will burn a bit on your gums.

Honey:  Good on your face as a moisturizer.  Also good over a wound (seals it from bacteria).

Coconut Oil:  I tried this last week and was so pleased I did a little dance.  I took coconut oil, warmed it up so it was liquid, coated my hair and scalp with it, wrapped my head in plastic wrap (my husband was laughing by this point) and then wrapped it in a warm towel and watched a couple hours of t.v. while he slept.  Oils do tend to stick with you, so I had to wash my hair twice, but it made it soft and gave it more shine.  I also used it (what was left on my hands) as a moisturizer and that was good too.

Olive Oil:  Use pretty much as you would coconut oil.  It is a little messier, since with coconut oil you can get it soft, but not completely liquid.

Seltzer Water and Salt:  These two items are what have kept my cream couch from being splotched with red wine.  I have spilled more times than I care to admit, and yet my couch has no stains on it.  Rub salt into stain, let sit, and rinse with seltzer water.  Beautiful!

Do you have any things you keep around your home that you use for yourself or for cleaning?  Share!


  1. All good suggestions. I use baking soda, just a little, with my facial cleanser as a mild exfoliant sometimes. It's cheap and works well and is VERY similar to the pricey Dermalogica Microfoliant product.

  2. Hi Kalee, I haven't commented in a while, but am enjoying this series. I, too, am trying to be a little more 'green' in the household. For general cleaning I fill a spray bottle with half water, half vinegar plus drops of tea tree oil - it's supposed to be anti-bacterial. I also use coconut oil now and again - but with my very fine hair, I have to wash it 3 or 4 times afterwards! For my skin, I have been using rosehip seed oil (rosa mosqueta) in the evening, and also on the spot where I recently had a mole removed - it's supposed to help fade scars. I love Dr. Hauschka products and just bought some Rose Day Cream - it's great in cold weather, although you still have to put on sunscreen. I have in the past used the cleansing cream and the toner too - although they are quite pricey. Now for a toner (I know they're not strictly necessary, but I like to use one) I use a rosewater I found in Italy in the summer - I'll stock up when we go to Rome in April. By the way, when you were in England, did you ever come across Liz Earle products? They are not organic, but natural and the most famous is the Cleanse and Polish - a cream which you take off with a hot, damp muslin cloth. I believe you can get them in the US, either on the website or even Amazon on the Home Shopping Network.
    Whew! Sorry for the long comment! Maybe I will head off now and enter your giveaway!