I think it would be fair to say that we all have our earth mother moments. The idea of avoiding chemicals around the house, on ourselves and most importantly, on our children is particularly appealing. Not only are natural products safer, but they are cheaper and environmentally friendly. Yet all too often when we make the pact to go back to basics and use natural home remedies, we can be disappointed with the results.
It’s worth persevering though. According to Safe Green Cleaners:
‘1 out of every 3 chemical cleaning products contains ingredients known to cause human health or environmental problems. And to top it off, a whopping ‘89% of all poison exposures occur in the home’.
So with these chilling facts firmly in our minds, now is the time to reach for the natural home remedies. They could change some of your household routines for ever. And since most of the ingredients are probably already in your cupboards, they will almost definitely save you money.
NATURAL HOME REMEDIES
PRODUCTS TO KEEP TO HAND
- BICARBONATE OF SODA: This magic white powder is a deodoriser which neutralizes odours. Simply mix with water, pour into an open container and place in an enclosed, stinky space such as a cupboard or fridge. Oh and if you have a blocked drain just pour some down it and leave for an hour or so. It will work its magic and have your sink back in action before you can say ‘will this really work?’
- BORAX: This naturally occurring mineral salt has a host of hidden talents. It’s a powerful deterrent for pesky pests such as cockroaches and ants. It can also be used to clean and disinfect. You can even add it to your laundry for an extra boost of cleaning power.
- CORNSTARCH: Make sure you always have some of this wonder-product to hand. Use it to polish furniture and clean windows. It’s also great for shampooing and removing stains from rugs and carpets.
- ESSENTIAL OILS: Essential oils are always great to have around the house. They are only required in small amounts so are economical and long-lasting. The most popular are eucalyptus to intervene the common cold, tea tree as an antiseptic and lavender as a pest repellent.
- LEMON JUICE: Often the starring ingredients in shop bought natural cleaning products, lemon juice is the best multi-tasker in your fruit bowl. Use it to clean, polish and deodorise. It also acts as a mild bleach and insect repellent. The ultimate in natural home remedies.
- METHYLATED SPIRITS: This highly potent liquid needs handling with care. Decant into a spray bottle for easy application then use as a shining agent on glass and porcelain. It’s great in the bathroom. Not only will you have the shiniest toilet seat in town but mentholated spirits sterilizes, so it will be the cleanest too.
- WHITE VINEGAR: Cheap as chips but definitely not just for chips. White vinegar is great for fighting that grimy soap and grease residue. It even kills bacteria, depending on the strength. Dilute with water according to the job to hand. For more soiled areas, use it neat.
TRY THESE ALL NATURAL MIXES
- ANT RID: Strategically place a small pile of cornmeal where you see ants. They are unable to digest it, so when they greedily munch it, they will die.
- BODY SCRUB: Mix together 1 cup salt, ½ tsp ground ginger, ½ tsp ground cinnamon, 1 cup almond oil. Wet face then gently scrub. You can use it all over your body for beautiful baby soft skin.
- COLD SORE CURE: As soon as the dreaded tingling begins grab some natural yoghurt and dab it on. Make sure your yoghurt has a good supply of acidophilus. Apply three times daily for fast results and get your smile back in no time.
- COUGH MEDICINE: Tried and tested and as good, if not better, than the real thing. Make a warm drink with honey and lemon to sooth the throat and provide immune boosting vitamin C. It tastes mighty good too.
- DOG SHAMPOO: Your dog will love you for this dry shampoo. Mix together 1 cup baking soda, 1 cup corn starch and a few drops of both lemon and lavender essential oils. Sprinkle them on and brush out.
- FRUIT FLY TRAP: Simply put some apple cider vinegar and a couple of drops of washing-up liquid in a glass and leave. The fruit flies will be drawn to your concoction where they will collect neatly in the liquid.
- HELP ME TO SLEEP: Pop a few drops of lavender oil on the pillow before bedtime. Or if you’re the household insomniac try a nice glass of red wine – organic of course.
- NO MORE NITS: Fill a spray bottle with 1 cup water, ¼ quarter tsp each lavender, eucalyptus and tea tree oil. Give your children’s hair a quick spray before they leave for school in the morning. Insects hunting for homes won’t be tempted to choose their heads as the smell (although pleasant to us) will repel them.
- PAINFUL SHOE-ITUS: For when you need to break through the pain barrier of new shoes. Simply rub a plain candle against the part of the shoe that is rubbing. It will create a smooth surface and will relieve the pain.
- WEED KILLER: Make your own environmentally friendly weed killer by spraying white vinegar directly onto the offending fauna. It will also make your garden a safer place for young children and pets to play.
Hopefully these natural home remedies have made you feel more at one with the earth. It’s like going organic, it’s possible, but it may need a little extra thought. Sometimes we all need to be reminded that everything we need has already been provided to us by Mother Nature.