I have started making more and more for our home. It seems like every week there is a new report coming out about which chemical in what product to be on the look out for and avoid. It is getting where buying shampoo is a major label reading hassle. So what is a mom to do? Well, start making stuff yourself. You know what you put in your lotion. Plus you’ll save a ton of money! So, here are some of my recipes for things you can make yourself for your house and your family.
Before I begin, a note about essential oils. I list suggested oils, but you can really use any oil you choose. If you choose a lower quality oil, know that you’ll need to AT LEAST double the number of drops of oil. That is one big reason I buy higher quality oils. I noticed that with cheap eucalyptus oil, I was using 20 drops to make a decent shower steam. (Drop the oil on a washcloth and drop in the shower. Great when you have a cold.) With higher quality oils, I need maybe 5 drops. That is a big difference and certainly makes up for the higher cost of better oils. If you’re making things for your kids and they are under 5, you’ll need to be aware that there are some oils you shouldn’t use on them. (Eucalyptus and wintergreen come to mind. You’ll want to research this yourself and determine which oils fit your comfort level.) Also, if you are pregnant, there are certain oils you should avoid. There are a bazillion articles and pins out there, you just have to determine your personal comfort level. An oil to avoid could mean you don’t open the bottle at all. Or it could mean you just don’t rub it on yourself directly. Or it could mean you simply use it in moderation and don’t ingest it. I’m not going to tell you what to do, since I am neither an aromatherapist or your medical provider. Just be aware that essential oils have therapeutic effects, even if you aren’t using them for that reason. All the blends I mention are Young Living blends, since that is what I use.
On the shelf, traditional deodorant (and antiperspirant) really creeps me out. There is just something weird about making yourself not do something you are biologically designed to do. So, I’ve been looking for alternatives for years. I finally settled on this recipe, which is a deodorant only.
Fill a 4 oz. spray bottle with vodka or rubbing alcohol. (The rubbing alcohol has a higher alcohol content, so it is going to burn more, particularly for women who shave under their arms. But it is a stronger version of this deodorant. The vodka is less alcohol and doesn’t sting. But it also isn’t as strong, which will be perfectly fine for some people.)
Add 20-30 drops of essential oil. I think Joy (a Young Living Blend) is my favorite. Right now, we have Patchouli, which is also a nice smell. Light scented oils (like bergamot) just don’t work as well, since you really do want it to smell a little.
That’s it. Put the lid on, shake it up, spray it on. I use 2-3 sprays per arm. The Pastor uses like 5-7.
I love Mrs. Meyers countertop spray, but it is so pricey. I knew I could whip something up that was much cheaper. And the bonus is that I make it smell like I want it to smell! (Though the Mrs. Meyers bluebell scent was divine.)
Put one squirt of castile soap into a spray bottle. Add 20 drops of essential oil. Fill the rest of the way with water. Give it a shake before use.
My personal oils picks for this are cinnamon bark and spearmint. It smells like Big Red gum. Cinnamon bark kills almost anything. (The FDA won’t let me tell you any specifics, but the studies are available should you choose to look.) I use this spray on my counters and my tables. I do 18 drops of cinnamon bark and 2 drops of spearmint. Other oils that would be good to use are tea tree oil (melaleuca), lemon, Thieves, purification, lemongrass, orange, lime- the list really goes on.
I hate using chemicals on my floors. Dogs, crawling babies, kids wallowing- I just don’t want everyone covered in chemicals! So, I have gone super simple in my mopping. I use this solution in my steam mop, but you can use it with a traditional mop, as well.
12 oz. hot water with 5 drops cinnamon bark oil. That is it. That is how I clean my entire floor. In my steam mop, I don’t have to heat the water, since it does it. But that is it. It smells amazing. My floors are clean and not sticky. I use it on vinyl flooring (fake linoleum), wood flooring, and ceramic tile flooring. It works beautifully.
I feel like I spend a ridiculous amount of money on salves and creams for hands, especially in the winter. I finally decided to make something myself.
You’ll need to whip (with you hand or stand mixer) 4 oz. shea butter, 2 T coconut oil, and 30 drops of essential oil. Whip it to get it all mixed up. Put it in a container. You have hand cream. You can add more coconut oil, which has awesome healing properties, but it will make it a little more greasy, which will just require you to rub it in a little better.
For the oil, since the shea butter already smells kind of woodsy, I went with that instead of trying to fight that smell. I did half frankincense and half cedarwood. You could also do something calming like lavender.
I was a little nervous about making my own lip balm, but it turned out pretty simple.
I put a small metal bowl over a pan of boiling water to melt my ingredients. I used half bees wax and half coconut oil. Melt these together, remove from the heat, and stir in 10-20 drops of essential oil. Pour into lip balm pots or tubes.
If you’re using plastic pots or tubes, don’t use citrus oils. They can break down the plastic. You can use lavender, Stress Away, peppermint, spearmint, birch- whatever you want, really. The Pastor says this lip balm is better than Burt’s Bees.
Soaking in a warm tub of essential oil infused water is a little bit of heaven. Make them for gifts or just for yourself (or even your kids).
2 cups epsom salt
2 T coconut oil
20 drops essential oil
Put all that in a bowl and smash it together with the back of a spoon. Pour it into a jar and put the lid on it for storage.
You can make this when your family has a cold. Use eucalyptus (on older folks, myrtle for younger ones), thyme, lemon, or Thieves (or a combination) for a nice comforting soak. You can make this just to relax. Use Peace and Calming (a personal favorite soak), Stress Away, Lavender, or Cedarwood. You can make it smell like Christmas. You can make it whatever you’d like. Mix it up. Try Orange and Lemon. Patchouli and Ginger. Peppermint and Citrus for a wake up bath. Make it your own. I use about 2 T of the mixture in each bath. You could use more or less, it is up to you.
Similar to the deodorant recipe, but for use as body spray. Fill a 4 oz spray bottle with vodka and add 15 drops of essential oil. You can add more oil as you wish, if you want a stronger smell. These also make great gifts. Like Bath and Body Works minus the chemicals. Oil choices are really up to you. Stress Away, Lavender, Eucalyptus, Orange, Tangerine, Ylang Ylang, Joy, Geranium, Goldenrod, Patchouli- really anything will work. What do you want to smell like? Making the oil into a body spray also makes the scent last longer. It distributes it further and isn’t quickly absorbed by your skin.
Oh, we went through so much of this over the summer! Even my neighbors were asking for my recipe because their kids were coming home with it on and they loved it! (I keep my bug spray bottle on my front porch all summer. The kids can douse themselves as they wish.)
12 oz. vodka
12 oz. water
30 drops of essential oil (the blend matters this time)
Mix it all in a spray bottle. Spray on to repel bugs.
You’ll need to choose bug repelling specific oils. Purification is what I used all summer. It had all the anti-bug oils mixed right in. If you make your own blend, look to use citronella, lemongrass, rosemary, lavandin, myrtle, tea tree oil, and maybe even some peppermint. Other companies also make bug repelling blends you can try.
I don’t like using chemicals on my garden. My kids are known to eat the tomatoes straight off the vine. I don’t want to have to worry about them not washing the chemicals off the food we grow here. So, I made my own garden spray this past summer to keep the bugs away. You’ll need to spray at least 3 times a week, more often at times. But that is also a good kid job.
Add a squirt of castle soap to a spray bottle. Add 15-20 drops of peppermint oil. Fill the bottle the rest of the way with water. You could also add 15 drops of Purification oil, if the peppermint alone doesn’t seem to cover all the bad bugs in your garden. We had aphids and spiders, so the peppermint alone was perfect.
I initially made this spray for The Pastor when he was playing on a church basketball team. Then I found that I loved it post run, too. So we kept making it for post-exercise relief. The kids then started using it on super hot days during the summer because they said it kept them cool.
12 oz. water
12 oz. vodka
20 drops PanAway essential oil blend
Put it all in a spray bottle. When the kids started using it, I cut the vodka in half and added 6 oz. more water. I didn’t want them spraying it in their eyes, but they really can’t be trusted. You can also try it with any mint, lavender, helichrysum, geranium, etc. The mint helps with cooling. Then you’ll want something for inflammation (lavender, helichrysum, geranium). The PanAway has all of that already in the bottle. DoTerra’s version is Deep Blue.
I’ve tried this a few ways and have found the way I prefer. So, that is what I am giving you.
Mix one box of borax powder with one box of washing powder. Add 20-30 drops of essential oil, mixing it together well. Use one scoop in the dishwasher. (I put it in the detergent drawer thing. Some people kind of sprinkle it around.)
I usually use lemon oil. I have also used Purification, lime, orange, and Citrus Fresh. You just want something bright and clean smelling. You can really use anything you want. I like using something that kills germs.
Dryer Oil and Laundry Detergent
I make my own laundry detergent, but that really isn’t the best place in the process to add oils. You really want to add the oil at the end of the wash and dry process if you hope to smell it at all.
Laundry Detergent- Grate about 12 oz. of soap. (We use the regular bar soap we buy. I knew my kids weren’t sensitive to it, so it made sense. You can also use laundry soap like Fels Naptha or Zote. I really think any soap will work.) In a large pot, melt the grated soap in boiling water. Pour into a 5 gallon bucket once the soap is all melted. Add 1 cup borax powder and 1 cup washing powder. Mix well. Fill the bucket the rest of the way with water. Put the lid on the bucket. Let it sit for at least 8 hours before use. We fill an old laundry detergent container with the liquid detergent to make it easier to use. I just know I’d spill that 5 gallon bucket if I had to open it all the time. I use half to 3/4 cup (the little cup on the old detergent bottle) of the liquid per load of laundry. Some people prefer to fill the detergent container half full of detergent and half with water to dilute it and then use a full cup.
Dryer Oil- After your clothes have dried, put 2-5 drops of oil onto a washcloth (you can reuse the same cloth each time) and toss into the dryer with you clothes and tumble for a few minutes on low heat. If you heat the oil, it is going to disappear. You want the heat on low.
Another option for making your clothes smell nice and like oil is to make your own linen spray. You can spritz it on clothes before ironing or you can spritz it on your bed when you make your bed. Just make sure to do it enough in advance so your pillow isn’t wet when you lay your head on it.
Fill a spray bottle with water. Add 20 drops of essential oil. You can pick any oil you’d like. Lavender would be traditional. You could also try Stress Away, geranium, Peace and Calming, or patchouli. Really, any oil you like the smell of would work. Though some oils (like Peace and Calming) are colored, so you may want to either skip them or lessen the amount used. My sheets are bright colors, so it doesn’t really matter. But if you have white sheets, daily spritz of blue oil just might turn your sheets a bit blue. (Though they will smell amazing!)