Odds n' Sods - Spring Cleaning Tips
Household, Gardening and other fun tips for natural living
Tips without chemicals, health tips, gardening tips and more
From gardening to cleaning to natural remedies and just about everything in between, this is your resource for adapting natural family living practices into your life.
The skinny on skin brushing Dry brushing is a great way to improve circulation, enhance the immune system, and revitalize the nervous system. It’s a great (and really cheap) treatment for cellulite and fluid-retention, lagging energy levels, and sore muscles. It will get rid of dead skin cells and allow your skin to breathe more efficiently, helping your body function more efficiently.
Start with a dry body brush or mitt made of natural fibres (such as loofah, jute or hemp) – these can be found in just about any natural grocery store or large drugstore. Start at the bottom (the soles of your feet) and work upwards with a gentle, circular massage always in the direction of the heart. Be sure to pay close attention to the rougher parts – the elbows and knees and feet – and always work towards the center of your body. Finish off with a shower or bath and enjoy the multitude of benefits your body will receive from incorporating this small self-care act into your daily routine.
Body brushes should be shaken out after each brushing session and washed with warm water and a gentle soap about once a week or so.
Spring Cleaning for Your Body
A Cleansing Bath
Spring Cleaning isn’t just for houses. A good spring cleanse for the body will rejuvenate you physically, just as spring cleaning in the house lifts your spirits and clears your environment. Try this detoxifying bath to help your body dispose of toxins and soothe the skin. Start with a dry brushing of your skin. Use a natural loofah to rub your dry body, always in the direction towards the heart. Then enter a warm bath which has ½ pound of sea salt and one pound of baking soda added to it. Soak for at least 15 minutes. End with a vigorous toweling off and a light moisturizer such as the Pure Potent Wow Lavender Lotion.
It’s time for Spring Cleaning, but that doesn’t have to mean a plethora of chemicals that will leave your house looking cleaner but covered in noxious chemicals. Of course, remember too, that spring is a great time to get dirty outside, so don’t spend too much time indoors cleaning.
Keeping your household appliances in good working order will extend their life and save you and the environment the cost of new ones. Mineral deposits, soap and residue can accumulate in both your dishwasher and your washing machine. Clean both of these appliances once a year by running them through a full cycle while empty using just hot water and vinegar to clean. Cleaning your appliances this way will increase their efficiency and maybe even extend their life. This is a great spring cleaning activity, as you can start both of the washers and then head outside to dabble in the garden or enjoy a walk, reveling in the miracles of the season.
Common Concerns, Natural Approach
As the days start to invite more outdoor exploration and activity, it’s a good idea to brush up on your natural first aid skills. Splinters are a very common occurrence around our place, with our preschooler being an avid wood worker as well as tree climber. Of course, when a 3 year old gets a sliver, he/she is highly unlikely to submit willing to the tweezer method if it takes too much time. Here are a few alternate ideas:
For some reason, honey naturally draws out a splinter. Try smearing a layer of honey on and covering with a band-aid just before bed.
Pine sap works much like the honey method, but is a lot handier if you happen to be camping or hiking, Just smear it on and leave it and it should help the sliver work itself out.
With dill tea
Dill has been used to ease hiccups for hundreds of years. Pour one cup of boiling water over 1 teaspoon of dried dill, steep for about 10 minutes, strain and cool, then slowly sip your infusion. Viola! Your hiccups should cease and desist in short order.
Treating common concerns naturally
They say the best cure is prevention and when it comes to headaches, that is certainly the case – especially for children. The two best preventative strategies for avoiding this irritating affliction is nutrition and stress management. Many headaches in children and adults are caused by lack of food or food allergies. If headaches seem to be recurring, keep an eye out for a food connection, and always keep lots of snacks and water on hand to keep hunger or dehydration headaches at bay.
If headaches seem stress induced, try to reduce the stress as much as possible and be sure to offer various means of stress reduction for you and your family. Talking issues out, regular exercise and loving touch all help kids and adults process stress.
When a headache does occur, consider using a smidgen of peppermint essential oil. Our peppermint healing balm is formulated specifically for use on headaches and is diluted enough to make it safe to apply directly to the skin – just massage a bit on the temples and take a minute to relax. Less intrusive to your body than a headache pill and usually just as effective.
If you get regular or severe headaches, consider contacting a chiropractor or massage therapist.
Boot Be Clean
To remove the salty residue that clings to your vinyl or leather shoes or boots from wintry walks in urban areas, wash them with a 1:1 vinegar, warm water solution. The vinegar will remove the salt without damaging your footwear.
Common concerns – a natural approach
Teething, while a very natural stage in every child’s life, can be a trying time for the poor babes and their tired parents.
Try one of these tips for reducing the discomfort associated with teething and bring relief to the household.
Homeopathics: Many children respond very favourably to the homeopathic remedy chamomilla. Homeopathic remedies can be purchased from most natural food stores and even a few well-stocked drug stores. Follow the directions on the label.
Frozen washcloth: the pain of teething is very real and very distressing for babes. Try soaking a clean washcloth in clean water, wringing it out, and placing in a plastic bag in the freezer for a few hours. When your little one indicates a need for chewing, give him/her the frozen cloth to suck and/or chew on. Keep a few in the freezer so you never run out. These travel relatively well, and so long as they are used within an hour or 2 they still have quite a bit of cold left to them to help soothe those inflamed gums
Feng shui in the garden
Enhancing Your Chi
Feng Shui is the ancient Chinese system of arranging space to balance energies. Feng Shui (pronounced “fung shway”) literally translates to “wind and water”, and although just recently becoming a popular interior design concept in the west, it is a very ancient science and art that works to create a welcoming and harmonious environment.
Arranging one’s space according to Feng Shui principles is to encourage the life energy to flow throughout the environment. The life energy (chi) brings balance, harmony, abundance and blessings. While there are several great resources available that will go into much greater depth than we can here, consider trying a couple of the following ideas to create a harmonious garden environment.
Incorporate wind chimes in your outdoor space to attract chi
Add potted plants to the entrance of your home to encourage the positive energy of the garden to enter your indoor space
Display empty vases or bowls to allow a space for the chi to settle
Layer your garden design to encourage the flow of chi
Use natural materials as much as possible throughout your garden (ie natural mulches, clay pots rather than plastic, etc)
Incorporate curved lines and edges as much as possible to encourage the chi to wander and wind through your space
A great way to celebrate Earth Day is to immerse your hands right in the earth. But a great week for gardening calls for a great hand cleaner. Try moistening cornmeal with apple cider vinegar and use the mixture as a hand scrub. Rinse with cool water.
Spring Cleaning for the Bod
A Cleansing Bath
Spring Cleaning isn’t just for houses. A good spring cleanse for the body will rejuvenate you physically, just as spring cleaning in the house lifts your spirits and clears your environment. Try this detoxifying bath to help your body dispose of toxins and soothe the skin. Start with a dry brushing of your skin. Use a natural loofah to rub your dry body, always in the direction towards the heart. Then enter a warm bath which as ½ pound of sea salt and one pound of baking soda added to it. Soak for at least 15 minutes. End with a vigorous toweling off and a light moisturizer such as Sensuous Ginger Lotion
Add 1/2 pound sea salt with one pound of baking soda. Add to warm tub. Soak until water is cool. This bath not only soothes the skin, but helps it dispose of toxic wastes.
It’s time for Spring Cleaning, but that doesn’t have to mean a plethora of chemicals that will leave your house looking cleaner but covered in noxious chemicals. Over the next few weeks we’ll highlight some different recipes for keeping your house clean and free of toxins. Of course, remember too, that spring is a great time to get dirty outside, so don’t spend too much time indoors cleaning.
Cleaning your drains is one of those “ounce of prevention” chores. It’s actually good to do about once a month or so, but we’ll include it here in our spring cleaning section as something to start now, and continue with.
Pour about ½ cup of baking soda down your drain, follow with about double that amount of vinegar, and then seal with your drain plug. Follow 15 minutes later with boiling water.
Kids love to help with this household maintenance task and the ingredients are totally safe, so engage help!
window washing with ease
1 part white vinegar
1 part water
1-5 drops essential oil (lemon or orange are good additions, but any essential oil can be used to add a pleasant scent)
Mix in a spray bottle, spray onto windows, wipe with old newspapers for a streak-free shine. Alternatively, you can use this mix with a bucket and squeegee.
For more great Spring Cleaning tips, check out Clean House, Clean Planet