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The Replacements: Products I Stopped Buying (and What I’m Using Instead)

I got laughed at by the lady behind the counter at Target. Well, to be more specific, she was behind the pharmacy counter in target and she laughed at me because I had requested Advil Cold and Sinus for my poor husband – and they were fresh out. Ah, ’tis the season.

But – secretly? Secretly, I was glad they were out because it bothers me when he takes this stuff. If it were here and there, I don’t think I’d care so much but for as long as I’ve known him, he’s been prone to sinus issues. I just kept thinking that there has to be other, more natural ways to treat allergy and sinus problems. And, since we were out of luck at Target, what better time to try natural remedies?

And so, with some research, here is the regimen we’ve been following for the last two days:

  • 2 teaspoons of Apple Cider Vinegar diluted in a cup of water, 2x per day
  • Nettle capsules, 2x per day (available in the homeopathy section of health food stores)
  • Herbal tea with nettle leaves and honey, 2x per day
  • Eucalyptus steam inhalation*
  • One giant batch of my homemade chicken soup, eaten for lunch and dinner (along with kale salads)

(*For the Eucalyptus steam inhalation, you simply boil 4-6 cups of water, put it in a bowl, add 4-5 drops of Eucalyptus oil, then put your face over the bowl and drape a towel over your head. You breathe the steam in for 10 minutes.)

Photo Mar 11, 9 17 51 AM

This regimen done 2 days consecutively, along with lots of couch time and an Entourage marathon (don’t ask, it’s what he wanted to watch), and his sinus issues had subsided! He went back to work this morning and on his way out the door said how much better he felt, and how impressed he was because it was the first time he recovered from sinus issues without having to take cold and sinus meds along with squirting Afrin up his nose. There are still small traces of Darth Vader in his voice, but he’s on the up-and-up.

Anyway, it made me think of the different products I’ve stopped purchasing over the years (and now I guess we can add Advil Cold & Sinus as one of them).

The Replacements

We’re conditioned to just go out and by stuff when we need it and, thanks to marketing and advertising, we run on autopilot. But a few questions have come to mind over the years for me, such as: how much of this stuff do we really need? What are all those ingredients I can’t pronounce? And, are there simpler, cheaper, more natural solutions lurking within my reach in my own pantry? Because some of this stuff is a waste of money at best or actually harming us at worst. And guess who doesn’t care? The people profiting from them.

Below are items I’m no longer purchasing (and what I’ve replaced them with instead). But keep in mind this relationship here is a “give and take”, so leave me some of your own recipes (cleaners, health, body, etc.) at the end! Here we go:

Body Scrub.

I was visiting Asheville, NC (one of my favorite places) and entered a supposedly “natural” body store. The girl was selling body scrubs. “Hold your hand over this sink, and now rub them together,” she said, after dumping a scoop of her expensive scrub into my hands. “There…now rinse them off. Feel your skin – doesn’t it feel amazing?!” She then placed a tub of body scrub in my hands (“all natural!”) with a price tag of $32, and pointed me toward the checkout counter.

Right before I put it back on the shelf and walked out, I took a look at her “all natural” ingredients and found parabens, SLS, and a slew of other synthetic ingredients.

No bueno.

So, I came home and raided my pantry. Three ingredients later (turbanado sugar, coconut oil, and almond oil) and I mixed up my own scrub, and guess what happened when I rubbed my hands together and rinsed them off? Smooth as can be! I keep a jar of this in my shower and, just like that, my skin is naturally scrubbed and hydrated. If you want to make your own, you can read my DIY post, here.


Body Lotion

My problem with lotion is that we slather it on our skin, block up our pours with it, and then absorb it into our bodies and bloodstreams. Day after day, year after year. Sure, we’ll smell like mango-kiwi but are we paying a price by filling our bodies with chemicals at the same time?

There are lotions on the market that are a bit more clean and formulated without parabens, but they either still have questionable ingredients or, at least in my experience, smell like total garbage. I don’t know about you but I can’t forgo lotion altogether unless I want to crack into a million pieces and begin a rapid aging process.

So what’s my solution? Again, good ol’ coconut oil.  A small spoonful, rubbed into my hands softens my skin (and even gives it a glow). I don’t add anything else, but you can get fancy and mix in essential oils like lavender, or other ingredients if you like. You can even make a whipped coconut oil lotion by using your stand mixer. Pretty friggin’ cool, if you ask me.

Salad Dressing

I got fed up in the salad dressing aisle because I realized that all the good flavors I liked weren’t truly natural – they were the shady version of ‘natural flavors’, such as the types that come from beaver’s anal secretions (I’m serious) as well as thickeners and other junk. So now I make my own on a weekly basis because, well, it’s super easy, and I also don’t want to eat anything that came from a beaver’s behind.

The BASE of my simple recipe is:

  • 2 parts olive oil
  • 1 part balsamic
  • 1 tablespoon of Dijon mustard
  • fresh juice from 1/2 lemon
  • a bit of salt and pepper

You can add other ingredients and play around with flavors based on what you are craving.  For example, you can add a handful of dried or fresh herbs, toss in a garlic clove, maybe some flax seeds…the possibilities are endless. Sometimes I use a flavored balsamic, like fig. Magic bullet or whisk it all together, put it in a glass jar and keep it in your fridge for a week, and I guarantee you will fall in love. And eat more salads.



Did any of you guys catch when Julia Roberts said that she hasn’t used toothpaste in years? Yep, that million dollar smile has been maintained with (drum roll please…) baking soda. I’ve been slowly trying to get a good, simple recipe going so I don’t have to keep buying tubes full of sketchy ingredients, and so far what I’ve found is baking soda, coconut oil (yep, again) and peppermint oil. I have all of these ingredients but have yet to try them because I learned that peppermint oil *could* decrease milk supply in nursing mothers. I need to do more research here, but nursing moms, proceed with caution.

Fancy Face Scrubs/Microdermabrasion

What girl doesn’t love a good facial treatment? The problem is that 1) they are expensive, and 2) in order to see true results, you have to keep spending the money. This type of maintenance just doesn’t fit into our budget but I was SUPER psyched when I came across an inexpensive DIY microdermabrasion recipe. It consists of only 3 ingredients (3 INGREDIENTS!), two of which are baking soda and water (BAKING SODA AND WATER!) and has made my skin soft and hydrated. On the downside, you should not use this recipe if pregnant or nursing which means I haven’t been able to touch it in over a year. But as soon as I am able, back to my microderm regimen I go.

Here it is:

  • 1 tablespoon baking soda
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon of water
  • 3 drops of helichrysum essential oil (available in homeopathy section of the health food store, or online.)

THE HOW-TO: Place all 3 ingredients in a small bowl and mix together with the pads of your fingers. Apply to your face in a circular motion, starting at the forehead and down to the chin and even your neck and chest. Rinse with warm water. Do this twice per week.


I like good herbal teas, but on the day-to-day when I’m home, I make my own concoction. It’s simple, cheap, and has immune-boosting properties. You can find the recipe here.


There are so many other simple solutions and recipes, the possibilities are endless. Ok, so I showed you mine, now you show me yours: what have you replaced? What do you make from scratch? What other recipes do you have for cleaning, healthy living, skin care, etc?


Alessandra Macaluso is the author of What a Good Eater! , Lucy the Bee and the Healing Honey, and The Real-Deal Bridal Bible. She’s also a Qigong and Tai Chi instructor, and overall wellness advocate. Her work has been featured in several anthologies which can all be found on her Amazon author page, and she has contributed to The Huffington Post, Scary Mommy, TODAY Parents, and many other online publications.

Alessandra is a northerner-turned-southerner, enjoying the south with her children, Penelope and Ciro, and her husband, Greg.

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Hey Ali, this is a great post! I think about all this stuff too but never get around to doing anything about it except where toothpaste for the kids is concerned as well as shampoos and conditioners (and food of course) – those things in themselves wear me out.

For the kids I’ve been using Tom’s of Maine Toothpastes which seem to be much more benign as far as ingredients are concerned, and for shampoo/conditioner I use Burt’s Bees. Obviously the issue with those is that they cost an arm and a leg and over time it’ll end up costing me the other arm and leg too πŸ˜‰

By the way, I also love coconut oil so I’m super excited to see how it can be used in all these wonderful ways. I use it for conditioning my hair every third night (well, I WAS until I got slack, but I’m going to start again now that you reminded me!) before going to bed, then in the morning I shampoo and condition as usual and I tell you I don’t even have to use 1/4 of the product I usually do to tame the beast on my head, and it looks super shiny after a while (my daughter loves it too).

Thanks for all the tips, I’m definitely going to try them out! Great Article πŸ™‚

Rula, that’s awesome about the coconut oil for the hair!! I feel like every every day I’m hearing of new uses for coconut oil and am always amazed at what it can do. I am currently using the Tom’s toothpaste too, and it actually has peppermint oil which makes me think I may be OK to try the DIY one (in terms of the milk supply). Be cautious with Burt’s Bees – I find that some of their products are not as natural as they are marketed to be and, like you said, they are not cheap! I was really disappointed in their wipes for Penelope and wound up switching to Honest Co. I’m so excited to try the coconut oil in the hair – thank you for the tip!!

I also use coconut oil mixed with bicarb and a few drops of peppermint oil to brush my teeth and i have not had a cavity for 7 years. I try not to buy many things over the counter anymore, if in doubt of a replacement look on Pinterest, its my go to for everything lol. But the one and the best advice I can give anyone who feels like they are getting a cold/sniffle etc is to take raw honey with cinnamon it has stopped our household from having colds for four years now. A true miracle elixir lol

‘@Katrina, what is bicarb? Have to check that out! I hear ya on Pinterest, it’s my go-to as well haha. Yes, love the honey & cinnamon!! It blows my mind, all the natural remedies hiding out in our cabinets!! Welcome to my blog!

I think she means bicarbonate, baking soda. πŸ™‚

HA! My brain is fried… thanks for clarifying! πŸ˜‰

I use coconut oil for body and teeth. Sesame oil for my face. No plastic containerd foods as they off gas.

Ladies, just to clarify, baking soda is different to bicarb.
Baking Soda has Cream of Tarter and a couple of other things added to the bicarb. Usually used as a rising agent in cakes, breads etc.
Bicarb or sodium bi-carbonate, a single powder on it’s own, is useful for all sorts of things, health and home-wise.
Another name is, sodi-bick, pronounced, “sodee-bik”.

Thank you @Carol for clarifying…so much to learn, but I am really loving all of this great info!

Carol, I think you’re thinking of baking powder. I just checked my baking soda box & the only ingredient is sodium bicarbonate. I know that baking powder is double acting because it has inhibitors like cornstarch or cream of tartar added. I went to culinary school & we discussed, in depth, the difference between the chemical make ups of baking powder and baking soda.

Thank you Jess for adding this, it is good to know!

Hey Ali, I know what you mean about Burt’s Bees. It’s like they don’t have parabens and phthalates but they still have sodium lauryl sulfate or whatever…I don’t know…whatever it is these days it’s really hard to know what you’re actually getting because even if you have the ingredient list, you don’t know what the chemical does. And imagine we’re living in a country where the government actually investigates products, and where companies must by law reveal every last ingredient…and still so many of us eat the crap they’re conditioning us to eat by way of marketing (especially to our kids – Mom I want a PoP Tart…Uhmmm have you seen the ingredients on that little toasted tart?? Damn..and I used to pop those like candy when I was a kid!). And our fast paced lifestyle makes it so easy to market processed “ready made” foods etc etc (I’m no expert by any means but we do live it every day).

Imagine if you lived in an uregulated country…nothing’s perfect but at least we have the option of looking at the ingredients.

Oh and one more tip about using the coconut oil for the hair. What you want to do is to let it melt in the warm palm of your hand and massage it into your scalp and not into your hair necessarily. You make sure your scalp is all well and oiled and then any extra on your hands you can wipe down your hair with (I got this info from 2 different sources, one in India and one from a friend from the Philippines. In both countries it’s a popular use for coconut oil it seems.) I have to say that I do add a little extra onto the ends though, just for good measure πŸ˜‰

Yes, it is SO hard! I feel like learning ingredients and feeling safe with what we put on/in our bodies is so much work that it should require a degree or some kind of award for trying to figure it all out. And you are right, it so completely shouldn’t be this way! And you are so right about the face-paced lifestyle. It’s sad because a lot of companies take advantage of that and are more than happy to serve up quick ‘solutions’ to pop those pop-tarts and keep us on our way (and yes, me too!) Thanks for the extra info on the coconut oil – I realized I should have asked you because I would have gotten into the shower, put some in my hand… and had no idea how to do it HAHA πŸ˜‰

Oh darn I forgot to tell you the rest! haha You do it the night before you’re going to shower. You can put a towel on your pillow to the pillowcase doesn’t get greasy (it never has for me) but you sleep with it oiled all night. Then the next morning you wash with shampoo and conditioner as usual. The longer you do it (in terms of months), the shinier and more manageable it seems to get (though of course it will leave a more heavy feeling as oil naturally will, but never felt greasy).

Ok, now I’m going to shut my mouth finally hahaha πŸ˜‰

HAHA no, keep talking! I’m glad you are giving this info!! πŸ™‚ Coconut oil is effing amazing…..

For the microderm scrub, use geranium or tea tree oil. The baking soda does the real hard work, just don’t use anything citrus as it can be irritating. I did lime once – and only once – couldn’t leave the house for over an hour, my skin was so red. You can also mix baking soda with (love!) coconut oil for a gentler, more moisturizing scrub, then wash as usual.

‘@Joy, I LOVE the idea of using coconut oil! Thanks! Ouch on the lime. I thought about the fact that it really is the baking soda doing the “scrub” work. You inspired me to try it again tonight with coconut oil!

I use sugar, honey and coconut oil for my scrub. It isn’t as harsh and it nourishes as well as moisturizes.

Be careful using coconut oil on your face if you are acne prone. It causes severe break outs on many people (including myself)

I keep seeing all this things that can be done using coconut oil but I wonder about the cold press oil getting into the drains. I can’t imagine that can be good.
I do like to keep a batch of whipped coconut oil with lavender essential oils mixed in it as a substitute for lotion.

‘@Kristin, I know what you mean – I keep waiting for some article to come out disproving coconut oil’s benefits because it really does seem too good to be true! But it’s going strong! Amazing. Have you tried oil pulling? I started it a few days ago and am waiting to see if it’s worth the hype. I was thinking lavender for the whipped lotion, too.

If there is an issue with drains, you use good old baking soda and white vinegar to clear it. Put a couple of spoonfuls of soda down the drain and then pour perhaps a quarter of a cup of white vinegar down. It will clear the drain. For preventative maintenance you can put a packet of yeast down the drain every few months. Since coconut oil is natural, the yeast should be able to ‘eat’ it as long as you aren’t putting bleach and other stuff that would kill the natural organisms down there.

I make Many body shrubs. Add coffee instead of sugar for body scrubs. Equal parts coconut oil with equal parts coffee. Also the juice of one lemon. Equal part honey equal part brown sugar.
I make my own lip balm, coconut oil, honey, natural bees wax and Peppermint oil. You’ll Never buy a tube again.
Whipped body butters replace all lotion. You can scent with many oils. Everyone always asks me what perfume I’m wearing when I use my Peppermint lavender!
Rose hips spritzer is the best thing for skin. I put distilled water in a bottle and add 10 drops rose hip oil. Spray. On my face and allow to dry. Pure vitamin A. Many more out there.

‘@natalie, love the idea of coffee. Old grinds? New grinds? I can smell it already….mmmm…..

I’m totally going to try that peppermint lavender, BTW – it sounds amazing for summer!

Funny you mention the lip balm, I have been searching far and wide for a good one and just can’t seem to find one. What is the ration of the ingredients you use? Any tips?

And omg about the rose hips spritzer…..thank you for all this good info!!!!

1 Tbs coconut oil (or almond oil), 1 Tbs of beeswax, 1 Tbs of cocoa butter, 1 tsp of shea butter or hemp butter and a drop or two of what ever essential oli you want, (I like raspberry and pomegranate) melt butters and oil together in microwave at 15 sec intervals until melted and well blended. Add oils and still thoroughly. Pour into a tin or a small container or two, let cool. Best lip balm ever! you can even add a bit of honey to sweeten it up for flavor…

‘@Kate I cannot even explain how excited I am to try that lip balm. It sounds incredible! Thanks!

Lip balm recipe sounds awesome but if you don’t have the time to make it, I use Tropical Traditions coconut oil lip balms (citrus is my favorite). Great ingredients and they really do the job! Great blog πŸ™‚

Debra, I had no idea that TT sells lip balm! I am going to check that out. Thank you!

Thanks for the info. very inspiring.

Honey and pepper work very well as cough syrup. Turmeric can also be added.

Also I have found that using less dairy (cow milk) has decreased my colds and allergies.

‘@Bharani, AWESOME – love to have a good cough syrup recipe on hand in this house! Thank you πŸ™‚ Welcome to my blog!

for sore throats I make some tea and add salt to it and gargle with that. The tannic acid in the tea helps get rid of any minor infection and also helps toughen up the sore tissue of your throat.

Love it @Kati, thank you!

Great start! Keep on playing. Coconut oil is the most amazing product. There are TONS more you can do yourself. Many people prefer the convenience of ready made products. Jordan Essentials has superb healthy skin care. I use it myself because I can’t actually make it as nice for the price they ask. Really! You can even host a party on Facebook and get product for free!

‘@karen, thanks for the info! Never heard of Jordan Essentials but will check it out. I really can’t get over all the uses of coconut oil, I”m waiting for someone to tell me it’s all a lie or something! But I know it’s not! Have you tried oil pulling? Just started it a few days ago, waiting to see if it’s worth the hype….

About the toothpaste: I used organic peppermint leaves from my garden, just ground them fine and mixed them in. I also added turmeric, because it’s anti-inflammatory and I’m obsessed with it.

‘@Ria, HA! Gotta love a good natural anti-inflammatory obsession! Love it! You are inspiring me, I am getting ready to plant my herb garden and it looks like a peppermint plant or two will be in it this year! Thank you πŸ™‚

I would be careful with the tumeric as it can be used as a dye. It is also used to make that nice golden yellow color similar to saffron. It just might color your teeth.

Peppermint plants spread like crazy. Runners in the ground. Might keep them in pots.

Vinegar is absolutely amazing for cleaning. It cleans as well as ammonia, sanitizes as well as bleach, and leaves everything smelling clean and fresh. I use it washing smelly clothes, cleaning counters, the refrigerator, and stove tops,use it to soak germ ridden dishes, and put it in my bathwater to help prevent yeast infections on the skin and elsewhere. It is completely biodegradable and is actually good for you when eaten. I was really happy to find I could substitute it for bleach in cleaning, since bleach is bad for the environment. It doesn’t work for removing stains, though, so I still use bleach infrequently in the laundry.

‘@Connie I never knew it could sub for bleach – that is pretty amazing! I need to replace it in our cleaning cabinet. Right now we bought 8 bottles of Method Antibac after seeing a deal on Amazon, and the minute I spritzed it for the first time I knew why we got it for such a good deal. We are now left with 8 bottles of “wet sneeze”… blech!

for stain removal you could make a past of baking soda and white distilled vinegar. rub it in and let is sit for 20 mins, then wash as usual.

I use peroxide for stain removal and I use vinegar instead of fabric softner

I do not buy facial moisturizer at all. I just use coconut oil morning and evening. Today I made my own 2 ingredient shampoo: rye flour and water! Here’s where I learned about it

I’ve recently started using Earthpaste instead of toothpaste. Fully natural and safe, more flavors than just mint. My 10y.o. daughter likes the cinnamon flavor.

‘@crystal, your own shampoo?! Mind = blown. I keep hearing about earthpaste! I need to give a shot….so tired of reading all of these shady ingredients in the traditional store-bought tubes! Welcome to my blog!

I am allergic to a lot of things. I use 2 Tbsp baking soda to 32 oz. water. for a rinse I use 1 1/2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar to 32 oz. water. I use coconut oil to condition my hair once a week. I haven’t cut my hair for a year and no split ends and no dandruff. The baking soda mix is used just on the scalp. I use the vinegar rinse mostly on the scalp and rub it in and let it set while I shower then rinse it out.

ACV is amazing…

Thank you!

Thank YOU! πŸ™‚

You are so funny! I heard about the beaver bum ingredients as well and have been label reading and spreading the word ever since. I love this article,I don’t have my own mixes or ideas yet, but I’ll share when I do! Thanks so much!! πŸ™‚

Thanks @Kyla!! πŸ˜‰ Almost passed out when I read about the poor beavers!!

Use fennel oil in your toothpaste – it will ‘increase’ your milk supply. Actually, just using it in your toothpaste won’t really affect your supply – but taking it internally could. But, fennel is wonderful too in toothpaste. If you want it to taste a little sweet, add xylitol. It also helps your teeth.

‘@Tara, What the WHAT?! Why didn’t I think of that?!? AWESOME!! I’m going to try that tonight! Thank you! I thought the amount might be OK for the pepp oil since I’m not actually ingesting it…plus, I noticed on the back of my Tom’s tube it actually has it anyway, and I’ve been fine. But if fennel could increase the supply, I will give that a shot, for sure!

I mix honey and baking soda and use that as a face scrub. Where do you buy the coconut oil where it doesn’t cost a fortune?

‘@shanna I’ll have to try the honey/BS scrub! I get my coconut oil from Tropical Traditions….they really do have the best quality, but the even better reason why I love them is b/c they run some pretty awesome deals. For example, right now you can get 2 gallons for $99!!

What a fab post!! We make a similar body scrub & lipbalms! We’ve also replaced air fresheners with distilled water & essential oils! My fave right now is clove, lavender, lemon & peppermint! Our other big chemical removal was cleaners! Infuse vinegar with orange peels for a couple weeks & voila! All purpose counter cleaner! For the floors, it’s vinegar, baking soda, lemon juice & essential oils (tea tree, eucalyptus, lemon, mint)! Love all the ideas!!

Thanks @Brandi, and you are totally making my wheels spin with the air fresheners – never even thought to tackle those! I LOVE the smell of cloves! Have to give that a shot!

I just tried the ginger, lemon, honey and cayenne tea and it is DELICIOUS!
Thank you!

‘@Ashley, so glad you like it! I start almost every day with it, so yummy! πŸ™‚

I am going to do that as well!

Side note: I use coconut oil for oil pulling, in place of mouthwash. You just pop a chunk in your mouth and swish it (pull it) vigorously for about 10 minutes. It is a little disconcerting to “chew” the oil and it’s kind of gross at first, but you quickly get used to it. I do it every day and my teeth and mouth feel really great. It’s worth looking into!

‘@Ashley I started oil pulling a few days ago, just to see if it lives up to the hype! No huge findings just yet but I am going to keep it going. My goal is 2 weeks. This is hard for me because I am not a huge fan of the taste of coconut, so I tend to gag at first, but it’s getting more tolerable. One thing I read is that 20 minutes is the ideal amount of time, no more no less, but not sure. 10 minutes would be so much better! πŸ™‚

Awesome post (and comments)!
I use a lot of vinegar for cleaning, and make my own laundry detergent. I spent only $15 LAST YEAR doing laundry.

‘@Shelli are these comments not awesome?! I’m learning so much!! How do you make your own laundry detergent?! $15 in a year?!?!

I have been using baking soda and water to wash my hair for several weeks now. Works great! I have also been making my own lip balm and whipped body butter. I have tried to make lotion twice that calls for emulsifying aloe Vera gel into it. It has been a mess so far. Lol. I use coconut oil with a little vitamin E on my face. I thought it would be too oily, but it isn’t at all.

‘@Tamara, I’m also shocked at how NON greasy it is! I never expected that! Do you use anything for scent on your hair?

Nope. I even asked my husband to smell my hair to make sure it didn’t smell funky, lol, and he said it smells fine.

HA well that is reassuring! That would be my test, too!

A side note about the peppermint growing!!! I made te mistake of planting it with my other herbs DO not it will take everything over keep it in a planter all on it’s own it grows down in the dirt and pops up randomly it’s like a delicious weed LOL. I also use coconut oil on my sons skin when he he’s patches of eczema LOVE coconut oil. Coconut is also really good to use to help with hunger it helps may you feel fuller.

Ah yes, I also had a mint disaster and learned the valuable lesson of keeping it in the pot!! Good point!!

I swim a lot year round so lotion doesn’t work for me. My swimming friends and I use plain old olive oil straight from the bottle all over.
For a scrub, I use sugar, olive oil, (I really hate coconut) and lemon juice.

‘@heidi I hear you with the coconut oil, it took me a while to get used to it but it’s gotten better for me. I’m trying the “oil pulling”..and gagging…haha.

Love the fact that people everywhere are taking their daily health into their own hands. I stumbled upon an amazing tooth whitener that is truely all natural. There’s really only one ingredient…tumeric powder. It is a complete leap of faith to put this bright orange powder on your teeth and expect them to come out white, but they really do! I mixed it with water to make a paste, but I think next time I’m going to try – wait for it – coconut oil to give it a smoother feel. There’s a guy on youtube (channel name is Secrets of Longevity) who demonstrates it and you can see on screen that his teeth are whiter. Use an old toothbrush though because it does get stained orange!

‘@Melinda I have heard about the turmeric but wasn’t sure of it, so I haven’t tried it. That’s great to hear you have had success! Of course coconut would make it better! πŸ™‚

PS thanks for the info on the YouTube channel, I’ll have to check that out!

I feel like I am stalking your blog and I apologize (well, not really). πŸ˜‰

I make a lot of my own products as well including cold-process soaps, hand/body creams and lotions, lip balms, etc. I am also interested in homesteading but still working on that pipe dream, hehe.

Anyway, my favorite and easiest thing to make is homemade Febreze. I kept an empty bottle and added 1 Tbsp baking soda and 3-4 Tbsp liquid fabric softener (although essential oils would probably be better), and hot water nearly to the top (allow for bubble expansion). Shake it really well and voila! Instant Febreze and it smells AMAZING.
At the cost of what? $4, $5 (I don’t remember, it’s been so long), versus literally pennies… yep! No brainer.

‘@Ashley, HA – stalk away! πŸ˜‰ You have my wheels spinning about the Febreze using essential oils…so much better. My husband loves Febreze and it makes me nuts when he sprays it!

What a wonderful blog post! I use vinegar in place of fabric softener as we are on well water and the minerals can do a number on the fabrics. I made a whipped mixture of coconut oil and olive oil for my skin and my hair… helps the hair big time! I do a lot of food replacements. Jams, sauces (BBQ, Steak sauces, all kinds of condiments) dressings (both vinaigrette emulsions and creamy dressings, lots of canning in general. We bake our own protein snacks and this year we are finally getting into the position to grow an extensive garden. All of this is a journey. I live it! And I love knowing there are others out there of a similar mind! πŸ™‚

‘@Francesca you are an inspiration!! Would love to have more info on the baked protein snacks! Welcome to my blog!

I would suggest using, for children, a children’s toothpaste with flouride. Little teeth need this to protect against cavities and to have a healthy mouth. Little kids and dental cavities aren’t a good combination. Who wants to pay for dental work anyway?

‘@Bette I find so much contradicting info out there on flouride. Some say it’s great for little mouths, others say its terrible all around. I seem to think a little would be beneficial for children, too. And I’m with ya on the dental work!

With all this talk of how amazing coconut oil is, I’m surprised no-one has mentioned “oil pulling”.

I have now being doing this for 10 days & plan to do it every day for the rest of my life!! The benefits, as well as teeth whitening & healthy gums are truly extraordinary. First, even straight from the dentist, my teeth have never looked or felt this clean & over time, even receding gums will grow back.
Organic, cold-pressed, virgin coconut oil can be bought in any organic store–worth noting it is solid at room temperature. I put a teaspoonful in a small glass which I heat in a cup of hot water (like a little double boiler) & do it twice a day. Everyone can benefit from this; read the article & then so some research online, you’ll be amazed.

Oh, I see someone DID mention it, but the article I posted will give you much more information. I found it too gross to put the solid oil in my mouth, which is why I heat it; much more acceptable. In time, oil pulling can reduce all sorts of inflammations, which is how I discovered it, looking for an alternative to cortisone & painkillers to treat chronic tendonitis in my shoulder.
Point worth noting, you should not be flushing coconut oil down the sink or into your plumbing; it will build up in the pipes. Spit it in a paper hanky, or, what I do is spit it into a throw away cup for several days (it re-solidifies) & then discard the cup. All these people who are washing it into their drains should be aware of this.

‘@Josephine yes I recently started oil pulling and too funny, I read about it from the same article you linked πŸ˜‰ I find it hard to believe that it has all of those benefits (it sounds too good to be true!) but I’m a skeptic. Either way, I am still doing it and plan on it for 2 weeks to see for myself! Glad you’ve had success with it, too. And that is a great point about the drains – thanks for sharing that!

A great home remedy for sore throat is 1Tbsp raw honey, 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper and 2 medium sized cloves of garlic grated. You take a tsp, chew and swallow every half hour and it is strong enough to kill even step! I have been almost two years without using chemical cleaners in my house. I use baking soda, vinegar and castile soap to clean everything. This has also been the second winter I have not had to use antibiotics which is huge for me, I always get sick.

‘@Pep that is AWESOME. I love hearing things like that. Thanks for the recipe for the sore throat!!

I got tired of all the chemicals in mascara and eyeliner. I have very sensetive skin/eyes as it is, Thos chems didn’t help! Made my own concoction in a 1/4 pint mason jar, by melting together coconut oil, bees wax, and the innards of some charcoal tablets (you can find recipes all over pinterest). Wears great, and I feel better about what I’m doing for my body… if charcoal was good enough for Cleopatra, it’s good enough me! *bats lashes*

I was always partial to blue mascara in the past, though. In my next batch I’m considering doing some indigo clay minerals, instead of charcoal. Others who are more partial to brown liner/mascara can use cocoa powder. The possibilities are endless!

‘@Jes, eyeliner is my biggest gripe!!! Thank you for the idea, I’m going to research more and search Pinterest. I hate that I can’t find a good/clean one.

Hey, I found your blog on facebook and enjoyed it. I have been doing similar things but I don’t buy the all natural things even if I do like the ingredients because I can make it myself much more inexpensively. I make a tooth powder instead of a paste. It actually leaves my teeth feeling cleaner than tooth pastes to anyway. It consists of calcium carbonate (can be found in natural health food store supplements section), baking soda, salt, and flavorings if desired. I wrote a blog post about it a couple of years ago.

Thanks @Cinj! Can you link me to the post?

Great blog. Thank you πŸ™‚

For years I have used a spray bottle filled with water & some drops of tea tree oil & lavender in it. I use this as a natural mosquito repellent for on holidays abroad (I live in UK) & I have not been bitten once. The mozzies used to see me & think ‘dinnertime’ :/ I also, use this to clean worktops & in my bathroom as. It leaves a natural fresh aroma as well. (Btw, I think Bette & her fluoride/teeth comment is rather missing the point :/ ) I use coconut oil a lot, it is fab.

‘@Suzcat thanks for the tip on the mosquito repellant! I plant catnip outside near our deck, it is said to repel them, too. On the flouride, it is so hard to tell what’s good/what’s not! I need to look into it more when it comes to kiddies. My little one doesn’t even have teeth yet, HA, but as soon as one sprouts, I need to make a decision. Thanks for the input :)About how many drops of the EO do you use for the repellant?

There are so many sites out there with natural recipes, but some of them are totally bogus. Can someone suggest a reputable place to get these recipes. I’m looking for money saving and natural ways to clean the home and body. Thank you!

Also, I’ve read a lot of comments about natural toothpaste, but what about fluoride? How do you deal with the loss of that when making your own toothpaste? Will the coconut oil really help enough that you no longer need to worry about that?

Hi Amalia, I hear a lot of info that is contradictory about the need for flouride and I’m no professional, so I don’t have the answer to that. In terms of a reputable source for natural DIY recipes, I find Mind Body Green to be an excellent site.

Hi. I make my own laundry soap using zote soap flakes, super washing soda, borax and water heated and blended on the stove until the flakes are dissolved. I pour it into a 5 gal. bucket and add hot water to equal a total of 5 gal. This is concentrated and when I use it, I have saved an old liquid detergent bottle, I fill the bottle half full of the soap and the rest with water. I have to shake it when I use it, but who cares. Since last June, I’ve made laundry soap twice, so basically 20 gal. for less than $10. I also make fabric softener using a gal. of distilled vinegar with 3/4 oz. of a scented oil (shake well before using). I use it right where I would pour the store bought softener. I recently made some lotion using coconut oil, shea butter, olive oil, beeswax and essential oil. I use olive oil to remove my make-up at night and I make my own butter from heavy cream. I use baking soda and distilled vinegar for cleaning. So far that’s it, but I will start making our own shampoo. My son has skin and scalp issues, so all natural is what he needs and the rest of use will benefit also. πŸ™‚

‘@Cheryl, a little shake never hurt anyone! I’d rather have to do that and have a natural way to clean my clothes. Never thought about fabric softener, so thanks for mentioning that. Come back and let me know how the shampoo goes!

Another product that baking soda replaces is deodorant. With the studies potentially linking the aluminum salts to Alzheimer’s (which runs in my family), I wanted to find an effective alternative. I’ve been using plain, straight-up baking soda on my underarms for about six months now and it’s been surprisingly effective for me. Even after a strenuous workout, I don’t stink. And I’ve also noticed that if I happen to forget a day, the stink is pretty minimal.

The added bonus is that I’m no longer getting yellow pit stains in my clothes. I think that was a reaction from the chemicals in the commercial deodorants I was buying.

There is a crystal that is used as deodorant and sold on places like amazon. I haven’t tried it. There was a study done on antiperspirants that found a link to breast cancer causing lymph node involvement. It was because the lymph nodes help flush out toxins and weren’t able to release the toxic fluids out through the skin under the arm. If you were going to continue using store bought at least switch to a deodorant instead of antiperspirants

Hey the honey and cinnamon tip for allergies is a must, but, for the best results make sure you use local honey! Local honey will contain things in the air which could be causing sinus issues. My Mom always used it for us as kids and always worked! My sister uses it every day to control her allergies! Also, my mom would make hot tea, honey, lemon juice, and 3tbl of whiskey, when we were sick with congestion and coughs, put us to bed under blankets and use Vicks on us. Within 1-2 days fever broken and breathing fine! Used it on my kids and my kids use it on theirs! Great tips can’t wait to try them!

‘@Jo thanks for mentioning that, I always purchase local honey for that reason!! I feel a little something coming on over here so I will try your whiskey concoction later! πŸ˜‰ I’ve heard the Vicks works miracles….I know there are some natural DIY recipes out there for it, too.

Deodorant is one of the next one’s on my list of DIY’s to tackle. I hear ya on the chemicals. That’s so great you found an alternative. I always find that simple is best…

Great info here – glad I stopped by! I use coconut oil with a few drops of lavender EO and vit E oil to remove my make up in the evening and to moisturize (morning and night). I made a sugar-coconut oil-lavender facial scrub that works great and smells divine (sub your favorite EO). I spray my tub and shower daily with 2-1 water-vinegar +a few drops of lavender and 1-2 drops liquid soap. I have found coconut oil to be an EXCELLENT sun screen in the summer – lets me get some color without burning. On occasions when I forgot to put coconut oil on before being in the sun for hours, coconut oil has soothed my sun burn; no peeling, it becomes a tan. A good DIY natural deoderant is Everclear (190 proof grain alcohol) + a few drops of EO (yep; I use lavender) in a glass spray bottle. I keep a large jar of rags (old T-shirt pieces) and vinegar + EO under my sink to disinfect kitchen surfaces. I want to try whipped body butter. I use homemade dryer balls and vinegar sheets (wash cloths) to speed drying and reduce static. Check out for great recipes (food and cleaning). Yay for taking control of our health! Big corporations want to make money; they don’t care what it REALLY costs us to use their products.

Thanks @Annie! Glad you stopped by too. I love your idea of makeup removal, I have been looking for a good one and just can’t get past ingredient lists. And shower cleaner – brilliant idea! Love it! So true about the big corps!

I am new to all this. Love it all

Welcome, Debbie! Glad you are liking all these awesome recipes!

Hi! Just came across your page and I’m so excited about learning more! I, too, make my own deodorant, face wash, facial moisturizer, cleaning products….and the list goes on! I use Young Living essential oils on a daily basis! They have truly changed our lives! Love your recipes! Thanks so much for educating people about the hidden dangers in our foods, meds and other products. What brand of essential oils do you use?

Thanks Teri! I also use Young Living πŸ™‚ I have a follow-up post to this in the works, stay tuned! Thanks for finding me here! If you don’t want to miss updates, subscribe to my newsletter (red box on the right side of the screen). Can you share your facial moisturizer recipe?

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