Friday, February 28, 2014

Homemade Cleaners and Personal Products Using Essential Oils


(I have recently updated this post to include new info and new recipes.)

            Since we are on the topic of recipes and health, I’m going to share recipes for the homemade cleaners and skin care products that I use.  The first thing that started me on the road to “as all natural as practically possible” was household cleaners.  I didn’t like the chemicals and the strong smells of store-bought cleaners.  And who says that you have to kill all germs with anti-bacterial products in order to have a healthy home?  The way I see it, the only thing we are doing is creating superbugs.  Only the strongest germs survive those harsh cleaners, and there are no other bacteria to keep them in check.  Having the healthiest condition possible is all about a proper balance.  And using natural cleaners tips the balance toward “healthy” while not creating these superbugs.  By making homemade cleaners, I am doing my part in creating a healthier home, healthier bodies, and a healthier environment. 

            And I am a big fan of essential oils.  I believe that God created this earth with many good things.  And one of those things is the healing power of plants.  Not only is there healing power in the healthy, natural food that God made for us, but there is healing power in the oils of the plants, too.  And this is where we get the essential oils from.  They are part of what makes these cleaners so healthy for us and so effective at cleaning.  (I will not review each essential oil here.  So if you want to know more, look it up on-line.  Especially safety guidelines for each one and dilution ratios.  There are many great websites devoted to essential oils.  But I will say this, “Handle these oils carefully.  They are extremely concentrated, so always dilute them carefully in order to make them safe to use.”)
            As an example of the power of essential oils, I have seen a few drops of Lavender Essential Oil heal a red, hot, spreading spider bite, a growing skin infection (cellulitis, I believe) from a mosquito bite, and a blood infection that was black line travelling up someone’s arm from an infected burn.  It only took a couple drops, and all of these things went away completely.  The blood infection vanished within two hours of applying the oil once and the infected bites within two days after applying it a couple times each day. 
            (Note: I am talking about ESSENTIAL OILS, not scented oil or fragrance oil.  There is a huge difference.  Buy only essential oils and buy from a reputable source.  I like to go to my local health food store.  Not only do I know I am buying quality products, but I like supporting the local businesses.  The small bottles might seem expensive, but they last a long time because you only use a small amount at a time.)
            When it comes to essential oils, it’s easy to think that you need to use more of it instead of less, because a couple drops just don’t seem like enough.  Trust me, it is.  I like to go lighter with the oils instead of heavier.  I do this for a few reasons: so that the bottles of oils last longer, so that we don’t get sensitized to them (develop an allergy to them), so that I can apply the products regularly without fear of overdosing on the essential oils, and because I have very sensitive skin and young children.  A little goes a long way! 
            And always do a patch test first.  Mix a drop or two of essential oil with a little bit of a carrier oil (like a teaspoon of olive oil) and put it on the bottom of your feet or inner arm (or in another not-so-tender spot) to see if you are allergic or sensitive.  You’d hate to rub a lotion all over yourself only to discover that it gives you a terrible rash.         
            FYI: I do not recommend taking any essential oil internally because there are a lot of sources that caution against it.  I also do not recommend dripping them into the tub because they just float on top in little drops and can be too concentrated when your skin comes in contact with them.  (I believe there are ways to dilute them for use in the tub, but you’ll have to look it up yourself because I just don’t use them in the tub.)

The Essential Oils in My Cabinet (and what they might be good for):
          
            This is not a complete list of oils, of course.  And I say "might be good" because I am not making any official medical claims here.  Research everything for yourself.  I have not had this post evaluated by the FDA.  And nothing here is guaranteed, nor is it intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease or condition.  It's just what I've learned from other people, what they say these oils are good for.  Since I already had all this info in my computer for my own personal use, I thought, Why not share it with others?
            Note that some of these oils come pre-diluted with jojoba oil.  I’ll specify that in parentheses.  Google each oil you use to learn what they are good for and any safety precautions.  There is a lot more than what I list here.  Also, from what I can tell, you may not want to use a pre-diluted oil in a diffuser because the jojoba oil might gum it up and ruin it over time.

Bay – poor circulation, colds/flu, infectious diseases, hair growth (oily scalp), aches and pains, reduce fever, expectorant, antiseptic, perfume, diffuser (mixes well with florals, citruses and spices)
Bergamot – aches/pains, healing/skin regeneration, oily skin, eczema, infections, antiviral, scars, antiseptic, deodorant, fevers/infectious diseases, perfume, cold sores, detox, bug repellant 
Cardamom – perfume, coughs/expectorant, a “warming” oil  (FYI: I really do not like the smell of this oil.  Actually, I HATE the smell of this the more I use it.  And it costs a lot of money.  I wish I hadn’t bought it.  And one drop is super-strong, so if I put it in a blend, I can only use the tiniest amount.  It’s not that bad mixed with lots of other oils but it is horrid alone.) 
Cedarwood – perfume, dry skin, dry cough, congestion/expectorant, aching muscles/joints, detox, bug repellant
Chamomile (in jojoba) – Gentle and safe for children, good all-purpose oil, healing skin, dry skin, eczema, sensitive skin, hair growth, inflammation, wounds, burns, bites, bruises, aches/pains, itching, muscle spasms, antifungal, scars, decongestant, gas/bloating, nausea 
Cinnamon Cassia – not for use on the skin (Although I was using it in our “Like Thieves” blend before I knew this and we did not have any reactions except on the top of my feet once, so I only rub it on the bottoms of our feet.)  Use in diffuser or for room sprays.  (Use well-diluted.  I use no more than 6 drops of any blend of spices oils per ounce of carrier oil or water.).
Cinnamon Leaf – safest cinnamon oil for skin, but it (along with the other spice oils) is still questionable by some.  Look it up if you are unsure.  I will use it in my “Like Thieves” blend and in the diffuser.  Also good for poor circulation, colds/flu/cough, aching muscles/joints, fever/infectious diseases, muscle spasms, antiseptic, congestion, bronchitis, pneumonia, antiviral, detox, bug repellant.  (Use well-diluted.  I use no more than 6 drops of any blend of spices oils per ounce of carrier oil or water.)    
Clove Bud - colds/flu, minor infections, in my “Like Thieves” blend, antibacterial, antiviral, tooth infections, warts, bug repellant.  (Use well-diluted.  I use no more than 6 drops of any blend of spices oils per ounce of carrier oil or water.) 
Cypress - bruises, poor circulation, aging skin, oily skin, hair growth, dandruff, aching muscles/joints, stimulate immune system, deodorant, antiseptic, warts, muscle spasms, astringent, detox, bronchitis, try in diffuser with rosemary (or lemon) for colds/respiratory issues
Eucalyptus – (According to thehippyhomemaker.com, not for kids under 10.  And not for people with asthma.) - bites, infections, colds/flu/fever, burns, aches/pains, poor circulation, healing/skin regeneration, headache, infectious diseases, antiviral/antibacterial, chest congestion, bronchitis, sinuses, muscle spasms, astringent, scars, deodorant, cold sores, diffuser, warts, bug repellant 
Frankincense (in jojoba) – dry/mature skin, wounds, wrinkles, colds/flu/cough, inflammation, healing/skin regeneration, headache, dry cough, chest congestion, aching muscles/joints, antiseptic, astringent, scars, fevers, immune stimulant, warts and moles 
Ginger – cough, colds/flu/fever, infections, poor circulation, aches and pains, diarrhea/gas/bloating/constipation/nausea (dilute well and rub on stomach), antiseptic, infectious skin diseases, strains and sprains, antibacterial, expectorant, diffuser.  (Use well-diluted.  I use no more than 6 drops of any blend of spices oils per ounce of carrier oil or water.)
Grapefruit - hair growth, colds/flu, muscle pain, perfume, diffuse, detox, bug repellant.  Citrus oils are phototoxic, do not wear in sun. 
Jasmine (in jojoba) – perfume, dry skin, inflammation
Lavender – one of the best and safest all-purpose oils, inflammation, itching, hair growth, dry skin, colds/flu, infections, healing, aging skin, aches/pains, bruises, burns, perfume, nausea, good for gut health, diffuser, warts and moles, antifungal, antiviral, antibacterial, detox, bug repellant
Lemon – great oil for many uses, cleaning, perfume, diffuse, hair growth, colds/flu, boosts immune system, infections, circulation, constipation, antifungal, antibacterial, warts and moles, nausea, bug repellant, detox.  Citrus oils are phototoxic, do not wear in sun.  Sweet Orange is gentler for really young children.
Lemongrass - infections, cold/flu, poor circulation, aches/pains, perfume, oily skin, fever, infectious diseases, antibacterial, deodorant, antiviral, cold sores, warts, bug repellant
Lime - poor circulation, fevers, infectious diseases, greasy hair, deodorant, perfume, detox, bug repellant.  Citrus oils are phototoxic, do not wear in sun.
Melissa (aka Lemon Balm) - anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, anti-viral, anti-inflammatory, coughs, colds/flu, wounds/healing/skin regeneration, eczema, cold sores, warts, insect repellant, mood lifter, gas/bloating
Myrrh (in jojoba) - chapped/cracked skin, eczema, wounds, dry/aging skin, colds/cough/sore throat, gum infections, mouth ulcers, anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, scars, expectorant, healing/skin regeneration, infections, gas/bloating
Neroli – aging/dry/sensitive skin, healing/skin regeneration, poor circulation, deodorant, sunburn, dry/damaged hair, gas/bloating, antiviral 
Nutmeg – perfume, inflammation, infections (bacterial), colds/flu, poor circulation, muscle aches and pains.  (Use well-diluted.  I use no more than 6 drops of any blend of spices oils per ounce of carrier oil or water).
Orange - perfume, diffuser, inflammation, colds/flu, decongestant, deodorant, anti-fungal, anti-bacterial, muscle spasms, gas/bloating/constipation/nausea, detox, bug repellant.  (May not be photo-toxic, as are other citrus oils.  Not sure, though, so look it up.) 
Oregano - colds/flu, chest congestion, loosens mucus build-up in sinuses and respiratory tracts (maybe drop a couple drops in a bowl of hot water and breathe the steam in), anti-viral, anti-fungal, anti-bacterial, anti-inflammatory, warts and moles, skin conditions (dilute well because it's a strong oil)
Palmarosa – perfume, diffuser, aging/dry/sensitive skin, eczema, infections, cold/flu/congestion, aching muscles and joints, deodorant, antibacterial, detox
Patchouli - healing/skin regeneration, aging/dry skin, eczema, scars, hair growth, decongestant, deodorant, fever reducer, inflammation, infection, antiseptic, bug repellant
Peppermint – (Not for kids under 6, according to thehippyhomemaker.com) - cleaning, aches/pains, inflammation, colds/flu, fever reducer, infectious diseases, chest congestion/decongestant, bites/stings, anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, anti-viral, muscle spasms, itching, antiseptic, sinuses, gas/bloating/constipation/nausea, diffuser, detox, bug repellant 
Pine – diffuser, cleaning, infections, colds/flu, chest congestion, expectorant, poor circulation, stimulates immune system, aches/pains, greasy hair, antiseptic, anti-bacterial, cramps, deodorant, bug repellant, detox (Pinus pinaster is the type that can be used on the skin.  Scotch pine – pinus sylvestris - should not be used on skin.)
Rose (in jojoba) – perfume, for face cream and wound cream, healing/skin regeneration, scars, aging/dry/sensitive skin, chest congestion, coughs/colds/flu, muscle spasm, antidepressant, antiseptic, inflammation, infection, aching muscles/joints, antiviral, constipation, detox
Rosemary – (Not for kids under 10, according to thehippyhomemaker.com) - aches/pains, healing/skin regeneration/scars, antifungal/antibacterial/antiviral, poor circulation, hair growth/dandruff, headache, antidepressant, inflammation, infections, colds/flu, cough/congestion, sinuses, bronchitis, constipation, bug repellant, detox, aching muscles and joints (not for people with high blood pressure or epilepsy) 
Sandalwood (in jojoba) – perfume, skin and hair care, healing/skin regeneration, eczema, dry coughs, itchy skin
Spearmint – chest congestion, colds/flu, fever/infectious diseases, antifungal, muscle spasms, antiseptic, inflammation, scars, nausea, bug repellant
Tea Tree – one of best all-purpose oils, aches/pains, healing/skin regeneration, wounds/infections/rashes, bites/stings, aging/oily skin, eczema, antibacterial, antifungal, antiviral, dandruff, inflammation, strains/sprains, cold/flu/coughs, scars, immune stimulant, sinuses, bruises, burns, warts and moles, bug repellant, detox
Thyme – antibacterial, antifungal, antiviral, anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, infections, coughs/colds/flu, congestion, bronchitis/pneumonia, expectorant, immune boosting, gas/bloating, scars, hair growth, insect repellant, aching muscles/muscle spasms, detoxification, anti-depressant, perspiration/deodorant, bug repellant
Vanilla (in jojoba) - perfume/deodorant

Ylang Ylang III – perfume, healing/skin regeneration, aging/dry skin, eczema, hair growth, migraine, insomnia, insect bites, infections, aching muscles/joints, anti-depressant, antiseptic, detox

I also get a blend from Wyndmere called Citrus Delight.  This is my favorite blend and it makes one of my favorite solid perfumes, which I’ll share later. 

(I used to have Anise and Fennel.  But after reading that they are not good for people with endometrioses, I decided to use them for cleaning my toilet instead.  I drip in a few drops and swish around the bowl.  It’s better than just tossing them.  I do not necessarily have problems with endometriosis, but they did find a little of it when I had a C-section years ago.  So I decided it was safest to not bother with these at all.)

            At the bare minimum, I recommend that everyone has Tea Tree Oil and Lavender.  And if you can, add Peppermint and Lemon.  These four will make a great selection of natural cleaners and therapeutic oils.
            And just so you know, sandalwood, frankincense, myrrh, and rosewood are harvested from trees that are (or may be) endangered.  Use sparingly, if at all.
 

Various Issues and the Essential Oils that May Help: (always dilute well)
(Sorry this isn’t in alphabetical order.  I was adding them as I read about them from different sources.  Always research any oil you want to use.  And this is not a complete list.)
 
Skin:
Healing/skin regeneration: calendula, chamomile, bergamot, eucalyptus, geranium, lavender, frankincense, neroli, melissa, myrrh, palmarosa, patchouli, rose, rosewood, rosemary, sandalwood, tea tree, ylang ylang
Aging skin:  clary sage, cypress, fennel, lavender, frankincense, geranium, myrrh, palmarosa, patchouli, rose, neroli, tea tree, ylang ylang
Sensitive skin:  chamomile, rose, palmarosa, neroli, rosewood, jasmine, lavender, helichrysum, vanilla
Dry skin:  chamomile, cedarwood, clary sage, helichrysum, jasmine, frankincense, geranium, orange, palmarosa, rosewood, neroli, peppermint, sandalwood, ylang ylang, lavender, rose, myrrh, patchouli, vanilla   
Oily skin:  bergamot, cypress, geranium, grapefruit, jasmine, lemon, lemongrass, orange, peppermint, sandalwood, tea tree, ylang ylang
Eczema:  chamomile, helichrysum, lavender, bergamot, geranium, melissa, myrrh, oregano, palmarosa, patchouli, sandalwood, tea tree, ylang ylang, yarrow
Itching:  lavender, chamomile, peppermint, sandalwood
Scars:  bergamot, chamomile, eucalyptus, helichrysum, frankincense, lemon, patchouli, rosemary, rose, spearmint, tea tree, thyme, neroli, palmarosa, niaouli
Bruises:  lavender, tea tree, chamomile, fennel, geranium, cypress, yarrow
Inflammation:  basil, helichrysum, geranium, peppermint, rosemary, rose, spearmint, chamomile, jasmine, frankincense, orange, fennel, lavender, tea tree, patchouli, myrrh, nutmeg, melissa, thyme
Infections:  basil, bay, bergamot, clove, eucalyptus, helichrysum, fennel, geranium, lavender, lemon, lemongrass, melissa, myrrh, niaouli, nutmeg (bacterial), palmarosa, patchouli, pine, rose, rosemary, spruce, tea tree, thyme, ylang ylang
(You can use lavender and tea tree for ear infections, but do not put in the ear.  Dilute them and rub around the outside of the ear and behind.)
Astringent:  cedarwood, cypress, eucalyptus, frankincense, geranium, lavender, lemon, lemongrass, patchouli, rosemary, peppermint
Burns:  lavender, tea tree, chamomile, eucalyptus, geranium, yarrow
Sunburn:  lavender, rose, tea tree, chamomile, geranium, neroli
Bites/stings:  basil, bergamot, chamomile, eucalyptus, geranium, lavender, lemon, peppermint, tea tree
Warts: lemon, oregano, frankincense, tea tree, eucalyptus, lavender, clove, cypress, lemongrass
Moles:  lavender, lemon, frankincense, oregano, tea tree (There may be more I haven't read about.  I've also read that you can use onion juice, garlic juice, pineapple, sour apple, sliced potato, dandelion root sap, apple cider vinegar, castor oil, honey, aloe vera, and other things.  But you will have to Google it for yourself to see what the deal is before trying any of these.)
Cold Sores: bergamot, eucalyptus, lemongrass, melissa, peppermint, tea tree 

  
Hair/Scalp:
Hair growth:  ylang ylang, cedarwood, grapefruit, bay, patchouli, rosemary, lavender, lemon, chamomile, geranium, cypress, clary sage, thyme
(cedarwood, cypress, lemon, lime, mandarin, ylang ylang and pine are unstable in shampoo, so don’t add to it)
Dandruff:  cypress, rosemary, lavender, tea tree
Greasy hair:  bergamot, cedarwood, cypress, sandalwood, lemon, lime, grapefruit, rosemary, bay, lavender, mandarin, pine, tea tree, patchouli
Dry, damaged hair: sandalwood, ylang ylang, lavender, chamomile, rose, geranium, neroli, rosemary, tea tree


Illness/Infection:
Colds/flu:  bay, bergamot, cinnamon, clove, eucalyptus, frankincense, ginger, lavender, lemon, lemongrass, melissa, nutmeg, orange, grapefruit, geranium, oregano, pine (lungs), palmarosa, peppermint, rose, rosemary, spearmint, thyme, tea tree is best, oregano
Dry coughs:  cedarwood, myrrh, frankincense, sandalwood
Chest congestion:  cedarwood, cinnamon, eucalyptus, frankincense, geranium, helichrysum, jasmine, lavender, melissa?,  oregano, palmarosa, peppermint, spearmint, pine, rose, rosemary, sage, spruce, tea tree, thyme
Reduce fever:  basil, bay, bergamot, cinnamon, clove, black pepper, eucalyptus, ginger, lemon, lemongrass, niaouli, patchouli, peppermint, spruce, lavender, tea tree, rosemary
Stimulate immune system:  lemon, cypress, frankincense, cinnamon leaf, clove, eucalyptus, thyme, rosemary, pine, patchouli, tea tree, lavender, myrrh
Fevers/infectious diseases:  lemongrass, bergamot, lemon, cinnamon leaf, lime, tea tree, peppermint, spearmint, bay, ginger
Decongestant:  chamomile, clary sage, eucalyptus, fennel, geranium, grapefruit, lavender, lemon, mandarin, niaouli, orange, oregano, patchouli, peppermint, rosemary, rose
Expectorant:  basil, bay, cardamom, cedarwood, eucalyptus, helichrysum, lavender, fir, frankincense, ginger, niaouli, oregano, peppermint, pine, rosemary, tea tree, thyme
Bronchitis:  basil, cypress, cinnamon, eucalyptus, melissa, peppermint, rosemary, thyme, fir
Pneumonia:  cinnamon, eucalyptus, oregano, thyme
Sinuses:  eucalyptus, peppermint, rosemary, tea tree (plus those for sinusitis: cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, clove, lavender, bergamot, rose, chamomile)
Anti-viral/anti-microbial:  eucalyptus, cinnamon, tea tree, bergamot, melissa, oregano, lavender, clove, geranium, lemongrass, neroli, rose, rosemary, peppermint, thyme 
Anti-fungal:  basil, chamomile, clary sage, helichrysum, fennel, geranium, melissa, oregano, patchouli, peppermint, rosemary, spearmint, tea tree, lavender, lemon, thyme (plus, for toenail fungus: oregano, tea tree, orange, lavender, clove, thyme)
Antibacterial:  cinnamon, clove, eucalyptus, geranium, ginger, grapefruit, helichrysum, lavender, lemon, lemongrass, melissa, orange, oregano, peppermint, pine, rosemary, tea tree, thyme, palmarosa
Antiseptic:  basil, bay, bergamot, black pepper, cardamom, cedarwood, cinnamon, cypress, helichrysum, fir, frankincense, geranium, ginger, jasmine, lavender, lemongrass, niaouli, patchouli, mints, pine, rose, tea tree, thyme, ylang ylang
Diarrhea: dilute well and rub on stomach – ginger, peppermint


Muscles:
Aching muscles/joints:  basil, cedarwood, chamomile, cinnamon, clary sage, cypress, eucalyptus, frankincense, geranium, ginger, jasmine, lavender, lemongrass, palmarosa, black pepper, peppermint, rose, rosemary, thyme, ylang ylang, nutmeg
Muscle spasms:  basil, black pepper, chamomile, cinnamon, clary sage, cypress, eucalyptus, helichrysum, fennel, geranium, jasmine, lavender, lemon, mandarin, orange, mints, rose, spruce, thyme
Aches/pains:  basil, bay, eucalyptus, ginger, chamomile, grapefruit, rosemary, lavender, pine, bergamot, cardamom, fennel, lemongrass, peppermint, tea tree, fir, niaouli, black pepper, nutmeg
Cramps:  rosemary, lavender, ginger, pine, bergamot, chamomile


Random:
Poor circulation:  neroli, lemon, cypress, lemongrass, lime, eucalyptus, fennel, cedarwood, nutmeg, bay, ginger, cinnamon, pine, pepper, rosemary
Perspiration/deodorant:  tea tree, rosemary, cypress, bergamot, grapefruit, neroli, lemon, orange, lime, mandarin, lavender, thyme, clary sage, eucalyptus, fir, geranium, lemongrass, patchouli, pine, palmarosa
Mood Lifter:  basil, bergamot, clary sage, geranium, ginger, grapefruit, jasmine, lavender, lemon, lemongrass, melissa, orange, patchouli, rose, rosemary, ylang ylang, cinnamon, thyme, vanilla
Detoxification:  basil, bergamot, cedarwood, cinnamon, cypress, geranium, grapefruit, lemon, lime, orange, mandarin, juniper, lavender, pine, rosemary, thyme, palmarosa, peppermint, rose, tea tree, ylang ylang
Headache:  basil, eucalyptus, frankincense, lavender, peppermint, rosemary (ylang ylang for migraines)
Insomnia:  frankincense, lavender, orange, chamomile, ylang ylang
Gas/Bloating: melissa, chamomile, ginger, myrrh, neroli, orange, spearmint, peppermint, thyme (lavender for gut health)
Constipation: fennel, ginger, lemon, orange, peppermint, spearmint, rosemary, basil, rose
Nausea: lemon, orange, ginger, lavender, chamomile, spearmint, peppermint
Bug Repellant:  basil, bergamot, cedarwood, citronella, cinnamon, clove, eucalyptus, grapefruit, lavender, lemongrass, lemon, lime, orange, patchouli, peppermint, pine, rosemary, spearmint, tea tree, thyme  (thehippyhomemaker.com has a good article on insect repelling oils.  It’s called “Using essential oils in your home and garden to kill pests + DIY Bugs-B-Gone Home & Garden Spray,” March 20, 2106.)

 

Basic Information on Using Essential Oils and Homemade Products:
            You can find any number of recipes on-line for household cleaners and skin care.  But I’m going to share the ones I use most.  (A great book, if you are looking for one, is Clean House, Clean Planet by Karen Logan.  It’s what I started with.) 
            The basic ingredients I use are essential oils, coconut oil, olive oil, sunflower oil, avocado oil, shea butter, baking soda, vinegar, honey, liquid castile soap (I use Dr. Bronner’s), bar soap (I like Trader Joe’s Oatmeal & Honey Soap for its scent, price, and minimal ingredients), washing soda, vegetable glycerin, and water.  (And borax, only for the Ant Bait Recipe.)  These are all you need to make great, effective, inexpensive cleaning products and body products.  (Keep in mind that coconut oil hardens in colder temperatures but it’s liquid in hot weather.  I believe, though, that fractionated coconut oil stays liquid.)    
            I have very sensitive, dry skin, which is why I like to use shea butter and avocado oil.  Research different oils for what fits your skin type and substitute it into the recipes to make a product better suited to you.  I have tried olive oil and coconut oil, which are supposed to be great for sensitive skin, but I got awful, red, weeping eczema rashes from them.  So I only use those in small quantities or mixed in with other oils, and never on irritated skin or on eczema. 


Warning: NEVER apply essential oils directly to your skin without diluting them first, even lavender.  There have been people who have become sensitized to it, meaning they developed a permanent allergy to it when using it undiluted.  It’s not worth the risk.  And don’t sniff them from the bottle for too long.  You might get light-headed or have a reaction.  Work in a well-ventilated area.  (Am I trying to scare you into being very careful with essential oils?  Yes!  I scare because I care!)   

            For a therapeutic room spray, I limit it to around 10-15 drops of essential oil per ounce of water.  And for topical use (applying it to the skin), I generally limit mine to about 12 drops essential oil per ounce of carrier oil or waterThis is pretty safe for most people. 
            Be aware, though, that this is for blends of essential oils, not one kind of oil.  You have to be much more careful about using large quantities of one oil – such as the spice oils or peppermint or eucalyptus, etc. - than about using only a couple drops of that oil in a blend.  Check safety info for each oil to see what the limits are for that specific oil if it is going to be your only or primary essential oil.  (What I mean is that 12 drops of peppermint, for example, in carrier oil is going to be a lot stronger and less safe than a 12-drop blend that includes some peppermint.  Check individual oil safety limits if you are not making blends with several oils.) 
            But for topical oils for children, you should use less essential oil the younger the child, such as 6 drops per ounce for small children and just 1 drop per ounce for babies.  Do a patch test first for you and your kids for every new essential oil: Add a drop or two to a teaspoon of carrier oil and dab a bit on your inner arm or on your feet to see if there are any reactions to it. 
            Sometimes, for adults, you can get away with a little more essential oil when you need a more heavy-hitting, therapeutic blend.  Research carefully to find the limits for safe use of essential oils.  And some oils should not be used at all during pregnancy or with certain conditions.  You can find all this info from “essential oil” websites.  Just make sure to take advice from professional websites, not someone’s blog.  Not even mine. 
            I like the “safe essential oil use for babies and children” post from The Hippy Homemaker (thehippyhomemaker.com).  Google “hippy homemaker safe essential oil use.”  Basically, she gives a list of which oils are okay to use at which ages for young children.  What I learned is that most oils can be used on kids over 10 years of age.  But Rosemary and Eucalyptus should not be used on kids under 10 and Peppermint should not be used on kids under 6 because these oils can slow breathing down too much.  I only use these in small amounts in my blends anyway, so we have never had a problem, but it pays to be cautious.

            Look up her post for more complete information.  But looking at her list and at the oils I have (or want):
            The safest (for babies 3 months to 6 months) are chamomile and lavender.
            The next level (safe for 6 months to 2 years old) includes bergamot, cypress, grapefruit, lemon (but sweet orange is gentler), neroli, palmarosa, rose otto, sandalwood, sweet orange, tea tree.  And you could also use these but only well-diluted (no more than 3-6 drops of essential oil per ounce of carrier oil, but I would go less instead of more with children this young): cedarwood, cinnamon leaf, pine.
            For children 2 years to 6 years, you can add basil, cinnamon leaf, frankincense, lime, lemon verbena, melissa, myrrh, oregano, patchouli, spearmint, lemon tea tree, ylang ylang.  Plus well-diluted clove, ginger, lemongrass, thyme.  (Although she didn’t talk about jasmine or vanilla, I would think they would be safe for young children also.) 
            For 6 years old to 10 years old, add bay.  And well-diluted cardamom, nutmeg, peppermint.
            And for 10 and over, you can add eucalyptus and rosemary, plus nearly all others, diluted properly.

            Also, from information I gathered from various sites, I limit the amount of any of the spice oils (clove, cinnamon leaf, ginger, nutmeg, or any combo of these) to no more than 6 drops per ounce of water or carrier oil.  These are strong oils and should be used very sparingly on the skin.  But there is debate about whether they should go on the skin at all, so look them up if you have concerns.  And remember that only Cinnamon Leaf should be used on the skin, not Cinnamon Cassia or Cinnamon Bark.  Those can be used in diffusers.

Here are some of the websites from which I got my information:
eethomp.com (big list of unsafe oils and sensitizing oils)
learningabouteos.com (great site filled with lots of safety information)
naha.org (National Association for Holistic Aromatherapy)

Some other things I learned (not complete lists, so look up the above sites to read a more complete list of oils):
Some oils that should not be used on Young Children:
anise, cardamom, cassia, clove, eucalyptus, fennel, lemongrass, lemon balm, peppermint, rosemary, ylang ylang

Some NOT for use during Pregnancy and/or Breastfeeding:
Aniseed, basil, birch, cinnamon, chamomile (I’m shocked about this one, research for yourself), clove, ginger, hyssop, myrrh, nutmeg, oregano, peppermint, rose (shocked about this one too), rosemary

Some that may not be good for Sensitive Skin:
Bay, cinnamon bark or leaf, (cinnamon cassia should not be used on skin), clove, citronella, cypress, ginger, lemongrass, (pinus sylvestris – Scotch pine – should not be used on skin), marjoram, oregano, melissa (lemon balm), rosewood, and thyme. 
            And do not use old pine oils, old tea tree, or old citrus oils (if citrus oils smell pine-like, they are old) on the skin because they can cause a reaction.
            And do not use chamomile if you are allergic to daisy-type flowers.

General Dilution Recommendations:
            - For children 6 months to 6 years: no more than 1 drop essential oil per 4 teaspoons carrier oil (.25%)  (Personally, I would not recommend using essential oils on really young ones at all unless you know what you are doing and dilute very well!)
            - For children over 6 years old, pregnant women, the elderly, and those with compromised immune systems or sensitive skin: 1 drop per 1 teaspoon carrier oil or 3-6 drops per ounce carrier oil (1%)
            - For your average adult for regular daily use: 2 drops per teaspoon carrier oil or 10-12 drops per ounce (2%)
            - For more intense, short-term therapeutic use in adults: 3 drops per 1 teaspoon carrier oil, 15-18 drops per ounce (3%)

            [Also remember, if you mix essentials oils in water to make a spray, the oil will float.  So do not store this mixture in a soft plastic bottle because the essentials oils at the top of the water will eat through the soft plastic.  Ask me how I know!  But it seems to be okay in the small, hard-plastic, spritz bottles.  I use the travel iGo bottles from Walmart.  If you are unsure, store your bottle somewhere – maybe standing in a small glass dish – where it won’t leak all over everything if it does eat through the plastic.  You should be able to tell within a day or two if the bottle is okay or not.  For me, the next day after filling a soft plastic bottle, the top of the bottle looked melted and was stretching out.  I quickly tossed it and went back to the hard plastic bottles.  But if you can, store your stuff in glass bottles and jars.  It’s better than plastic.  If you are making an oil-based blend, though, it won’t eat through the plastic because the essential oil is diluted all throughout the product.  It doesn’t float in a concentrated layer on top like it does when added to water.]



Evaluating the Safety of Recipes:
            One of the neat things about the internet is that you can find all sorts of ways that other people use essential oils and recipes that others created.  However, one of the scary things is that these recipes are not necessarily tested for safety or may not be safe for certain people.  Therefore, it is crucial that we understand the safety guidelines for each oil we want to use and that we evaluate the recipes for ourselves, to see if they are okay for us and our families. 
            When I was looking for recipes for homemade hand sanitizer, I found a recipe that used just a few drops of essential oil and another recipe that used about ten times that, for nearly the same amount of homemade product.  That is a HUGE difference.  Plus, the one with more drops used more of the spice oils and citrus oils than I am comfortable with.  (Spice oils are potent and you don’t need a lot.  And citrus oils can make your skin sensitive to sunlight.)
            This is an example of why we need to evaluate each recipe for ourselves and never just follow what someone else does, unless they are a trusted source that really knows their stuff.  (I am still relatively new to all this and am learning as I go, so don’t just follow my recipes, either.  Evaluate them for yourself.)
            Anyway, here are some questions that I ask myself when considering other people’s recipe.
            1.  Who will I be using this on?  Normal healthy adults?  Young children?  Babies?  Elderly people?  Pregnant women?  People with compromised immune systems?  There are certain oils that shouldn’t be used on certain people.  Research carefully before using on anyone other than healthy adults or young adults.
            2.  What is the total amount of essential oil per ounce of carrier oil?  I do not recommend using any oil without diluting it properly.  The only ones I have dared to use straight are tea tree oil and lavender oil, and only when there was a serious infection or bite that needed immediate treatment, such as an infected spider bite.  Even then, it was only a drop at a time.  In all my other blends, I try to limit mine to no more than 10-12 drops of essential oils per ounce of carrier oil or water, depending on the oils used.  With some oils I will go a little higher with, such as lavender.  And some I will limit even more, such as the spice oils or eucalyptus or peppermint or other really strong ones.         
            3.  What is the amount of each oil used?  12 drops of clove or eucalyptus or oregano per ounce of carrier oil would be a lot more potent and powerful – and potentially dangerous – than 12 drops of, say, tea tree oil or lavender.  Get to know the strong oils, the ones that should be used sparingly.  And I limit the total amount of spice oils – cinnamon, clove, nutmeg, etc. – to no more than 6 drops per ounce of carrier oil.
            4.  Will I be wearing this oil on my skin in the sun?   Citrus oil makes your skin sensitive to sunlight.  If you plan to use a blend on your skin that has citrus oils in it, remember that it could make your skin react to sunlight.  I try not to use citrus oil blends on skin that will be exposed to sunlight, especially in the summer months.
            5.  Do I really want to use this oil internally, like the person who wrote the recipe?  Just because someone else uses it internally, doesn’t mean you should.  Always research the safety of using oils internally before you choose to do so.  (I don’t use them internally.)  I would be okay with gargling with a drop of tea tree oil or swabbing a bit on a sore in my mouth if I needed it, but I would not swallow essential oils nor use them in my ear canal, like some people recommend.  Actually, I did once use them in my ear canal (years ago) and it’s never been the same since.
            6.  Is this a water-based or an oil-based blend?  Essential oils will float in water and stay in a concentrated layer on top.  This could lead to the oils eating through the plastic bottle you store the blend in.  Or it could lead to a concentrated dose of essential oil if you use it on your skin.  Even in the bath, the oils will stay in droplets on top of the water and could lead to a reaction when your skin comes into contact with the undiluted drops.  Be careful when using water-based blends.  I always shake them well immediately before spraying in the air or on skin to spread the oil out better.  Or I use the water-based blends in the air only and the oil-based blends on the skin.  The essential oil dilutes much better when you use oil as a carrier.      


THERAPEUTIC PRODUCTS: 
            All Measurements for essential oils are by the drop, so 10 Orange means 10 drops of Orange essential oil.  And I will not specify which oils are pre-diluted in jojoba oil.  That info is in the list above which shows the essential oils that I have.  If you have a non-pre-diluted essential oil, you may want to use a little less than the measurement I gave for the pre-diluted essential oil that I used.
            I use these measurements for my older children and adults.  But remember to use less essential oil if you are making these for younger children.  See “General Dilution Recommendations” above.  It is your responsibility to check the safety of each oil and the dilution ratios for your children, for pregnant women, and for anyone with a compromised immune system.  Never just do what someone else does, without first checking to see if it’s safe for you and your family.


 
 

My "Breathe Easier” Sick Spray
            Fill 2 oz. hard-plastic spritz bottle almost to the top with filtered water.  Add 10 Lemon, 8 Peppermint, 3 Eucalyptus, 1 Pine (can also add 3 Frankincense).  Shake and spray.  Of course, this could easily be doubled or tripled for bigger bottles.  It’s great to have on hand during sick season.  Once again, I do things on the lighter side because of my sensitive skin and younger children.  You may be able to go heavier.  Just research it before you do. 
            I use this whenever we get colds, coughs, and stuffy noses.  When I need to use it, I shake it and spray a couple spritzes around the room, on pillows before the kids go to bed, and on the front of their pajamas so they can breathe it in while they sleep.  And when really needed, right on their chests.  Just a couple spritzes will do. 
            (If you don’t want to use the Peppermint and Eucalyptus on younger children, you could try Tea Tree, Cypress, and/or Lavender.  I forgot that pine irritates my husband, so I might replace it with Tea Tree oil.  I don’t like the way Tea Tree smells very much but it’s one of the better germ-fighters, so it’s worth having a little in it.  Also, remember that only the pine variety pinus pinaster should go on the skin, not pinus sylvestris.)  
            I might also spritz the Owie Spray at the same time when we are sick and need the germ-fighting power.  (About 2 spritzes of each on pillows and pajamas.)
            [The best thing you can do when you are sick is get rest, stay away from sugar and junky food, and drink enough liquid.  Sugar depresses the immune system so it cannot function as well.  As soon as my kids show signs of being sick, we cut out sugar and I make a soup that is filled with fresh onions and garlic, I spray one of these therapeutic sprays around the house, I put 2 drops of “Like Thieves” (recipe is farther down) in the diffuser, I rub a little of the “Like Thieves” (diluted in a carrier oil) on the bottoms of our feet, I put some drops of Elderberry Extract and Olive Leaf Extract (both from health food store) in their orange juice, and I give them some Vitamin D, some tea with honey and lemon, and lots of sleep and TLC.  This helps us start fighting off the germs naturally.] 


Owie Spray:
            This is my “go to” spray when we have owies or bug bites or feel sick.  It is mild and generally safe for most people. 
            In 2 oz. hard-plastic spritz bottle filled with filtered water, add 10-12 Lavender, 10-12 Tea Tree, 3-4 Chamomile, (can also add 3-4 Frankincense).  This is a little stronger than my 12 drops per ounce rule, but it is a pretty safe blend to use for most people.  I spray it onto pillows, pajamas, and chests when we are sick or I spritz it around the room.  You can also spray it onto rashes or bug bites.  (Just maybe not onto really broken skin or deep cuts.  I will spritz it onto scrapes and infections, though.) 
            You could also make an oil-based blend by adding 10-12 Lavender, 10-12 Tea Tree, and 3-4 Chamomile (3-4 Frankincense, optional) to 2 oz. of a carrier oil, like olive oil.  Rub on feet and body when feeling sick or on skin owies and bug bites. 

Lavender Oil:
            This is a super simple one.  Just mix 12-15 drops Lavender (can also add 5 Frankincense) per oz. of carrier oil.  (Or do half-lavender and half-tea tree oil.)  I used olive oil as a carrier oil.  Keep it handy for any sores, infections, acne, bug bites or times when you’re feeling sick and need the immune-boosting help.  Any and every suspicious-looking bite or bump or rash gets a layer of this rubbed on right away.  (And Lavender is good for sunburns, too, so you could put this on after being in the sun, along with aloe vera.)
            My husband had an infected bump on his knee (spider bite?) that was getting swollen and red and hot.  And we tried the lavender oil on it and the "Like Thieves" blend.  But the thing that really stopped the infection was a couple drops of tea tree oil (almost undiluted) rubbed on a couple times a day.  So keep tea tree oil in mind, too, as a great “go to” oil.  But I do recommend diluting it.

Everyday “Stay Healthy” Blend:
            I store this pre-mixed batch of just essential oils in a tiny glass bottle with a dropper, and then I add it to various things.  I picked oils for their germ-fighting power and for congestion/sinus issues associated with colds and flu. 
            In a small GLASS bottle with a dropper, add 160 Lavender, 160 Tea Tree Oil, 80 Chamomile, 80 Lemon, 80 Eucalyptus, (can also add 26 Frankincense).  You can use any ratio of 2 Lavender, 2 Tea Tree, and 1 each Chamomile, Lemon, and Eucalyptus to make as much of the pre-mixed blend as you want (or to add right to carrier oil or water).  And you can adjust them a bit, such as adding a little more Lemon, little less Tea Tree oil, etc. or maybe even adding some peppermint. 
            [Once again, you can take out the Eucalyptus for younger kids and replace it with something more gentle - Cypress, Pine, Patchouli, or Spearmint - depending on what age your kids are and what “health benefit” you are going for, such as “stimulate immune system” or “colds/flu,” etc.  But this spray has never bothered my kids because we don’t use a lot of it and I don’t apply it topically in large amounts.  So the Eucalyptus is well-diluted and hasn’t been a problem for us.  But I never did use it on babies, just children over 3-4 years old.] 
            I use this blend these ways:
            1.  Add about 10-15 drops of this pre-mixed essential oil per ounce of carrier oil, like olive oil.  (Use less for younger kids.)  Rub on feet or chests when someone is sick or apply regularly throughout the sick season to protect yourself from germs.  (FYI, It doesn’t smell very good, though.)  I just made a small bottle of it to send with my husband to work so he could use it throughout the day, rubbing it on his arms and hands as an anti-bacterial oil.  (Just don’t rub your eyes with your hands after using essential oil products.  It stings.  So maybe it’s best to not put it on the hands of children.)  Or add a couple drops to an essential oil diffuser when people are sick. 
            2.  I also added 12-15 drops per ounce of water to a small spritz bottle to spritz the air regularly during sick season or to spray pillows and pajamas when we are sick. 
            If you don’t want to make a bottle of pre-mixed essential oils, just add about 4 Lavender, 4 Tea Tree Oil, 2 each Chamomile, Lemon, and Eucalyptus (plus a drop of Frankincense, if desired) per ounce of carrier oil or water.  (Use a little less for younger children.)    
            (Caution: Do not use this on the face of a small child because the eucalyptus oil may cause an asthma reaction.  And do not wear lemon essential oil – or any other citrus oil - on your skin in the sun because it causes sensitivity to sunlight.)
            3.  I also make an all-purpose cleaner for my bathroom and other surfaces using this pre-mixed blend of essential oils.  The recipe is under “Other Household Products.”
           
My “Like Thieves” Blend:
            In a GLASS bottle with a dropper, add 80 Clove Bud, 70 Lavender, 40 Cinnamon Leaf, 36 Orange, 36 Lemon, 30 Eucalyptus, 30 Rosemary (can also add 10 Frankincense). 
            (Or replace Eucalyptus and Rosemary with Cypress and/or Tea Tree and/or Chamomile or other gentle oil for younger kids.  But my blend has never bothered my kids.  Although, one of my sons and I have sensitive skin, and if we rub this blend diluted in olive oil on the tops of our feet, we get a rash.  But we don’t get it on the bottoms of our feet.  So we only rub it on the bottoms of our feet.  Although, I did have Cinnamon Cassia in this recipe before I realized that it shouldn’t go on skin.  So that may have been the problem.)
            Or double or triple to make more, using any ratio of about 16 Clove Bud, 14 Lavender, 8 Cinnamon Leaf, 7 Orange, 7 Lemon, 6 Eucalyptus, 6 Rosemary, (2 Frankincense, optional).  
            If you want to know what “Thieves” or “Four Thieves Oil” is and how to use it, you can look it up on-line.  And if you want, you can purchase this essential oil blend from a source who sells it.  Or you can make this copycat “Like Thieves” blend.  "Thieves" is basically a blend of essential oils that are strong germ-fighters, supposedly the same blend used by thieves to protect themselves from bubonic plague when they robbed from the dead.  The main difference is that I added lavender because I think it is an amazing germ-fighter that should be included. 
            I consider this blend a bit stronger and “hotter” than my “Everyday ‘Stay Healthy’ Blend.”  And so I use it when we need the extra germ-fighting power.  I keep this pre-blended mix of essential oils in a glass bottle with a dropper.  And then I use it like this:
            1.  Add a couple drops to a simmer pot full of water and let the smell fill your house.  I also add spices to the water for extra scent: cloves, crushed allspice, cinnamon sticks.  It’s great for fall and winter use.  Or add one or two drops to an essential oil diffuser regularly throughout the day.  I don’t use regular candles (except soy candles with essential oils) or air fresheners anymore because of the chemicals.  And after going “green,” they do not smell good to me anymore.  They smell like a pile of toxic chemicals.  But a couple drops of essential oil and/or dried spices in a simmer pot smell real and fresh and wonderful.  Go for real and safe, not fake and toxic.  
            2.  Add 12 drops per ounce of carrier oil.  I have a 3 oz. squirt bottle of olive oil to which I added 36 drops.  Rub a little on bottom of feet when you are feeling under the weather.  I haven’t yet used this on my upper body because I am sensitive to products, and I don’t yet know if this is too strong for more delicate skin.  This stuff smells pretty good during the cold months, because of the cinnamon and cloves.  Smells like the holidays.  (If you don’t want to mix a “pre-blended” batch of essential oils first, just add 8 Clove Bud, 7 Lavender, 4 Lemon, 4 Orange, 4 Cinnamon Leaf, 3-4 Rosemary, and 3-4 Eucalyptus, (optional 1 Frankincense) to 3 oz. of carrier oil.)
            3.  To a 2 oz. hard-plastic spritz bottle full of water, add 24-30 drops.  Shake and spritz a couple times around rooms or on pillows and pajamas when people are getting sick.  I would do no more than 1-2 spritzes by people’s faces.  (Or if you don’t have the pre-blended stuff, add 7 Clove Bud, 5 Lavender, 3 Lemon, 3 Orange, 3 Cinnamon Leaf, 3 Eucalyptus, 3 Rosemary, (optional 1 Frankincense) to 2 oz. water.)   
            4.  We had a really smelly sink drain recently.  And I had done all I could to clean it, sending baking soda and vinegar down the drain and scraping off the sides of the drain pipe with a wooden skewer, etc.  But nothing worked.  I didn’t have time yet to take apart the pipe under the sink to clean it out, so I partly filled the sink with water, added several drops of Like Thieves, swished it around with a cup-scrubbing brush, and opened up the drain with a utensil (because I didn’t want to stick my bare hands in it and get the Thieves oil all over me), and I let it drain out.  That alone took care of the gross, musty smell, and I haven’t had to take the pipes apart yet to clean it.  Put some drops in some water and pour down smelly drains or put a drops a few drops in the toilet and swish it around.  
            5.  The Hippy Homemaker has a recipe for a kid-friendly Thieves blend (for children over 2 years old) which uses 20 Cinnamon Leaf, 20 Clove, 20 Orange, 15 Lavender, 10 Cypress, 10 Frankincense.  Google it to see her recipe.  

My Fall Spray:
            For keeping yourself healthy and for a great fall/winter scent:
            For 2 oz. of water in a spritz bottle, add 16 Orange, 3-5 Nutmeg, 3-5 Cinnamon Cassia or Leaf, (optional 5 Frankincense).  Spritz around the room.  I do not use this on skin because the nutmeg and cinnamon are potent and my skin is delicate, but this is perfect in the air.

Spicy Hand-Sanitizer Gel:
            For people over age 6:
            In a bottle you can shake, add 1/4 - 1/2 teaspoon Glycerin and 4 oz. of the purest Aloe Vera Gel you can find.  The add 4 Orange, 4 Lemon, 4 Lavender, 1 Clove, 1 Frankincense, and 1-2 drops Cinnamon Leaf.  (I also added 10 drops Vanilla essential oil to sweeten the scent.  And 1 drop Rosemary, but this shouldn't be used on kids under 10.)  Then shake it well until it reduces to about 3 oz. and store it in a small squeeze bottle.  (I bought a bottle of travel-sized hand-sanitizer, and then just dumped the sanitizer in the trash and reused the bottle.)  If there is no preservative in your Aloe base, you may want to add a touch of vitamin E.
            [For a gentler blend for younger children (6 months to 6 years old), I might just do 1 drop Lavender per ounce of Aloe Vera Gel base, before it's shaken up.  This is probably the safest route to go.]

Wart Remover:
            My teenage son has two toes covered in huge planter warts.  But before we take him to the foot doctor (and get a nice, huge fee for just visiting), we are trying essential oils first.  I mixed a tablespoon of olive oil, 4 Lemon, 4 Oregano, 4 Frankincense, and I dab it on once a day.  Actually, I was going to dab it on twice a day, but I keep forgetting.  And I don't do it everyday, but more like 4 days a week.  But even with doing just this little amount over the past couple months, they are now about three-quarters gone.  If I had been doing it like I wanted to, I bet they would be gone by now.  (Consider the safety of these oils at this concentration for the person you are using it on.  You may want to dilute it more.)  
            I also made a different blend for "Warts, Moles, and various fungal infections."  It's still an experiment on moles, but I read that essential oils can help destroy them.  So we will give it a try.  This one is not as strong as the first one since I am putting it on children.  It's 1 oz. carrier oil, 3 drops each Lavender, Tea Tree, Oregano, Frankincense, and Lemon.  (DO NOT wear lemon oil on skin that will be in the sun!)                     

Bathroom Spray:
            For spraying in the bathroom or for when company is coming.
            In 2 oz. of water, add 25 Spearmint and 5 Orange.  To me, this smells like Juicy Fruit gum.  You could also spray some on a tissue and store out-of-sight in the bathroom for a little longer lasting scent.  (Or add a couple drops Spearmint and a drop of Orange directly onto a tissue or in a little glass dish of water or oil and let it sit out.)


PERFUME SPRAYS AND OILS:
            This is the fun part of essential oils.  Especially if you are like me and do not like strong, store-bought perfumes.  I find these lighter essential oil blends to be much more pleasant.
            Most homemade perfume sprays call for vodka or other such alcohol to dilute the essential oils.  I simply use water in a little, hard-plastic spray bottle because it’s what I have on hand.  You just have to be sure to shake well before spritzing it on because the oil and water separate.  (And don’t use the really flexible plastic bottles because the essential oils will float on top of the water and will eat away the plastic.  Use hard plastic ones, like iGo plastic travel bottles from Wal-mart.)
            You can take just about any essential oils you like (check for safety precautions for each kind you want to use), blend them, and dilute them with oil or water to make a “lotion” or body spray.  (I prefer to spritz my hair and clothes, not my skin.) 
            For a perfume spray, I try to use no more than 12-20 drops of essential oils per ounce of water for a spray.  It makes a lighter smell, but you just spritz on a little more.  And for a perfume oil that you dab on, I try to limit it to around 10-12 drops of essential oil per 1 oz. of carrier oil.
            If you want to make a larger amount of body oil instead of a small bit of perfume oil, use less essential oil per ounce of carrier oil because you will be rubbing on more than just a dab.  Maybe start with 5-6 drops per ounce for body lotion and then add more if it’s too light.  (And remember that some oils come pre-diluted in jojoba, so you might be able to use a little more of those.)
            Look up websites about making “homemade perfume with essential oils” to find some great ideas.  As a general rule, you could start with 3 drops of a top note essential oil, 2 drops middle, and 1 drop base.  Or I also read that you could do 3 drops top note, 5 drops middle note, and 2 drops base note.  It will take some experimenting to find a blend you like.  Just start with one drop at a time.  Sometimes, one drop is all you need of a certain essential oil to get the right blend.  So work drop by drop till you find a blend you like.  (And always write down what you do as you go.  If you end up with a scent you really like, you are going to want to be able to duplicate it.)  
            If I am not sure how two essential oils will smell together, I open the bottles and set them on a table and then wave the air up to my nose to get an idea of how they smell together.  You can also hold one closer and one farther if you are not sure of which one to use more of and which to use less of.
            Here is an idea of which oils fall under which notes:
            1.  Top Notes, the first scent you smell and the first to fade (includes citruses, mints, and greens): Anise, Basil, Bay Laurel, Bergamot, Eucalyptus, Grapefruit, Lavender, Lemon, Lemongrass, Lime, Orange, Mints, Tangerine
            2.  Middle Notes (includes spices, florals, and pine-scents): Bay, Chamomile, Cinnamon, Clove, Cypress, Fennel, Geranium, Jasmine, Neroli, Nutmeg, Palmarosa, Pepper, Pine, Rose, Rose Geranium, Rosemary, Rosewood, Tea Tree, Ylang Ylang
            3.  Base Notes, less noticeable than the other notes but lasts longest (includes resins and woods):  Cardamom, Cedarwood, Frankincense, Myrrh, Patchouli, Sandalwood, Vanilla, Vetiver

            I make a water-based spray and a solid- or liquid-scented oil of each of my favorite perfume blends so that I can layer the scents on.  I spray the sprays on my hair and clothes, instead of on my skin.  But I dab the oils on my wrists and forearms.  These homemade perfumes are really mild compared to overwhelming store-bought perfumes, so the layering makes the scents last longer.  And I happen to like the mildness of it.  I would rather have people catch a whiff every now and think, Hey, that smells good.  Where is it coming from? then to wear a perfume that screams, “HEY, HERE I AM . . . A CLOUD OF CHEMICALS!  YOU COULDN’T IGNORE ME IF YOU TRIED!” 
            All of my sprays are kept in 2 oz. hard-plastic spritz bottles.  I fill them with filtered water and then add the drops of essential oils right to the bottle.  And the scented oil is kept in little 1 oz. pots if I use coconut oil that hardens.  Or if I use sunflower oil, I keep them in little squeeze bottles.    
            If you use coconut oil, melt the coconut oil before adding the essential oils.  I simply put a couple spoonfuls of coconut oil into a glass dish and rest that dish in a pan of hot water to melt it gently.  I like that it hardens in my cool closet.  I just scrape a little off with my fingernail and rub it on my arms.  (Don’t worry, the smell of coconut fades fast.) 
            You can also make a solid perfume by adding a little grated beeswax to a gently heated liquid-y oil.  (Roughly equal parts, or maybe a little less beeswax and a little more oil if you want a softer blend.)  Stir till it melts, cool slightly, then add your essential oils.  Pour into a dish and let harden. 
            These are the blends that I enjoy, but feel free to make adjustments.  Look up websites that give you ideas of which oils work well with which and how many drops of essential oil to use per oz. of carrier oil or water. 
            I recommend only making one blend at a time when you are experimenting.  After a few minutes of smelling all the oils, you start to lose all perspective and the ability to pick out smells anymore.  You can’t gauge how things are turning out.  (Unless it’s the lack of ventilation that’s causing that.  Maybe I should open more windows?)  Anyway, just go for one or two blends at a time.  Plus, there is power even in the smell, and too much can be overwhelming to your senses.  I have noticed that when I bring out all my oils for too long, my ears and the back of my head and neck start to feel really hot.  Maybe I’m allergic to one or more of them, or maybe it’s just too much for my senses all at once.  Be careful, and don’t go overboard.

Sweet and Romantic Floral Blend:
            Spray: 4 oz. water, 12-24 Rose, 16 Vanilla, 12-20 Jasmine, 1-2 Cardamom or Sandalwood (or do half the oils in 2 oz. water) 
            You can skip the Cardamom if you want a really sweet smell, but I wanted to cut the sweetness a bit so I added it. 
            Oil: 2 oz. carrier oil, 6-12 Rose, 8 Vanilla, 6-10 Jasmine, 1 Cardamom or Sandalwood  (I went a little heavier on these essential oils because most are already pre-diluted in jojoba oil)
            This one reminds me of lilac for some reason.  However, I’m writing this in fall when spring lilacs are long gone.  So my perspective is a bit off.  I’m sure if I smelled this right next to real lilacs, I’d be like, “They’re totally different.  What was I thinking?”  But it’s that kind of rich, floral sweetness, so save it for romantic nights or special occasions.
            (You could also do a Just Rose or Just Jasmine or Just Ylang Ylang perfume.  Simply add about 12-20 drops of Rose or Jasmine or Ylang Ylang per oz. of carrier oil or water.)
 
Ylang Ylang Citrus:
            I’m still not so sure about this one.  I like it, but I may have to tweak it a bit.  Can’t figure out how yet, though.  But here it is if you want to try (start on the low end and go up):
            Spray: 2 oz. water, 20-40 Vanilla, 8-12 Ylang Ylang, 6-10 Lemon, 4-8 Grapefruit, 2-4 Lime, 2-4 Sandalwood (Start with less of each and add more of whichever one you want to be the dominant scent.)
            Oil: 1 oz. carrier oil, 20 Vanilla, 4-6 Ylang Ylang, 3-5 Lemon, 2-4 Grapefruit, 1-2 Lime, 1-2 Sandalwood      

Citrus Delight Perfume:
            One of my all-time favorites.  It smells fruity, fresh, summer-y, and young.  This essential oil blend from Wydmere would also make a great room spray.  Or put some drops into a simmer pot filled with water or into some unscented liquid hand/dish soap or put two drops in a diffuser.  It smells fantastic.
            Spray: 2 oz. water, 30 drops Wyndmere Citrus Delight Blend
            Oil: 1 oz. carrier oil, 10-15 drops Citrus Delight

Light Vanilla Spice for Men:
            Spray: 2 oz. water, 30 Vanilla, 10 Sandalwood, 6 Orange, 2-4 Cardamom or Sandalwood or Cedarwood (or 1-2 drops Clove or Cinnamon)
            Oil: 1 oz. carrier oil, 15 Vanilla, 5 Sandalwood, 3 Orange, 1-2 Cardamom or Sandalwood or Cedarwood (or a drop of Clove or Cinnamon) 
            Once again, most of these are already pre-diluted, so I could add a little more than my 12 drops per ounce rule.  This one smells more sweet-spice-like, whereas the next one is more fruity-sweet.
 
Jason’s “Make My Wife Swoon” Sandalwood Blend:
            (I made this slightly sweet, slightly spicy, slightly wood-like smell for my husband.  It smells so yummy that it could be used as a room spray or as a woman’s perfume when you don’t want a floral smell.  My husband said it smelled like Froot Loops.  And now that’s all I can think of when I smell it.  Makes me want to nibble on his arm.)
            Spray: 2 oz. water, 14 Sandalwood, 10 Orange, 10 Cedarwood, 3 Lemongrass, 2 Clove
            Oil:  Same recipe but substitute 2 oz. carrier oil for the water.  I did coconut oil which works okay here, but a less-scented carrier oil would probably be better.

Sweet Lumberjack:
            A men's scent that smells like a fruity walk among fresh-cut wood.  
            Spray or Oil: 2 oz. water or carrier oil, 10 Cedarwood, 5 Orange, 5 Vanilla, 3 Sandalwood, 1 Lime  

California Dude:
            When I first spray this, it smells like fruit and cinnamon.  But then it smells bubble-gummy.  Strange, but pleasant.  I have never been to California, but this smells like fun and sun and chilling out.  It makes me think of laying on a beach with the sweet air blowing over you.
            Spray or oil: 2 oz. water or carrier oil, 10 Sandalwood, 7 Orange, 5 Vanilla, 3 Cedarwood, 2-3 Cypress   

 
Mix and Match Scents:
            I really like making these individual sprays because I can wear them alone or mix and match the scents.  I might spray on both Rose and Jasmine one day.  And then Jasmine and Sandalwood the next day.  Or Rose and Vanilla Citrus.  They are light-smelling and fun to blend in different ways.

Jasmine Vanilla or Rose Vanilla or Ylang Ylang Vanilla:  (lightly sweet with a hint of floral)
            Spray: 2 oz. water, 20-40 Vanilla, 8-12 Jasmine or 8-10 Rose or a few drops Ylang Ylang.  I did one with 10 Jasmine and one with 10 Rose and one with 2 Ylang Ylang because I like just a hint of floral scent.  You can also add a teaspoon or so of pure vanilla extract to pump up the vanilla scent.  (Or omit the vanilla extract and vanilla essential oil altogether, if you prefer just the floral scents.)  I use the spray on my hair and clothes. 
            Oil: 1 oz. carrier oil, 10-20 Vanilla, 4-6 drops of Flower of choice (or a little more, if you prefer)  
            The oil has more than my 12 drops per ounce rule because the vanilla is already pre-diluted enough to be used right on the skin.  You could also substitute a drop or two of citrus essential oil for some of the floral essential oil if it is too floral for you.  Lemon, grapefruit, lime, orange, and lemongrass all work well.  I particularly like lemon and lime.  You could also add a drop or two of Sandalwood. 
 
Just Vanilla:
            I am a huge fan of vanilla.  And this makes a perfectly light vanilla scent, more gentle and pleasant than sickeningly-sweet, store-bought lotions.  In a pinch, you could also add a spoonful of pure vanilla extract to a little water and put that in a spritz bottle.  Then just spray your hair and clothes for a light vanilla scent.  (But just a warning, I once did this with almond extract and sprayed it right on my skin, and I broke out in the worst, nearly full-body, deep-in-the-skin, hot, itchy, bumpy, allergic-reaction rash ever.  From just a few sprays.  I had to slather myself in coconut oil for the night - and the rash was gone by morning – but I’ll never use almond extract again.  I never had this problem with the vanilla extract.) 
            Spray: 2 oz. water, 30-50 Vanilla.  I also added a teaspoon or so of pure vanilla extract to give it more vanilla smell.  I spritz this on my hair and clothes.
            Oil: I just use the vanilla essential oil right out of the bottle because the one I bought is pre-diluted.  I just dab a few drops on and rub in.  Smells better than any blend I made with it.  But you could thin it out with an ounce of carrier oil, adding maybe 25 drops or so of vanilla oil. 
            If the vanilla is too plain for you, you could also add 1-2 drops of other essential oil per ounce of water or carrier oil.  Try one or two of these: orange, lemon, lime, lemongrass, lavender, jasmine, ylang ylang, rose, or maybe a spice one like cinnamon, nutmeg or clove.

Vanilla Citrus
            To each ounce of Just Vanilla base, add 1 Lemongrass, 1 Lime.  Smells young and sweetly fresh.  And it blends nicely with one of the Floral Vanilla ones above.  (I really like this blend to wear alone: 2 oz. water, 30-40 Vanilla, 3-5 Grapefruit, 3-5 Lime, 3-5 Lemon, 1-2 Lemongrass.)  

Just Cedarwood or Sandalwood
            Per ounce of water or oil, add 4-10 drops of Cedarwood or Sandalwood.  If you mix and match one of these with a Floral Vanilla, it helps cut the sweetness a bit and adds another layer of scent.  (Or add some Orange to the Sandalwood or Cedarwood.  I hear these smell great together.)

            I also have to give a “shout out” to Valentina’s Home-Brewed Perfume Oil.  Our local health food store just started stocking these, and they are wonderful.  I particularly enjoy the Sweet Dreams one (with jasmine, sandalwood, and vanilla) and the True Love one (with Cardamom, Chocolate, and Rose).  There is also one with orange, cedarwood, and lavender that smells great, but they were out of that one at the time.  These also come in a spray, so, of course, I bought both the spray and oil so I could layer them.     
           


OTHER HOUSEHOLD PRODUCTS:

Lightly Citrus Body Oil:
            Mix 8-12 oz. carrier oil of choice, 30 Vanilla, 30 Orange, 8-12 Grapefruit, 4-6 Lime, and 3 Cedarwood or Sandalwood or Cardamom.  (Or you can opt to use just the vanilla and orange.  Just use a touch more of each until you find the strength you like.)  Rub on to stay silky smooth.  Research carrier oils to see which would work best for your skin.  
            Remember not to wear citrus oils on skin that will be exposed to the sun.  It will cause staining and make your skin more sensitive to light.

Lavender Deodorant:
            Mix 3 Tablespoons each of coconut oil (softened), baking soda, and aluminum-free cornstarch.  Add 10 drops Lavender.  [You can add more if you want more scent.  I just wanted a tiny bit of scent.  Plus the lavender oil kills germs.  Or try Tea Tree for a less-floral scent.  Or any of the other "deodorant" essential oils in the list near the beginning of this post.  I also made one with about 1/2 cup of creamy base (cornstarch, coconut oil, baking soda) and 10 Lavender, 10 Orange, 10 Tea Tree, and 4 Patchouli.  I make this for my sons, but I use it too.]  Let it harden in a covered dish.  To use, just scrape a little out with your finger and rub it in. 
            Ever since having kids – 4 boys – I feel like deodorants stopped working and like I smell like a man.  (No offense to men!  But I blame all the boy-hormones from when I was pregnant.)  And this is the only product that seems to work at all for the longest.  I even gardened all day in the heat and I still smelled completely acceptable.  (Or so I think!)
            However, for some reason, I started reacting to coconut oil and I had to stop using this recently.  I could probably try to find a different oil to use instead of coconut oil, but what I am doing instead for now is this: I wash my armpits then rub in a drop or two of pre-diluted Vanilla Essential Oil.  Then I rub on a little of my husband’s homemade powder deodorant, which is a dry blend of baking soda, cornstarch, and a little Tea Tree Oil.  It works better than the store-bought, natural deodorants.  Those do not work at all for me or my sons.
 
Ultra-Rich Rose Face or Body Cream:
(Good for my dry, sensitive skin, but it is a little greasy.  So you may want to use a lighter oil.  I chose essential oils that are good for aging, dry, sensitive skin and that have skin-regeneration properties.)
            Lightly warm 2 Tbl shea butter till melted (I put it in a dish resting in hot water till melted).  Then add 8 Tbl avocado oil, 1 T glycerin, scant ¼ tsp honey, and 12 drops Vanilla Essential Oil, 12 Rose Essential Oil, 4 Frankincense, and 4 Myrrh.  Stir occasionally till cooled.  This can be a little thick so it's best to store it in a small dish instead of a squirt bottle.  It smells great and is good for using on your face at night or on your body anytime, especially after a shower to lock in moisture.  (I am thinking of adding some Palmarosa or Neroli essential oil because these are good for aging skin, too.)

Super-Gentle, Soap-Free, Honey Facial Scrub (for body, too):
            My skin is way too delicate and sensitive for any face scrub or regular soap.  So I made this one to clean it and nourish it, without damaging it.  And as a bonus, it leaves a layer of moisture after rinsing it off, which I desperately need.  If you don't want it to leave a creamy layer on your face, leave out the shea butter.  Measurements are not exact.  Adjust as you like.  Blend 2 Tbl honey, up to 2 tsp sugar (depending on how abrasive you want it), tiny dash salt, 1-2 tsp avocado oil (I did 2), 1-2 tsp glycerin (I did 2), up to 1 tsp melted shea butter, 6 drops Rose, 6 drops Vanilla, 2 Frankincense, 2 Myrrh.  (I also once did 4 drops Rose essential oil, 4 Chamomile, 4 Frankincense, 4 Myrrh, and 4 Lavender.  I didn't like the smell as much, but Lavender and Chamomile are excellent for your skin.)  Just scoop a little up, maybe add a couple drops of water, massage around face, and rinse off.  But be careful not to get these essential oils in your eyes when you are rinsing it off.  (If you want a bar soap version of this, try the "Ultra-Rich Vanilla Rose" hand-milled recipe farther down.  It's my favorite.  You know, I suspect we could probably just use honey to wash our faces and it would be good enough.  I may have to try that someday.)

Honey Shampoo or Body Wash:
            I am testing this out, but it seems more gentle on my dry scalp than straight shampoo.  To my regular shampoo or to castile soap (I like Dr. Bronner's almond-scented castile soap), I add about as much honey as there is shampoo, a small bit (about a teaspoon of each per 4 oz. of honey/shampoo) of glycerin and avocado oil, and a few drops essential oil that is good for hair and scalp.  Right now I am trying Rosemary.  Next I will do Rose, Vanilla, Frankincense, and Myrrh because that's one of my favorite blends (2 oz. honey, 2 oz. castile soap, 1 tsp avocado oil, 1 tsp glycerin, 6 Rose, 6 Vanilla, 4 Frankincense, 4 Myrrh).  (But you can also try Lavender, Tea Tree Oil, Neroli, Jasmine, Chamomile, Bay, or research others that are good for hair care.  And research if they are shampoo-stable or if they break down in shampoo.  I haven't really done that with this list, so check for yourself.)  Store in a small squirt bottle and use like regular shampoo, just leave it on for a few moments before rinsing.  It suds up less but leaves your hair feeling more conditioned.  But be careful the amount of avocado oil and glycerin you use.  Too much and it will leave it greasy.    

Foot Warming Blend:
            This is to help increase your circulation.  Sometimes I don't feel any heat and sometimes my feet get hot after 10 minutes.  But used over time, this is supposed to help improve circulation.  It’s still new to me, though.  (It might also be good for aching muscles, too, or for rubbing on your feet when you have a cold or the flu.)
            In 2 oz of a carrier oil, blend 8 Rosemary, 6 Pine, 4 Ginger, 4 Bay, 1 Nutmeg, 1 Clove.  (Or maybe try 8 Rosemary, 5 Ginger, 5 Bay, 3 Lemon, 2 Pine, 1 Cinnamon Leaf, 1 Nutmeg or Clove.)  Then just rub on your feet and toes and put on socks.

Coconut Oil Toothpaste:
            In a small dish, mix 4 Tablespoons coconut oil, 1 Tablespoon baking soda, 1-2 teaspoons honey (or use a sprinkle of xylitol or stevia, if you prefer, but honey is a natural germ-fighter), and 10-20 drops Peppermint Essential Oil.  Store in small dish and scoop out as needed.  Or transfer to a small squeeze bottle that has a flat cap to stand upright so that the toothpaste stays near the hole.  But you may have to remove the cap to squeeze it out the bigger hole if it’s too thick to squeeze out the cap hole.  (This will turn liquidy in summer and the baking soda will sink.  I haven’t yet figured out how to store it for summer.  Maybe keep it in a cool closet?  Switch to regular toothpaste until it gets cooler out?) 
            This is still new to me.  I have only been using it a couple weeks.  But I can already say that when I floss, my gums don’t bleed as much as they used to.  (I’ve had bleeding gums when I floss between two certain teeth ever since getting dental work done years ago, by a rather unscrupulous dentist.)  And it really makes your teeth feel smooth, even when you wake up the next morning.  It’s just very “salty” tasting.  And that takes a little getting used to, if that’s possible.  I have just started to add a dab of Toms’ of Main peppermint toothpaste (fluoride-free) to my toothbrush along with the homemade stuff, just to get a more minty taste.
            Helpful hints: Don’t wet the toothbrush before brushing or the toothpaste turns to nothing.  And spit it in the garbage because the coconut oil will harden in your sink and make it slick.  And rinse your toothbrush with hot water because the coconut oil gets solid in cold water and sticks to your bristles.  (Is it worth all the trouble?  I'm still not sure.  Maybe it would be better to just add a little baking soda to your normal toothpaste and then to just swish with a little coconut oil after brushing.)

Hand-Milled Soaps, Just for Fun
            I decided to experiment with adding oils and moisturizers to a soap base because my skin is so dry and sensitive.  I am still experimenting, but these are ones I have done so far. 
            Grate 2 bars of soap base.  (You can use a melt-and-pour base which doesn't require the addition of hot water.  But I like Trader Joe's Oatmeal & Honey Soap for the price and the smell and the minimal ingredients.  But it won't melt without the extra hot water.).  Add about ½ cup almost-boiling water and stir over low heat till creamy (or leave it a little unblended for variation in texture).  Then turn off the heat and add the other ingredients (except the essential oils) from one of the following recipes.  Cool slightly and add the essential oils.  (Heat damages these oils, which is why you do not add them till it is slightly cooled.)  Then when cool enough to handle, roll into several balls with oiled hands (olive oil is good) or press into an olive-oiled mold like a soap mold or a muffin pan.  Let it cool and harden for a few hours or more.  Then have fun using them or giving them as gifts!  Or experiment with other additives or essential oils!  The possibilities are endless.  These suds up less because of the oils and glycerin, but they condition and moisturize better.
            For Vanilla Rose:  Add to the hot soap base: 1 tsp cocoa butter, 2 tsp shea butter, 2 tsp honey.  Cool slightly and add 8 drops Vanilla essential oil, 8 Rose, 4 Myrrh, 2 Frankincense.
            For Ultra-Rich Vanilla Rose (my favorite):  Add to hot soap base: 4 tsp avocado oil, 4 tsp honey, 2 tsp glycerin, 2 tsp shea butter.  Cool slightly and add 12 Rose, 12 Vanilla, 6 Myrrh, 4 Frankincense.
            For Cinnamon Orange: Add to base: 2 tsp olive oil, 2 tsp honey.  Cool slightly and add 15-20 drops Orange, 6-8 Cinnamon Leaf.
            For Chocolate Mint:  Add to base: about ¾ Tbl crushed peppermint, 1 ½ Tbl cocoa powder, 4 tsp olive oil.  Cool slightly and add 10 drops Peppermint essential oil.

Laundry Soap:
            In a few cups of hot water, dissolve 1/3 cup baking soda and 1/3 cup washing soda, then add 1/3 cup liquid castile soap (I use Dr. Bronner’s).  Pour it into a gallon container and fill to the top with water.  When you use it, shake gently and add 1/3 cup to the wash.  Also add about ½ cup vinegar to the fabric softener cup.  Then when you put clothes in the dryer, add a couple drops of favorite essential oil (I like Orange) to a rag and toss with the clothes.  (I’ve heard you can add a couple drops essential oil right to the wash water or to the detergent.  But I’ve also heard essential oil can eat the fabric, so I just add it to a rag in the dryer to be safe.) 
            The great thing about washing clothes this way is the smell . . . it smells like nothing.  None of that heavy, perfume-y smell that comes with regular laundry detergent, fabric softener, and toxic dryer sheets.  Your clothes get clean, but a fresh, pure kind of clean.  Great for people who are sensitive to chemicals and easily overwhelmed with strong smells.
            (Did you know that if you buy only natural-fiber clothing there is no static cling?  The artificial fibers create the static.  And they are not good for us.  It’s basically just wearing plastic, and it surrounds you with harmful positive ions instead of beneficial negative ions.  From what I’ve read.)   

All-Purpose Soap Cleaner
            Fill a large spray bottle (30 oz.) with water.  Add a ¼ cup or so of liquid castile soap (I use Dr. Bronner’s) and 30-40 drops of the “Everyday ‘Stay Healthy’ Blend” and 10 drops Orange Essential Oil.  If you don’t have the pre-mixed “Stay Healthy” blend of essential oils, then add 10 Tea Tree, 10 Lavender, 5 Chamomile, 5 Lemon, 5 Eucalyptus, and then the 10 Orange.
            Spray surfaces and wipe or scrub.  Follow with the “All-Purpose Disinfectant Cleaner,” if desired.  I use this method on bathroom surfaces. 
            For heavier cleaning jobs, like the inside of the bathroom sink or tub, spray it with the cleaner, add a sprinkle of baking soda, and then scrub.  Follow with the Disinfectant Cleaner.

All-Purpose Disinfectant Cleaner
            Fill a 30 oz. spray bottle with half water and half white vinegar.  And then add the same amount of essential oils as listed above.  This is good for wiping down mirrors, bathrooms, and counters, and as a follow up for the Soap Cleaner above.
            To clean the inside of the toilet, add a shot of Dr. Bronner’s and a sprinkle of baking soda right into the toilet bowl, and scrub with the toilet brush.  (Can also add a drop of two of a germ-fighting essential oil, such as Tea Tree oil or Lemon.)  Flush.  And then spray with the Disinfectant Cleaner, swish it around and let it sit.  

Scalp Spray and Oil:
            Okay, I hate to admit this, but I have a chronically dry scalp.  It’s like dandruff, but not.  I don’t know if it’s age or psoriasis or eczema or a vitamin deficiency or an allergy or from using chlorinated water to shower.  Or what!  But it has bothered me for years, and lately my hair seems to be getting thinner (Ugh!).  So I made this Scalp Oil and Spray with the essential oils that are supposed to be good for scalp care and hair growth.  I just started using it, so we’ll see how it works.  But I’m desperate to try something, anything.  Anything, that is, except chemically-laden hair products.  I’m not that desperate. 
            Scalp Spray: In a 2 oz. spritz bottle, add 2 oz. water and 4 drops each of Lavender, Chamomile, Tea Tree Oil, Rosemary, Peppermint, Lemon, and Ylang Ylang (optional).  (Or use up to 28 drops of any combo of those oils, particularly the Lavender and Rosemary.  I may try just Lavender, Rosemary, and Chamomile next time.)  Then just part your hair, shake bottle, and spritz along the scalp line.  Do this in sections around your head and rub in and around with fingers.  It can stay on all day, and you can go out in public just fine.  It’s not greasy, just a little wet-looking at first, depending on how much you use.  (You may want to research which oils are best for dry or oily hair first, to make a blend more suited to you.) 
            Scalp Oil:  Same recipe above but use 2 oz. carrier oil.  Be warned, though, that this stuff seems to stick around even after shampooing well.  It may take a couple shampoos to get it out.  I prefer the spray because it’s not greasy, but I need the oil occasionally when my scalp gets really dry and flaky. 

Eczema Coconut and Honey Treatment:
            My son and I have an allergy to nickel, and it can give us eczema rashes.  And we occasionally get seasonal flare-ups of it, too.  (Mine is right on my neck, which itches like mad every time I turn my head.  And every one can see it, too.  There’s no hiding it.  Just great!)  The key to eczema is “No Scratching” and always keep it lotioned or oiled. 
            The only thing I use on an eczema rash is coconut oil [see the update below] and, if it’s really itchy, honey.  Honey relieves the itch quickly but it’s very sticky, obviously.  But it does work when nothing else will stop the insane itching.  Just rinse it off well after a time.  (No scrubbing.  And pat dry only.)  Follow with coconut oil. 
            Coconut oil seems to be the only oil I can tolerate on it.  (I once tried a Vitamin E oil which had soybean oil in it, and that gave me the worst, oozing, bright red rash ever.  All over my neck!)  I just slather on coconut oil about 2-3 times a day, particularly before bed, and do my best not to itch it.  And it goes away quick enough.  (I hate eczema.) 
            When desperate, we have also used Aquaphor (I think that’s how it’s spelled).  That helps, too.  But I think it is a petroleum product, and I try not to use those at all.  For anyone who suffers from eczema, you have my sympathy!
            I also made a little pot of Eczema Cream with the essential oils that are anti-inflammatory and good for eczema.  It helped heal a rash I had on my neck within two days, before it had a chance to flare up really bad.  (It can also be used for sores of all kinds.  It’s really gentle.) 
            Eczema Cream: 1 oz. Coconut Oil, 3-5 Lavender, 3-5 Chamomile.  (I did 4 of each.  You could also substitute in a little geranium oil, because that’s supposed to be good for eczema, too.  But I hate the smell so I don’t use it.)  
            Before I made this, I did try spritzing my neck once with a little Owie Spray and slathered it in coconut oil before going to bed.  But be warned that it did itch terribly bad right after spraying it on.  I thought for sure that I made it angry and worse.  But I did my best not to scratch it and eventually the itching stopped, and it looked better and more healed in the morning.  (This may itch too bad for children.  You may just want to use the coconut oil and honey for them.)    
            Also, I used coconut oil on that real bad allergy rash from the almond extract.  It took away the itching and the inflammation overnight.  You have to have coconut oil at home.  You can use it for everything!  Even eating! 
            [Update:  I have recently started reacting to Coconut oil.  It makes me skin rash-y, itchy, and irritated.  So I stopped using it on large areas or on irritated skin.  Instead, I use only pure shea butter.  It takes care of the itch and the irritation better than anything, but it is very thick.  But I like it, especially since my skin is very dry.]

Natural Sun Protection:
            After researching sunscreens, I believe that they are aging, cell-damaging, and cancer-causing.  So we do not use them anymore.  But from what I’ve read, coconut oil, olive oil, and (I think) sesame oil have the ability to block some of the sun’s harmful rays.  (It is especially helpful to eat these oils regularly for healthy cells and for protection from the inside out.)  
            For the most part, we try to stay covered with hats in the bright sun or to stay out of direct, hot sun in the hottest summer months.  But when we need some extra protection on our skin, we slather on a little coconut and/or olive oil.  I know this seems counter-intuitive, because it feels like adding sun-tanning oil, but it is what we use.  And it works well enough.  Although if you are in the pool for hours in direct sun, you will still burn.  Be careful about those times.  And if you do burn, apply aloe directly from the plant.  We always have an aloe plant at home and we take a leaf or two with us on vacation.  Lavender is also supposed to be good for burns, so you could try adding a little Lavender oil diluted in olive oil to help speed healing.
            (And if you eat a healthy diet, your skin will have a better natural ability to protect itself from sun damage.)
           
Bee Stings:
            I once got the worst sting ever right in a tendon by my toe.  I’m not a cry-baby, but it hurt worse than almost anything.  (And I had one c-section and three drug-free homebirths!)  I tried all the home remedies I could think of: vinegar, baking soda, meat tenderizer, salt to draw out toxins, cornstarch.  Nothing worked, until I tried honey.  (I also added coconut oil, but I think it was the honey that did it, if I remember correctly.)  As soon as I put it on, the stinging stopped and I was able to stop rolling around on the floor in pain.  Also, there are essential oils - such as lavender - that are good for stings, too.  You can research that and give them a try with the honey.  Diluted, of course.  Also, recently I got a sting and applied a chewed-up leaf (I chewed it up) from the broad-leaf plantain plant.  And it didn't swell.  Research this plant and its "drawing out" properties.) 

Ant Bait:
            We occasionally get ants in our 90-year old house.  And when we do, I just make up a little paste of borax and honey, about equal parts.  I put it on a little tin foil or wax paper, and place it near the ants.  They eat it and bring it back to the colony, and they all die because they cannot digest the borax.  (You may have to add a few drops water to help the borax dissolve.) 
            We once had giant carpenter ants in our cabinet.  And when I opened the door, a couple dozen ants went running in all directions.  Freaked me out!  And so I made up this mix, put it in the cabinet and shut the door.  When I checked on it a couple hours later, there were like 30 ants feasting on it.  I could hear their feet running across the foil.  They were that big.  (It made me want to gag so bad.) 
            The hardest thing I have ever done (besides birthing four children and finding meals that no one complains about) was to close the cabinet door and let them be.  I so wanted to just throw a wet towel on the whole mess of them and start squashing.  But I knew that they would never get that toxic stuff back to the colony then, and there would eventually be more of them.  So I let them eat.  And the next day there were a lot less.  And the next day they were gone.  I could even see some of them twitching uncontrollably, as though they were in the throes of death.  A few returned about a week later, so I made up another honey/borax batch.  But after that, I never saw them again.  This stuff works!  At least it did for me.  And it’s so easy to make.

Mosquito Spray
            In a 6 oz. spray bottle, I add 5 oz Water, 1 oz Witch Hazel, 1 teaspoon Olive Oil, 10 drops Spearmint essential oil, 10 drops Orange or Lemon or the "Citrus Delight" essential oil blend from Wyndmere, 3 drops each Lavender, Tea Tree Oil, Eucalyptus, and Citronella.  (If you want it stronger, do 10 drops of each of the essential oils.)  Then just shake and spray on clothes and lightly on your arms and legs.  Be careful about wearing too much of this in direct sun because citrus oils will make your skin photosensitive.  If you need to be in the bright sun, maybe just spray your clothes and hair.
            I also rubbed the Lavender oil I make (12-15 drops lavender per ounce olive oil) onto my arms and it seemed to keep the bugs away just fine.
            Also, for mosquito bites or other bugs bites, especially ones that might be getting infected, rub on some Lavender and/or Tea Tree Oil mixed with olive oil (maybe 3-4 drops essential oil per spoonful of olive oil).  I have seen this heal a spider bite, mosquito bites that turned into cellulitis, and a mystery spot on a knee that turned into a hot, swollen, red, spreading spot.

            For a Citrus-Free Mosquito Spray5 oz. water, 1 oz. Witch Hazel, 1 teaspoon Olive Oil,  25 drops Lavender, 25 drops Tea Tree, 5 drops Eucalyptus (or Citronella), and 5 drops Spearmint (or Peppermint for kids over 6).  (Also Eucalyptus should not be used on kids under 10, so just leave it out and add more Tea Tree oil or Lavender instead.)


Bug Spray for the Garden
            I was looking for a spray to use on my plants to keep the bugs off and the mold/fungus/mildew away.  I came up with this one as a general all-purpose “Keep the Plants Healthy” spray.  But be careful because it may burn some plants.  (I did once burn my rose leaves, but I think it was a blend that had more essential oils than what I have here.)  Mix 4 cups water, 1 tsp baking soda, 2 tsp olive oil, 5 drops Lavender, 5 drops Tea Tree, and a teaspoon or so of soap (I use Dr. Bronner’s).  Then just shake and spray when needed    

            Well, this is about all of the tips that I can think of to help you make some great products at home.  It’s become a way of life for me and I love it.  And I feel better about it!  I am passionate about keeping my family as chemical-free as possible, about caring for our bodies and the environment as well as I can (which is why I let my hair go prematurely silver).  To me, this honors the Creator and shows care for His creation.  It’s a way for me to be thankful and responsible.  In the post, “Why We Eat What We Do,” I share some of the reasons why we eat certain things and avoid others.  I am just as thoughtful and deliberate about what we put into our bodies (although we do have our treats every now and then, sometimes too much) as I am about what we put onto our bodies and in our air.  Every little change you make is a step in the right direction!            

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A place for you to share your thoughts and to encourage each other. But please understand that as a busy homeschooling mom who is seldomly on-line, I may not be able to reply to most comments. But I will be reading them as I can and praying for you. Thank you for your comments! Please keep them godly and uplifting, as I will delete any that are mean or ungodly. I intend for this to be a safe place where people feel encouraged and respected.