Home Detox Challenge

When we talk Home Detox – where do you even start??

There are actually a few areas to consider when looking into your household’s toxicity. These are Air Quality, Water, Household Cleaners, Laundry, and Light Pollution.

Air Quality

Let’s start with the Air Quality in your home. I’m not just talking about furnace filters or cleaning out air ducts. I’m challenging you (see what I did there?) to consider something called “Off-Gassing”. It’s good to be aware that when you purchase any synthetic materials – whether it’s a couch, mattress, paint, carpet, rugs, etc. – that those synthetic fibers release toxins or “gasses” into your environment. This isn’t to scare you or anything; but it is important to be aware of the fact that the things you buy DO impact the air quality in your home. Some tips to consider when purchasing materials include looking for more natural options; bamboo or cork flooring over engineered hardwoods, real wood over plywood, specific mattress brands, non-treated couch fabric – you know that stain spray you can buy for your new couch – what do you think is in that??

Other things you can consider in your home are listed below:

  • Add PLANTS to your home – approximately 1 per 100 square feet can help with improving air quality
  • Open your WINDOWS – even if it’s just for a few minutes to an hour a day
  • Change FILTERS – consider the brands you purchase
  • Invest in SALT LAMPS – these can help with air quality – again, make sure you know what you are buying and make sure they are actual salt lamps and not a knock-off
  • DIFFUSE essential oils – this can be ONE OF THE MOST IMPORTANT things you can do for your home. They add smell, but also have benefits depending on the specific oil used. Oils can be diffused to purify the air, reduce mold and fungus (like in your basement), contribute to relaxation or focus, improve your mood, boost your immune system. If you have any questions on which oils do which specific thing – SUBSCRIBE or COMMENT below!! I am so happy to help guide you in your oil choices!!  *Disclaimer – I specifically use and recommend Young Living Essential Oils due to their Seed to Seal guarantee (www.seedtoseal.com). Young Living also constantly tests for purity in their oils not only IN THEIR OWN LABS (this is uncommon guys), but also they use third party labs. It’s the extra step, above and beyond.

Water

It’s important to know what you are ingesting and bathing in daily. If you live in the city, city water contains a variety of chemicals including chlorine, flouride, and can also contain lead, copper, hormones, nitrates, and pesticides. Most of this is because they NEED to treat water so we don’t get sick, but we need to take it upon ourselves to see what’s in our water. I suggest you educate yourself on the water quality in YOUR area by searching it on the internet. Each city has a water quality report that is typically published on the government website – check yours out. Also, just because something “meets the standard” quality of water – it might not meet YOUR standard of quality. So think about that – it is up to you!!

What can you do?? Here are some ideas:

    • Install a house-wide reverse osmosis system or another purification system.
    • Buy something like a BERKEY countertop water filter. Like this:

  • Put SHOWER FILTERS on your shower heads. These are really inexpensive and make a huge difference in the water quality I use every day in my house.

So, maybe you’re thinking that you should just drink bottled water, but you guys, that is NOT a solution! First of all, you will be contributing to the enormous plastic issue we have in this world, PLUS you are INGESTING who knows what from those plastic bottles. That is not good for you. I’m just gonna lay it out there.

Also, I like to ingest oils in my water – which is completely safe when using the Young Living Vitality oil line (labeled for consumption by the FDA) BUT you need to use GLASS or STAINLESS STEEL bottles when ingesting oils. Otherwise the oils can draw toxins out of the plastic and put them into your body.  Try one of these:

 

Household Cleaners

This should be a no-brainer. If it smells so strong you need to hold your breath or open the window (like I used to do), then it’s obviously HORRIBLE for you! Try some of my DIY cleaners here. Or use a plant-based cleaner like Thieves from Young Living. These are not only MUCH safer for you and your family, but they are also much safer for the environment and you will be getting less junk into the ground water (see Water Quality above). Ever since I have changed my household cleaners, I can’t hardly walk past them in the store – they are SO toxic to my poor lungs!!

Laundry

Your laundry is touching your skin ALL.DAY.LONG. Well, probably, or you would maybe have been arrested by now. You need to be aware of what your laundry detergent has in it and also what is in scented dryer products. First of all Fragrance is BAD NEWS. It is now being called the “New Secondhand Smoke” – that is how terrible it is for your lungs. Fragrances also contribute to developmental delays, cancers, and brain, lung, and nervous system dysfunction. Also, laundry soap is typically blue. Have you noticed that? That is because there is a chemical in the soap that is blue that was developed to stick that blue onto your clothes so that your clothes look better under florescent lights.  Seriously. It is intentional to leave blue goo behind onto your skin. Since it’s a synthetically made chemical, it does not evaporate and not only sits on your skin, but it absorbs back into your skin causing potential allergic reactions, respiratory issues, hormonal issues, and cancer. Why put your body through that???

Dryer sheets. Those puppies are FULL of fragrance and chemicals that are heated, so they not only sit on your clothes and basically poison you, but they are also heated and flung throughout your entire house (and the neighborhood) when the dryer is on. That there is cancer causing, folks. Sure, they work great to reduce static, but at what cost. You can just as easily use wool dryer balls (my friend makes some for ETSY from his very own sheep here) with a drop of essential oil on it to scent your clothing AND roll up some aluminum foil. That takes care of the static – and the foil balls last a LONG time. I personally live with the static. It’s not a big problem for me most of the time – just a small irritation.

Light Pollution

I am talking blue light here. Like the light from your tablet, iPad, phone, computer, tv. This light stops you from sleeping at night and has an extremely negative effect on your sleep patterns and brain function. I have found that I have trouble sleeping at night if I use my iPad less than an hour before I sleep. So, I tend to shut all electronics off an hour before I go to bed and start my bedtime ritual. I drink my MegaCal (magnesium/calcium) supplement, diffuse Lavender, wash my face, brush my teeth, take out my contacts, meditate, rub Lavender on my feet, put Cedarwood on my third eye area or back of neck, and read an actual book.

So there, not too scary, right? Take it one step at a time. Pick one thing you can do this week and do it. Maybe you buy some more plants. Maybe you get 1 shower filter. Just START something. Do another thing next week, and so on.

I would LOVE to hear how you are doing!!! Please comment below and let me know!

 

Deep Clean Your House Safely

So I work in a school. That means in the summer, when I’m home, I have time for things I don’t normally get to do during the school year. Things like doing a DEEP CLEAN of my house.

Honestly, I’m pretty okay at the day to day chores and enlist my boys to help me out (sometimes that’s more trouble that it’s worth!). But I thrive on having the time to clean a little DEEPER than normal.

Maybe you have time to do this during your year – if I stayed home with the kiddos during the school year, I would probably need to schedule it into my year because I really feel like it’s important to do!! So, without further ado. I give you my DEEP CLEANING PROTOCOL.

Wash Walls

Did anyone else’s mom make them do this in the summer? Just mine? Huh. Well, now that I’m a grown up (sorta), I know that I like to wash my walls yearly. Maybe that’s weird, but have you thought about what is on your walls? My boys have splashed juice boxes on the walls, wiped grubby (mostly cheese crackery) fingers on the wall, probably wiped other things on the wall, and that’s not to mention the dust and spiderwebs hanging out.

Let me preface my wall washing recipes with a warning – if you are going to use water on your walls, you need to have them painted or wallpapered with at minimum an eggshell paint. If you have matte paint or primer, it could be possible to ruin the walls. Okay? Just wipe them with a dry cloth in that case.

I like to use warm water with a teeny bit of soap (I useDr. Bronner’s Pure Castile Liquid Soap or Sal-Suds for everything).  The key is to REALLY WRING out your cloth and just wipe away. I usually go top to bottom, but that could be my Type-A-ness coming through.  You can also use 1/2 vinegar and 1/2 warm water.

Windows: Wells, Inside, Outside

So the inside of my windows are pretty darn clean. We wash those weekly. I LOVE Thieves Household Cleaner for windows. If you haven’t tried it – it works SO well! In the spring, when the sun re-emerges, I love sparkly clean windows!! If the windows are particularly dusty (like they were this year when we had a dry spring) I will usually start with soapy water first. It will be pretty smeary, so then I end with Thieves Cleaner and a squeegee to wipe the cleaner off.  For window wells, I assign the children to those. They vacuum, scrape, and spray with Thieves Cleaner and wipe with a cloth. Done.

Screens

I love open windows, but our screens get dusty and allergens get stuck in the screens, so since I have seasonal allergies and asthma I use a blend of essential oils on screens after I wipe them off with soapy water and spray them with the hose. This is another great job for kids on a sunny day. Put on their swimsuits and give them a hose. I bring screens outside one at a time, so I don’t get them all messed up – who knows what damage I could do! I wipe them, and they spray them down. Before I put the screens back in the windows, I spray them down with this cleaner:

Mix 2 tsp. baking soda, 2 cups Water, and 10 drops Thieves Essential Oil in a spray bottle. I use glass so the oil doesn’t leach chemicals into my air/screens. The Thieves has cinnamon and clove oils in it, which are great anti-microbial agents. This helps so fungus, molds, and bacteria doesn’t attach to your screen and then fly into your house.

Bedding

I own a Sleep Number bed, which I love because I can literally unzip the top and vacuum out the inside of my bed. This is AWESOME for my allergies. For my kids, who have regular mattresses, I just take a vacuum and vacuum the top of the mattress. If there are any stains, you can wash those with vinegar, soap and water (really wring out the towel – you don’t want a sopping wet mattress). Sprinkle baking soda over the whole thing for freshness and vacuum up again. My secret tip is that I have a jar of baking soda and Lavender essential oil that I shake over the bed, leaving behind the calming scent of Lavender.

Wash sheets, comforters, duvets, and PILLOWS. Yes, you can wash those pillows. I have a nice HE washing machine, so I can shove 2-4 pillows in there and get them clean. I just have to usually run an extra “extract/spin” cycle to get the water out. I toss pillows in the dryer with wool dryer balls (like these from my friend’s sheep: Dryer Balls), and put a few drops of Lavender on the balls for some added scent.

Baseboards and Cupboards

I also spend a lot of time in my kitchen taking everything out of the cupboards, wiping them down and putting things back in. This allows for 2 things: Reorganization of my junk/food products/dishes/spices AND a chance to get rid of things that I haven’t used in a year. You know what those things are. Toss them. Give them to someone who needs them. Donate them to the Epilepsy Foundation. Have a Garage Sale.

Diffuse Purification and Lemon in the kitchen and throw on LOUD music and the job gets done FAST!! My kids also like to help because they think it’s fun to take all the things OUT of the cupboards. You guys, they are 9. It’s still fun to make a giant mess that mom has to clean up. Am I right??

Toss The Junk

I also use this time of year to go through clothes (mine and the kids), closets, books, and toys. I get rid of clothes that don’t fit us, are ruined, or no one wore in the past year or so.

 

I want to hear about YOUR Deep Cleaning routines. Do you have anything I need to add to my list?

Oils for Minimalists: Essential Oils You Need for DIY Recipes

Does the thought of getting started using essential oils stress you out? I can completely relate. Using oils came slowly for me, but now, they are such a part of my life that I can’t even imagine living without them!

I wanted to give you a little information about some oils that will help you realize that you CAN get started using oils slowly and a little bit at a time.

**Keep in mind that when I talk about therapeutic properties of oils, I specifically am talking about Young Living essential oils. I personally have changed my life so that I minimize toxins that I take into my body. With Young Living, I know there are no fillers or other things in the oils. Check out their Seed to Seal promise if you want more information here.

Top Oils to Get the Biggest Bang for Your Buck

If you have a budget where you can only purchase a few main oils, these three are great for starting out. They are the most frequently used in my daily life, and they are also good for so many things that they will be the best options for you as well. Please know that I can help you. Subscribe to the blog at the bottom of this page, and I will contact you with information you need to get your oily life under way! There are so many options for starter kits with Young Living, so I am here to help you navigate all of that.

  1. Lavender: When you think Lavender, think calming. This oil will calm your skin if it’s red or itchy, it will calm your nervous system when needing to relax or meditate (or fall asleep), it will calm any bites or wounds you may have. It is relaxing when diffused and can just be a nice smell in your house.
  2. Lemon: Lemon = detox. Detoxify your home by making DIY cleaners or using lemon oil as an air freshener in your house (detoxifying the air). Drink lemon oil in your water for a wakening, detoxifying drink. It will help wake you up and clear junk out of your body. Use lemon oil as a glue remover (like goo gone) to get rid of labels or stickers. Lemon is also energizing and smells great.
  3. Peppermint: Peppermint oil is cooling. Cooling to your digestive system, cooling to your skin, and cooling to muscle tension. I love peppermint for any upset stomach issues or muscle tension – knots in my back, neck or head tension.

**The three oils above can be mixed for a variety of health boosting combinations. Lemon, Lavender, Peppermint (fondly known as “LLP” in the oily community) is a combo helpful to boosting the immune system. This is especially important during seasonal transitions – going from summer to fall or from winter to spring can wreak havoc on your immune system causing tiredness, constipation, and allergy symptoms. I’m not a doctor and I can’t prescribe things, but I’m all for an immune boost anytime – especially during the change of the season.

The Next Best Oils

After the “Top 3” oils, there are a couple of more that I wanted to give an honorable mention. These oils are the next best “heavy hitters” that you should consider adding to your starter oils kit.

Tea Tree: Also known as Melaleuca, this oil has great “anti” properties. I think of Tea Tree in the products it’s in such as household cleaners, skin care, shampoo and body wash. I like to add a few drops of Tea Tree to my shampoo to help support a healthy scalp. I add it to my cleaning supplies for a boost. If I get a pimple, I might put a drop of Tea Tree on my skin at night hoping for the zit to disappear by morning. This one doesn’t smell the best, so I add a lot of citrus (like lemon) to it if I am going to diffuse it in the air.

Thieves: If you haven’t heard about Thieves oil, you may be living under a rock! Just kidding – kind of. This is an immune-boosting blend of cinnamon, cloves, and rosemary (and more). This oil smells so good – just like fall – but I use it all year round. I like to add Lemon (or Orange) to this in my diffuser. It’s awesome. This oil can be added to tea or coffee for a spicy jolt, or it can be put directly onto your skin to help give a boost in your immunity. My kids roll this on their spines in the morning – I feel like it is body armor for when they go to school. Put a few drops in a spray bottle to spray on things you touch – shopping cart handles, keyboards, doorknobs. Add some to aloe vera gel and shake for a good hand sanitizer.

What Do I Do Next?

Once you get your oils in the mail, you are going to want to set them on your counter immediately. Start using them – try it! Just start slow – one drop at a time. Here’s what I do on a daily basis to help you get started:

When I wake up, I head to the kitchen to get a glass of water. I put a drop of Lemon in the glass first, then add water and start rehydrating right away. If I workout in the morning, I might put a drop of Peppermint and Lemon in the glass for a focusing boost. When I take a shower, I have added Tea Tree to my shampoo for my scalp (I have a dry, itchy scalp), or if I have a pimple, I add a drop of Tea Tree to that. I roll Thieves on my feet and/or spine before I head to work.  During my work day, I have Peppermint and Lemon to drink during the day. The Peppermint is also helpful if I eat something that doesn’t agree with me (I will rub it right on my stomach), or if I have any muscle tension from typing at my desk! When I get home, Thieves and Lemon go in the diffuser while I’m cooking supper or my kids are doing their homework. At bedtime, I rub Lavender on my feet or wrists, or I diffuse it to help me relax and fall asleep.

If you start a routine, oils become part of your daily life. Think of them like vitamins, you feel so much better when you use them consistently and daily.

Please subscribe to my blog below so I can help you get going!