I’ve always had a “thing” for olive oil. Call it a fascination with an ancient crop, a love for such a versatile kitchen ingredient, but I’ve always loved it! Now I have 3 brand new reasons to love my favorite kitchen staple. In the past few months, I’ve been using olive oil as a non-toxic stainless steel cleaner, a non-toxic furniture polish, and I’ve been using olive oil to clean my face with the oil cleansing method.
1) Use olive oil as a non-toxic stainless steel cleaner. That’s right, just use an old cloth (I use cut up old t-shirts) and rub it on stainless steel appliances in a circular motion. I recently used olive oil as a non-toxic stainless steel cleaner on my coffee maker and I was actually amazed to notice how sparkly clean my coffee maker was every time I walked in the kitchen.
2) Olive oil can also be used as a non-toxic furniture polish. It’s SO simple! I’ve been looking for a non-toxic furniture polish for a while now with no luck and finally tried this with great results. Here’s how to make your own non-toxic furniture polish. Simply mix one part fresh squeezed lemon juice (preferably from an organic lemon) with 3 parts olive oil. I like to mix only what I need at a time in a small bowl. Again, I use old cloths like old t-shirts to apply my homemade furniture polish. Ex: 1 tbsp lemon juice and 3 tbsp olive oil.
Did you know? The best olive oil for cooking comes from Crete, Greece. Look for extra virgin, cold pressed organic olive oil. The greener the olive oil, the better it will taste!
3) You can also use olive oil as an all natural facial cleanser. I was a little skeptical at this one but it works wonders. I’ve been using it for a few weeks now with great results! I expected breakouts or for my face to feel greasy afterwards, but it leaves my face feeling squeaky clean, softer and I think it even has a glow afterwards. You can use straight up olive oil (which I’ve been doing) or you can mix it with other non-toxic oils to make a custom non-toxic face cleanser for your own skin care needs. For some great info and tips on the oil cleansing method, check out this post on the Mommypotamus blog. For an occasional exfoliator, add a little bit of baking soda to your olive oil. (*Note: I keep a small amount of olive oil in a squeeze bottle in my shower and use it just like normal face soap — at the end of my shower so my pores are open. The only difference is that it takes a bit longer to get it off. I rinse first and then use a very soft washcloth to wipe away the excess.)
So what kind of olive oil should you get for these things? You don’t need much for any of the above 3 uses. I use the same olive oil that I use for cooking. After all, I want the least amount of toxicity in the air in my home and on my body as I do in my body.
Know of other non-toxic uses for olive oil? Leave a comment and let us know!
Did you know that shopping carts at the grocery store are particularly bad in terms of harboring bacteria? Also, “about half of reusable shopping bags have faecal bacteria in them” according to a recent article on BBC news.
I’m all for using reusable shopping bags when buying groceries. I use my cloth grocery bags for just about everything now, (although I’m going to start purposing some just for groceries and others for non-grocery use after reading the BBC article mentioned above.)
I love how one family can make a difference by using reusable shopping bags. In one year, the average family goes through about 720 plastic grocery bags! So using reusable shopping bags can keep 720 plastic bags out of landfills, which reduces oil consumption and keeps non-biodegradable trash out of the landfill.
However, the majority of reusable shopping bag owners do not wash or disinfect their bags in any way. Thus, a high percentage of not-good bacteria is found in reusable shopping bags.
Here’s a Quick Tip to Disinfect Reusable Shopping Bags
Liberally spray your reusable shopping bags with disinfecting spray with tea tree oil to quickly disinfect between washings after a store trip.
You can throw your reusable shopping bags in the washing machine on cold on a hand wash cycle and hang them to dry as one solution, but in between washings, I like to give mine a quick spritz with my homemade disinfecting spray with tea tree oil. Simply spray disinfecting spray liberally on the bags, inside and out, and let dry before storing and reusing.
Make Your Own Disinfecting All-Purpose Cleaner
This Formula is Ridiculously Cheap & Easy
One of the easiest ways to green up your life and save a little green (money, that is), is to make your own household cleaners, like this homemade DIY disinfecting cleaner. I’ve come to love trying out new recipes for home cleaning products and I’ll be posting some of my favorites here over the next few months.
What you’ll need to make Super Quick 1-Minute Disinfecting Cleaner:
- an empty spray bottle (can be new or repurposed)
- a funnel (or piece of paper folded into a funnel)
- tea tree oil
- warm water
- vinegar (optional)
- Put 10-20 drops of tea tree oil in bottom of empty spray bottle for every 16 oz of liquid that your spray bottle holds (Note: using 20 drops will result in a stronger, although not unpleasant, smell.)
- Using the funnel, add 2 tbsp vinegar for every 16 ounces. You can omit this step if desired. (The smell of vinegar will go away shortly after using solution when the spray dries.)
- Fill bottle with water and put spray lid on. Gently swirl to mix solution.
- To use, spray surface you want to clean liberally and let sit for about a minute if surface is gunked up (for example if you’re cleaning your stove after cooking and a pot boiled over and dried or if you have batter stuck on your counter from baking).
I haven’t figured out the exact cost of this recipe, because I’ve never thought to count how many drops of tea tree oil come in one bottle, but it’s crazy cheap (a few cents-ish). A bottle of tea tree oil lasts me over a year at $5-6 dollars a bottle. If you repurpose an old squirt bottle from something else, then you’ve got really cheap, 1-minute disinfecting cleanser.
My favorite bottles to repurpose my homemade cleaning solutions from are old “BabyGanics” bottles (shown in picture), like “BabyGanics, Stain Stain Go Away” (which works fabulously, by the way). I haven’t gotten around to making my own laundry stain remover yet, but I’ll keep you posted when I do.
This homemade disinfecting cleaner is not as concentrated as store bought cleaners. Expect a solution that is very watery. You will have to spray surfaces more liberally to use.
If you want to get really creative with your homemade cleaners, you can make your own labels. For now, I’m not that fancy, so I just use a marker to label mine as you can see in the picture.
Note: Although this solution is natural, be sure you keep it out of reach of kids. Essential oils, while beneficial in moderation can be harmful in concentrated amounts, so be sure to keep essential oils far out of reach of kids and always use essential oils carefully.
“Go wash your hands, you’ve been in public!”
These are the words my siblings and I heard from our mom every day as soon as we walked in the door. I respected the almighty “antibacterial” soap as my invincible protector from all sickness. I can remember the shocked feeling I had for an entire day when I learned that triclosan may not be good for you.
Did you know that the chemical triclosan is thought to cause birth defects, reproductive issues, and hormone disruption? It is a known endocrine disruptor and is also suspected to be a carcinogen. It can also weaken the immune system and has been associated with increased asthma, allergies, and eczema in children exposed to it at a young age. And we just thought we were washing our hands!
So many things I’ve never given a second thought to all my life, such as the soap I wash my hands with, have turned out to not be so great for you. Who knew? Thus began my quest for better (and cheaper) hand soap. There are dozens of ways to make your own liquid hand and body soap, but this is the easiest I have found so far. And it’s SUPER CHEAP and ridiculous easy!
What you’ll need:
- 1 bar of good quality soap
(preferably organic and very pure, such as olive oil soap where the ingredients are saponified olive oil and sodium chloride. Kiss My Face has a good one and you can get 3 bars for $6 on Amazon. Bonus…Olive Oil soap is a terrific face soap. It’s ok and will smell better if it also has essentials oils, just make sure they are organic)
- a cheese grater (or a food processor)
- Containers of some kind
(milk jugs or large water bottles work perfectly and if you want to use it as a body wash, I like to reuse old body soap dispensers too since they are the perfect size and shape for the shower)
- a funnel
- a large mixing bowl
- something to cover your bowl with (foil, bowl cover, tea towel, etc.)
- Grate the soap (or put in food processor). The cheese grater method is a bit slow if you have a hard bar of soap, like olive oil soap, but quicker if you use a softer soap.
- Put soap shavings in a large mixing bowl and add water. Just fill it up where it’s not so full that you can’t still your mixture. (Note that too much water and your soap won’t be soapy enough. Resist the temptation to make your soap go further and add a second mixing bowl of water from the one bar of soap.)
- Stir it a little immediately and then cover it and let it sit.
- Let it sit 24-48 hours until all of the soap shavings have dissolved, stirring a few times a day. Feel free to test it out along the way by washing your hands to see if it’s ready.
- Pour soap into your containers using your funnel.
- Note that you may need to shake your containers ever so often to remix the soap and water, but they should remain mostly mixed on their own.
Voila! You have liquid soap, sans the dreaded triclosan, great for washing your hands or using as a moisturizing body wash.
Let us all know if you try a soap that you really like using this method in the comment section below.