Essential Oils for Newbies, Skeptics and Cheapos

I first saw essential oils years ago when I became interested in organic foods and started shopping at our local co-op grocery store.  They had an entire section of these mysterious little potions, but I steered clear simply because I had no idea what they did.

A while later I started hearing about companies like Young Living and doTERRA all over the place.  Regular people were using these oils for all kinds of things.  I did a little research and decided that I would love to try some oils to clean and scent my home.  I was still really skeptical of the medicinal uses and even incorporating them into my beauty routine.  I had already been making my own cleaners for a while with things like vinegar and lemons, so oils seemed like a fun way to make those even better.

essential oils for newbies skeptics and cheapos

I looked into ordering starter kits from these companies, but I had major sticker shock.  I am definitely NOT saying that they aren’t good products.  From what I have read, they are great companies selling quality products to happy consumers.  Eventually I may still invest in those, but I just wasn’t willing to sink that much cash into a hobby I might not stick with for long.

essential oil diffuser

To experiment with oils, my mom found me this diffuser on amazon for $35 and this set of oils for $25.  The total investment was right around $60 and has been worth every penny!  I did some research on this oil company and some others that retail for a similar price, and there are some good ones out there for anywhere from 1\4 to 1\2 the price of some of the big name oils.  Again, nothing against those companies, but these are a great way to test the waters without forking over a small fortune.  This particular kit comes with a perfect mix of oils for the beginner, especially if you are mostly interested in cleaning and scenting your home like I was.

essential oils kit

These are some simple and successful ways I have been using oils as a newbie.

1.  Floor Cleaner – I replaced traditional (often toxic) floor cleaners with a simple mix of warm water and a few drops of lemongrass oil.  I use just water and oil for my wood floors and add a tablespoon of vinegar for my tile.

2.  Fabric Refresher – I shared a simple tutorial for making homemade “Febreze” here.

3.  Air Freshener – I have been diffusing lemongrass oil in the morning to wake up, peppermint after lunch to help with that dreaded afternoon slump and lavender at night to help us sleep. (I did read that pregnant women should only diffuse diluted oils for 10 minutes at a time.  That is plenty of time to scent an entire area.  Be sure to research oil safety like I did before using them.)

4.  Laundry – We have sensitive skin, so I only use free and clear products with no scent.  I have been adding a couple of drops of lavender oil to our sheets and towels, and they smell amazing without the worry of skin irritation.

5.  Bathroom Cleaner – I have been mixing my own countertop spray and bathroom cleaners for a while, but I used to only use vinegar, water, baking soda and sometimes fresh lemon juice or lemon peels.  Now I can customize the scent and add antibacterial action to those cleaners with oils.

Now that I have done a fair amount of research and have learned to always read what is recommended by a certified aromatherapy specialist and not just salespeople, I am feeling a lot more comfortable and less skeptical about using oils in my home and for my family.

I have even stepped out of my “only for smelling good” box a little bit this week and used the oils to help soothe the TERRIBLE cold that I am battling.  Again, I did plenty of research before I inhaled anything since I am pregnant and also have a toddler in my home.  After doing so, I tried diffusing a few drops of peppermint oil mixed with eucalyptus oil for 10 minutes every few hours.  It has been working wonders for my sore throat and head congestion.

Have you jumped on the essential oils bandwagon?  What do you think about it all?

DIY nontoxic “Febreze”

With toddler and two pups running wild in this house, I go through a lot of Febreze.  I like the stuff!  It works well and smells amazing, but I have had two issues with it over the years.

#1 The cost seems pretty exorbitant for what you are actually getting.

#2 The ingredients are sketchy at best, and I don’t want to continue spraying toxic fumes all over my curtains, furniture and worst of all bedding.  It just seems a little scary!

I recently switched to Target’s store brand version which did ease the cost a bit, but I still felt like there might be a “greener and cleaner” alternative for a fabric and air freshener.

DIY nontoxic febreze

Of course Pinterest had the solution to both problems in various versions of DIY nontoxic “Febreze” alternatives.  I read through a few, including some helpful comments and reviews, and settled on this recipe from Brown Thumb Mama.  In this post, she provides the full list of ingredients in a bottle of real Febreze.  She cites and explains why these things are left off the label that consumers see.  Check it out if you need a final push to stop buying it and make your own.

diy nontoxic febreze ingredients

I happened to have all the ingredients on hand, and it was a “breeze” to make!  I estimate that it cost me less than 50 cents and around 3 minutes.  I’m not that great at math, but I think that is a minuscule percentage of the price I normally pay for a bottle.

mixing diy nontoxic febreze

To make it, simply mix all the ingredients together.  She does suggest mixing the oils and baking soda in a bowl like this to help the oil stay suspended in the water.

I also love that I was able to customize the scent.  The original pin used sweet orange oil, and I used a combo of my favorite scents, lemongrass and lavender.  It smells heavenly!

I am sharing this post with Anne today at her Pin to Present linkup!

Five February Favorites

february favorites

1.  White Cheddar Popcorn has been my favorite salty snack forever, but I don’t treat myself that often since it is not exactly the healthiest choice.  I recently discovered this Whole Foods version which makes me feel a bit better about indulging in the salty treat.  If you love this snack as much as I do, you might be interested in this handy little list of the top 5 best ones on the market according to Dish Blogger.  This one comes in at #4, so now I am dying to try the top three picks.

2.  I usually have clear skin, but one of the worst symptoms I have had with this pregnancy is constant breakouts.  I have read that they are hormonal and not caused by anything external, so there really is no fail proof way to clear them up.  I have seen a slight improvement since I switched to this Korres Skin Brightening Buff Cleanser about a month and a half ago.  It smells lovely and makes my skin feel so soft! (affiliate)

3.  Dark Chocolate with Pomegranate … Do I really have to say any more?  It is simply delicious on top of a little vanilla greek yogurt. (affiliate)

4. I mentioned my preference for Starbucks salted caramel mocha over all other seasonal treats in my September favorites post.  That flavor combo is where it’s at!  The Caramel Sea Salt Hot Chocolate from Private Selection is very reasonably priced at Kroger and totally satisfies my craving for that rich and creamy beverage.

5.  Raw Spice Bar is a subscription company that sends freshly ground, custom blend spices each month along with recipes and information about the spices.  I won a giveaway on Dearest Love for a one month subscription, and I have completely enjoyed sampling the spices and trying new dishes this month!

I am now realizing that four of my five favorites this month are food related… hmm.

What have you been loving lately?

I am linking this post with Friday Favorites.