Thursday, 9 May 2013

Aromatherapy for the IMproper Housewife

Before I became more homesteady, I used to celebrate whenever Flash all-purpose cleaner was on sale. Normally I couldn't afford to treat myself to some Febreze freshness, but if it was on special at Asda, I would splash out on bright green "New Zealand Springs" or vivid purple "Relaxing Lavender" TO THE MAX. The kitchen would not only be clean, it would smell clean. I felt like a Proper Housewife when I used these products.

However, since I began the frugal journey of making my own washing powder, dish soap and the like, I have really noticed how strong these perfumed cleaners are. Not so much in terms of cleaning power, but more in terms of the chemically smell. Using fewer artificial fragrances in day-to-day jobs has increased my awareness of them all over the home. I'd rather be an IMproper Housewife.

Pair of Wake Up / Relax
 pulsepoint creams, £7.15
In addition, I'm more aware of how I rely on artificial things in other areas of my life. I lurch from one cup of coffee to the next, at least 12 hours a day. I drink coffee to keep me going; oddly enough I also drink it to relax. More healthy alternatives might be worth considering, I admit. I have begun to use Innerscents' essential oil pulse point creams which can be applied to the temples, wrists, behind the ears and between the (often frowny) brows. 

Instead of always heading to the kettle and coffee jar, I use the Wake Up or Relax rollerball bottles, according to what I need.  Wake Up contains lavender fine (a low altitude lavender that has more stimulating effects than other lavenders), peppermint and lemonbalm. In Relax you'll find petitgrain, linaloe berry and grapefruit, which also works well with the Innerscents Scent to Sleep pillowspray (although not just before the school run, you understand). I especially like the fact that they are so easy to use, and are portable too. 

Pack of 2 Exfoliating Bath Scrub Sachets, £9.76
My nose is no longer overpowered by so many unnecessary chemicals, and, as a result, I seem to be able to detect more pleasing and subtle fragrances, such as those in aromatherapy products. All of a sudden, shower gels seem to have twice as much scent as they used to, and I am tending to opt for more soothing alternatives like these bath scrub sachets from Innerscents. 

Each sachet contains organic oats, sea salts (soil association certified), lavender flowers infused with pure essential oils of geranium, lavender, palma rosa and rose with wheatgerm oil and organic honey.  You can either let the sachets soak in the bath water for 2-3 minutes then use like a sponge, gently squeezing to release a soft, milky substance that feels wonderful on your skin, or simply use as you would a sponge in the shower. With refill packets available, the sachets don't have to be for special occasions only, and they are a great dual-purpose all-natural product: calming, nourishing and exfoliating the skin at the same time. 

As for kitchen cleaning products, my favourite and most successful concoction is based on Jill Winger's Homemade Citrus Cleaner, which I read about in The Essential Homestead : Successfully Using Essential Oils in your Home, Barnyard and Beyond (available via my Freebies page). Jill is the author of Your Custom Homestead and has real expertise in this area. This cleaner is an all-rounder that smells so fantastic you'll want to use it all the time. 

To make your own Citrus Cleaner, you need:

• a clean glass jar
• a spray bottle, the same sort of capacity as the glass jar (a repurposed one is just fine)
• white vinegar (enough to fill the jar)
• Orange, grapefruit, lemon, or lime peels ("any combination of these will work, too," says Jill)
• 3 -4 drops of lemon, grapefruit, lime, or orange essential oil (optional)
  1. Fill your jar about half full of citrus peels and pack them down if necessary.
  2. Fill the jars the rest of the way up with white vinegar.
  3.  Cover tightly with a lid, give it a good shake. 
  4. Allow the peels and vinegar to steep for 2-3 weeks. (Jill has found that "the longer it sits, the more potent it will get.")
  5. Strain and pour into the spray bottle, using a funnel.

One in the eye for "New Zealand Springs" and "Relaxing Lavender"!

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