We have all seen them. Ads, articles, books, blogs…mostly blogs, on how to “Do IT Yourself” with natural ingredients found right in your home! But do they work? Are they worth my time and effort even if they are in my own home already?
I love doing things naturally, so I gave it a try this year in a variety of areas from Foot Scrub to Scrub Grout Cleaner. This is what I have found.
The Foot Scrub came to me via my teenage daughter who randomly decides to try out DIY’s. It was made from sugar, cocoa powder and olive oil. I’m not sure what the cocoa is for, but, in general, sugar mixed with oil is a somewhat effective method for keeping your feet on the softer side…unless of course you are a habitual feet neglector. This method only works if you use it on a regular basis.
It wasn’t long after tending to my feet that a friend posted a DIY for Olive Oil face wash. Whaaat? That seemed counterproductive. The theory is that the olive oil mixing with the oils of your face dissolves the clogged oils. Using a wet and warm cloth you wipe your face off after a few minutes. The olive oil makes the dirt slide right off and the olive oil moisturizes your skin. It kind of worked. Actually, on most days when I followed it with an astringent (which sometimes I do when checking out a new face wash) it seemed like it did about as good as job as many face washes. I actually used this method for a month or so in the evening. But in the end I decided that my oily skin doesn’t need to be moisturized. If you have dry skin it might be an option for you. Give it a try for a week.
I gave the next one a try for a few weeks, but made the mistake of using a spray bottle…you guessed it-Coconut oil as a Body Lotion. Disgruntled about my oversight (with cooler temperatures it became a solid) and despite liking it, I lapsed back into store bought lotion use because I don’t like to waste things and I had a bottle to finish. Recently I scrounged up a glass container and filled it with my coconut oil again. I love it! My skin is soft and smooth and I know I am not rubbing chemicals into the largest organ of my body! It is also great as massage oil. And if you aren’t as cheap as me or as allergic to stuff, adding an essential oil for extra scent is an option. I say go for it!
Still caring for the visible parts of my body, I tried out Toothpaste made from coconut oil and baking soda and I added a drop or two of peppermint oil for better flavor. I liked it at first, I mean once I got over the greasy feeling in my mouth. My teeth seemed to get whiter, they were definitely clean and my mouth stayed fresh for a long time. But, the saltiness was a turn off and I wondered about my drains getting clogged so resorted to spitting in the trashcan instead of the sink. That was inconvenient. But the bigger problem came after about a week when my teeth became very sensitive. I stopped immediately. So after some research I decided that “oil pulling” with coconut oil is an option, but probably better as a supplement to regular brushing. Baking soda can be too harsh, esp. for people with sensitive teeth. For me, this one was a no.
What goes into our mouths is the greatest indicator of our health. Most of us fail miserably, myself included. So before I give you a few DIY’s to fix our mistakes, let me just encourage you to eat well. Lay off processed foods and eat real food, as in the form God made it, at least as much as possible. Anyway, most of us suffer from digestive distress at times. Here are some tried and true DIY options for Digestive Distress. Apple Cider Vinegar (organic, raw and unfiltered) works great. A couple tablespoons in a glass of lukewarm water and down the hatch! Some people like to add honey, but frankly it doesn’t help. It’s gross, but if you can get it down, it does help the entire digestive tract. It is especially helpful for heartburn. If you suffer regularly from heartburn take this drink before eating! (Sidenote: To ward off that cold you feel coming on add honey and a few cloves of garlic!) A slice of ginger with optional honey in hot water is another option for digestive distress, especially if the culprit is nausea. I lived on ginger “tea” for five months of my second pregnancy. You can also buy ginger tea, but that isn’t really a DIY, is it? Peppermint tea is also good for the digestion. It is especially helpful with bloating and gas issues. You can make your own Peppermint tea by adding some peppermint oil to your hot water, by adding peppermint leaves to your hot or cold water, or of course buy peppermint tea.
The Peppermint tea is a good segue to essential oils. Essential oils can address both the external and internal body and are a hot novelty right now. Everywhere I turn someone is telling me about them. I don’t have much experience with these oils, but I did try a few this year. Peppermint oil is not only good for digestive distress, but it can also be effective for headaches. We had mixed results with rubbing a little on our temples, but often it did work. Lavendar oil is used to relieve stress. I have no idea if it works, though I have used it…there are just too many other factors to consider and so I am not sure on this one. Panaway oil (mix of wintergreen, helichrysum, clove and peppermint) is supposed to relieve pain. So far I have used it for muscle pain and joint pain. It worked amazingly well on the muscle pain, but was ineffective on my joint pain. It’s worth trying. The last oil I have tried, and my favorite so far, is Tea Tree oil. I have seen it in many DIY products, but the ones I tried and will continue to use are as follows. The first is as Lice Prevention (and possibly treatment.) I know I hate that I have to mention lice, I am itching already, but I think it works. I have a friend who has used it as a treatment and she said it worked. I have only used it as a prevention, so it is a little hard to know. But if you are up for it, put one part tea tree oil to 10 parts of shampoo, conditioner, hair gel, etc. Hey, it’s worth a try. Tea tree oil as zit zapper is somewhat effective, just dab a drop on the culprit. And Tea Tree oil as Athlete’s Foot treatment is effective. I spent a small fortune on a variety of products for months, and then I tried tea tree oil… I just put some on a cotton ball and rubbed it all over the bottoms of my feet and between my toes. It worked! It did recur about a week later and I retreated and it never came back. There are many other uses for tea tree oil as well. In my opinion, tea tree oil is a must have item.
My last DIY I tried this year was grout cleaner. I wish I hadn’t! I tried peroxide and baking soda first and after much effort, sweat and frustration I added bleach t the mixture (not so natural). I enjoyed the bubbling action as it reminded me of volcano experiments in my school days and it worked. But it was a slow section by section, painstaking job as I poured and mixed, scrubbed and waited, scrubbed and wiped, and wiped and wiped and wiped it up over and over again. The whole process took me two days and a week of physical recovery. I won’t be doing this DIY again!
As you can see some DIY Natural Remedies work and some don’t, or not as well as claimed. I hope my life as a test subject will help you to know which ones to try and some to avoid.