All-Purpose Spray Cleaner With Natural Ingredients | Homemade Cleaner

June 25, 2014


My daughter was coming home with headaches after school all year in 1st grade. It didn’t hit me until the last two weeks of school to ask her if anything was being sprayed in her classroom. She confirmed that her teacher was having the students spray and wipe down their desks before leaving school in the afternoons! I knew that this had to be the culprit for the headaches, because she is not accustomed to harsh conventional chemical sprays. We only use water and vinegar in our house to spray down surfaces. After talking to the teacher and confirming that she was using a harsh chemical spray on the desks, we agreed that I would make a more natural spray for the kids to use in class that also smells good (water and vinegar mix doesn’t smell so great for people who are not used to it). I made the spray below, and many of the kids loved the smell. One child went as far as to exclaim to my daughter: “Your mom is awesome! I love how this smells! This is awesome!” That put a smile on my face when I heard about that! And the most important part… my daughter’s post-school headaches were no longer.


  • 16 oz water
  • 2 oz white vinegar
  • 10 drops grapefruit seed extract (not the same as grapefruit essential oil)
  • 15-25 drops grapefruit essential oil
  • 10-15 drops lemon essential oil

Mix them all together in a spray bottle. Shake well before each use. This all-purpose and all-natural citrus scented spray cleaner is perfect for counters, floors, sinks, bathtubs, toilets, and SCHOOL DESKS!


Bulbine Frutescens – African Burn Jelly Plant | Xeriscape Gardening

May 30, 2014

Yesterday I was frying homemade taquitos in very hot oil and, genius that I am, thought I should remove one of the taquitos with my fingers. I missed and ended up dipping two of my fingers straight into the hot oil, about halfway up my fingernails! OUCH. I yelled for my 3 year old daughter to get me some of the “burn jelly plant” from the yard. She knows what it is because she has seen me use it numerous times on other burns. She brought a piece straight back to me, I squished it with my fingers and slathered the juice all over my burning fingertips. In less than 5 minutes, the burning was gone and I actually could not remember which fingers I had dipped in the oil. I have used aloe vera in the past for burns, but this plant is much better at treating them.


This plant rocks, just for its burn healing properties. But wait, there’s more! It also is great for insect bites/stings, sunburn care, and moisturizing. I like to think of it as a more convenient form of aloe vera. You can take a small leaf of burn jelly plant, rather than hacking off a huge aloe leaf.


It is a succulent plant, native to Africa, and it will grow almost anywhere you put it. I like to plant this wherever other plants won’t grow, like in hard clay soil or south slopes that get too much sun. Don’t let its delicate looks fool you… This is one hardy plant! It’s beautiful spiky leaves give a burst of green in places where other small shrubs won’t make it. In the peak of summer, when it is extremely hot here in east county, the plant will shrivel and turn a very dark green color. It is hibernating and looks like it might be dying. As soon as it gets a few hours of rain, it bounces right back! This plant is perfect for xeriscape and rock gardens!

Here is one of many Bulbines growing on my property, on a sunny south slope

In the winter and spring, an added bonus are the yellow spike flowers that burst up from the plant and sway in the wind. If you dead-head the plant, you’ll get more flowers.


And one last thing. These plants are EASY to propagate, due to their clumping habit. Just remove a clump and replant where you want. If you can get a few roots with the clump, your propagation success is almost guaranteed. Happy xeriscaping!

Homemade Soft Scrub for Healthy Home Cleaning

July 24, 2013

Healthy Home Cleaning - Homemade Soft Scrub Recipe for Kitchens and Baths

When it comes to home cleaning, my cupboard looks very different today than it did 10 years ago.  Back then I had a different cleaner for virtually every surface of my home.  Advertisers had me thinking it was necessary to have one toxic bottle of chemicals for my kitchen counters, another for my bathtub, and yet another for my toilet.  My cleaning supplies today consist mainly of baking soda, Borax, vinegar, a little lemon, and some powerful essential oils for their antibacterial qualities.  Today I’d like to share with you my favorite formula for deep cleaning most surfaces in my home.

This soft scrub is comparable to Ajax or Comet, but without the harsh chemicals and scratching.  It takes me literally 1 minute to make! I like to scent it with a combination of lavender and grapefruit essential oils.  Both of these essential oils also carry some antibacterial qualities.  I use this on kitchen and bath sinks, bath tubs, showers, inside the toilet bowl, on my flat glass stove top, and anywhere else that needs a good cleaning.  I don’t recommend it for wood furniture.


  • 4 cup (or larger) plastic container for storage of your formula
  • 1.5 cup baking soda
  • 1.5 cup Borax (available at Target in the laundry detergent section)
  • 20 drops grapefruit essential oil
  • 12 drops lavender essential oil

Homemade Soft Scrub Recipe for Healthy Home Cleaning

  1. Add your baking soda and borax to your container, cap it, and shake well.
  2. Add 10 drops of the grapefruit essential oil and 6 drops of the lavender essential oil, cap the container, and shake well.
  3. Add the remaining essential oils, cap the container, and shake well.
  4. Dust the formula onto your surface and rub it in with a wet sponge.
  5. Wait 10 minutes and scrub scrub scrub.  A little elbow grease goes a long way!

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