Non-Vinegar Essential Oil Cleaner

NaturalCleaner_Blog (7)

There has been a ton going on lately, with new calves at the farm, house renovations, graduate school starting back up, and general life. I really have been wanting to start writing again, so I thought I’d start up with something that was a wild ride this winter. I was hoping to come back “full swing” with a more upbeat post, but I decided to go this route because it’s something a lot of people might appreciate. So, let’s go!

Last November, after using some harsh chemical cleaners, I ended up breaking out in chronic hives for the first time in over a decade. In November after using a cleaner my hands got very very red and itchy, I was surprised. I was even more surprised when I broke out in hives on my hands. Days later they were showing up just about anywhere in patches. This was not a typical dermatological response to a harsh chemical. These were standard off the shelf cleaners you can find in any store. Brand name cleaners.

My system was already more sensitive than normal for various reasons. The chemicals simply caused a reaction that fueled itself. Eight weeks later the hives were still there. An allergy panel showed no allergies (even ones I used to be allergic to). This led the decades long allergist to tell me that my symptoms and onset were pretty consistent with an immune disorder. Clearly – my body had been attacking itself for weeks. I’d say that was my immune system acting disorderly.

Thanks to some changes and starting some herbs that help with mast cells and immune health, I’m doing pretty good. One of the changes I made was starting to search around for a homemade natural cleaner, and vinegar was out. Andy simply cannot stand vinegar based cleaners. The scent in the house is just too much for him. I too was hoping I could find something that cleaned very well, and had a better scent. A plethora of research ensued and this ended up being the final analysis: good essential oils, a gentle cleaner, water, and a spray bottle.

You cannot even believe how good this stuff works as a general cleaner, and with baking soda for tougher spots. It’s not going to strip your kitchen spotless in no time like a commercial cleaner (kind of the point). What it will do though is clean surprisingly well for every day cleanup. To prove to you the cleaning power of this, I am going to show you something I dare show no one: My stove after a bit of cooking crazy meals that I didn’t wipe down.

Non-Vinegar Homemade Cleaner:

  • Spray bottle (the size does not matter)
  • Dr. Bronners castile soap
  • Lavender essential oil
  • Tea Tree essential oil
  • Lemon essential oil
  • Rosemary essential oil
  1. Pour enough Dr. Bronners in the bottom of your spray bottle that it covers, and comes up about 1/8 to 1/4 of an inch.
  2. Add about 10 drops of each essential oil. I tend to add just a couple more tea tree oil because of it’s awesome anti-bacterial properties.
  3. Add water to fill up the rest of the bottle. Gentle tip back and forth to ensure everything gets mixed well.
  4. Spray away!

The Fully Unscientific, Non Peer-reviewed, Non-Control Group Stove Test

I fully do not believe in hack science that touts backup when it has none – no matter how good it sounds. I believe in peer-reviewed, control group, scientifically reproducible studies. This is not any of those. This is just what I’ve found works well for me. I’ve reproduced this a few times in my kitchen, but that’s about as scientific as this gets.

Here it is in all it’s glory – my absolutely repulsive stove that I didn’t clean up after cooking for a few days. Hey turmeric rice that boiled over. Hello curry! Also, that totally gross burner has been there for.ev.er. no matter how much I scrub it. Deal with it. I’ve dealt with it for five years.

NaturalCleaner_Blog (2)Looking at this repulsive beast, I then sprayed my concoction all over and let it set for a few minutes. One light wipe down (no scrubbing), and the stove was looking better.

NaturalCleaner_Blog (3)One more light mist and a bit more of a detailed wiping down, and it almost looked presentable. Or, rather, as presentable as I care. We’re not talking a Martha Stewart visit here. Even if it were, I mean, come on – it’s me. Hi Martha, here’s a mason jar full of Coors light.

NaturalCleaner_Blog (4)That one damn burner looks better, but it’s still not good. Scrubbing until I had no cartilage between my elbows left wouldn’t really help. I decided to pull out the baking soda to try and get a better clean. I put a bit more cleaner on, and then doused with the baking soda.

NaturalCleaner_Blog (5)Now, before I give the results here let me say this. After wiping just a little bit, it started getting better but then I got annoyed. Then I remembered about the chain mail scrubber my Dad got me at Christmas for my cast iron. Then I remembered it’s a matter of months before this stove gets completely ripped out in our kitchen renovation and that I do not care if it gets totally scuffed to shit. So, chain mail came out like a knight in shining armor.

NaturalCleaner_Blog (6)I’d say that helped quite a bit. I was satisfied enough to take myself out to breakfast. If you think for a second I was about to cook on that newly cleaned stove, you’re out of your damn mind. I’ll cook on it tomorrow. Maybe.

The point is this, overall, just looking between the first and second photo, you can see how well the cleaner works. Plus, it smells super great.

So, there’s that.

All for now, enjoy if you want. I’ll hopefully be back soon with some more updates!

You know how it goes,

Heather

Disclaimer: Just like any cleaner, this cleaner does not substitute for proper cleanliness, preparation and sanitation in a kitchen, bathroom, etc. Please do not do weird things like cut meat directly on the counter, and then use this spray and expect it to kill bacteria. That’s just very poor judgement. Use this cleaner at your own discretion.

Chirp Chirp

The birds are not chirping, but I’m sticking my head out from my little hibernation hole and chirping, hence the title of this post.

This break has been wonderful, and has been much needed. I’ve had some time to think about things, and realized my renewal of “Like A Cup of Tea” was coming up. That’s when it hit me – this blog is staying put. Here’s what I’m toying with right now:

  • Writing? Your guess is as good as mine for frequency. I’m still very busy and all the same reasons in the last post still hold. Time is simply limited.
  • Instagram? I post as I see fit. It’s fairly regular, except when it’s not.
  • Comments? HEYO. THEY ARE BACK. I don’t think it was fair to write my last post and then completely shut down comments. As well, I’ve been receiving emails about certain posts and how-to’s. I think it would be a lot more fair for these to be comments where everyone could access them, versus emails directly to me that don’t help the general population. So, comments are back on. Plus, if I do end up writing sporadically again I’d like them to be available. I’ll do my best to respond to comments in a timely manner and hopefully this will be a good thing for everyone.

I hope you’re all having a nice New Year and the holidays were kind to you. 

Until next time,

Heather

P.S. We no longer have the third dog mentioned this post from the autumn. Bella went to her forever home at the beginning of the year, but is close enough that we might get to watch her when her owner travels, etc. Three dogs ended up not being for us, and Bella has an (awesome) new owner and a buddy she gets to hang out with. We’re very very happy how it turned out. No more fosters though (famous last words).

A Quiet Winter

Hey guys. I haven’t written in a month which is far less than I ever hoped for this blog. It’s time, at least for a long while, for me to walk away from writing. I don’t have much time I’m willing to dedicate to the blog anymore between work, family, regular life, taking time for myself, graduate school and managing other aspects of my life which need focus right now. I’m working on not needing certainty in life on things, and so I can’t give any certainty on the future of this blog. I’ve decided to disengage from social media as much as possible except for managing accounts I need for my professional career. This means I am no longer, at this time, posting to Instagram or Facebook. I need to step away from the barrage of posts about my life, live my life and spend the time I would normally spend posting photos about my life, checking what everyone else is up to all the time, seeing if I “connected” with people through likes, etc. and refocus on what really matters – my relationship with God and those around me in a very real way.

I’ve mentioned this once before, but rarely discussed it because I refused to let it lead my life. That said, for anyone who is dealing with anxiety, OCD or any other disorder like I do – please just remember to turn to God. It’s hard to trust intuition and your heart, which everyone says to, when the disorder you have makes you doubt everything. That said, please remember to pray your way through. Worrying and compulsions only makes everything worst. Get help. It works. “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” Philippians 4:6. And remember, your thoughts are not God’s thoughts. Your ways are not God’s ways. God loves you and cares about you. Worry hinders our relationship and is a great way to doubt to sneak in and ruin it.

Open your hearts. Find your peace and work on letting go of uncertainty and not needing to “fix” things. For those of us with OCD, uncertainty about situations is the hardest pill to swallow. Remember to laugh at life including the ridiculousness that is OCD. 

That said, I’m leaving this blog up so people can continue to read the past, and so I can have an archive of items. I will however be shutting down comments. Thank you for your comments and reading over the last few years.

I feel like I should put a joke in here to lighten things up, but instead I’ll encourage you to log off your computer, your social media, all of it – and go find a real laugh with a real human in real life. Get that belly hurting from laughing and share a moment.

 

Autumn in Maine and Other Great Things

I feel like a bear coming out of hibernation. I miss you guys like woah, and I miss writing here for you. Alas graduate school and other life happenings are still taking most all of my time, but I’ve been doing my best to keep you guys updated on Instagram. Things are going good in the class and so far I’ve been doing really well, which is a huge relief to me. I’m taking two more classes in a row after this one but I HAD to stop in here and tell you about some exciting things that have been going on. This is going to be a long post because I don’t know when I’ll get to write again.

First, it’s fall in Maine. So that in and of itself is pretty exciting. It’s the most beautiful time of the year around here. Until spring and then I proclaim “Spring is the most beautiful time of the year around here” because duh, after a super long freezing cold goodness-gracious-do-I-have-any-feeling-left kind of winter, a 50 degree day is THE MOST GLORIOUS thing in the entire world. That won’t be for another handful of months though, so while my amnesia of what the end of winter is like is in full effect, I am just excited for the crunchy leaves, the wood stove starting to rip more often, and the anticipation of the first fall.

AutumMaineSecond, it’s my birthday month. I turn 31 this month. THIRTY ONE. Turning thirty had no bearing on me. Turning thirty one is screwing with me just a little bit. I am not longer TURNING thirty, I am IN my thirties. I don’t know why this makes me feel old, considering logically it’s not, and that most of the time I’m acting like an old lady anyway. I always had this sort of life plan of things that would happen, but they stopped at 30. Now I guess the fun begins. If by fun I mean anxiety at ripping the rug out from under myself and trying to embrace uncertainty. That’s totally my favorite thing to do in the same way accidentally bumping my hand on a hot stove is my favorite thing to do. You learn to deal with it and move on. That said, I thought I’d have a kid when I was 30. Not IN my 30’s, but 30. Life has a funny way of going “HAHA NICE PLAN.” I’ve been getting into running though a bit more again, which helps with everything.

Running

That’s okay though, because there is a new member of our house and she’s pretty great…which leads me into…

Third, we have a third dog. Surprise, it’s another six year old female yellow lab. We were fostering her part-time this summer, but we started fostering her full-time a few weeks ago. I get way too attached way too fast which is why I have never fostered. We’re fostering her from an older woman who could no longer care for her and was heartbroken about it, but it was the right thing to do. What this means is that we’re not fostering her through anyone but we’re trying to find an awesome home for her ourselves. What this REALLY means is that anytime Andy mentions a possible home for her I plug my ears and go “LA LA LA LA LA I CAN’T DISCUSS THIS RIGHT NOW” and then snuggle Bella and remind Andy that we are NEVER GETTING RID OF HER EVER. Unless the perfect home comes along. I mean, more perfect than ours and ours is pretty perfect so….

We have a third dog and I’m not discussing any alternative options to that right now.

Bella

Fourth, the master bathroom has drywall! We started working on it this spring and then didn’t touch it again until last week for the most part. I wasn’t neglecting on updating you, we were just neglecting to work on the bathroom at all. So many other things needed to be done, like gardening, fixing a free boat, etc.

BathroomDrywall

Fifth, FREE BOAT. Sort of. Well, my neighbor got a free boat. Then Andy worked his ridiculous magic (I still believe he is a government experiment in talent and ability) and all of the sudden this boat that sank to the bottom of a lake works again. It works really well. So we now have a 1989 Bayliner at our disposal to use whenever we want in the summers. Requirements include Duran Duran, Whitesnake, and bikini’s that go up and over the hips.

80sBikinis(From DoYouRemember.com)

Sixth…okay there are a lot of other things. Let me sum them up so this isn’t much longer, and it will give me something to HOPEFULLY strive to find time to write about later. We pressed 20 gallons of apple cider from wild apple trees. After giving some away and drinking some, 11 gallons remain in our freezer. I intend on making some of this into hard cider. I haven’t ventured into that though so I expect that will be coming up shortly. We also turned under the garden for the year with the exception of the cabbage and carrots. Everything else is done. We’ll need to harvest those items, bush hog, and lay black plastic down soon so we can get our garlic planted. Andy has done a heck of a lot of firewood this year, and a few nice saw logs ended up out at the sawmill. Our neighbors bought their own large sawmill up at the farm and are building a shed over it. We have fire wood stacked under the porch this year to keep it dry and easy to access *deep breath* annnnnndd that’s about it right now.

Does that sum up well enough?

Like I said, follow me on Instagram in the mean time at @likeacupoftea. I update there pretty frequently with dog photos and other on goings. Hopefully I can get back onto here more, but you know, I’m turning 31 and I can officially predict NOTHING that will be happening.

All for now.

xo,

Heather

 

 

Upcoming Schedule

Hey everyone. It’s been a long while since I wrote, so I figured I’d give you guys a heads up on a few things. As you know from earlier this summer (if you read then), I am in graduate school. Graduate school means unfortunately having to step away from other things I love. That means writing consistently for this blog. I’m not planning on walking away entirely, but I can’t commit to a schedule at this point. There may be weeks I write multiple times, there may be radio silence. I don’t want to create content just for the sake of creating content, especially when my time is limited. As you can imagine, working full time, graduate school and living life in general takes up quite a bit of time. That often means in the little downtime I have the last thing I want to do is edit photos and write a blog post when I could be exercising, playing with the dogs, spending time with family, etc.

You can still follow me on Instagram (www.instagram.com/likeacupoftea) or @likeacupoftea. I still post snippits of life there. I guess I’m more of an “instagrammer” these days than a blogger. I’m not sure if that trend will continue, or what will happen.

Since I can’t give you a set schedule to check back on the website, I highly recommend looking over on the right sidebar and typing in your email under  where it says “Your Personal Cup of Tea”. This will send you an email each time I post.

I hope you’re all having a nice summer, and you have a beautiful fall. Don’t hesitate to read back through archives and comment, I’ll get email notifications of comments so I should be able to respond quickly to those.

Take Care,

Heather

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