12 things you’re not cleaning often enough

I am by no means a clean freak or crazy about germs. That said, though, I try to keep things somewhat clean (not my house, of course!) and change and wash them as needed. Here’s my recommended schedule for those things often forgotten:

Wash/Change Every 3 Uses:

  • Pajamas
  • Bath towels and wash cloths (I also pull the hand towels at the same time)
  • Bras

Wash/Change Once per Week:

  • Bed sheets
  • Kitchen towels and dish rags
  • Pet bedding
  • Garbage disposal

Wash/Change Once Per Month:

  • Bedding – blankets, comforters, quilts, etc.
  • Coffee pot – run white distilled vinegar through, then run water through
  • Humidifier filters (I also rinse them at least once between changes)
  • Dishwasher
  • Washing machine

all-natural baby wash

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Store-bought baby washes (like other cleaners) are full of artificial ingredients, and they’re pretty darn expensive. This homemade baby wash works great, smells great, and is all natural! You’ll need a 16-ounce amber or cobalt glass pump bottle. Not sure where to get one? Check here.

Ingredients:

Make It:

  1. Add all ingredients to a 16-ounce glass pump bottle using a funnel.
  2. Cap and shake vigorously.

Use Tips:

  • Shake gently before each use to ensure all ingredients are mixed well.
  • For a full tub, use 4-5 pumps of baby wash.

Cost Comparison:

  • This recipe = 36 cents per ounce
  • Aveeno baby wash at Walmart = 50 cents per ounce

all-natural, homemade laundry soap (HE safe)

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Laundry detergent is expensive! It’s also full of all sorts of chemicals and other artificial ingredients. If you’re looking for an easy, inexpensive, all-natural alternative, you’ve come to the right place! This recipe is also safe for HE machines.

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup *Dri-Pak pure soap flakes
  • 1 cup Borax (find it by the laundry stain removers at Walmart)
  • 1 cup washing soda (find it by the laundry stain removers at Walmart)
  • 15 drops Purify (doTERRA essential oil proprietary blend)
  • 15 drops On Guard (doTERRA essential oil proprietary blend)

Make It:

  1. Add all ingredients to a one-quart glass jar (or other airtight container), and shake to mix.

Use It:

Many people suggest using 2-3 tbsp. per load. Since we have an HE machine AND a water softener, I’ve found 1/2 tbsp is plenty! In fact, I tried a full tbsp. with a larger load, and I had to run an extra rinse because it was still sudsy. I would recommend starting with less and adding more if necessary.

One concern many people have is soap residue left in the machine from the use of the soap flakes. I use white vinegar with Purify essential oil blend as a softener (one quart distilled white vinegar with 20 drops essential oil; shake well before each use), and I don’t have any problems with soap scum! Oh, and that same vinegar/essential oil combination is awesome for stain and odor removal!

*Alternatively, you can use one grated bar of castile soap. Using the bar soap is a bit cheaper, but it’s a fair amount of work to grate the bar. Also, if you don’t get it grated finely, it won’t dissolve well in the wash.

Cost Comparison:

  • This recipe = 6 cents per load
  • Tide HE at Walmart = 19 cents per load

Help, My Cloth Diaper is Leaking!

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Unfortunately, cloth diapers aren’t quite as forgiving as disposables. With a disposable, you just have to get it on and cinch it down with the handy velcro straps. It will do the rest. With cloth, you have to be a bit more specific with how you put it on, or it will almost certainly leak. Don’t let that deter you, though! The good news is once you figure it out, you’ll be set (until the little one grows, and you have to adjust…).

If your diaper is leaking, it usually indicates one of two things: improper fit OR over-saturation. If it’s over-saturation, that’s a simple fix: change more often! Since cloth diapers don’t have the handy “wet indicator” that disposables do, it can be tough to know when to change. With newborns, I usually recommend changing every 2-3 hours. With older babies and toddlers, most parents figure out their schedule and can change based on that. Our son is currently 18 months old, and his schedule looks like this:

  • Wake up (approx. 7:30 a.m.), new diaper
  • Bowel movement (approx. 10 a.m.), new diaper
  • Nap (approx. 12 p.m.), check diaper and change if wet
  • Wake up (approx. 2 p.m.), change right away if not changed before nap, otherwise leave
  • If not changed after nap, change at approx. 3 p.m.
  • Change before supper (approx. 5 p.m.)
  • Bath (approx. 6:45 p.m.), disposable overnight

Certainly, it’s not a perfect system, but if you have a general idea of the schedule, you can plan accordingly.

If the diaper is leaking, and it’s not due to over-saturation, then it’s an improper fit. If the diaper is too loose OR if it’s too tight, you’ll have leaks. Finding that perfect fit is the key!

  1. With the little one on their back, place the top of the back of the diaper just above their butt.
  2. Pull the front between their legs, being sure to get leg elastic snugly into the crevice between their leg and groin (this is KEY!). Stretch the elastic some here but not to its extent. That way when you get the front in place, it will stay snug into that crevice. *If the leaking is around the legs, it’s because the leg elastic isn’t snug in this crevice.
  3. Lay the front of the diaper flat across the little one’s tummy, about an inch below the belly button. Getting it flat with no extra bulk is also important to a snug fit. *If the leaking is at the top of the front, it’s because this isn’t flat.
  4. While holding the ends of the front flat along the little one’s side, pull the back  of one side up and over the front, so the front ends are hidden under the back. See the photo below.
  5. **NOTE: I do steps 2, 3 , and 4 together, one side at a time. I start with the side closest to me and do steps 2, 3, and 4. Then I move to the other side and do steps 2, 3, and 4.
  6. When you have a good, snug fit around the waist, make a mental note of how many snaps are left undone, so you can repeat it next time.
  7. Lift the little one’s legs up, and use your fingers to ensure a snug fit around both legs. Remember to also ensure the leg elastic is up into the crevice and not down farther on the leg.

 

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If you’re using an all-in-ones, it’s also important to be sure the flaps on the inside are lying flat and fully within the diaper shell. If they’re sticking out even a little, they’ll leak.

I know it might seem a bit daunting, but as I said before, once you get it figured out, I promise it becomes muscle memory, and it’s super easy! As your little one grows, you’ll of course need to make adjustments from time to time. Sometimes, you’ll even have to go down a rise setting but up in the waist size! Good luck!

help! my cloth diaper is leaking!

leakingdiaper.png

Unfortunately, cloth diapers aren’t quite as forgiving as disposables. With a disposable, you just have to get it on and cinch it down with the handy velcro straps. It will do the rest. With cloth, you have to be a bit more specific with how you put it on, or it will almost certainly leak. Don’t let that deter you, though! The good news is once you figure it out, you’ll be set (until the little one grows, and you have to adjust…).

If your diaper is leaking, it usually indicates one of two things: improper fit OR over-saturation. If it’s over-saturation, that’s a simple fix: change more often! Since cloth diapers don’t have the handy “wet indicator” that disposables do, it can be tough to know when to change. With newborns, I usually recommend changing every 2-3 hours. With older babies and toddlers, most parents figure out their schedule and can change based on that. Our son is currently 18 months old, and his schedule looks like this:

  • Wake up (approx. 7:30 a.m.), new diaper
  • Bowel movement (approx. 10 a.m.), new diaper
  • Nap (approx. 12 p.m.), check diaper and change if wet
  • Wake up (approx. 2 p.m.), change right away if not changed before nap, otherwise leave
  • If not changed after nap, change at approx. 3 p.m.
  • Change before supper (approx. 5 p.m.)
  • Bath (approx. 6:45 p.m.), disposable overnight

Certainly, it’s not a perfect system, but if you have a general idea of the schedule, you can plan accordingly.

If the diaper is leaking, and it’s not due to over-saturation, then it’s an improper fit. If the diaper is too loose OR if it’s too tight, you’ll have leaks. Finding that perfect fit is the key!

  1. With the little one on their back, place the top of the back of the diaper just above their butt.
  2. Pull the front between their legs, being sure to get leg elastic snugly into the crevice between their leg and groin (this is KEY!). Stretch the elastic some here but not to its extent. That way when you get the front in place, it will stay snug into that crevice. *If the leaking is around the legs, it’s because the leg elastic isn’t snug in this crevice.
  3. Lay the front of the diaper flat across the little one’s tummy, about an inch below the belly button. Getting it flat with no extra bulk is also important to a snug fit. *If the leaking is at the top of the front, it’s because this isn’t flat.
  4. While holding the ends of the front flat along the little one’s side, pull the back  of one side up and over the front, so the front ends are hidden under the back. See the photo below.
  5. **NOTE: I do steps 2, 3 , and 4 together, one side at a time. I start with the side closest to me and do steps 2, 3, and 4. Then I move to the other side and do steps 2, 3, and 4.
  6. When you have a good, snug fit around the waist, make a mental note of how many snaps are left undone, so you can repeat it next time.
  7. Lift the little one’s legs up, and use your fingers to ensure a snug fit around both legs. Remember to also ensure the leg elastic is up into the crevice and not down farther on the leg.

 

20170306_122134.jpg

If you’re using an all-in-ones, it’s also important to be sure the flaps on the inside are lying flat and fully within the diaper shell. If they’re sticking out even a little, they’ll leak.

I know it might seem a bit daunting, but as I said before, once you get it figured out, I promise it becomes muscle memory, and it’s super easy! As your little one grows, you’ll of course need to make adjustments from time to time. Sometimes, you’ll even have to go down a rise setting but up in the waist size! Good luck!

baby butt balm (cloth diaper safe)

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One awesome thing about cloth diapers is your little one is far less likely to get diaper rash. On the flip side, though, when they do get diaper rash, regular diaper rash creams can’t be used. Not only do they stain the diapers, they can also mess with the absorbency! That’s no good. The other downfall to store-bought diaper rash creams is most of them are filled with all sorts of chemicals and artificial stuff that certainly doesn’t help the problem any.

If you’re looking for a cloth diaper-safe diaper rash cream, or you just want an all-natural option, this is the recipe for you!

Ingredients:

Make It:

  1. In a medium glass bowl, melt together coconut oil, shea butter, and beeswax (approx. two minutes in microwave).
  2. Allow melted liquid to cool to room temperature, approx. one hour.
  3. Using a food processor, coffee grinder, or similar appliance, grind oats into a fine powder.
  4. After the liquid has cooled for an hour, transfer it, essential oils, and oats into a blender and puree.
  5. Pour into a pint wide-mouth jar.
  6. Allow to cool before use at room temperature or in the refrigerator (will set as it cools).

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A little goes a long way, so use this in small amounts. Store in a cool, dark area, out of direct sunlight.

Cost Comparison:

  • This recipe = 50 cents per ounce
  • Boudreaux’s at Walmart = $2.17 per ounce

diy reed diffuser air freshener

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Reed diffusers are wonderful air fresheners. We have one in each bathroom in our house, and we have one in the laundry room (the litter boxes call the laundry room home). Have you ever bought the oil for them?? It is crazy expensive! One small bottle will run you at least $10, and that only gets you (at best) two fills! Fear not, frugal friends…I have a recipe!

For the bottle, you can buy any glass bottle you like, so long as it has a narrow opening. I picked mine up at Hobby Lobby. I especially like that it came with a cork top. While it won’t get used often, it’s a nice cap for when you want to swish the solution in the bottle. The reeds were a bit tougher to come by. I couldn’t find them in a store locally, so I ordered them on Amazon.

*One note: in order for the fragrance to really get out of the jar, you need to fill the jar at least 3/4 full. Adjust the recipe accordingly for your chosen jar.

Ingredients:

Make It:

  1. Add all ingredients to bottle (or mix in a separate container first).
  2. If your bottle has a cap, simply cap it and swish to mix ingredients together. If not, use one of your reed sticks to stir it.
  3. Add 8-10 sticks to the bottle, and fan them out.
  4. Be patient! It can take a day or two to really smell the fragrance.

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Maintenance:

  • To maximize fragrance, flip the sticks every few days.
  • Replace the sticks once per month.
  • Fill the bottle with new solution as needed.

When making a new solution, experiment with different oils (or combinations of oil) to find the fragrance you enjoy most!

doggie breath busters (grain free)

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Few dogs exist that don’t have bad breath. The best defense to bad breath is regular vet visits and an annual dental cleaning. Bad breath is not something to be ignored because it can be indicative of any number of medical issues from plaque and tartar buildup to tooth decay to something far more serious. Assuming you take excellent care of your fur babies like I do, they still can knock you out with their kisses. This recipe is easy to make, and my dogs love the resulting treat. And the most important part of course – they really do help with the nasty breath!

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup plain Greek yogurt
  • Small handful fresh mint
  • Small handful fresh parsley
  • 1-2 tbsp filtered water

Make It:

  1. Add all ingredients to a blender cup and puree.
  2. Pour into ice cube tray to desired size – half full for small to medium dogs and full for larger dogs.
  3. Freeze until solid.
  4. Pop out of trays and store in the freezer in a freezer-safe container or freezer storage bag.
  5. Feed 1-2 treats daily.

Yield: approx. 24 half-cube treats

This would also make a great puree to pour into a Kong and freeze!

the neti pot is a lifesaver

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This year has been a tough one for my sinuses. In February, I was onto my fourth (you read that right…4th!) sinus infection of the season. Every time I thought it was clearing up, it would just come back – with a vengeance! I went to the doctor with the first one. When the first two antibiotics didn’t work, they put me on a steroid. When that didn’t work, they tried a different antibiotic. Eventually, it cleared up, but I’m convinced that was a coincidence. Later, when the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th infections came, I didn’t even go to the doctor.

Several years ago, at the insistence of my mom, I bought a neti pot. I should note I’m not a swimmer. Why? I don’t like the feeling of water going up my noise, and I can’t seem to stop it from happening. So even though this neti pot was sitting in its box in the bathroom closet, I had only tried it twice. Both times, I had been pretty sure I was going to drown. When my fourth infection came on, my mom asked me again to use the neti pot. I had reached my breaking point. I was ready to try anything – and that included that crazy little pot that I was certain would drown me in the bathroom. I got it out, re-read the instructions, and gave it a go.

Within seconds, I felt like I was drowning again. Then, a light bulb went on in my head. The instructions specifically said to keep your mouth open. I remembered reading it, but I honestly didn’t think about it. I tried again, this time with my mouth open, and voila! It still felt crazy and weird, but at least I didn’t feel like I was drowning. The next few times, I had to consciously remind myself to open my mouth.

After just one use, I woke up the next morning able to breathe! When you’re sick, they recommend using it two to three times a day, so I did just that for the next week. For ongoing maintenance (especially if you have allergies like I do), they recommend using it once a day. I’ll admit – it stills feels funny every time I do it, but I survive. And let’s be honest – if I can do it, ANYONE can! Oh, and the best part? It’s natural, and it clears up allergies, infections, and other sinus issues with no antibiotics or steroids!

homemade play-dough

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My son LOVES play-dough! Well, let’s be honest, he loves anything he can dig into and make a mess with! While Play-Doh isn’t actually very expensive, I was all about making it myself to save some money.

If you do a quick Google search for homemade play-dough, you’ll find TONS of recipes. At first, being the lazy person that I am, I chose what looked like the easiest one. While it came out ok, it was beyond messy. Every time you touched it, you were left with flecks of it between your fingers, on your clothes, and in a trail wherever you traveled. Now, imagine that with a toddler…it was a disaster! He kept bringing me the container wanting to play with it, and I kept secretly wishing he had forgotten all about it.

Fast forward a couple months, and I finally threw it away – not because it had dried out or anything (it was actually still in its original state) but because I just couldn’t bring myself to let him play with it anymore. I did some more research and found the KEY ingredient I was missing was cream of tartar. Who has that stuff anyway?? After a quick trip to the store and another search for dos and dont’s, I came up with a great recipe, so here it is:

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 cup salt
  • 2 cups boiling water
  • 3 tbsp oil (I use vegetable)
  • food coloring of your choice (optional)
  • 1 tbsp cream of tartar (the KEY ingredient!)

Make It:

  1. In a small saucepan, bring water to a boil
  2. Meanwhile, in a large, heat-safe bowl, stir together flour, salt, and cream of tartar
  3. When water is boiling, add oil and food coloring to the pan
  4. Pour boiling liquid over dry ingredients
  5. Stir together with a spoon
  6. Allow to cool to a handle-able temperature
  7. Knead together with hands
  8. Store in an airtight container

Enjoy!

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