Tag Archives: natural living

an oil and vinegar wood furniture polish/cleaner


I recently read about a homemade wood cleaner/polish that can be made with pantry ingredients and thought it would be one small thing that I could accomplish while I’m off work for a bit. It has the benefit of being cheap, very green and is actually good for wood furniture.

We have a lot of wood furniture in our house – antiques and second hand furniture are what we used to furnish it (or, as one friend who helped us move put it, too much old stuff). Some pieces get dried out and occasionally need a little something extra to bring them back to life. This combination seems to do the trick – the vinegar provides a cleaning agent and the oil conditions the wood. Wood furniture with a matte finish cleans beautifully with this; it will fill in tiny scratches, it covers some water stains and helped darken finish that had dried out and lightened. It can be used on other finishes as well, but may need to be buffed off or used more sparingly on glossy finished furniture.

I put it to the ultimate test and used it to try to make the old crackled and dried out church pew that sits on my front porch look good again. There isn’t a lot that can be done for the crackled and baked finish on it, but the oil did darken it up and gave it some protection against drying out again quickly. It looks much better in my opinion (though I can’t do anything about the chew marks on the arm rests that were a puppy teething incident).

desk before and after

The tall hormonal kid’s desk before and after the wood polish – good results

church pew before and after

These photos don’t show as much of the transformation as I would like – but the pew looks dramatically better now.


Oil & Vinegar Wood Furniture Polish/Cleaner

  • 1 part white vinegar
  • 3 parts olive oil

Pour oil and vinegar into a jar, seal tight and shake to mix before each use. Apply to furniture using a rag or microfiber cloth.

Linked to GNOWFGLINS, A Pinch of Joy, Frugally Sustainable

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homemade vapour rub – or how to keep your spouse from giving you a long suffering look when you cough all night

I’m a little late to the party – but I never knew that VapoRub works better on coughs when you rub it into the bottoms of your feet. I really could have used that knowledge when the littles were littler. However, now I know.

The feet have the most pores on the body so essential oils can easily penetrate the skin and absorb into the bloodstream fairly quickly. Apparently, it is one of the best ways to use essential oils, especially on babies and young children.

I couldn’t find any of the store bought kind, plus if I’m changing to all natural products, using one that contains petroleum probably isn’t the best choice. I decided to make some vapour rub for myself. I figured I had everything I needed, and I was right. I had just bought a brick of beeswax from the local apiary (for some future experimentation) and the rest is part of normal stock.

I found this recipe on Crunchy Betty and followed it to the letter. I used the higher amounts she listed for the essential oils, to give it more vapour oomph. Just as she promises, the rub has the same consistency of the other brand, smells great and feels acceptable going on. It’s got to be good for your skin, too. I rubbed some on my chest and the soles of my feet, put my socks on and hopped into bed. It worked pretty well. I don’t think I got the hairy eyeball from the other side of the bed. But then again, I was asleep.  And my feet felt nice and soft in the morning. And, if it works well enough, my mother won’t threaten to come over to apply a mustard plaster. Oh, how I hated mustard plasters.

Homemade Vapour Rub

  • 2 tsp beeswax (grated)
  • 1/4 cup olive oil (or experiment with an oil of your choice)
  • 35 drops peppermint essential oil
  • 15 drops eucalyptus essential oil
  • 15 drops rosemary essential oil

Melt the beeswax and olive oil together until smooth (I used a glass bowl in the microwave, stopping and stirring a couple of times until it was completely melted). Stir well with a whisk. Continue whisking while adding the essential oils drop by drop. Transfer to a small lidded container. Store in a cool, dry place for up to  a year (or more).

I found the cute little yellow glass jar at the Sally Ann store (Salvation Army) for $0.25 a while back – I knew it would come in handy for something.

Hopefully this helps resolve the cough quickly – I’m old enough now that a coughing fit causes me to bend and brace myself so that I don’t pee and throw my back out at the same time.

Linking to Frugally Sustainable, Sorta Crunchy, Farmgirl Friday, Cheerios and Lattes, An Original Belle, A Delightful Home, GNOWFGLINS

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adventures in crunchier personal care

I’ve had mixed results with my switch to healthier beauty products so far. I tried an all natural bar shampoo that made my hair limp and greasy. Not to mention the apple cider vinegar rinse that I used in place of conditioner made me smell like a chip truck until my hair dried each day. I’ve read that your hair goes through a short freak-out stage of withdrawal from the oil stripping chemicals in normal shampoo, but I couldn’t outlast it. I went back to shampoo. I’ll try something else, but I’m not willing to pay $30 for organic shampoo.

The crystal deodorant I’m very happy with. It was relatively inexpensive ($5.95) and should last for a long time. You just put it on while you are still wet from the shower, or wet the stick itself and apply. Supposedly, if you are not showering first, you should wash before applying or any sweaty ickyness on your body might contaminate the stick. So put it on clean.

So far I don’t stink. I reserve my final judgement until I’ve spent a day gardening in the hot sun.

My only other caution about this deodorant – if you want to avoid dancing around the bathroom doing the peepee dance after applying to freshly shaved underarms, use a sharp razor. Dull razors = chewed up skin. Chewed up skin + mineral salts = OUCH.

My other switch has been to handmade soaps. I have to admit this switch was really easy. My skin has felt great all winter. I found liv simple farms at a local craft sale before Christmas and have been using her soaps ever since. She raises goats and grows lavender to make her own soaps. She has different scent combinations available, but I really like the lavendar peppermint and lavendar eucalyptus. She does mail order too.

I’m open to suggestions about the shampoo thing. Maybe I’ll try making it, like the Townhouse Homesteaders’ DIY.

Linking to Frugally Sustainable

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