How to Turn Old Perfume into Air Freshener


I have this bottle of old perfume that I no longer use and is most likely expired, but it is still very fragrant. So I simply popped off the top, stuck a few rattan sticks inside, and turned it into a diffuser.

Now my room smells really nice!

If the neck of the perfume bottle is too narrow to hold diffuser sticks, or if the neck is too wide that you're worried the scent will dissipate too quickly, try funneling the perfume into a more appropriate container.

If you don't have any old perfume you can use to freshen your room, try making your own reed diffuser.

Uses for Old Shampoo, Conditioner and Body Wash

When I switched to baking soda shampoo and apple cider vinegar rinse for my hair, I was left with a few bottles of old shampoo and conditioners that I no longer need. Not wanting to be wasteful, I put them to other use.

The following suggestions are great ways to get rid of collections of hotel toiletries.

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Uses for Old Shampoo and Body Wash: 

Soap is soap. It doesn't matter if it was designed for your hair or body, it will be able to clean other things as well. I don't really worry that it will cause damage either, since most hair and body soaps are much milder than typical detergents and industrial home cleansers. With old shampoo and body wash you can ...
  • Wash stains such as food, sweat stains and paint out of clothes, linens, carpet and rugs. It even works on blood stains. Just pour a little shampoo/body wash onto the stain and let it sit for at least 20 minutes before rinsing the affected area with water.
  • Clean the bathroom. Shampoo and body wash are great for scrubbing away soap scum.
  • Clean grease off of surfaces in the kitchen.
  • Wash the floor.
  • Clean cosmetics off of makeup brushes or paint off paint brushes.
  • Wash hair grease out of hair brushes and combs.
  • Use it as foam hand soap.
  • Wash the dishes.
  • ... clean almost any surface or thing you can think of.


Uses for Old Conditioner:

Conditioner works as a fantastic lubricant and polisher. With bottles of unwanted conditioner you can ...
  • Use it as shaving cream. It works just as well as store-bought shaving cream (which I personally don't even think you need for a close shave) or soap.
  • Polish leather shoes. It creates a nice matte effect, as opposed to a shine, and effectively cleans the leather while keeping it soft.
  • Lubricate hinges. Apply a few globs of conditioner on squeaky door or cabinet hinges, after a few swings the hinge should be noise-free.
  • Remove makeup from your face. Using unwanted conditioner as makeup remover works well in a pinch, but I wouldn't recommend using it if the solution is expired. So be warned.
  • Polish metal and chrome. Conditioner can be used to help bring the gleam back to most shiny surfaces.
  • Soften makeup or paint brushes. After you've used your shampoo/body soap to clean your brushes as mentioned above, use some conditioner to make them soft again.
  • Free stuck zippers. Put a drop of conditioner on a zipper that is stuck, and it should help release it.

Salubrious Selection: Burt's Bees Herbal Insect Repellent

If you live in a tropical climate like Taiwan, where I'm from, there's no doubt at some point you have encountered a mosquito problem. I even suspect Taiwan mosquitoes may be smarter and more vicious than the mosquitoes in most other countries. They're great at hiding, they're quick to avoid the electric zapper (which, I've learned, sometimes doesn't even kill them upon first zap) and their bites become these itch-tastic welts that inexplicably end up looking like little raised maps of Australia. And I'm not even talking about the ones that spread dengue fever.

Despite this torture, I am still unwilling to expose myself to the poisonous repellents, toxic sprays and hazardous smoke coils most people resort to to fend off these minuscule vampires.

What I turned to instead, was Burt's Bees Herbal Insect Repellent.

I really love this spray. It is 100% made of natural oils, which means I'm not exposing myself to anything harmful, and it really works. Any portion of my skin covered in this repellent ensures that I will not be bitten by any mosquitoes. Some downsides is that the solution is rather greasy, which some people may not enjoy, it does have a very strong herbal scent that many may find off-putting, and it's rather pricey at about $11.00 per 4 fl.oz bottle.

However, I found that my skin very quickly absorbed the oil, which actually ended up working as a good moisturizer, making my skin rather soft, and I quickly got used to the smell. I balked a little at the price, but the bottle seems to last quite awhile. I use this repellent both indoors and outdoors when I need to, and I highly recommend this to anyone living in mosquito-prone areas who are looking for a non-toxic way to keep mosquitoes away.

How to Use Olive Oil as Makeup Remover


There doesn't need to be anything fancy or complicated in your makeup remover; its only purpose is to remove makeup. So don't listen to all those advertisements on television and in magazines asking you to buy their expensive chemical-laden makeup removers. All you need is olive oil.

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Olive oil makeup removerTo Use:

Olive oil removes makeup perfectly. In fact, better than some commercial makeup removers I have purchased in the past.

You can simply pour some olive oil into a cotton pad as you would any other makeup remover, and gently wipe away makeup and grease from your face. To remove difficult eye makeup, simply press the pad against your eyelid for a few seconds, and you'll find any cosmetic residue is easily wiped away. Make sure to wash your face thoroughly afterwards.

I personally forgo the cotton pad all together and massage a teaspoon-sized amount of olive oil into my face with my fingers. I massage for at least a minute to make sure all the makeup and grime on my face is dissolved into the oil, then I wipe it away with a warm, damp washcloth and thoroughly wash my face with a mild cleanser.


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Since I began using olive oil as my makeup remover my skin has actually improved. My face does not break out as much and I have significantly fewer blackheads. However, if you do choose to use this method, it only improves the quality of your skin if you make sure to thoroughly clean your face afterward to remove all of the oil.

I prefer using olive oil as it doesn't clog pores if properly washed away and is regularly available, but grape seed oil or others may work just as well - it's just a matter of finding the oil that works for you.


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Cost Comparison:


The makeup remover pads I formerly used came with 46 sheets per refillable pack that cost about $4.00 each. That's about $0.08 per sheet. Spending $7.00 will buy me 1 liter - or roughly 203 teaspoons - of olive oil. Assuming I use about one teaspoon of olive oil each time I remove my makeup (and I'm pretty sure I don't even use that much), this works out to be roughly 3 cents per makeup removal session. I'm never buying commercial makeup remover ever again.

House-Cleaning with Baking Soda


Baking soda is a staple that should be among the cleaning supplies of every household. It's effective, does no harm to the environment, and is dirt cheap. Here are some ways you can freshen up your home with baking soda:

Deodorize areas: You probably already know this. Place a dish of baking soda in drawers, closets, rooms, the refrigerator or any other place that needs deodorizing. The baking soda will absorb moisture and unpleasant smells.

Deodorize the rugs or carpet: Sprinkle baking soda over the entire surface of the carpet and let it sit for a few hours, then vacuum it up. Most of the unpleasant smells in the carpet should be eliminated.

Unclog drains: I mentioned this in my post about the cleaning powers of white vinegar. Pour 1/2 cup of baking soda down the drain followed by 3/4 cup of vinegar. You may see bubbles emerge from the drain when the two elements react. Leave it for a few minutes, then run hot water down the drain.

Clean the toilet: Sprinkle some baking soda into the toilet bowl and let it sit overnight. You'll find the toilet bowl easier to scrub clean the next day.


Remove stains, fungus and mold: Create a paste with baking soda and water to scrub grimy surfaces clean. Baking soda works as a great abrasive scrub.

Use it as a cockroach killer: A combination of baking soda and granulated sugar makes for a great natural, non-toxic cockroach killer.

How to Use Apple Cider Vinegar as a Natural Hair Conditioner


I've already blogged about making your own baking soda shampoo, so for those who'd like to take it a step further, here's a recipe for making your own hair conditioner/rinse with apple cider vinegar.

I was skeptical when I first discovered this natural way of conditioning hair, but after having tried it I have become a big fan. Apple cider vinegar not only helps detangle my hair after washing it, but my hair becomes silky and soft after drying and still retains its volume. I only wish I discovered this earlier in life - it would have saved me a lot of time and money from trying different pricey conditioners that always left my hair heavy and limp.

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Apple cider vinegar hair conditionerYou'll Need:

- a clean, empty container
- apple cider vinegar
- distilled water
- essential oils (optional)

Directions:

1. Fill the empty container 1/3 full with apple cider vinegar. Use a funnel if you have to.
How to Use Apple Cider Vinegar as a Natural Hair Conditioner2. Fill the rest of the container with distilled water. Add a few drops of your favorite essential oils for fragrance if you wish. My personal favorite is chamomile roman essential oil, adding just a couple of drops helps soothe the scalp and smells great!
3. Close the top securely and shake the container to mix the solution evenly.

To Use:

I recommend shaking the bottle a little every time you use it to make sure the solution remains evenly distributed, then apply some of the mixture directly into your hair. I generally focus on the bottom half of my hair and work the solution up to my scalp, since it's more important to condition and detangle the dry ends than the roots. Let your hair absorb the solution for a minute or two, then rinse thoroughly.


Some people prefer leaving the solution in and allowing the vinegar to evaporate when they blow dry their hair, but I could never get used to doing that. Do whatever feels right for you.


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This solution makes my hair incredibly shiny and soft, and it's completely chemical-free! Instead of essential oils, you can also stick a few stems of lavender or rosemary in the bottle for fragrance. This isn't an exact science so you can be as creative as you want.

How to Use Baking Soda/Baking Powder to Naturally Kill Cockroaches


I recently discovered a container of baking powder that had expired in my kitchen cabinet. Instead of throwing it out, I decided to do something useful with it by creating a cockroach-killing powder.

That's right, baking powder and baking soda are cockroach killers - natural, non-toxic alternatives to poisonous commercial cockroach-killing formulas advertised on television.

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You'll Need:
- baking soda or baking powder
- any kind of granulated sugar
- empty container
- small, shallow containers or dishes (wide, plastic bottle caps work nicely)


Directions:
    1. Mix equal parts baking soda/baking powder with equal parts sugar.
    2. Place the mixture into your container of choice.
    3. Shake it up so the mixture is evenly distributed.
    4. Pour some of the mixture into the shallow containers/dishes.

To Use
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Place the shallow containers of your cockroach-killing powder in corners and areas where you think cockroaches often roam. The sugar in the mixture will attract the cockroach to eat it, and the ingested baking powder/baking soda will kill the cockroach by expanding inside its stomach, killing them from the inside out. The container must be shallow enough for cockroaches to easily reach the mixture inside. Although this mixture isn't toxic to animals or children in such small doses, it's still probably best to keep it out of their reach since you don't want them touching or eating things cockroaches have come in contact with.




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I can say from personal experience that this powder mixture truly works. After I began using this mixture, I have found dead cockroaches in random corners of the house. This is a much cheaper and better solution to a cockroach problem than using commercial cockroach killers, as not only are they toxic to the environment, they also help create new generations of stronger cockroaches immune to numerous industrial poisons.

Salubrious Selection: Orange House

For my Taiwan readers ...

I generally prefer using natural ingredients as cleaning products. But if you must buy a commercial cleanser and you live in Taiwan, try buying from Orange House (橘子工坊), a Taiwan brand specializing in house cleaning products.




Before I began making my own home-cleaning solutions, I was a big fan of this brand, and still occasionally use their products. According to the Orange House website, their cleansers are free of toxic chemicals and are made of only natural substances, with their main ingredient being 100% cold-pressed orange oil.

Another thing I love about Orange House cleansers is that they leave this great scent of citrus, so it's like being surrounded by fruit.