The Crowe’s Nest

June, 2011

We have all heard that term Spring Cleaning. It is that time of year that you go out of your way to make sure the spider’s webs are clogging up your corners, your stove is spotless and your carpet is fresh as the day it was placed. It isn’t that you don’t do this already on a weekly basis, but you go that extra mile.

To be honest, I don’t know exactly where the term spring cleaning came from. There are many thoughts that it came from the New Year’s traditions of the Scottish to it being a good time for dusting due to the climate in the northern hemisphere. Either way, we all know that once a year, it is something we all go through.

That leads me to the thoughts of how we use the chemicals that are given to us by the industrial supply companies to use in our house. Why do we use these things? It isn’t that there is not better option out there that is safer for our households. We have many things that work just as well already in our cupboards. Is it that we are too lazy to get up and go get it? Not really, after all we drive how many miles to the store to buy that product that promises to make your coffee table streak free?

Chemicals are given to us simply because we are used to doing things that way. We go about learning from our mothers, who were taught by their mothers and so on. We didn’t give it a second thought that the chemicals we were placing on our stove were so volatile to our skin, and the fumes linger and damage our respiratory system. It doesn’t ever cross our minds that the stuff that we put into the air to make it smell fresher in our home is the same stuff that is used to embalm cadavers in funeral homes.

When I first started researching about the things we use in our homes I was astounded at all the things that harm us in the process of having a house that is spic-n-span. There are chemical free substitutions that you can use and it is VERY easy to do this. It isn’t all that time consuming and it would be better not only for your family, but the environment as well.

Take your stove cleaner and look at the list of ingredients. Did you know that if you use that stuff then turn on your oven it makes it worse for your breathing than if you would simply take ¼ c. baking soda
2 tbsp. salt, and hot water to make a paste. Let the paste sit for five minutes. Make sure to keep it off of wires or the heating elements. Wipe away and you are good to go. You have no worries about the lungs getting polluted.

A great everyday cleaner for your household is ¼ cup baking soda, ½ cup borax, ½ cup vinegar and 1 gallon of water. Mix together well and use on everyday surfaces. If you need something that has a more scouring power, try moist sea salt or more baking soda. Use a green pad scouring pad. Those are available at your local stores. They work quiet well and are even able to be washed in your dishwasher.

Speaking of dishwasher, I learned that the stuff that dishwashing detergent is made with has chlorine in it. Now, each time we wash our dishes, a little of that residue is left on them. I am sure that you find it as comforting as I did to know that it is very poisonous. As you place food on the dishes to eat from, your food will pick up this residue. So, you are eating a little bit of chlorine each time.

For a more natural way of cleaning your dishes with a dishwasher use this formula: In a plastic container with a lid that is snug mix 1 cup borax, 1 cup baking soda, ¼ sea salt, ¼ cup citric acid, 30 drops of citrus essential oils- lemon, orange, etc. Put in your airtight container and shake it to mix it well. Put one tablespoon into each cup of your dishwasher. A note on the citric acid, you can buy this at any brewing store.

Now, for your hand washing dishes, you can make soap out of one cup of liquid castile soap, 2 tablespoons water and a few drops of essential oil. Mix it well and use. It works great and is easy to make.

Now, what do I do if I want to use something for my wooden products? That is easy too. Furniture polishes usually contain things like petroleum distillates and they have been known to cause skin and lung cancers. We don’t want that so instead of using those chemical based products try this: two teaspoons lemon oil with one pint of mineral oil in a spray bottle. Spray and wipe your furniture down. For those hard water marks, use toothpaste. I know that it is a great use for those old toothbrushes you always throw out.

There are many ideas you can use to clean your house without chemicals. I hope that this article inspires you to go about looking for inventive ways to clean safer for your family and your environment. I welcome all your suggestions. I know I could learn a few more.

It is always said that we leave this planet to those that come after us. That may be our children, our grandchildren, friends and family and the children they bring. So, why not teach them to take care of the world so that she will enjoy the life she has for many years to come. I know Gaia would enjoy not having so many infestations of pollutants in her. Plus this way you save since the containers you use can be used over and over. You don’t have to worry about throwing another piece of garbage out onto her.

I want to thank a member of my Circle for the inspiration of this article. Thanks M. Without you giving me the ideas, this article wouldn’t have inspired me to become more of the person I am inside. I wish many blessings to you and those reading this.

HearthBeats: Recipes from a Kitchen Witch

September, 2010

Hey guys and gals.. I am sending some recipes for homemade cleaning supplies and body care supplies…

Starting with window cleaner.

Recipe #1

2 cups water
3 TBS vinegar
1/2 tsp dish detergent (liquid)

Recipe #2

1 gallon water
1/4 cup vinegar
1 tsp dish detergent (liquid)

Recipe #3

1 gallon water
1/4 cup vinegar
2 TBS lemon juice
squirt dish detergent (liquid)

Recipe #4

1/2 cup white vinegar
1 gallon warm water

Spray windows with preferred cleaner solution then wipe clean with crumpled newspapers. The newspaper helps prevent streaks.

Avoid cleaning windows and glass when the sun is hot and shining on the window–glass will dry too fast and there will be streaks.

Also wash one side of the window in an up and down direction, on the other side scrub side to side. This will help determine which side of the glass has the streaks that need to be polished out.

Toilet Bowl Cleaner

Shake ½ Cup of Borax and 10 drops of tea tree essential oil into toilet,
give it a quick scrub with the toilet brush, close the lid and leave for
several hours or overnight. Scrub again, flush and delight in your sparkling
clean, fresh-smelling bowl.

Homemade Laundry Soap Detergent

Recipe #1

1 quart Water (boiling)
2 cups Bar soap (grated)
2 cups Borax
2 cups Washing Soda

  • Add finely grated bar soap to the boiling water and stir until soap is melted. You can keep on low heat until soap is melted.
  • Pour the soap water into a large, clean pail and add the Borax and Washing Soda. Stir well until all is dissolved.
  • Add 2 gallons of water, stir until well mixed.
  • Cover pail and use 1/4 cup for each load of laundry. Stir the soap each time you use it (will gel).

Recipe #2

Hot water
1 cup Washing Soda
1/2 cup Borax
1 Soap bar

  • Grate the bar soap and add to a large saucepan with hot water. Stir over medium-low heat until soap dissolves and is melted.
  • Fill a 10 gallon pail half full of hot water. Add the melted soap, Borax and Washing soda, stir well until all powder is dissolved. Top the pail up with more hot water.
  • Use 1 cup per load, stirring soap before each use (will gel).

Recipe #3
Powdered Laundry Detergent (
I use this and it is great. You can pre-wash with Dawn if you get grease or oil stains)

2 cups Fels Naptha Soap (finely grated – you could also try the other bar soaps listed at the top)
1 cup Washing Soda
1 cup Borax

  • Mix well and store in an airtight plastic container.
  • Use 2 tablespoons per full load.

Recipe # 4
Powdered Laundry Detergent (
you can make this in smaller batches. It works great too.)

12 cups Borax
8 cups Baking Soda
8 cups Washing Soda
8 cups Bar soap (grated)

  • Mix all ingredients well and store in a sealed tub.
  • Use 1/8 cup of powder per full load.

Liquid Detergents Note

Soap will be lumpy, goopy and gel-like. This is normal. Just give it a good stir before using. Make sure soap is covered with a lid when not in use. You could also pour the homemade soap in old (and cleaned) laundry detergent bottles and shake well before each use.

*If you can’t find Fels-Naptha locally, you can buy it online (check Amazon).


You can add between 10 to 15 drops of essential oil (per 2 gallons) to your homemade laundry detergent. Add once the soap has cooled to room temperature. Stir well and cover.

Essential oil ideas: lavender, rosemary, tea tree oil

If you add an extra ½ cup borax and a ½ cup salt to 1 ½ cups liquid detergent you can make a great soft scrub.

All purpose cleaner

2 Tablespoons Borax
1 Teaspoon Castile Soap
15-20 drops total of Essential Oils such as Pine, Lemon, Lemongrass,
Eucalyptus or Tea Tree (remember that Tea Tree is has great disinfectant

Add Borax to a 1-quart spray bottle.
Fill with warm water.
Add Castile soap and 15 to 20 drops of oil.

Shake and use.

Body care

Basic Shower Gel

1/2 cup unscented shampoo
1/4 cup water
3/4 teaspoon salt
15 drops fragrance oil
Food coloring ( optional)

Pour shampoo into a bowl and add the water. Stir until its well mixed add the salt and fragrance.

Add any fragrance oil that you like!

Liquid Hand Soap Recipe

1 bar of soap, small (not super size)
3 C. Water

Take your bar of soap (we use Dove or store brand like it, because it’s more moisturizing), and grate it with a cheese grater. Pour the water and grated soap into a microwaveable container and cook on high for 3 min. Remove and stir until all soap bits have melted (put in a bit longer, if needed). Let it cool, then pour into pumps (leftover from store bought liquid soap), and the remainder in any container with a lid. Makes about 24 oz.

Peach Shower Gel

3/4 cup distilled water
1/4 cup shampoo concentrate (or substitute with 1/2 cup unscented shampoo and increase salt to 1 tsp.)
1/2 tsp. table salt
1 tbs. apricot kernel oil
15 drops peach fragrance oil
5 drops vitamin E oil (2 capsules)
1 drop orange food coloring (optional)

Warm the water and pour into a ceramic bowl. Add the apricot kernal oil, salt, peach fragrance oil, vitamin E oil (just break open the capsules) and coloring. Stir until well blended and thick. Pour into a squeeze bottle and close.

Hair Growth herbal Shampoo

This shampoo not only helps encourage hair growth, but it also keeps the
Scalp very clean and healthy and helps prevent dandruff.

2 cups distilled water
1 cup fresh spearmint
1 cup fresh rosemary
1 cup all-natural, gentle baby shampoo
Essential oil or fragrance oil, your choice, optional (to make it a
Scented shampoo)

Boil the water with the fresh herbs for about ten minutes, in a glass
Saucepan (like Visions). Or, you can put in a microwave-safe glass or
Plastic bowl and heat in the microwave until boiling, and allow to boil
For about ten minutes. Then, remove the pot from the stove or bowl from
The microwave and cover with a lid and allow to sit and steep for an
Hour. Strain the liquid through cheesecloth. Mix this with the baby
Shampoo. Pour into bottles and let set overnight. The next morning you
Can add some fragrance or essential oil to the shampoo in whatever scent
You like the most.

Until next month
Merry Cooking and Blessed Eating
The Hearthkeeper

PS. If there is anything you would like to see here.. Please email me at

Blessed be…