Wednesday, August 7, 2013

All natural flea deterrent and killer for pets and home

I've been  determined to get our sporadic flea issue under control this year. With two cats who like to sit out on the screened porch at all hours of the day and night you better believe we've had our share of flea nightmares. This year has been better than most but really, I'm very tired of the chemicals. So are my cats. 

One cat is now over twenty years old and the other is so allergic to fleas that within a day of being bitten he's heaving his guts up all over the place. Not pretty. He's very sensitive to Advantage and all the other back-of-the-neck gels, too. I want to kill the fleas, not my cat!

So after doing a bit of research I've found what looks to be a very easy fix. Cheap, too. I like cheap. Who doesn't? 

Two things you'll need: diatomaceous earth and vinegar.  You can find the proper diatomaceous earth in the gardening or pet section of most general stores. Get the food grade variety, not the stuff out of the pool and filter section. That stuff is poisonous for what you're going to be using it for. If you get the diatomaceous earth(DE for short) out of the pesticide/gardening section make sure that you read the bag very carefully. You need 100% DE, not a product which has any other ingredients. I've seen a couple of those products and their website said that the 'other' ingredients are proprietary in nature and will not be disclosed. RED FLAG! Don't get that stuff. Only get 100% DE. Here's a good place to get it. 

First, decide if you want to deal with the pets first or your home. 


Fill your kitchen sink with warm water. Add one cup of either plain white distilled vinegar or apple cider vinegar. For kittens and puppies up to 6 months cut the vinegar amount in half. Swish and mix the water. Test it and make sure it's not too hot or cold. Taste the water. It should have a very slight puckering taste to it. You should be able to smell it but not really taste it, at least not to the extent that you feel like you're eating a pickle. 

Next, grab your pet and put them in the water. Thoroughly saturate them and using a cup, keep them in the water for at least five minutes while you pour the water all over their body. Take special care around the face. Don't let it get in the eyes or nose but you should definitely get some in their whiskers because that's where fleas love to run to when they feel they're in danger. The ears, too. Their coat should begin to feel very slick and silky by the end of five minutes. Vinegar has a conditioning effect on fur and skin.

Take them out of the water and smooth down their body with your hands, lightly pushing out as much of the vinegar as you can. Towel dry their face and ears and paws then let them go on their way. Let them dry in a warm environment if possible.

They will smell like vinegar quite strongly for a few hours but this will pass. They can lick themselves and will be fine. Also, more than one animal can be dipped in the same bath water. 


First, fhoroughly vacuum all carpets and rugs. 

Now here's a safety concern I have to point out because I think it's pretty important to everyone's lung health-- don't breath in the diatomaceous earth. Open every window in the room you're attacking and then leave the room for at least 30 mins while the dust settles. DE can be a lung irritant. I do my whole house one room at a time in a methodical way and it doesn't take long at all. Open the windows, squirt a bit of DE and see which way the wind blows, literally. Then you can plan how best to squirt the stuff on and exit the room in relation to the window and the work you've done. Don't 'paint' yourself into a dusty corner. Cover your mouth and nose if you have to. 

Using a squirt bottle(I use a large hair dye squirt bottle I got from Sally's Beauty Supply) puff the diatomaceous earth over your carpets. You don't have to be heavy handed with it for it to work. Even a single molecule of this powder can kill a flea or roach.

Sprinkle more diatomaceous earth around your floorboards and in any nooks and crannies you have seen fleas. You can even sprinkle some in your pet's bedding or in boxes they like to lay in. Again, you don't have to be heavy handed with it. Even a small puff of powder is good in a space about 3'x3'.

Bear in mind that any kind of moisture will kill the effectiveness of DE. If it gets wet then it has to be replaced.

Next comes the vinegar. In a spray bottle fill it with 1:3 vinegar/water. Spray all your upholstery and any cloth in any areas which you think may be appealing to fleas, including comforters and blankets on your bed. Don't spray the carpet with the vinegar. The vinegar is only to be used on furniture.

Let the diatomaceous earth stay in your carpet for at LEAST a full week before vacuuming again. Two weeks is better. But, if you gotta vacuum then you gotta vacuum, right? After vacuuming, put down more diatomaceous earth. Fleas have an egg cycle which you must cover at least three times before you can be assured you're safely flea-free.

Just to be clear, the vinegar is a deterrent and the diatomaceous earth actually kills. Warm blooded creatures are not harmed, only creatures with exoskeletons are. Your goal with using vinegar on the pets and upholstery and bedding is to make the little biting bastards run from those areas and force them onto the carpet which has diatomaceous earth. From the frying pan into the fire, so to speak.

Diatomaceous earth is pretty much the only other way besides heat to kill bedbugs, too, by the way. I've read some amazing stories about people's infestations and how they managed to reclaim their home using this natural product. 

We have personally had great results with DE and now I recommend it to all my friends with pets. Have you tried it or even heard of it?

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Getting away from commercial toothpastes

To get away from fluoride and other nasty chemicals in today's toothpastes, make your own.

1 tablespoon of bentonite clay
a small pinch of sea salt
a pinch of baking soda
+ 6 tablespoons of water.

Mix it up, cover it up, and in a few hours you'll have a natural tooth-mud that'll scrub your teeth up really well. I add three drops of clove essential oil to mine. Make sure you mix WELL!!!! You don't want pure clove oil in your mouth, it'll be too strong and burn. Don't like clove? Use spearmint or peppermint essential oil. Or how about orange or lemon oil? A drop of tea tree oil is a perfect additive to any of these oils to make sure you're fighting germs and keeping your mouth in tip top shape.

It takes 8-10 hours for the clay to soak up all the water properly. That recipe I gave will make enough toothpaste for one person for a week, brushing 2-3 times a day. I know one tablespoon seems like a ridiculously small amount of product but trust me- clay expands! And you're using SIX tablespoons of water so it'll fluff up quite a bit. This recipe is deceptively thick looking. Don't be fooled. And don't thin it out any more than six tablespoons of water or you will not get the scrubbing action your teeth need. It's very smooth feeling, but the clay has to be of a certain concentration for it to do you any good.

I keep mine in very small glass candy dish with glass lid. Tupperware makes some nifty little glass containers nowadays which have easy-off rubber lids. Most are less than $3.

You can use a small spoon or stick to scrape up the amount you want up onto your toothbrush. Me, I just use my index finger. It's my own toothpaste so I'm not concerned with germs. 

One word of caution on making a batch for more than one person. I highly recommend not making more than what can be used in a week at any given time, no matter how many people are dipping into that container. The essential oils tend to get dull and aren't as effective.

When the last bit is used up at the end of the night then just whip up some more. It's quick and very VERY easy!

If you think the clay near the bottom isn't as potent when you get to it you can always add a drop of essential oil.

Have fun with it. This recipe is the basic bare-bones recipe and you can tweak the essential oils to your heart's content.

Be healthy! Hugs to all!

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Mosalu Shampoo Bars

Dreadlocked hair rejoice, Mosalu is here! This new Etsier has been recently added to my Favorite list of sellers. Brenda, the imaginative soapster in charge of all the great scents and lush bubbles, has capture my interest due to the unusual combination of essential oils in her recipes. The top and bottom notes in the scents are a heady combination. You feel like you've visited a perfumer's private laboratory/studio when you receive one of these bars.

Because I have Caucasian neglect dreadlocks, I don't need all the heavy butters and oils like others might. To keep my tangles tight and my locks soft(but not too soft!) it's necessary to use the best soaps-- no cheapie detergents will do. You have to treat your scalp right.

For those of you who may not have ever used a bar soap on their head here's a pointer or two: get soap you like. Use liberally. Rinse. Enjoy your healthy hair. It's really that simple. 

Here are more explicit directions for those still wary of bar shampoo: Part your hair with your fingers after you wet it, grip the bar with your hand and then gently rub the opposite edge of the soap in your scalp. Repeat all over. Re-wet your head a bit, swipe the bar all over your hair two or three times, add a bit more water, scrub with your fingertips and then rinse. Healthy scalp and hair!!

One bar of soap will last quite a long while. My hair is down just past my shoulders and I think one bar of Mosalu will last me two or three months and that's shampooing three times a week.

One other note on the 'notes' in Mosalu's soaps-- she doesn't use synthetic scents in her special dreadlock soaps, only essential oils! So if you're looking for truly natural soap for your truly natural hair, look no further.

Here are her current shampoo bars for dreadlocked hair:  


Ingredients: Saponified Oils of Olive, Coconut, Palm. Grapefruit Seed Extract, Vitamin E, rosemary extract, mica, activated charcoal powder, sweet orange essential oil, black pepper essential oil and coriander essential oil.

'Citrus Scent' (I think this one looks kind of like peacock feathers, what do you think?)

Ingredients: Saponified Oils of Olive, Coconut, Palm. Beer, Grapefruit Seed Extract, Vitamin E, rosemary extract, kaolin clay, activated charcoal powder, mica, and healthy essential oils of orange, lemon, grapefruit and geranium.


Ingredients: Saponified Oils of Olive, Coconut, Palm. Beer, Grapefruit Seed Extract, Vitamin E, rosemary extract, kaolin clay, activated charcoal powder, healthy essential oils of tea tree, peppermint, ylang ylang, rosemary, lemon, lavender and anise.

This one sort of reminds me of that old style swirly taffy candy you can find around Halloween.

Brenda says she's working hard on more recipes so I most definitely look forward to seeing them. My scalp and hair have never felt so happy. Essential oils are good for dreads and she is very liberal with her use of them.

Check out her shop!