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Natural Tips

Whatever happened to washing windows with newspapers and vinegar? has the convenience of chemical filled spray bottles replaced the tips handed down the generations? or has the knowledge of the pre-consumerism age faded from memory? or just been dismissed as 'old wives tales?' From tips for natural cleaning around the home to friendly ideas for dealing with gardening problems... read on for some Natural Tips to help free your life from stress [and chemicals!].
Send in your own tips and ideas and help bring back Natural Knowledge!

| Around the Home |

A Rosemary infusion makes an ideal solution for cleaning food shelves and cupboards. Infuse a few sprigs of fresh or dried Rosemary in boiling water - allow to cool to a suitable temperature and use to wash down food storage surfaces.

Use neat Lemon Juice for cleaning tarnished silver, copper or brass [wash off with cool water and dry with a soft cloth]. Lemon Juice is an excellent alternative to bleach, and is great at tackling grease and oily surfaces. Add Lemon Juice to the washing up when grease is a problem.

Mix Salt and Vinegar [or Lemon Juice] together to make an abrasive surface cleaner.

Baking Soda can be used to freshen, clean and deodorise - makes a useful scouring powder [do not use on Aluminium]. Mix baking soda with warm water to clean tarnished silver, stainless steel sinks and surfaces, floors and windows.

Tea Tree essential oil has remarkable antifungal and anti-bacterial properties - add several drops to water and use to wipe down bathroom surfaces, shower curtains and wooden items prone to mould / fungi.

Scratches in wood surfaces can be treated with a Walnut kernel - rub in circular motions first and then with the grain. Polish with a soft cloth once dried. This really does work - and the oil from the walnut kernel will help seal the scratch. Magic! Hazelnut kernels can also be used.

Use fresh Lemon Balm leaves to scent and polish wooden furniture.

Remove chewing gum by rubbing with an ice-cube [or placing appropriate items in the freezer]. The gum will flake off effortlessly.

Remove red wine stains from carpets and fabrics by immediately applying salt - allow the salt to soak up the wine and brush off. Apply more salt as necessary [do not rub].

For an effective natural metal cleaner try a strong infusion of Horsetail - leave to steep overnight then boil for about 15 mins. Cool, strain and bottle. Use a cloth soaked in the horsetail solution to rub over metal items [especially good for pewter] - leave to dry, then polish with a soft dry cloth.

Natural moth repellents can be made by adding Cedar Wood [Cedrus spp.] shavings or dried herbs such as Wormwood [Artemesia abrotanum], Meadowsweet [Filipendula ulmaria], Sweet Woodruff [Asperula odorata], Lavender or Rosemary to linen cubpoards, wardrobes and clothes drawers [or added to a fabric pouch and hung in appropriate places].

Make a flea-repellent pet cushion with dried herbs such as Lavender, Peppermint, Rosemary, Fleabane [Galium verum] and Pennyroyal. Eucalyptus leaves can be scattered around - the sticky surfaces will trap the fleas and all you need to do is sweep the leaves away. I personally stick to Lavender, Peppermint and Rosemary herbs, with the addition of Marjoram and Catnip if it's a cushion for a cat! Dogs like Aniseed, so you could include some in a dog cushion if so desired.

Add a few drops of Peppermint essential oil to a cotton wool pad or tissue and place in your hoover - this will help freshen the air as you vacuum and is an excellent flea remedy! [Not suitable for upright vacuum cleaners with a bag].

Keep weevils out of stored grain, flour and cereals by placing a Bay leaf on top.

Basil will repel flies and mosquitos - grow some in a pot on a kitchen windowsill.

Remedy a Cockroach infestation by spraying a strong Catnip infusion on all appropriate surfaces, or scattering Catnip leaves around. [Make the infusion by simmering the leaves in water].

Ants dislike strong smelling herbs such as tansy, lemon thyme, rosemary, sage and catnip - bruise fresh cut sprays of these herbs and hang them in food cupboards to deter ants.

Soak a limescale encrusted shower head in vinegar for 24 hours to remove the limescale [submitted by J.Jackson]

| In the Garden |

Keep slugs off your prize plants by surrounding the plant with a layer of crushed eggshells or copper sheeting / items. Alternatively feed them something tastier than your prize plants - the slugs in my garden love pumpkins and melons!

Milk is an effective organic fungicide / germicide - useful for protecting vegetables, plants and roses. Try mixing one part cow's milk to nine parts water and pouring this over the affected plants.

Plant Garlic near your Rose bushes to discourage aphids.

If you grow Tomatoes try growing some Basil alongside them, apart from keeping flies and mosquitos away the Basil will also enhance the flavour of the Tomatoes.

When frost is expected spray plants late in the evening with cold water - the heat generated as the water evaporates helps prevent frost damage.

Rainwater is better for plants than tap water - [rainwater can be collected in a barrel, but do keep the barrel covered to keep the water fresh longer and to prevent insects laying their eggs in it]. If you only have tap water fill up a watering can / container and leave to stand for a few hours before using on your plants. [This will allow the chlorine to evaporate].

Comfrey makes an ideal natural fertiliser. The quick method is to boil some water, pour onto dried Comfrey and leave to infuse overnight. Strain and use to feed plants. The more traditional method is to steep plenty of comfrey leaves in a covered tank for a few weeks. Use in the garden or for houseplants.

Water used to cook vegetables in makes a nourishing drink for houseplants and garden plants.

Cardboard egg cartons can be recycled into environmentally-friendly seedling pots. When it's time to plant the seedlings out simply cut the container into separate containers and plant in the ground. Grapefruit and Orange rind halves also make useful natural seedling pots.

Banana skins are rich in potassium - place a banana skin underneath rose bushes or under vegetables when planting up, or place around plants as a mulch - the skins decompose quickly and supply the soil and plants with a boost of nutrients, including sulphur, magnesium, calcium, phosphates, silica and sodium. Also an excellent compost ingredient which reputedly helps to speed up the composting process.

Lawns grow well during the waxing moon period - if you are looking for a lush, thick lawn mow it during the waxing phase. If you prefer a slow growing lawn, it is best to mow during the waning moon.

Aromatic herbs such as Rosemary, Sage, Lavender, Lemon Balm and Geranium make additions to bonfires - they not only smell good but help deter mosquitos and midges.

| For the Family |

Use neat Lemon Juice as a gargle to soothe a sore throat. Lemon Juice is anti-bacterial and anti-viral.

A slice of raw Onion can be rubbed on a bruise to reduce swelling and soothe pain. [For more Natural Remedies for Bruises click HERE]

To toughen or repair damaged nails soak your fingernails in a Horsetail infusion. Place 2 tablespoons of horsetail in a stainless steel or glass bowl and cover with a cup of boiled water. Infuse for about half an hour and strain into a suitable bowl. Soak fingernails in the solution for at least 10 minutes.

Boil some freshly drawn water and dissolve some Sea Salt crystals in it. Pour into a clean glass bottle, cool, cap and store in a fridge. Use this saline solution as a soothing eye wash for tired or irritated eyes. Also useful as a wash for cuts, abscesses and grazes.

Parsley makes an effective remedy for bad-breath caused by garlic, onions and fish. Fennel seeds can be chewed to freshen breath - and remedy wind.

Jojoba oil makes an ideal alternative to chemical based make-up removers and cleansers - Jojoba dissolves sebum - apply to skin on a cotton wool pad / tissue and wipe skin to remove dirt. Pay particular attention around the hairline, jaw and neck. Continue until the pad is no longer removing dirt!

If you've got some left over Lemons after juicing, scrabble your fingers in the pithy white inner rind bit to clean dirty fingernails

Lemon Juice can be used to whiten teeth - brush your teeth with lemon juice and rinse - BUT limit this to once every fortnight or so, otherwise you could damage the tooth enamel because of the acidity.

A remedy for dry itchy elbows... rub them with a Lemons slice [the fleshy part as opposed to the rind]. Leave for awhile and wash off, pat skin dry.

Another Lemon remedy - this time for dandruff : Cut a Lemon in half [or use slices of Lemons] and rub into the scalp. Leave for awhile before rinsing out.

Make your own Natural Perfume : Take a beautiful bottle, 10 ml, fill it with jojoba oil and add 10-15 drops of your favourite fragrance. You can also put beautiful items in it, Shimmer, stones or flowers. Voíla ! submitted by Wildflower

For a quick and easy Lemon face mask simply rub a fresh lemon slice over your face, leave for 10 - 15 minutes or as long as you desire, and then wash off with cool water, and pat skin dry. Feels great!!! For a slightly more complex recipe [ok, so there's one more ingredient! lol] whisk up the white of one egg - just like you would for meringues - and carefully fold in 1 tsp of lemon juice. apply to clean moist skin and leave for about 20 mins before washing off and patting skin dry. Tones, cleanses and softens!


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