Monday, February 16, 2015

DIY Cinnamon & Clove Mouthwash

I finally cut all of the yucky commercial products out of my oral care routine! I gave up toothpaste 3 months ago and opted to brush with coconut oil instead, because of its awesome benefits (antibacterial, antifungal, and antimicrobial to name a few) (Source: Treatment of Dermal Infections With Topical Coconut Oil). I've also started oil pulling with coconut oil most mornings as well. (For more information about oil pulling, check out this article.)

I haven't used mouthwash in quite some time, but I did miss that squeaky clean feeling it gives me. After receiving a HUGE bottle of vodka for Christmas (to add to the already large bottle sitting on top of my fridge), I decided to search for ways to use it, other than drinking it. Let's face it... I'm not much of a drinker, so it's basically a lifetime supply for me.

After reading a lot of different recipes, I learned about the different herbs and their benefits. There are so many different combinations of herbs that can be used for mouthwash, but I used ingredients that I had on hand and are easily accessible (in my opinion). Easily accessible, to me, means that you can find it at the grocery store, and you don't need to do any running around or special ordering.

My oral care routine:
homemade toothpaste (coconut oil & clove)
& cinnamon/clove mouthwash

DIY Mouthwash Recipe


  1. Add 1 cup of water and the cinnamon stick to a small pot and bring to a boil. As the water heats up, prepare the the rest of the herbs by placing them in a measuring glass or mason jar (it must be a glass container).
  2. After the water comes to a rolling boil, pour it and the cinnamon stick into the glass with the herbs and allow it to steep for 5 minutes. 
  3. When the herbs are done steeping, strain the miture into a mason jar (or whatever glass container you'll be storing your mouthwash in) using a coffee filter. Add the last 1/2 cup of water and the vodka. Allow to cool completely before using.

The Finished Product

I was pleasantly surprised by the cinnamon/clove flavor, and I thought they complimented each other quite nicely. It even reminded me of a toned-downed version of Crest's cinnamon mouthwash! If you prefer a stronger flavor, simply leave the extra 1/2 cup of water out next time. If you need a sweeter flavor, try adding some honey or stevia. The beauty of this recipe is that there's room to play with it, depending on what herbs you have and the results you desire!

Obviously this mouthwash isn't kid-friendly because of the vodka, but if you wanted to make one for children you could easily leave that out. If you have fresh mint, you could also try using that in place of the cinnamon for a minty flavor. I plan on trying this soon!

Helpful Resources

This mouthwash wasn't adapted from one recipe in particular. I actually put this recipe together myself after a lot of research on the subject of homemade mouthwash. Here are some of the sources that were most helpful:

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Minimize the Mess Part 2

Since the first Minimize the Mess post, I've been doing a lot more purging and decluttering and it feels great! I took a full carload of stuff to Goodwill yesterday, and as soon as it was gone I felt like a weight had been lifted off my chest.

When I first started this journey, everybody in the family was not completely on board. My 5 year old son was the easiest to convince since his room was so nice and neat after the original purge. I also told him he could keep a percentage of the money from whatever we sold, so I think that helped. My significant other was a little more resistant, but after seeing what's been accomplished he's coming around.

Some of the projects I've been working on since the last post:

Transferring all of the DVDs we own into a CD/DVD  Binder:

Sadly, the DVDs shown are only a fraction of the ones we own. We actually had to buy a special binder that has over 200 slots for CDs/DVDs. The small, black one pictured is now holding my 5 year old son's DVDs. This alone freed up a whole shelf on our bookshelf.
This is all almost all of the cases I threw away.

Creating digital copies of the recipes I use in my cookbooks:

Screenshot of my progress so far.
In my last Minimize the Mess post, I talked about scanning my son's artwork and keeping it digitally, rather than piles of paper sitting around the house. Well, it's the same concept for the cookbooks. I love cooking, so I get a lot of cookbooks as presents. While I greatly appreciate it, and even enjoy some of the recipes I come across, I don't enjoy having to search through 10 different cookbooks to find the recipe I'm looking for. I'm hoping to empty out another shelf on the bookshelf with this project, because I have plans for it after it's empty. I plan on converting these recipes to PDF files so that I can print them out if I wish to. 

Condensing my wardrobe and the laundry in general:

Less clothes = less laundry. Like the dishes in the last Minimalism post, I recently realized I have too many clothes. Do you know how I figured it out? The clean clothes pile became so overwhelming, that I dreaded hanging them up. I'm going by the "60 day rule" on this one, meaning that if I haven't warn it in 60 days it gets donated. We also have too many towels, for some reason. I'd like to get it down to 2 towels per person. 

Transferring the board games into gallon storage bags:

This was perhaps my favorite of the projects I accomplished. I freed up a shelf on the wall, and put a stop to the board game box eyesore! For this project, I simply cut out the cover of the board game and put them in a gallon size storage bags with zip tops, along with the board itself and all of the pieces. Some of the box covers needed to be trimmed down a bit to fit into the bag. All but one of the boards were small enough to fit into the bag, so I'm thinking about just replacing it with a travel-size version.

I was inspired by a pin on Pinterest for this project. Check it out here, if you like.

Decluttering & Purging the Spice Cabinet:

After throwing away what was expired, and giving away the doubles and spices we hadn't used in the last few months, I was left with a better organized and easily accessible spice cabinet. This will probably be something that I do every month.

One item in, one item out

Since we seem to be accumulating so many things without ever getting rid of anything (until recently), I decided to start employing this popular rule in the minimalist community: for every item you bring into the house, one has to leave. For example, if you get a new shirt you have to donate one. This small step should help keep things from getting to cluttered in the future.

This is still an ongoing process, and the apartment is nowhere near how I'd like it to look yet, but every box donated is one step closer!

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Going No Poo - Week 12 (& Herbal Hibiscus Rinse)

In the spirit of minimalism, I've decided to minimize my stress and workload by making the Going No Poo series a monthly post rather than a weekly one. To be honest my scalp is so normalized that there isn't really anything new going on.

One of my main goals when starting this blog was to help others feel beautiful naturally, without having to conform to societies mainstream notion of what beauty is. I can honestly say that after three months without commercial shampoo, my perspective on hair has changed quite a bit. For example, my hair looked somewhat oily yesterday, and rather than think it was "gross," I thought: "my hair is softer than the the softest puppy I've ever felt!" Yes, that was my exact thought. I hope this blog inspires even one other person to feel the same way, rather than worry about what everybody else will think.

My monthly No Poo progress.
Check out those natural waves happening!

One thing that I have noticed is that my hair does not like to settle into a routine. As soon as I find something that works wonderfully, my hair decides it's time to switch it up. For the last few weeks, I've been alternating between an apple cider vinegar rinse and a coffee/herbal tea rinse. I've finally gotten my tea rinse to the perfect ratios (for me), so here it is:

Herbal Hibiscus Rinse

For my herbal tea rinse, I simply mix all of the ingredients together and pour it over my head. Applying this rinse over the sink (onto dry hair*) is the easiest method for me. I put a large mixing bowl in the sink to catch most of what I pour over my head, that way a little rinse goes a long way.

I also add a drizzle of honey occasionally (about a teaspoon), particularly if any irritation pops up (like during the winter months).

*I apply the mixture to dry hair, rather than wet, because of hard water issues. 

For the Hibiscus Tea:

I boiled 2 hibiscus tea bags in 1 cup of water for 5 minutes, and then let it steep for about 30 more minutes. Mine reduced to a 1/2 cup by the time all the boiling/steeping was done, but you can save the leftovers in the fridge if you wind up with more than half a cup.

For the Rosemary/Ginger Tea:

I boiled a fresh piece of ginger (about an inch long), 2 tablespoons of dried rosemary, and a teaspoon of ground turmeric in about 2 cups of water for 5 minutes, and then let it steep for 30 minutes. Since this herbal tea has loose herbs, it's best to strain with a coffee filter before using. As with the hibiscus tea, you can store the leftovers in the fridge.

Strongly brewed coffee can be used in place of espresso. 

Behold my healthy scalp, free of irritation and/or dandruff!

To read about the rest of my journey, click here: