Cleaning house plants

Cleaning house plants

In order to keep your indoor plants thriving, it is a good idea to give the leaves a bit of a clean every now and then. Dirty leaves make it harder for them to photosynthesise, which is an important process by which green plants and certain other organisms transform light energy into chemical energy. During photosynthesis in green plants, light energy is captured and used to convert water, carbon dioxide, and minerals into oxygen and energy-rich organic compound. (Source)

While there are several ways you can clean your indoor plants, in true KB style, I like to keep it super simple!

Just grab a wet cloth or sponge (I love these RetroKitchen compostable cloths from Biome), and wipe away. I give the cloth a good rinse between plants (in lukewarm water), and sometimes mid-way – you’d be amazed at how grotty those leaves actually get! Supporting the leaves from the underside, with your other hand, will help prevent them from snapping and cracking.

Here are a few other options that might come in handy, especially if you’re time-poor or have plants with small, spiky or fuzzy leaves:

Pop your plants in the shower or bath and give them a light rinse. Just make sure it’s not too forceful and that the water temp is lukewarm.

Dunk the plant in water. It helps to wet the soil first (this prevents it from all spilling out), then hold the plant between splayed fingers, or secure the base of the plant with a wet tea towel before flipping it over. Again, make sure the water is lukewarm, plants don’t like it too hot or cold.

Dust leaves with a feather duster, especially handy with plants like Maidenhair ferns. You can then give them a light mist with water (in a spray bottle) to rinse them off.

If you have plants with spikes or fuzzy leaves, try a soft paintbrush. I’ve also used a hairdryer on the cool setting (very important!), and from good distance so as not to traumatise them, to blow any dust off.

If your plants happen to look sad and you’re sure you’re watering, feeding and cleaning them adequately, try exposing them to more (indirect) sunlight. I like to give mine some time on our back patio until they perk up again!

Krissy Ballinger

Krissy Ballinger

AUTHOR & ADVOCATE FOR NATURAL LIVING

Krissy wants to see a world where people make conscious choices that honour both humans and habitat. It is her mission to gently guide people towards this beautiful way of life. With a background in education and health promotion, she devotes her time to increasing awareness on common and avoidable toxins, as well as educating individuals on simple ways they can adjust their lifestyles to better serve themselves, and the planet. Natural DIY is Krissy’s speciality, and she has sold over 50,000 copies of her recipe books, including her latest book, The Lifestyle Edit, the award-winning, Naturally Inspired - Simple DIY Recipes for Body Care and Cleaning, and her kids book, Make & Play - Natural DIY Recipes for Kids.

Hard Water Cleaning Spray

Hard Water Cleaning Spray

This is a good spray to have on hand to maintain your shower screen and tiles. This Toilet and Shower Cleaner is what I suggest if you have a lot of hard water build up, however this spray is handy for light build up or in-between cleans. It is also handy for around basins and splash backs.

HARD WATER CLEANING SPRAY

Makes: 370 ml Prep time: < 5 min.

Ingredients

• ½ cup | 120 g citric acid
• 1 cup | 250 ml hot water
• 25 drops of essential oils

MY CHOICE OF ESSENTIAL OILS

My favourite essential oils in this recipe are lemon and orange, but don’t be limited by my suggestions. Use oils that fit your budget, or those that you already have in your collection. Read here for more information.

Method

1. Add all ingredients to a bowl and mix until citric acid has dissolved and mixture is combined.
2. Transfer into container of choice.

To Use

Spray affected area, leave for 3-5 minutes and wipe over with a cleaning cloth and rinse well. Repeat process as often as required. Shake well prior to each use.

Recipe Notes

To avoid a sticky residue, make sure you rinse or wipe down surfaces thoroughly.

Krissy Ballinger

Krissy Ballinger

AUTHOR & ADVOCATE FOR NATURAL LIVING

Krissy wants to see a world where people make conscious choices that honour both humans and habitat. It is her mission to gently guide people towards this beautiful way of life. With a background in education and health promotion, she devotes her time to increasing awareness on common and avoidable toxins, as well as educating individuals on simple ways they can adjust their lifestyles to better serve themselves, and the planet. Natural DIY is Krissy’s speciality, and she has sold over 50,000 copies of her recipe books, including her latest book, The Lifestyle Edit, the award-winning, Naturally Inspired - Simple DIY Recipes for Body Care and Cleaning, and her kids book, Make & Play - Natural DIY Recipes for Kids.

Mercury and arsenic in earrings?

Mercury and arsenic in earrings?

I came across an article this week that really highlights the need for us to pay attention and advocate for our own health. Highly toxic substances detected in a seemingly innocent pair of Amazon-bought earrings.

Lead Safe Mama, aka Tamara Rubin, is an American based award-winning independent advocate for consumer goods safety and childhood lead-poisoning prevention. She is also a mother of lead-poisoned children. She began testing consumer goods for toxicants in 2009, and was the parent-advocate responsible for finding lead in the popular fidget spinner toys in 2017. Read more about this incredible woman here.

Tamara recently purchased ‘platinum plated, 925 sterling silver’ earrings from Amazon. When she received them, naturally she tested them, and this is what she found:

The earrings are 100% devoid of silver and platinum.

Despite claims that they are free of lead and cadmium, trace levels were detected.

The listing stated the earrings are free from nickel, yet every single test on each component of the earrings tested positive for nickel.

Virtually every reading showed that the metal components of the earrings were positive for arsenic and mercury at varying levels.

Isn’t that just crazy, not to mention deceptive and dangerous?

I totally get it, it seems like ‘everything will kill you these days’. That thought can feel very real and very overwhelming each and every time we receive new information like this. I think we could all do with the reminder that we can only do what we can do. We always have a choice: let overwhelm creep in, or feel educated and empowered.

I choose to feel educated and empowered! I choose to pay attention to, and action, that which I am ready for. Who’s with me?

And while I’m giving advice, please don’t compare your journey with anyone else’s. Don’t compare yourself with me, your neighbours, your friends. You do you.

So what if ‘everyone else’ is using homemade washing powder and softener, eating organic apples, meditating for 30 minutes everyday, but you just have no interest or no capacity to do the same, even though you want to ‘be natural’. There isn’t a simple rule or direction for that; it’s so complex and so dependant on your circumstances (physically, but also mentally and emotionally).

Rather than look at this journey as a linear one with a destination, how about we just try to open our eyes and make educated decisions with the health of ourselves and our families, humankind, and the planet, at the forefront; and, feel the freedom to act within our own limitations; and be happy with what we can achieve? Take the pressure right off!!

I’m in the business of educating you on a range of concepts and ideas that will raise awareness on the broad topic of natural living. Take it on board, practice and preach it if you want, or don’t. Do it all the time, some of the time, every now and then, or not at all. It’s always up to you. I bring information like this to your attention simply to encourage you to be a conscious consumer.

Once you’re informed you can make whatever decision you please but let’s ease up on the blind faith routine – there are enough examples from history that prove everything is worthy of our attention.

Krissy Ballinger

Krissy Ballinger

AUTHOR & ADVOCATE FOR NATURAL LIVING

Krissy wants to see a world where people make conscious choices that honour both humans and habitat. It is her mission to gently guide people towards this beautiful way of life. With a background in education and health promotion, she devotes her time to increasing awareness on common and avoidable toxins, as well as educating individuals on simple ways they can adjust their lifestyles to better serve themselves, and the planet. Natural DIY is Krissy’s speciality, and she has sold over 50,000 copies of her recipe books, including her latest book, The Lifestyle Edit, the award-winning, Naturally Inspired - Simple DIY Recipes for Body Care and Cleaning, and her kids book, Make & Play - Natural DIY Recipes for Kids.

Good reasons to switch to loose leaf tea

Good reasons to switch to loose leaf tea

You know when you finally make another eco-edit to your life and it becomes standard practice, and you look back and wonder what took you so long?!! Well, that’s me with loose leaf tea. I don’t dwell on the time it took me to wake up, I’m proud that we no longer buy teabags and look forward to my next little edit!

Where and when did teabags originate, anyway?

Well, there is little doubt that tea has been a popular drink for a very long time, but did you know the earliest references to drinking tea originate from China where legend has it that a leaf fell into water being boiled for Emperor Shen Nung and he found the taste refreshing, back in 2700 BCE. As for teabags, there is some debate over the discovery of this convenient practice of tea making, with one of the most popular legends claiming that American tea importer Thomas Sullivan shipped out samples of his product in silk pouches in 1908, not intending his customers put them directly in the hot water that way, but some tried it and asked for more of the same. What a discovery! Back then, I assume people would have washed and reused these silk pouches.

Did you know that in the 12 months to June 2016, 9.8 million Aussies drank at least one cup of tea in any given week, with the average volume consumed in this period totalling 9.5 cups per person? That’s a lot of tea, and if majority of people are using teabags, also a lot of waste… Eeek!

So, if you’re looking for reasons to switch to loose leaf tea, or perhaps need a short and sweet nudge to send to a loved one, this post is for you!

Many teabags are made with plastic

And, microplastics end up in your cup. Research has found that steeping a single plastic teabag at brewing temperature (95 °C) releases approximately 11.6 billion microplastics and 3.1 billion nanoplastics into a single cup of the beverage. That’s a startling fact and thankfully one that many companies are working to resolve by producing teabags from cornstarch and cellulose fibres.

You’ll reduce waste

Whether or not your teabags contain plastic, you’re (generally) still left with unrecyclable waste. Some brands use biodegradable/compostable bags which is awesome if you have access to a compost, however, many don’t, and as a side note, food waste in landfill can take years and years to break down because of the anaerobic environment it sits in.

By switching to loose leaf tea, you’re not dangling a single-use item into your cup so that means no paper/plastic/fibres of any description, string, card/paper or staples/thread. Of course, if you take it one step further and take your own container to a bulk foods place to buy your tea, you’re evening cuppa will be waste-free!

It tastes better

It really does – the flavour is deeper, richer, simply superior. This could be because teabags have been known to include tea ‘dust’, the leftover product from whole and loose leaf tea production, which is lower in quality. Also, the contents of your average teabag is ‘standardised’, meaning you’re almost guaranteed to get the same result with every cup. Maybe it also has to do with the absence of tiny bits of plastic 😉

It’s a relatively simple lifestyle edit

Before you dismiss the idea of brewing a cup of loose leaf tea because you’re too busy, it’s too hard, it takes too long, you can’t be bothered, etc., please just give it a go. I can just about promise you that once you’ve got yourself a tea strainer (I have this one) and a few jars of your favourite loose leaf tea, and tried it a few times, you won’t want to go back!

Krissy Ballinger

Krissy Ballinger

AUTHOR & ADVOCATE FOR NATURAL LIVING

Krissy wants to see a world where people make conscious choices that honour both humans and habitat. It is her mission to gently guide people towards this beautiful way of life. With a background in education and health promotion, she devotes her time to increasing awareness on common and avoidable toxins, as well as educating individuals on simple ways they can adjust their lifestyles to better serve themselves, and the planet. Natural DIY is Krissy’s speciality, and she has sold over 50,000 copies of her recipe books, including her latest book, The Lifestyle Edit, the award-winning, Naturally Inspired - Simple DIY Recipes for Body Care and Cleaning, and her kids book, Make & Play - Natural DIY Recipes for Kids.

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Wobbly Jelly Soap

Wobbly Jelly Soap

There isn’t much to say about this recipe except that it’s wobbly and fun and simple and natural, and the kids love it! Enjoy!

WOBBLY JELLY SOAP

Makes: depends! Prep time: 10-20 min. (for kids) + setting time

Ingredients

• 100 g hot water
• 10 g gelatin powder
• 1/2 tsp fine salt
• 100 g liquid castile soap
colourant (as much as you like; must be liquid)
• 10 drops of essential oils (optional)

MY CHOICE OF ESSENTIAL OILS

Some essential oils are better suited than others, for use with children. Essential oils that are typically regarded as safe, when diluted properly, include bergamot, geranium, grapefruit, lavender, lemon, lime, mandarin, orange, rose, spearmint, tangerine & tea tree (note that this is not a complete list of ‘kid-safe’ oils). Read here for more information on essential oils.

Extra equipment required

Silicone moulds (small, any size)

Method

1. Boil the kettle (make sure there is enough water inside).
2. Grab a glass jug and weigh in the hot water and gelatin powder, and measure in the salt.
3. Whisk until the gelatin powder has mostly dissolved.
4. Now weigh in the castile soap, and add the colouring, and essential oils (if you’re using them). Whisk again.
5. Pour the mixture into the moulds and pop them in the fridge to set – this could take a few hours.
6. Once set, pop your jellies out of their moulds and transfer them into a container.

To Use

Take one of these jellies out of the fridge and with you into the bath or shower. Use them just as you would soap, rinsing well when you’re done.

Recipe Notes

Each jelly is designed to be used once.
They should keep for a week or so (keep them in the fridge between uses).
You’ll also find this recipe in my DIY recipe book for kids!

Krissy Ballinger

Krissy Ballinger

AUTHOR & ADVOCATE FOR NATURAL LIVING

Krissy wants to see a world where people make conscious choices that honour both humans and habitat. It is her mission to gently guide people towards this beautiful way of life. With a background in education and health promotion, she devotes her time to increasing awareness on common and avoidable toxins, as well as educating individuals on simple ways they can adjust their lifestyles to better serve themselves, and the planet. Natural DIY is Krissy’s speciality, and she has sold over 50,000 copies of her recipe books, including her latest book, The Lifestyle Edit, the award-winning, Naturally Inspired - Simple DIY Recipes for Body Care and Cleaning, and her kids book, Make & Play - Natural DIY Recipes for Kids.

Cleaning your make-up brushes

Cleaning your make-up brushes

This post is for those of you who wear make-up. I don’t wear much, and I don’t wear it often. I therefore forget that my make-up brushes need cleaning. Anyone else neglect their brushes too? The images below give you an idea of how long someone who doesn’t wear much make-up left her brushes between cleans! Oops. Anyway, better late than never, right?

Let’s get to it…

Cleaning your make-up brushes, step by step:

1. Fill a bowl with a few cups of hot water and 1 tablespoon of castile soap. I’ve used Dr. Bronner’s lavender scented castile, but any will do. Give it a little stir.

2. Pop your brushes in and swirl them around. Use your fingers to really massage the fibres.

3. Rinse brushes under running water, then add a little castile soap directly to the fibres of your brushes and massage in, creating a lather.

4. Rinse again in running water.

5. Repeat these steps until your brushes are clean, and then dry (I popped mine in the sun for an hour or so).

It was oddly satisfying to see how grotty those brushes were, and to know now that they are clean and fresh and ready to go again! (Next time, I’ll get to them a few months sooner, I think!)

Krissy Ballinger

Krissy Ballinger

AUTHOR & ADVOCATE FOR NATURAL LIVING

Krissy wants to see a world where people make conscious choices that honour both humans and habitat. It is her mission to gently guide people towards this beautiful way of life. With a background in education and health promotion, she devotes her time to increasing awareness on common and avoidable toxins, as well as educating individuals on simple ways they can adjust their lifestyles to better serve themselves, and the planet. Natural DIY is Krissy’s speciality, and she has sold over 50,000 copies of her recipe books, including her latest book, The Lifestyle Edit, the award-winning, Naturally Inspired - Simple DIY Recipes for Body Care and Cleaning, and her kids book, Make & Play - Natural DIY Recipes for Kids.

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