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Mould in your shower?

Mould in your shower?

Mould, mould, mould. It’s an unsightly pain in the backside, right? It can sneak up on most of us, and even when we treat it, it seems to simply come back again, and again, and again…

Mould is an aesthetic issue, but it can also be quite a serious health concern. It has been recognised as a key indoor biological pollutant that may cause adverse health effects to the building’s occupants. It affects almost 1 in 3 homes and around 24% of the population cannot create the right antibodies. So every time they go into a water-damaged building, the result is inflammation of the brain and body which can be misdiagnosed as Chronic Fatigue Syndrome or even worse, a mental illness. (source)

Each individual’s responses to mould exposure will vary depending on a number of factors such as health status, genetic makeup, allergies etc. (source). The main source of concern is inhalation of mould spores. Those spores are tiny and when they’re disturbed, they become airborne and easily inhaled.

Mould can be visible (think black mould), and hidden. It can typically be treated easily when it is present on non-porous surfaces.

Hidden mould could be identifiable from a persistent earthy smell, or ongoing symptoms that can’t be addressed any other way, although it can’t always be recognised this way. Caution needs to be taken when investigating hidden mould as the spores may be disturbed/released/aerosolised leading to the cross-contamination in the property. Professional help may be required if mould or dampness is suspected but cannot be observed. (source)

Dealing with the source of mould is the first step

Dampness/moisture is a key area of concern for mould growth in indoor environments. Dampness can be defined as any visible, measurable or perceived, unwanted and excess moisture in an indoor environment. (source)

Once moisture sits on a surface for more than 48 hours, the microbes on the surface will attempt to take over the space by producing endotoxins, mycotoxins and microbial volatile organic compounds which can dramatically impact the indoor air quality and affect the health of the occupants. (source)

For the purpose of this blog post, I am going to suggest a method to treat everyday, surface mould in your bathroom. If you notice mould elsewhere in your home, or if you suspect your mould issue is extensive and hidden behind walls and flooring, I strongly suggest finding a mould specialist (Nicole Bijlsma, building biologist and wealth of information, recommends looking here).

What about commercial versus natural methods?

Did you know that the chlorine bleach many people use to deal with mould does not kill fungi? It may turn the mould white, but doesn’t actually kill the spores. Clove oil (and tea tree oil) are effective fungicides, although some research suggests that the amount required to treat mould can be an issue for those who are chemically sensitive; sodium percarbonate/hydrogen peroxide will help to remove the colour.

Cleaning Your Shower

Step 1: Clean your shower (screens and tiles) with this recipe.

Step 2: Wearing a mask (you could wear gloves too), treat areas affected by mould by applying either of these options:

🪣🧽 Paste option – 1⁄4 cup of sodium percarbonate, 2 tablespoons of hot water and 5 drops of clove (or tea tree) essential oil, mixed into a paste.

🪣🧽 Liquid option – 1⁄4 cup of hydrogen peroxide (3%) and 5 drops of clove (or tea tree) essential oil, combined in a spray bottle (dark-coloured glass is best here).

Step 3: Smear the paste or spray the liquid directly to affected areas. Leave it for as long as possible (at least 4 hours) and then rinse.

Step 4: Repeat until you can no longer see the mould stain, or until you are convinced the mould discolouration is set too deep for surface treatment. For deep-set mould discolouration, in grout and silicone seals, you may want to consider re-grouting, grout paint and resealing.

**Nicole Bijlsma’s protocol is to vacuum the affected non-porous surface using a vacuum cleaner fitted with a HEPA filter, then wipe with a damp microfibre cloth (soaked in ½ litre of water and a generous squirt of dishwashing liquid), and vacuum again. The cloths should then be rinsed thoroughly before reusing, and discarded (along with the HEPA filter and disposable vacuum cleaner bag) at the end of the process. You might like to try this method, and then hydrogen peroxide or sodium percarbonate/water paste to help reduce discolouration.

Good luck!

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 40,000 copies of her recipe books, including her award-winning book, Naturally Inspired - Simple DIY Recipes for Body Care and Cleaning, and her kids book, Make & Play - Natural DIY Recipes for Kids. She offers honest and gentle guidance, education and 100+ natural DIY recipes on her website.

 

This post contains affiliate links. Please read here for more information.

 

Eyebrow Conditioning Serum

Eyebrow Conditioning Serum

Eyebrows – you either notice them or you don’t. I never used to pay attention to them, and then in came the mid-2010s and BOOM, it’s all I see!

I wanted to find a natural alternative to store-bought growth serums and came up with this eyebrow conditioning serum recipe. It contains ingredients known to nourish the skin and hair, and promote hair growth. While I can’t scientifically demonstrate the effectiveness of this recipe, I can say that I noticed a marked improvement in the condition and thickness of my eyebrows while using this serum. I believe it also helps ‘tame’ those wayward hairs that want to rebel and grow sideways!

Eyebrow Conditioning Serum

Makes: 50 g | 1.8 oz  Prep time: < 5 min.

Ingredients

30 g | 1.1 oz castor oil

10 g | 0.4 oz avocado oil

10 g | 0.4 oz argan oil

20 drops of essential oils

My choice of essential oils…

My favourite essential oils in this recipe are rosemary and lavender, 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

Add all of the ingredients to a small bowl and mix until combined. You might find it easier to add ingredients directly into a glass bottle with dropper top, or glass roller bottle, and shake to combine (add essential oils first to lessen the risk of them overflowing when you secure your lid).

To Use

Apply a small amount of serum to brows. Using a clean brow brush, sweep through in the direction of hair growth, and leave on.

Recipe Notes

You can leave the essential oils out if you prefer.

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 40,000 copies of her recipe books, including her award-winning book, Naturally Inspired - Simple DIY Recipes for Body Care and Cleaning, and her kids book, Make & Play - Natural DIY Recipes for Kids. She offers honest and gentle guidance, education and 100+ natural DIY recipes on her website.

 

Colouring and DIY

Colouring and DIY

I love colour, so do my kids, but we’ve learned over time to appreciate the softer shades that natural colours give us. In our home when we DIY, we mostly avoid micas and artificial food colouring. This doesn’t mean that you can’t use brighter colours; depending on the recipe, it can be way more fun to have colours that pop, for sure. It’s up to you to decide which colourings meet your needs.

Despite our love of all things natural, and our appreciation for softer natural hues, in our house we adopt the 80/20 rule; basically, we try to do the absolute, very best we can 80% of the time, and we give ourselves 20% grace for those things we can’t control or that we choose to take shortcuts with. This makes a natural life much more doable, fun and relaxing! I encourage everyone else to adopt a similar approach – this means that you can relax if you only have regular, artificial food colouring in your cupboard, and you want to colour your Lip Balm or Stretchy Spotty Sticky Goop hot pink! Be proud and focus on the fact that you’re doing such a great job of making natural goodies. Also, with my recipes, you won’t be eating the final products, so you might not be as worried about the colouring you use.

Let me help you navigate your way through the world of natural DIY and colouring, with some helpful guidance and suggestions.

What are the main types of colouring?

Natural powder – typically come from spices, fruits and vegetables. Here are some examples:

🎃 Yellow/orange – turmeric, paprika, pumpkin, ginger

🍅 Red – tomato, paprika

🥬 Green – green spirulina, kale, spinach

🌸 Pink/purple – beetroot, pitaya (dragon fruit), hibiscus

☕ Black/brown – activated charcoal, cocoa, cinnamon, coffee

💙 Blue – blue spirulina

Natural Liquid – sometimes you need to use quite a lot to get a good punch of colour. There are many brands on the market selling natural liquid colours.

Artificial (liquid and powder) – typically used in cooking and cake-decorating, usually very bright, and you may not need very much to get a big result.

Cosmetic micas – minerals naturally formed from rocks and used to add shimmer and colour to recipes. Many are coated in bright, artificial colours. Always handle these with caution, never inhale them, and make sure you’re using cosmetic-grade micas that are designed to be used on the body.

Here is a useful colour comparison chart for you (I coloured some Fun Dough from my kids DIY recipe book, Make & Play):

Which colouring is best?

Depending on which recipe you’re making, you might need to use a powdered or liquid colouring. Sometimes, a specific colouring really is the better choice and, in these cases, I’ll point it out. Feel free to have a play around though; you are most welcome to experiment, in fact, I encourage it. Just keep in mind that some natural powdered colours and spices don’t mix perfectly well into oils and waxes, and in some recipes, liquids just aren’t a good choice.

If I haven’t suggested a quantity, that’s because it doesn’t matter and it is up to you how much colouring you use to get your desired outcome. It’s always advisable to add a little bit at a time – you can always add more, but it’s near impossible to take it away!

Can you make your own colouring?

Short answer: Yes.

Long answer: You can dehydrate (dry) and blitz, or boil down, many fruits and vegetables to get natural colourings. Although these types of colourings can work in natural DIY, from my experience, the liquids just don’t last very long, the powders are often too lumpy and gritty, and I think they are best left for colouring icing, cakes and other food-based recipes.

 

So there you have it. Lots of guidance on colouring your natural DIY goodies. Click this link for lots of suggestions on suppliers of natural ingredients, plus discount codes (many of them sell colouring too).

Happy colouring!

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 40,000 copies of her recipe books, including her award-winning book, Naturally Inspired - Simple DIY Recipes for Body Care and Cleaning, and her kids book, Make & Play - Natural DIY Recipes for Kids. She offers honest and gentle guidance, education and 100+ natural DIY recipes on her website.

 

Have you heard of ShareWaste?

Have you heard of ShareWaste?

Well, you have now and it’s time to get excited. Because, for the countless landfill issues plaguing our country, this concept is a game-changer. In a nutshell, ShareWaste is an app that connects you to people who have signed up in your area to collect food waste.

I discovered it about 12 months ago but have only recently signed up. After several failed attempts at home composting, and no intention of setting up a worm farm just yet, this is a great interim solution. I have connected with a lovely lady, a five-minute drive away from me, who has 3 worm farms and a compost system – BINGO! Now, not only am I donating my scraps, I have my neighbour and a good friend on board too! We arrange for our scraps to be collected every Friday morning. It’ll either be collected from my porch, or I drop it off at her place (just a bucket by her front door). It’s as easy as that!

Why bother?

Did you know that Aussies waste 3.2 million tonnes of food per year? This costs the economy 20 billion dollars. When food waste decays in an anaerobic environment, methane is formed (which is 25x more damaging to the environment than carbon dioxide, contributing to global warming).

Think about the amount of food that you throw away each week. Whether it is the tops and tails of veg, the peels or cores of fruit, it all adds up. Rather than send it to landfill, consider checking out ShareWaste and helping to feed someone’s worms or chickens!

There is some good info on the ShareWaste website to help you work out what can and can’t be collected, but a chat with your local ‘collector’ will clear up any confusion too. For example, onion skins and a few citrus peels are ok for Jane, my ShareWaste contact, plus she’s always after cardboard and paper so I give her egg cartons and any boxes I’ve gathered during the week.

Here’s a general idea of what I do:

🥕 I collect any fruit or veg scraps, eggshells and coffee grounds, on my bench each day.

🥕 I pop them all into a dedicated container and keep them in my fridge, adding to it daily.

🥕 My friend and neighbour drop their buckets onto my porch on Friday morning, and I pop mine out there too.

🥕 Jane swings by, empties the buckets into her giant bucket, and off she goes.

🥕 Rinse and repeat (physically, and figuratively!).

So there you have it, ShareWaste is an easy way to make a real difference. Don’t ever discount the impact you, as an individual, can have; every little bit counts. Just imagine if everyone did something small, the impact would be huge! If ShareWaste still isn’t your thing, YET, share this article with someone who might be keen to give it a go.

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 40,000 copies of her recipe books, including her award-winning book, Naturally Inspired - Simple DIY Recipes for Body Care and Cleaning, and her kids book, Make & Play - Natural DIY Recipes for Kids. She offers honest and gentle guidance, education and 100+ natural DIY recipes on her website.

 

Highlighting the need to be curious

Highlighting the need to be curious

I walked past a stand at my local supermarket, and the ‘natural’ look of it made me stop and check out the products: Aeroguard’s range of insect killers.

On the front, I noticed the wording “100% Plant Based Active Ingredient”. Then I noticed that this ingredient accounts for 3% (3.0g/L), so 0.3% of the total formula.

I flipped it over to see exactly what was inside. It said: only the ingredients you need; for more information visit www.aeroguard.com.au

That was my first flag. Why not tell us on the label what is inside?

So. I jumped online and this is what I found.

Let me break down my observations based on my research and knowledge:

👁️ BHT, also known as butylated hydroxytoluene – EWG.org states that it causes moderate irritation of eyes skin and lungs (read more) and this study, which compares BHT, BHA and Vitamin E, states that although concentrations in food, drugs and cosmetics are probably harmless, specific toxic effects to the lungs have only been observed with BHT, and BHT induces liver tumours in long-term experiments.

👁️ Geraniol as fragrance – this is naturally occurring and found in plants like Neroli and Geranium, however, I do wonder if it is synthetically produced. I believe it is used for its insect-deterring properties.

👁️ Parrafin – petroleum-based.

👁️ Peg-40 – made by combining castor oil with ethylene oxide (highly toxic, known carcinogen; concerns over contamination within the ingredient).

👁️ Alkyl alcohol ethoxylate – impurity concerns with this synthetically produced ingredient and among other issues, is believed to be toxic to aquatics (you’ll note the ‘environmentally hazardous’ image on the bottle). Read more.

👁️ Methylisothiazolinone, benzisothiazolinone and methylchloroisothiazolinone – these preservatives have some heavy use restrictions and been associated with lung toxicity, skin allergies and toxicity to wildlife.

I talk more about some of these ingredients on my list of questionable ingredients, here.

As usual, I’ll stress the importance of moving through this journey of awareness, and awakening, at your own pace. If you want to empower yourself with the knowledge to read product labels with confidence, sign up for my Becoming a Label Detective online short course.

If you want to use this product, please do so – at least you’re somewhat informed of some potential risks. 

Me? I wouldn’t touch it. I wouldn’t spray it around my home. I wouldn’t allow it to spread over anything my family, or my pets, walked on, sat on, ate, drank or touched.

I wish all manufacturers (cleaning and home care) were required to fully disclose their ingredients at the point of sale, like cosmetic manufacturers are. That would allow us all to make our own conscious, and informed, decisions when shopping.

You can join over 11,000 other people who are passionate about these laws changing, and sign my petition here. Please 🙏

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 40,000 copies of her recipe books, including her award-winning book, Naturally Inspired - Simple DIY Recipes for Body Care and Cleaning, and her kids book, Make & Play - Natural DIY Recipes for Kids. She offers honest and gentle guidance, education and 100+ natural DIY recipes on her website.

 

Mess-Around Make-Up For Kids

Mess-Around Make-Up For Kids

This is a fun way for kids to play around with make-up, but without the copious ingredients often found in the mainstream make-up that is marketed towards kids.

The best part is that it is the only make-up the kids need – it can be applied to cheeks, eyelids and lips!

To remove it, simple rub olive oil over skin and use a warm wet face washer to wipe it off. So easy!

MESS-AROUND MAKE-UP

Makes: 5 Prep time: 20-30 min. (for kids)

Ingredients

50 g | 1.8 oz olive oil

5 g | 0.2 oz beeswax pellets

30 g | 1.1 oz arrowroot flour

Colourant x5; micas work best

Method

1. Grab a small glass jug and weigh in the olive oil and beeswax pellets.

2. Use a double boiler to melt the ingredients. Stir gently every now and again.

3. Now weigh in the arrowroot flour and stir well so that there are no lumpy bits.

4. Divide the mixture evenly between 5 small (approx 30g) pots and add a different colouring to each one, then mix carefully. **For best results, use at least 1 teaspoon of mica per pot.

5. Your make-up is ready to use, no need to wait for it to set!

⭐ For general information on using a thermal appliance (or microwave), click here.

To Use

Using a clean make-up brush, apply to your eyelids, lips or cheeks.

Recipe Notes

Be very careful not to inhale the loose mica dust. A face mask to cover your mouth and nose is a good idea (or ask a grown-up for help).

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 40,000 copies of her recipe books, including her award-winning book, Naturally Inspired - Simple DIY Recipes for Body Care and Cleaning, and her kids book, Make & Play - Natural DIY Recipes for Kids. She offers honest and gentle guidance, education and 100+ natural DIY recipes on her website.

 

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