From social media to blogs to your local supermarket, it seems like essential oils are everywhere these days. Like many you might be wondering: What even are essential oils, and how can I use them? As natural lifestyle advocates and big fans of these organic oils, we’d like to help clear up the confusion. Below you’ll find 5 of the most frequently asked questions regarding essential oils. Enjoy!
What Are Essential Oils?
Essential oils are simply highly concentrated organic compounds extracted from the seeds, leaves, flowers, bark, roots or fruits of plants and trees. Essential oils are usually distilled via a steaming process which helps separate the desired botanical oils from the rest of the plant material. Essential oils can be over 75 times more potent than their source material (for example, it takes roughly 16 pounds of peppermint leaves to make a single ounce of peppermint essential oil!)
What Are they Used For?
The internet is full of misinformation and countless unsubstantiated health claims when it comes to essential oils. While they’ve been used for centuries to help relief health issues and support wellness, scientists have only somewhat recently started researching their potential health benefits, including:
From minor to major, essential oils have been shown to help alleviate various forms of pain. A study from Pain Research and Treatment looking into a variety of potential applications ranging from postoperative pain and chronic neck and back pain to cancer and labor-related pain “found a significant positive effect of aromatherapy in reducing pain,” especially when combined with traditional pain management approaches.
Reducing Stress and Anxiety
Relieving stress is one of the most popular essential oil uses and science appears to back up this benefit. A 2016 clinical trial involving the effects of rose water aromatherapy on dialysis patients showed anxiety levels were “reduced significantly in the treatment group compared with the control group.”
Another study looking at anxiety and depression in postpartum women discovered “positive findings with minimal risk for the use of aromatherapy as a complementary therapy in both anxiety and depression.” A 2014 study centered on quality of life in the elderly found similar results, concluding “depression, anxiety, and stress levels were significantly reduced…showing that aromatherapy can help to maintain the psychological health of community-dwelling older persons.”
Boosting Energy Levels
It’s long been believed that aromatherapy and other essential oil applications have a naturally uplifting effect on energy levels. A study in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition looked at the effect of peppermint essential oil on young male athletes for this very reason, ultimately finding that the “results of the experiment support the effectiveness of peppermint essential oil on exercise performance…blood pressure and respiratory rate.”
Promoting Healthy Sleep
A 2014 University of Minnesota review evaluated 15 studies on the effects of essential oils on quality of sleep. Their search revealed the majority of these studies “suggested a positive effect of essential oils on sleep,” with lavender being the most frequently studied essential oil.
A more recent study published by the British Association of Critical Care Nurses investigated the impact of lavender essential oil on the sleep quality and anxiety levels of patients in a coronary intensive care unit. Their research concluded that “lavender essential oil increased quality of sleep and reduced anxiety” in these patients.
How Do I Apply Them?
Now that you understand what essential oils are as well as some of their benefits, you might be wondering: But how do I use them? While there are limitless ways to incorporate essential oils into your natural lifestyle, there are 3 main application methods: Aromatherapy, DIY mixtures, and topical.
We suggest starting with the first two and moving onto topical application only after you’ve done more research on essential oils and consulted a professional.
Aromatherapy is the most popular approach, and involves using a diffuser or simple inhalation to harness the beneficial aromas of essential oils.
Adding a few drops of your favorite essential oil to DIY mixtures like homemade soaps, cleaners, or natural air fresheners is a fun way to enjoy essential oils’ therapeutic qualities.
Because of their small molecule weight, essential oils are readily absorbed into the skin, making topical application an effective way to enjoy these organic oils. After proper dilution with a carrier oil, essential oil mixtures can be applied directly to the skin as a soothing lotion or balm.
Should I Consult a Doctor Before Using Essential Oils?
For many reasons—including possible contraindications with medicine, potential allergies, and underlying health issues—we strongly suggest consulting a physician before starting an essential oil regimen, especially with the elderly and children. Essential oils, while natural, are highly concentrated and misuse can cause irritation and other unwanted reactions.
Do I Need to Dilute Them?
Essential oils are much too concentrated to use undiluted. It’s a common misconception that diluting essential oils with a carrier oil or other DIY mixture will reduce their effectiveness, but that’s simply not true. In fact, carrier oils can increase efficacy and the aromatherapeutic effects of your chosen essential oil by preventing evaporation and premature absorption into the body. Failing to dilute essential oils before use can lead to severe skin irritation, rashes, or more serious health complications like respiratory issues.
The exact amounts will vary, but start by adding a few drops of your favorite essential oil to a carrier oil like almond, avocado or coconut oil, or to a mixture like a DIY soap or homemade natural cleaner. Start small and increase the amount of essential oil as needed—generally, aim for somewhere in the 1-4% strength range.
Can I Use Them on My Pets?
Yes and no. We suggest always consulting a vet before incorporating essential oils into your natural pet care routine, especially for cats. When used correctly, essential oils can offer a chemical-free alternative to help address inflammation, anxiety, and other health concerns. When used incorrectly, however, they can do more harm than good.
First, always dilute before use and never allow your pet to ingest essential oils. Second, know which ones to avoid, not all essential oils that are safe for people are safe for pets. In general, avoid using the following essential oils on or around your pet:
- Citrus oils (like lemon and orange)
- Ylang ylang
- Tea tree
- Sweet birch
Thoughts, suggestions, have your own tips to add? Comment below or head over to our Facebook page to let us know what you think!
After falling in love with lemongrass essential oil, we recently added it to one of our most popular formulas. In addition to classic Tickshield—our extra strength personal insecticide and repellent—we now carry an all new Tickshield with refreshing lemongrass! We sell pure lemongrass essential oil now, too! But why do we like it so much and why is lemongrass essential oil so great? We’re glad you asked 😉
Here are 6 reasons we love Lemongrass Essential Oil.
A Note on Essential Oils: Cedarcide has not verified the following claims. We suggest consulting a doctor before using essential oils.
It Smells Amaaaaaaaaaazing
Its refreshing, clean and complex aroma is a big reason lemongrass is one of our favorite essential oils! Citral, also known as lemonal, is what gives Lemongrass its sweet, delightfully citrus scent. There’s just something about its unique earthy smell that’s both relaxing and also kind of a pick-me-up.
It’s Super Great for Aromatherapy
Lemongrass’ awesome scent does more than make the air smell fresh, it has several real world benefits too! When used in a diffuser for aromatherapy, lemongrass essential oil is said to boost mood and relieve feelings of nervousness and anxiety. In addition to these uplifting and relaxing qualities, some users find diffusing lemongrass essential oil helps with headaches, body aches, and mental exhaustion as well.
It’s a Natural Bug Repellent
Lemongrass essential oil contains organic compounds called aldehydes which are a natural bug deterrent. Fleas, ticks, mosquitoes and many other biting insects are repelled by Lemongrass’ natural repellency. Whether applying to your skin, clothing, your dog’s bandana, or diffusing on the porch to keep mosquitoes at bay, Lemongrass is an effective alternative to chemical-based pest control products.
It’s Said to Provide Topical Pain Relief
Lemongrass essential oil is prized for its anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, astringent and muscle relaxing qualities. When mixed with a carrier oil or massaged directly into the skin, lemongrass essential oil is said to provide topical relief for everything from minor skin irritations to muscle pain and fatigue. Pretty cool, huh?
It’s an Awesome Additive in Natural DIY Solutions
Natural air fresheners, all-purpose cleaners, scalp & skin care—lemongrass is an excellent additive for countless DIY essential oil mixtures and solutions. Consult an essential oil book or online resource for tips and recipes on incorporating lemongrass essential oil into your natural lifestyle.
It Has Soooo Many Other Uses
Lemongrass has played an important role in the daily lives of people both ancient and modern. This tropical grass has historical uses in everything from cooking and health care to cleaning and mental stimulation. The following are all ways in which lemongrass has been traditionally used throughout the world.
- Headache relief
- Digestive issues
- Immune system health
- Infection fighter
- Fever reducer
- Muscle relaxer
- Insomnia relief
Thoughts, suggestions, have your own tips to add? Comment below or head over to our Facebook page to let us know what you think!
Trimming our dog’s nails is sort of like oil changes—it’s super important, and yet most of us don’t do it often enough. But it’s not that big of a deal, right? Well, no, it kind of is—regular nail trimmings are crucial to the health and well being of your canine. In fact, if you fail to keep your pup’s nails clipped, you can really cause them a lot of pain. Long toenails lead to joint pain which, if left untreated, can cause lifelong arthritic complications. So whether you do it or a professionals does it, you really need to trim your dog’s nails at least once a month (at least!). But don’t sweat it, with the following tips and some patience, you’ll be successfully clipping your dog’s nails in no time.
First thing’s first, figure out what you’re doing. The worst thing you can do is wing it: you could end up injuring your pup, traumatizing them to nail-trimming forever. The best way is to ask your vet for a quick tutorial, but at the very least watch an online instructional video or read a how-to guide (kind of like the one you’re reading right now 😉). Take your time, be patient, and you’ll master this nail-trimming thing in no time.
Start Early, Start Slow
The earlier you acclimate your canine to getting their nails trimmed, the less likely both you and your dog will dread it. Before clipping any nails, start slow and get your pup used to being around the clippers and having their feet and toes touched. Introduce the clippers daily for a few days leading up to their first clipping session. Use plenty of praise and treats in the process.
Get the Right Tools
OK, so you’ve got a plan, now it’s time to get the right tools for the job:
- Nail clippers. There are three main types: guillotine-style, scissors-style and pliers-style. Unless your dog is abnormally large, it’s best to go with a relatively small pair of clippers—they’re simply easier to control, and therefore safer for your dog. We suggest using one with a guide to help prevent accidentally cutting into the quick (the sensitive inner part of the nail which contains blood vessels and nerve endings).
- Treats. Rewarding your pup throughout the nail clipping experience will make your life significantly easier. The better the experience is for your dog, the better the experience will be for you. In general, reward after trimming each nail.
- Clotting powder. Styptic powder, or a natural alternative like baking soda or organic corn starch, will help clot your dog’s blood in the event you slip up and snag the quick. If you exercise caution, hopefully you’ll never encounter this issue, but just in case an accident occurs, it’s best to have some handy.
Cut at a 45 Degree Angle, a Little at a Time
There’s no rush, so cut just a little at a time. A few tricks to remember:
- Trim nails in a well lit room.
- Hold the paw firmly but gently, separate the toes using your fingers, but don’t squeeze them—that can be painful.
- Cut at a 45 degree angle.
- Avoid cutting the quick by stopping as soon as you see the white inner portion of the nail. If you’re clipping the nail and it begins to feel soft or spongy, stop! You’re cutting into the quick.
- Don’t forget to trim the dewclaws, too, if your pup has them. If you don’t clip them regularly, they can start to grow back towards your dog’s leg and pierce the skin—ouch!
Don’t Slack—Keep Up the Good Work
Trimming your own dog’s nails is no small feat—pat yourself on the back! Now that you’ve got the process down, get ready to do it all over again in 2-4 weeks. Regularly maintaining your dog’s nails is a matter of quality of life, so don’t let it slip.
Thoughts, suggestions, have your own tips to add? Comment below or head over to our Facebook page and let us know what you think!
When it comes to weed control, the world’s on edge. Monsanto—producer of the most financially successful weed-killer on the planet, Roundup—is currently locked in a mess of legal battles. Rumor and science have it that Roundup’s active ingredient, Glyphosate, causes cancer. As the most widely used herbicide on the planet—on average, a pound of Roundup is used on every acre of cropland in the U.S., half a pound on every acre of cropland worldwide—these findings should alarm all of us.
This is yet another reminder why it’s important to seek out non-toxic alternatives to chemical-based herbicides and pesticides. The truth is when it comes to weeds, you can go natural and still get the results you’re looking for. Whereas traditional weed-killers endanger our soil, our water, family and pets, the following chemical-free alternatives threaten only one organism: Weeds!
Sodium makes soil less hospitable to dandelions and other common weeds. To prevent weeds and other unwanted grasses from growing, use baking soda. Apply the baking soda at roughly 1 teaspoon per individual weed plant, being sure to cover the entire plant—including stem, leaves and flowers. Baking soda can also be applied by sweeping it into sidewalk cracks and other common problem areas. Tip: be careful and precise when using baking soda to eliminate weeds, as the sodium can also kill surrounding plant life.
Salt works the same way baking soda does: sodium helps kill and prevent weed growth. Mix a solution of 1 cup salt to 2 cups water, and apply it to any undesirable plant growth using a spray bottle. This solution can also be boiled and then applied for added weed-killing power. Caution: never use more salt than necessary, as considerable salting of soil can render it unhealthy.
Have some extra vodka lying around? If so, you also have a free DIY weed-eliminator. Mix 1 oz. of vodka with 2 cups of water and a few drops of liquid dish soap in a spray bottle. Apply the mixture in the heat of the day, thoroughly coating the weeds’ leaves. This solution works by breaking down the weeds’ natural waxy coat, making them vulnerable to sun damage and dehydration. Note: this method does not work for weeds growing in shade.
The obvious tried-and-true method of pulling weeds by hand is still one of the best. This approach is easiest when the soil is soft and wet, like just after a light rainfall. For detailed instructions on how to properly pull weeds, click here.
Corn Gluten Meal
While corn gluten meal—a finely ground byproduct of the corn milling process—won’t kill existing weeds, it’s a miracle solution for preventing weed growth. In effect, corn gluten meal works by preventing weed seeds from germinating, and ultimately sprouting. Best of all, corn gluten meal doubles as a nutrient-rich plant food.
When boiled, basic household tap water transforms into a weed-destroying formula. Simply pour the boiling water anywhere you’re experiencing weed troubles (careful—boiling water can also kill surrounding plant life if not applied directly to the weeds alone). Please exercise extreme caution when using this approach.
Mulch or Cedar Granules
It might seem obvious, but weeds can be killed naturally simply by denying them sunlight.
Completely cover unwelcome weeds with a few layers of biodegradable newspapers. Then, thoroughly coat the newspaper-covered weeds with a two-inch-thick bed of mulch or cedar granules. (Note: While both mulch and cedar granules will do the trick, mulch is known to attract some types of pests, so we suggest the latter.)
Caution: Any plant life covered in this way will likely die as well, so apply carefully.
Toxic, unnatural oils like motor oil are a big no-no, but new or used vegetable oil is both eco-safe and effective at killing weeds. Entirely coat unwanted weeds by carefully pouring vegetable oil on both foliage and stem. The weeds will be gone in no time.
Like all living organisms, weeds have to compete for limited resources to survive (sunlight, soil, water, etc). Researchers at Cornell University found that certain ground-covering plants are especially good at robbing weeds of these necessary resources. Install the following plants to help keep weeds out of your garden:
- Emerald blue moss phlox
- Thriller lady’s mantle
- Walker’s low catmint
- Golden fleece dwarf goldenrod
- Albiflorus creeping thyme
- Herman’s pride false lamium
- Majestic Lilyturf
Thoughts, suggestions, have your own tips to add? Comment below or head over to our Facebook page to let us know what you think!
It’s estimated that there are over 20,000 species of ants on the planet. Living in colonies whose populations sometimes number in the millions, ants can be found on every continent but Antarctica. Their unmatched success is often attributed to their carefully organized social structure—which includes division of labor and a highly evolved hierarchy. Because of their wide variety and large distribution, ants and humans commonly cross paths. In fact, ants are arguably the most common insect found in the home. The next time you see these intruders in your home, don’t resort to another can of toxic bug spray. Try some of these ten natural alternatives instead.
Please note: The efficacy of these natural treatments can vary from species to species, but for the most part these approaches should work well on the majority of common household ants.
Prevention is always the best form of pest control. Follow these simple guidelines to keep ants out of your home.
- Keep your home clean, particularly the kitchen, flooring, windowsills and countertops. Without a source of food, ants will have no reason to enter your home.
- Seal all food in tightly closed containers. Keep all food storage areas free of crumbs and food residues (Tip: wipe off all jam, sauce and honey containers, too).
- Never leave food or dirty dishes in the sink.
- Take out the trash regularly, and keep all trash cans clean and sealed.
- Clean up food spills immediately.
- Seal potential entry points—like cracks, crevices and holes—with caulk or another sealant.
Ants use pheromone trails for navigation, communication, and to find food. Essential oils can be used to disrupt these trails, which ultimately disorients and deters ants. Lemongrass, peppermint, clove, cedarwood, tea tree, orange and lemon oil are all effective.
Dampen a cotton ball or kitchen towel with an essential oil of your choosing; then, simply wipe down window sills, baseboards, countertops, door frames, and other potential entry points to repel ants. Repeat daily until the issue improves.
Vinegar is an extremely effective natural ant deterrent. It disrupts their pheromone trails and the smell helps prevent them from returning. Mix a 1-to-1 ratio of water to vinegar in a spray bottle (both apple cider and white vinegar will do). Shake the solution and then spray along baseboards, door frames, window sills and countertops. Repeat daily or as needed. Vinegar is a natural disinfectant and multi-surface cleaner—so feel free to use this spray liberally.
Non-toxic Insecticides—Both Indoor and Outdoor
Start by treating your entire lawn with a non-toxic outdoor pesticide like PCO Choice (cedar granules can also be used for additional protection). Then, spray entry points and any ants you see inside with a naturally sourced insecticide, such as Cedarcide Original. Repeat monthly or more as needed.
Sugar and Baking Soda Trap
A simple and natural ant trap can be made by mixing equal parts baking soda and powdered sugar. The sugar attracts the ants, the baking soda naturally kills them.
Using shallow dishes, strategically place this mixture in the areas where you experience the most ant traffic. These traps can also be placed outside, particularly near doors and windows.
Cinnamon & Cinnamon Oil
Not unlike the aforementioned essential oils and vinegar, cinnamon and cinnamon oil work to deter ants by interfering with their pheromone trails. Dispense the cinnamon in whatever form throughout ant problem areas. When used around window sills, baseboards, near doors and alongside countertops, cinnamon helps prevent ants from entering your home.
Like baking soda, cornmeal is a natural ant killer. Broadcast cornmeal near possible ant entry points, including windowsills, doorways, and other locations ants commonly frequent. This method can take some time, but it’s quite effective in the long run.
This is a natural way to attack the ant colony directly. It’s simple: boil a few liters or more of water and then pour it directly onto the ants’ mound (this can be dangerous, so please exercise extreme caution). Adding a water-soluble insecticide, essential oils, or soap to the boiled water will serve to make this method even more effective. You may have to repeat this process two to three times to completely eliminate the colony.
Made from crushed algae fossils, Diatomaceous Earth is a well known natural pesticide. This abrasive material damages the exoskeleton of insects that come into contact with it, eventually killing them. Spread DE throughout ant problem areas and directly on the colony’s mound if possible. Diatomaceous Earth is also one of the most effective methods for combating carpenter ants, who will regularly die from consuming it.
Used much like cinnamon, coffee grounds can be used both inside and outside to repel ants. Sprinkle the grounds along entry points to prevent ants from entering your home, and outside on the ant colony directly. Sometimes blanketing an ant mound with coffee grounds is enough to get the entire colony to relocate.
House plants have long been prized for their beautiful appearance. They tend to give our homes a more pleasant and comfortable feel—studies show they help improve mood and mental health, too. But did you know house plants can also help with overall physical health? By acting as organic filters, common household plants can naturally improve the air quality within our homes, removing toxins and other pollutants in the process. In addition to helping regulate humidity, house plants can eliminate mold spores, dust, bacteria, synthetic chemicals and other allergens, too. However, as far as air-filtering goes, not all plants are created equal. And, unfortunately, some of the very best air-purifying plants are toxic for pets. So, what house plant is right for you? We’re going to help you find out.
Here are ten of the best air-purifying house plants (Don’t worry—we’ll let you know which ones are pet safe!)
Aloe Vera (NOT Pet Safe)
This ornamental succulent is popular for its good looks, skin benefits and, in some cases, even its taste. Less known, however, is aloe vera’s skill for removing toxins from the air, such as formaldehyde and benzene, which are commonly found in household cleaners and paints.
Spider Plant (Pet Safe)
This resilient and low maintenance plant can remove up to 90% of formaldehyde, benzene, styrene, xylene and carbon monoxide from the air. A single spider plant is able to efficiently filter a room of approximately 200 sq. ft.
Peace Lily (NOT Pet Safe)
Famed for its delicate beauty, the peace lily is one of the most visually appealing ways to purify your home’s air. Benzene, xylene, toluene, trichloroethylene and formaldehyde—the peace lily removes all these toxins. It also cleanses the air of acetone, which comes from electronics and adhesives, among other household items.
Bamboo Palm (Pet Safe)
Requiring only moderate sunshine and capable of growing fairly large, the bamboo palm makes for a great house plant. According to NASA, bamboo palm is also one of the most effective plants at removing air pollutants, especially formaldehyde, carbon monoxide, xylene, benzene and chloroform.
Ficus Tree (NOT Pet Safe)
Although this little tree is toxic for pets, it has a wealth of benefits as an air purifier. It can remove bacteria and mold spores from the air, too. Your ficus will do best in indirect sunlight (too much sun can burn the leaves) and in relatively humid conditions.
This cute little perennial is a staple of many households due to its inexpensive cost and vivid colors. But the gorgeous garden mum is also a powerful air purifier, capable of ridding your home of ammonia, xylene, benzene, toluene, trichloroethylene and formaldehyde.
Golden Pothos (NOT Pet Safe)
Ideal for offices because it requires little sunlight and can grow in cooler temperatures, the golden pothos is both attractive and useful. Although toxic to pets and people if ingested, this plant is a superstar at improving air quality. It’s especially good at removing carbon monoxide, making it a great fit for garages and other work spaces, too.
Boston Fern (Pet Safe)
The Boston fern has been enjoyed as a house plant for centuries. This small, unusual looking plant needs constant sunshine and fairly humid conditions. Prized as one of the most efficient natural air purifiers, the Boston fern helps remove formaldehyde and xylene from the air. It’s a mild air humidifier, too.
Dracaena (NOT Pet Safe)
Dracaena is ideal for newly carpeted and newly furnished homes because of its unique ability to remove high levels of formaldehyde from the air. This sturdy, easy-to-grow plant also helps fight against benzene, xylene and toluene, all of which are known carcinogens.
In celebration of Earth Day—and Earth Day Texas—we’re taking a closer look at recycling. Many of us recycle the basic things—paper, plastic, cans, etc—but there’s a whole a world of recyclables that most of us are throwing in the garbage.
From batteries and video games, to inhalers and metal keys, here are 41 things you might not now you could be recycling:
Replacing your carpets? Have unused rolls lying around the house? Don’t throw them to the curb. New rolls can go to Habitat for Humanity. The Carpet America Recovery Effort can help you recycle the old ones. Many carpet manufacturers will help recycle your carpet, too.
Throwing away batteries can be terrible for the environment. Recycle them instead. Many office supply stores like Office Depot offer battery recycling. Even some Ikeas have it, too.
3. Cardboard boxes
People always need boxes. Try donating them to nonprofits or shelters—they’re often in dire need of cardboard boxes. Businesses that collect at least 100 boxes each month are also eligible to resell their boxes to UsedCardboardBoxes.com.
A simple scratch is enough to turn CDs into garbage. But don’t place them in the trash—The CD Recycling Center can help you recycle them instead.
Throwing out clothes is a waste. Visit your local Goodwill or other thrift store to donate them instead
6. Clothes Dryers/Washing Machines
Everything you need to know about recycling large appliances can be found here
7. Fluorescent light bulbs
Fluorescent light bulbs leak mercury into the environment when broken in landfills. Home Depot, Lowes, Ikea and similar locations commonly accept fluorescent light bulbs for recycle. Visit search.earth911.com to find a location near you.
Call your city’s recycling center or a local waste management company to see if they recycle toilets. Most Habitat For Humanity locations will also accept used toilet donations.
9. Ink Cartridges
Re-manufacturing plastic ink cartridges requires 80% less energy than making new ones. In other words, be sure to reuse and eventually recycle your cartridges. Many office supply stores will refill them for you. Call the cartridge manufacturer for advice on how and where to recycle them.
Made from a variety of materials, computers are notoriously difficult to recycle. However, most computer manufacturers have take-back or trade-in programs where they’ll collect your computer in order to reuse its materials. Call your manufacturer for more details.
11. Video Games
The aforementioned CD Recycling Center will accept and then recycle any video game discs you might have. For all cartridges, Nintendo offers a take back program where they’ll recycle your games free of charge. They even take non-Nintendo brand games, too.
12. Motor Oil
The EPA has said that “If all the oil from American do-it-yourself oil changers were recycled, it would be enough motor oil for more than 50 million cars a year.” Needless to say, recycling your motor oil can make a real difference. Consult your local service station or auto shop to learn how.
13. Cell Phones
The best way to recycle your cell phone is to donate it to Verizon’s HopeLine program, which benefits survivor’s of domestic abuse.
14. Sports Equipment
Sporting equipment is best recycled through reuse. Sell or donate it to your local Goodwill, thrift store or Play It Again Sports location
15. Athletic Shoes
Don’t throw out those tattered old running shoes. Instead, send them to Nike’s Reuse-a-Shoe program, which accepts any brand of old sneaker and recycles them into various sport courts and fields so kids around the world have more places to play.
16. Cooking Oil
Many cities offer cooking oil recycling. Call your local recycling center for details.
17. Construction Wood
It’s not always been easy to recycle wood. But now there’s a great resource to show you how and where. Visit reusewood.org to learn the most efficient way to recycle all that extra wood.
Rather than tossing out your old bicycle, donate it to Bikes of the World, which collects, refurbishes and then donates bikes to lower-income people and various institutions in developing countries.
All those unused and broken crayons don’t have to end up in the trash. Crazy Crayons is an organization that will recycle your old crayons into new, fun, multicolored ones.
20. Holiday Lights
To learn how to recycle those old xmas lights, click here. Many Home Depot and Lowes locations will recycle them, too.
21. Christmas tree
There’s tons of fun ways to reuse and recycle your old xmas tree—take a look.
22. Wine Corks
Recycled wine corks can be used to make everything from insulation and car parts, to yoga mats and sports equipment. Several health food stores like Whole Foods have drop boxes for collecting corks for recycling. ReCORK is another option—they’ll recycle your corks into shoe soles and other clever products. Check their site for drop off locations.
A thorough guide on recycling your trophies can be found here.
There are several organizations that accept bras to benefit women in need. Here’s a great resource for choosing what option is best for you.
25. Greeting Cards
St. Jude’s Ranch for Children accepts greetings cards of all shapes and sizes and reuses the materials to create new ones. Funds from the new cards go to benefit abused and homeless families.
26. Packing Peanuts
Most cities don’t have options for recycling Styrofoam peanuts. However, many packaging stores like UPS will accept them for reuse. The Plastic Loose Fill Council can help you find a location near you.
27. VHS Tapes
Recycling tapes can be tricky, but it’s possible. Earth 911 is a great resource for learning how.
Millions of Inhalers go to waste every year. But there’s good news: Inhalers can now be recycled through the “Complete the Cycle” campaign.
29. Brita Water Filters
When it comes to Brita filters, there are several options to choose from when recycling them. Consult this resource for detailed instructions.
Cosmetics contain many chemicals harmful to the environment (including lead), and in most cases cannot be recycled. However, these products can be repurposed in a number of creative ways. As far as the packaging goes, many of the larger makeup retailers collect cosmetic containers for recycling—including MAC, Lush, Aveda, and Origins. Some even give gifts or gift cards in exchange.
Before tossing out your old mattress in favor of a new one, check with your mattress’ manufacturer—chances are they’ll help you recycle it. However, if they don’t, you’re not completely out of luck. Check with your city, many areas have recycling centers that will take mattresses off your hands.
32. Apple Products
Apple products are one of the easiest things to recycle. Apple locations accept all their products back for free recycling.
33. Cars, Boats, and Motorcycles
Junkyards are often the best way to properly dispose of your vehicle in a way that insures most of its materials will be put to good re-use. Junkmycar.com—something of a virtual junkyard—is another viable option. Bonus: both choices are likely to earn you some extra cash.
34. Hearing Aids
The Starkey Hearing Foundation collects all makes and models of hearing aids to benefit the hearing-impaired all over the world.
The American Birding Association will take your donated backpack and give it to scientists who will use it in the field when tracking neotropical birds.
36. Wedding Dresses
Brides Across America accepts recently used wedding dresses and gifts them to United States military brides in need. In addition to dresses, the organization accepts weddings accessories like veils and tiaras, too. Why toss out your dress when it could go to a cause like that?
The Keys for Hope Foundation is a non-profit that donates 100% of its proceeds to help feed those in need by helping to stock community food pantries. Keys can also be recycled as scrap metal at your local recycling center.
Upgrading your ratty old Crocs? Take them to your local official Croc store to be recycled or reused. The company’s “Soles 4 Souls” campaign helps put shoes on the underprivileged and others in dire need of footwear.
You might be surprised to learn that hairdryers are easily recycled. Simply locate your closest scrap metal recycling center, drop it off, and you’re done!
40. Juice Pouches
Strictly speaking, these aren’t recyclable. However, TerraCycle will donate 1 cent for each juice pouch collected, and donate the proceeds to the non-profit or school of your choosing. TerrarCycle provides free shipping for sending in the pouches, too
41. Ziploc Bags
Yep, you can now recycle Ziploc Bags. Just watch:
42. For everything else, TerraCycle has your back!
Spring time means spring cleaning. Unfortunately, spring cleaning usually entails toxic products, artificial perfumes and corrosive chemicals. From skin irritation and asthma to birth defects and cancer, commercial cleaning agents are among the most dangerous products we keep in our homes. To make matters worse, the harsh chemicals in over-the-counter cleaners can linger in your house for days after use, increasing the likelihood they’ll adversely affect not only your home’s air quality but also the environment and our water systems. If you’re looking for safer, more natural and eco-friendly ways to spring clean your home, we got you covered. Here are some of our favorite natural spring cleaning tips.
Because of their natural acidity, lemons are a versatile disinfectant, stain-remover and air-freshener. From deep cleaning bathrooms and kitchens to restoring table tops, laundry and furniture, lemons are an essential natural alternative to harsh cleaning agents. Quick tip: Use lemon juice to remove tough stains from cutting boards and countertops. For more tips on cleaning with lemons, click here.
It might not smell great but distilled white vinegar is among the most useful natural cleaners in existence. It’s a handy stain remover, deodorizer, and degreaser. Quick tip: In a reusable spray bottle, mix a 1-to-1 ratio of water and vinegar to create an effective all-purpose cleaner for use on countertops, toilets, ovens, microwaves, sinks, and more. The possible uses are virtually endless. In fact, here are 95 additional ways to use the cleaning power of vinegar throughout your home.
Avoid using vinegar on granite or marble—vinegar is known to cause damage to these surfaces.
Nothing deodorizes quite like baking soda. But did you know it’s also an incredibly effective natural cleaner? From cleaning mattresses, rugs, and cloth furniture, to restoring grills, ovens, flatware and even silverware, baking soda is as versatile as any cleaner in your kitchen. Quick tip: To clean your kitchen oven naturally, create a paste from a 3-to-1 ratio of baking soda and water; spread the paste on all dirty areas within the oven, and let it sit for at least 5 hours (dirtier ovens may require an overnight soak). Return, wipe the paste from the oven, and the grime disappears. For especially dirty ovens, you might need to repeat this process.
Freshen Your Air Naturally
Did you know store-bought air fresheners are one the biggest sources of air pollution in the home? (Worse yet, they contain chemicals called VOCs, which have been linked to cancer in both humans and animals). Opening the windows for just 10-15 minutes a day can do far more to improve your home’s air quality than any artificial air freshener ever could. Quick tip: For a natural alternative to air fresheners, puncture a lemon or orange with a fork and then slowly bring it to a boil in an uncovered pot—the citrus scent will quickly and naturally refresh your home.
For a ready-to-use, pet-safe deodorizer and air freshener alternative, check out our new Pet + Bedding spray, handcrafted from essential oils and other plant-based ingredients! Perfect for pets, people, fabrics, and for refreshing indoor spaces, Pet + Bedding eliminates pet and household odors without artificial colors or fragrances.
Another one of our favorite ways to naturally freshen our homes is through air-purifying plants. Check out the infographic below to choose one for yourself:
Ditch the Clutter
Obviously, the easiest way to spring clean your home is to keep it clean all year round. While that’s not exactly realistic, one way to ensure the mess never gets too far out of control is to keep clutter to a minimum. Every unnecessary trinket or knick-knack is just another way for your home to collect dust. As you spring clean this season, keep a basket or bag within reach; anything you haven’t used within the last year, seriously consider getting rid of—but recycle or donate, don’t just toss it in the garbage!
Choose a Naturally Sourced, All-Purpose Cleaner
If we’re being honest, few of us have the time to make and mix our own DIY cleaners at home. Plus, even the best of these solutions have shortcomings, sometimes failing to remove stubborn set-in stains and grime.
Finding an over-the-counter, non-toxic all-purpose cleaner is important for when DIY cleaners just won’t cut it. Which is why we developed the The Cedarcide All-Purpose Cleaner, a gentle yet powerful alternative to chemical-based household cleaners. Handcrafted with essential oils, naturally sourced ingredients, and other non-toxic and biodegradable ingredients, our cleaner is safe for people, pets and the environment. We also developed the Cedarcide Glass + Bath Cleaner, specifically for mirrors, glass, showers and bath!
Make the Switch To Microfiber Cloths
Switching from dangerous artificial cleaners to natural alternatives is a big step in the right direction. But reducing waste is crucial, too. It’s easy to exhaust roll after roll of paper towels when cleaning an entire home. Clearly, that’s a lot of wasted paper. Switching to a reusable microfiber cloth will greatly reduce this waste, and can potentially save your family hundreds of dollars each year. Microfiber cloths last much longer than traditional cleaning rags, and are significantly better at removing dirt, grime and dust, too. In fact, microfiber cloths are so efficient, they often require only water to be effective at removing even the toughest of messes.
Print the handy infographic below for a visual reminder of these Natural Spring Cleaning Tips (It looks great on the fridge!)