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  • Writer's pictureKara Dyko

New Year Home Cleanse Step 3: REPLACE


If you've reached this step, you deserve a big CONGRATULATIONS! Your body thanks you! (And so should all of those who live with you.) The body is a brilliant, self-healing machine if given the right conditions, a big one being the purity of the air we breathe. Some of the biggest culprits to our home's air quality are toxic cleaning products, so now that you (quite literally) have a clean slate, don't settle for less. Choose safe, healthy alternatives to clean up your home. The good news is you don’t need an army of different products! Simplify and get back to basics.

Now for the good stuff. Natural pesticides and cleaners that are human and dog friendly and are good for the environment.


No one wants to deal with disease-carrying mosquitoes or ticks which is why many turn to pesticide-based bug sprays. However, given that our skin absorbs whatever we slather on, bug spray can be a nasty source of pesticide exposure, especially for young children with their developing immune systems.

Instead, we recommend either purchasing or making your own essential-oil based bug spray. Which essential oils should you choose? Research has shown that lemongrass, thyme, geranium, and rosemary are all effective at repelling ticks, and we’ve found they do double-duty on mosquitos too.

#1 Easy and Natural DIY Mosquito and Tick Spray

  • Fill a 16 oz glass spray bottle (like this one) with water about ¾ full.

  • Add 4 tablespoons 100% witch hazel.

  • Add 20-30 drops tick-repelling essential oil of choice (rosemary, lemongrass, thyme, or geranium).

  • Top the bottle off with water.

  • Shake well and spray on.

Other Bug Sprays

  • Primally Pure Nature Spray (Mosquito Repellent)

  • Spartan Mosquito Eradicator

#2 Prevent and Repel Moths

A safer way to prevent moths is to use natural moth repellent sachets, like Stay Away Moths by Earthkind, and vacuum your closet regularly using a HEPA vacuum which will suck up moths, larvae, and the dust they feed on. Note: This product contains essential oils – order a sample to see if the smell is acceptable.

#3: Keep Pests Out of Your Garden with This Common Spice

Keep aphids, slugs, and other pets at-bay can be tricky without toxic pesticides. One of our favorite all-natural DIY pesticides for bugs and larger pests, like rabbits or squirrels, is a chile pepper-based spray.

To make, combine a quart of water with 1-2 tablespoons cayenne pepper and 10-20 drops Castile soap. Shake well and spray directly on plants as-needed.

#4: Stop Sugar Ants Naturally With This Inexpensive Hack

If you’ve ever woken up to a sugar ant infestation, you know how hard they are to get rid of. No need to call in pest control, try the following:

  • Locate where the ants are coming from (usually it’s a gap in a door or window)

  • Remove their source of food (honey, sugar, a spill on the floor, etc.)

  • Next, apply food-grade diatomaceous earth (DE) to the source of the problem or ash from a wood fire.

#5: And Above All, Follow The Golden Rule of Natural Pest Control

What’s the golden rule of safer pest control? Keep a clean house. By vacuuming regularly, wiping countertops and surfaces, dusting, keeping a clean pantry, taking out the trash regularly, storing food safely, and sweeping floors you’ll deter the majority of common household pests like cockroaches, spiders, moths, and ants while creating a healthier home.



It's easy to take care of germs without using sanitizers or disinfectants with harmful ingredients. Remember, studies have shown the best way to remove germs from surfaces without making them resistant is to use hot water and soap. Here are a few examples of when it is appropriate to use a natural disinfectant spray like vinegar and/or hydrogen peroxide:

  • Cutting boards or surfaces which have come into contact with raw meat, fish, or seafood

  • Non porous toys—especially those your baby may put in mouth.

  • Cell phones.

  • Toilet seats—especially after someone has been sick.

  • Surfaces soiled by pets (or children!).

  • Baby’s feeding tray table.

  • Door knobs.

  • TV remotes and controllers—especially when a family member is sick.

  • Sinks that have come into contact with raw meat, fish, or seafood.

  • Computer keyboards—spray microfiber with vinegar and wipe, then wipe with hydrogen peroxide.

It is also appropriate to increase the use of natural disinfectant sprays during cold and flu season, or if a family member has a contagious illness. Use common sense, avoid taking clean-to-the-extreme, use these natural disinfectants to avoid creating superbugs, and remember not all germs are bad! Plenty of research has shown that regular exposure to harmless bacteria and germs actually strengthens your gut microbiome and immune system, which will protect you from a variety of acute and chronic ailments


Study shows that Vinegar and 3% Hydrogen Peroxide used in combination (in separate bottles) are more effective at killing germs than chlorine bleach or any commercially available cleaner.

Materials Needed:

  • Distilled White Vinegar (5% acidity)

  • A Spray Bottle For The Vinegar (Or A Spray Nozzle For The Bottle If It Will Fit)

  • Hydrogen Peroxide (3% solution—brown bottle)

  • A Spray Nozzle For The Brown Bottle Of Peroxide

*Keep these materials in separate bottles. DO NOT MIX.


Wool dryer balls are an economical and sustainable answer to the extreme toxicity of dryer sheets and fabric softeners.

  • Add three 100% wool dryer balls to your dryer.

  • To reduce static cling even further, pin a safety pin into one or all the balls.

  • Run your dryer on medium heat cycle

  • Leave your dryer balls in the dryer for your next load!


Fill a bucket with a mixture of Distilled white vinegar, a squirt of dish soap and water. Wet the mop with the soapy water and wring out well. Mop the floor, then allow to air-dry. If you are cleaning a hardwood floor, make sure to just lightly dampen the mop so that it does not leave excess moisture on the floor. Wipe dry any wet spots.


Most stains simply require a quick All-Purpose spray before going into the washing machine. For more difficult stains, place the stained area of the fabric on top of a clean white cloth and apply Branch Basics All-Purpose to the back of the stain. This will push the stain out onto the white cloth. If stains do not disappear right away, treat the stain and soak at least 5 - 15 minutes before washing. For very tough stains, team the concentrate up with Oxygen Boost!


If you would like to add fragrance to your home's air consider:

  • Dog Friendly Houseplants - Take advantage of plants that have been tested to remove harmful chemicals from your home's air. These plants can remove chemical odors as well as oxygenate your home.

  • Lemon Peel - Grind up lemon peel while running hot water into your garbage disposal to remove odors in the disposal and freshen the kitchen air.

  • Herbs and Spices - Grow your own basil, mint, lavender, thyme, oregano, etc. as natural air fresheners that will also provide you with ingredients for cooking.

  • Wildcrafted and Organic Essential Oils Processed without Solvents - diffuse to add scents to your home

  • Vanilla Extract - Place a cotton ball soaked in vanilla extract in a small saucer in your home to freshen the air.

  • Cinnamon Sticks and Cloves - Boil and then simmer in water to eliminate lingering odors and freshen the air.

Additional inexpensive DIY Cleaning Recipes.

We invite and challenge you to try some of alternative options above and see how you feel after a month. Our bet is that you'll never want to use anything but safe methods to get rid of pests and truly non-toxic cleaning products again. Once you remove the harmful chemicals from your daily life and your body gets a break, you'll begin to notice symptoms such as skin rashes, headaches, dry eyes, muscle tightness and more that you may not have connected as reactions to harmful chemicals in your products. Improved mood, reduced anxiety and decreased sickness are common outcomes as well. And those dog allergies, scratching and paw chewing should stop too. Sounds like an all around good choice, right?!

Happy Home Cleansing!


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