Homemade Rosewater

Sometimes in life you just need a moment to feel ethereal. To feel pure, like a Disney princess singing to a little bird in a field of gardenias, roses and peonies. And recently, I need that more often than not- and I’m assuming you do too. Really, who doesn’t want that?

A simple little at home trick to get yourself feeling like you’ve been sucked in to an elegant, enchanted fairy tale is to make yourself some rosewater. Rosewater is incredibly quick and easy to make and seemingly has an infinite amount of uses. You can use it as a bath soak, facial toner, hair cleanser, face mask, nail treatment, aromatherapy, and so much more. Heck, you can even use it in your cooking.

Let’s go through two ways you can make rosewater. The first way is to make just a simple rosewater, and the second is to make a rosewater essence which is a more concentrated version that just makes a bit less per batch.

Simple Rosewater

Rosewater in its simplest form can be used for just about anything, and it’s super easy to make. Personally I love using rosewater for a little DIY hair cleanser as a replacement for dry shampoo after a workout, as a toner when my face needs a little moisturizing boost, and as a face mask when mixed with a bit of aloe vera gel from my garden.

How To:

  1. Pick 3 or 4 fresh roses from your garden or at your local nursery/grocer.
  2. Pull all the petals off the main flower and rinse them to get any dirt or little bugs off.
  3. Take your clean petals and place them in a pot of water (fill a medium pot with as much water as you’d like- I recommend making just as much as you can properly store).
  4. Place the pot on the stove top and bring to a boil. Once the water is boiling turn the temperature down to a simmer and let sit until the petals begin to look wilted and the water becomes tinted with the color from the flowers.
  5. Strain out the rose petals, and let the water cool before putting it in to your storage containers.
  6. Once you pour your rosewater in to your air tight containers place the ones you want to save in the refrigerator to keep fresh. The rose water is ready to use and will keep for about a year when stored properly.

Rosewater Essence

Rosewater essence is better to make when you intend to use it for cooking or aromatherapy purposes. It is not necessary to use the concentrated version on the skin, and if you have sensitive skin it may be too harsh. However, in its concentrated form, the smell and taste of the rosewater are much more potent and make a great, light, floral addition to many DIY concoctions.

How To:

  1. Pick 3 or 4 fresh roses from your garden or at your local nursery/grocer.
  2. Pull all the petals off the main flower and rinse them to get any dirt or little bugs off.
  3. Take your clean petals and place them in a medium sized pot that is about half full of water.
  4. Place a smaller bowl in the center of the pot, and bring the water in the pot to a simmer.
  5. Once the rose petals begin to look wilted and discolored turn off the stove top and cover the pot with a lid. As the water cools the condensation that will form on the lid will drip in to the bowl you placed on top of the water.
  6. After the water has completely cooled remove the lid and remove the bowl. You should have a substantial amount of rosewater essence in your bowl, but it will not be full of all of the water you started with.
  7. Transfer the rosewater essence to an air tight container and place in the fridge. This should keep for about one year when stored properly.

I’ll tell you, this last time when I made rosewater I made a big mistake. Not in the recipe, not in the preparation, but honestly one of the dumber mistakes I could have made. I didn’t measure out the amount of water I’d be able to store at all. I just went about my merry way, making a big ol’ pot of rosewater not even thinking about how to store it. Well, I ended up using about 5 jars (every jar I had at my disposal), and then still had about a cup’s worth left over. Please, don’t let all that good rosewater go to waste and measure out what you can use before you just go about making your rosewater like I did. I ended up using what was left as a soothing warm facial steam, so it didn’t go totally to waste, but I would have liked to save everything I made for later projects.

The first thing I made with my simple rosewater was a little birthday gift for my friend: A rose water and aloe vera gel face mask. If you want the recipe for that, I’ll be posting it soon here, so be on the look out for that.

In the mean time let me know: What are your favorite uses for rosewater? What are some rosewater DIYs you’d like to learn how to make?


5 Little Ways To Cut Down On Household Waste

On an average day, an American individual produces 4.51 pounds of trash according to estimates in 2017 from the United Sates Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). On a global stage, this sets America up to be the third most waste producing country only behind Canada and Bulgaria. These numbers are staggering, especially since so much of what ends up in landfills can end up being substances that could have been disposed of in much more eco-friendly ways. According to those same findings from the EPA, 139 million tons of waste out of the yearly average of 267.8 ended up in landfills. However, much of what did go to landfill could have easily been reused or disposed of in better ways.

There are plenty of ways in which we can all cut down on our waste production. We can recycle according to our local guidelines, purchase products in little to no packaging or with recyclable or compostable packaging, and donate our used goods that may have been well loved but still have plenty of love to give.

But, there are also many ways that are a bit less common in which we can all strive to be more sustainable in our consumerism.

  1. Buy in Bulk

Sometimes buying food or other items in bulk may seem unreasonable. Unless you have a large family or many mouths to feed, buying large amounts of food at a time puts you at risk of letting some of that food go bad before being used. However, You can still buy in bulk within reason for your life.

This could mean buying flour, nuts and seeds, or other non-perishables in large quantities. Or, for non-edible items, buying hand soap in gallon sizes to refill smaller counter top bottles, or doing the same with shampoos and body washes.

All of this will help you to create less waste buy buying one larger package rather than multiple smaller packages. Often these smaller packages, while physically smaller, create more waste in the long run from the amount you’ll be buying more frequently. You will also find you’ll have to get to the store less often, and you’ll save money in the long term as many places offer discounts on bulk items.

2. Reuse Textiles

Not everyone knows how to sew, and that’s okay. You really don’t need to know how to sew to reuse your loose fabric scraps.

Recently, I found I had a few shirts I’ve been holding on to for years but never really wear, and I would if only they were slightly adjusted. So, I cut a layer of fabric off the bottom of one of those shirts to create a much cuter crop top version, and got to use the fabric strip I cut off to make a super cute headband without any sewing.

You can take these loose scraps and make just about anything, and Pinterest is a great place to find new ideas. However, you can also use old clothes that haven’t gotten cut for scraps but are unwearable for kitchen rags, gentle hair towels, and cushioned packing material.

3. Goody Swaps

This is one of my friends and I’s favorite things to do! Often when seasons change or someone moves, we’ll all get together to do a clothing and goody swap- more or less it’s a swap meet! We’re lucky that we all wear vaguely similar sizes and have overlapping styles.

Each person can bring clothes or items they no longer use and begin swapping with each other for new-to-you items that still have so much use left. Most often my friends and I find ourselves swapping clothes and cosmetics that have been cleaned and only lightly used. It’s a great way to make sure you don’t waste any cosmetic products, especially when you found the product wasn’t right for you but you still have a lot left.

This is a great idea for any group of friends trying to save money for the holidays as well. Giving the gift of sustainability between friends is always fun!

4. Up-cycle Packaging

We’re all pretty used to wrapping our gifts in wrapping paper and gift bags with ribbon. Problem is, these items often aren’t recyclable and will ultimately end up in landfill. A simple solution is to reuse the bags and gift wrap, but there are better options for when it’s time to replace these items.

My favorite way to up-cycle items as gift packaging is to hit up my local goodwill and antique shops to find cute jars and old bottles that I can fit gifts in to. Not only do my friends and family receive their gifts, but they also receive a cute jar they can use however they want!

Other items you can reuse as packaging are fabric scraps, gently used sheets and bedding, or you can go the Jim Halpert route and find a cute sentimental teapot! (Where my The Office fans at??)

5. Composting

No matter where you live, you should be composting. Composting is the best way to get rid of any organic material, which just about everyone uses a lot of on any given day. Organic materials are often disposed of in landfills, and when they end up there they get buried among the garbage and produce what’s called methane gas. Through anaerobic decomposition organic matter releases methane into the atmosphere which causes the rapid acceleration of global atmospheric pollution.

I never used to want to do this because I assumed composting materials in my apartment would stink up the place, but it really doesn’t have to be that way. You can purchase a number of different kinds of composting bins online that will do all the work for you once you plop in some banana peels and egg shells, you can freeze your compost materials, or you can find a simple outdoor bin to keep on your balcony if you have one.

Once you’re ready to dump your compost bin, or your freezer is full to the brim with organic material, there are a number of ways you can get rid of the waste. First off, if you do have your own garden and backyard, you can go ahead and use your compost materials yourself when it’s ready. However, for those without gardens and yards, you can donate your compost to your local community garden if they have a compost heap, to your neighbors who do have gardens, or you can check and see if your community has a public composting program.

For more ideas on composting, here is a great article: https://goingzerowaste.com/blog/composting-for-apartments/

Becoming more sustainable in waste production is possible for everyone. That being said, some of these things might be a stretch for you, and that’s okay. Doing what you can each day, and getting better as you go is ultimately the goal. The one thing we shouldn’t do is get comfortable with our waste production if it is continually causing harm to our beautiful planet.

Let me know: In what ways are you becoming more sustainable in your waste production? Have you gotten into any of the above suggestions?

7 Simple, Safe DIY Home Cleaning Products

A healthy home is a happy home, and healthy homes aren’t full of chemicals. That’s why I have collected a set of recipes for DIY house cleaning products that actually work and are 100% non-toxic to humans and pets alike.

My roommate and I used to use a number of cleaning products that weren’t necessarily safe for us and our cat. Our apartment had bug issues with ants and water beetles, and since we lived community style the fridge and other surfaces and drains started to stink after a while. Because of all this we used products like Raid, Clorox, and Lysol. But, over time, we learned and did what we could to adjust our purchasing habits. We switched to using products from brands like Method, Honest, and Ever Spring that are non-toxic and available at reasonable prices just about anywhere cleaning products are sold.

That was a great first step in our healthy home practice, but since then I’ve learned that there’s even more effective things I could do to keep my living space clean and keep the earth happy. While these products were healthier and safe for us and our cat, they weren’t necessarily totally eco-friendly. They still were housed in plastic bottles that were mass-produced and contained chemicals many people aren’t familiar with.

By either reusing the bottles from these past purchases, or grabbing some empty glass spray bottles at the store, you can start making your own cleaning products at home full of ingredients you can identify and feel safe using just about anywhere.

  1. Drain Cleaner
    • Ingredients: Vinegar, Baking Soda
    • Pour 1/2 cup baking soda down the drain. Let sit for 15 minutes before pouring 1/3 cup vinegar down the drain. The baking soda and vinegar will mix and create bubbles and popping sounds. Let that sit for 15 more minutes before running water to rinse this mix out.
    • For an extra touch of freshness and delight, I suggest putting a few drops of your favorite essential oil down the drain after doing this clean out. (My favorites for this are grapefruit oil and lemon oil)
  2. Bug Repellent
    • Ingredients: Water, Witch Hazel, Essential Oils (Tea Tree, Lavender, Cedar, Eucalyptus, Peppermint)
    • Mix 1 cup water with 1/2 cup witch hazel in a spray bottle. Add 20-30 drops of essential oil and shake. You do not have to add all of these essential oils, but the more of these you have the more bugs you have the potential to repel. For some common pests, I suggest using peppermint oil for ants and cedar oil for silverfish.
    • Spray this mixture directly on area where you find bugs are entering your home and where they prefer to congregate. This works best if you spray these areas once daily until the infestation is resolved.
    • Bonus: This mixture can also be used as a bug repellent for your body! How fun! All you have to change is that you should only use 15-20 drops of essential oil rather than the 20-30 to protect skin from potential irritants. (Mosquitos especially hate tea tree and eucalyptus. You can thank me later.)
  3. Multi-Surface Cleaner
    • Ingredients: Water, Castile Soap, Isopropyl Alcohol, Essential Oils of your choosing
    • Mix 1 cup water, 1/2 cup isopropyl alcohol, and 3 tablespoons castile soap in a spray bottle. Add 20-30 drops of the essential oils of your choosing and shake.
    • Use this just as you would any other multi-surface cleaner.
  4. Toilet Wash
    • Ingredients: Vinegar, Castile Soap, Tea Tree Oil, other Essential Oils of your choosing
    • Mix 1/2 cup vinegar with a 1/2 cup castile soap in a spray bottle or squeezable bottle. Add 20-30 drops of tea tree oil and other essential oils of your choosing and mix again.
    • Spray this mixture directly into the toilet bowl and let sit for 15-20 minutes before flushing.
  5. Shower Head Cleaner
    • Ingredients: Vinegar, Baking Soda
    • Mix 1 cup of vinegar with 1/3 cup baking soda in a bag. Take the bag and tie it around your shower head. Make sure the shower head is fully submerged in the mixture. Leave this on for 3 or more hours (overnight is best). Once it’s ready, remove the bag and wipe the shower head with a damp cloth.
  6. Fridge Refresh
    • Ingredients: Water, Vinegar, Baking Soda, Essential Oils of your choosing
    • Mix 2 cups of warm water, 1/2 cup vinegar, and 1/4 cup baking soda in a spray bottle (if this creates a foam let it sit before adding anything else or closing the bottle). Add 10-15 drops of your favorite essential oil- this is primarily for smell, but you can also get the benefits of a disinfectant from certain oils (i.e. tea tree oil, etc.). I suggest using food friendly scents like lemon oil, grapefruit oil, rosemary oil, etc.
    • Spray this mixture onto the surfaces in your fridge, let sit, and then wipe clean.
  7. Air Deodorizer and Refresher
    • Ingredients: Baking Soda, Essential Oils of your choosing
    • Put 1 cup of baking soda in a cup or jar. Add 20-30 drops of your favorite essential oil and mix. Put a lid with holes in it on the jar to both allow the mixture to pull in and trap odors while also releasing the refreshing scent of your choice of oils.
    • You can put these just about anywhere you need help with odor. I prefer to keep this in a closet or other small space so that it can work more proficiently. However, that isn’t necessary. It will help deodorize wherever you put it. Simply replace it when you notice unwanted odors returning.

These are my staple recipes for easy and safe home cleaning products, and hopefully they will become yours too! My favorite thing about these recipes (aside from the fact that they are so much more eco-friendly than their commercial counterparts) is that they are incredibly cost effective. You can buy the ingredients in bulk since so many of the products require similar ingredients. They’ll save your money, your time, and your health!

Let me know: Which of these will you be trying? Are there any other home cleaning products you make yourself?