DIY “Thieves” Foaming Hand Soap

Foaming Thieves hand soap smells wonderful, cleans your hands well, and helps kill germs (okay, any soap will do that but Thieves SMELLS so good!). It is also kind of spendy! Even the refills make me cringe so I thought making a DIY version was worth a shot. I reused the Thieves foaming soap bottles and it worked well.

My older son loves the smell of Thieves soap too, and since he has moved into his apartment in another state is in need of some good hand soap.

I was able to order some nice foaming soap bottles from Amazon, and had YL Thieves oil and liquid hand soap. The soap I used is the big jug of moisturizing hand soap with aloe from Sam’s, but you just need about an ounce per bottle. I do not recommend the antibacterial soaps with triclosan added.

A bit about Thieves blend…I like Young Living’s Thieves best of all the ones I have tried. I do NOT think Young Living has the ONLY pure, safe, effective essential oils and I freely use oils from other companies, but this particular blend just smells better to me than any other I have tried. When purchasing oils, do your research and be sure you trust the company as to the purity of the oils.

If you wanted any other essential oil scent you can substitute pretty much any oil you like. Lavender is always nice, and I love grapefruit scented soap too.

Here’s what you need to make “Bootleg” Thieves Hand Soap:

Foaming soap bottle

Liquid hand soap, ideally moisturizing

Thieves oil (or whatever floats your boat)

Distilled water

Glass measuring cup

Measuring spoon (tablespoon)

Whisk or fork

Foaming Soap refill supplies
Materials for making DIY Thieves Foaming Soap

Measure about 2 Tablespoons of the liquid soap into the cup.

Add 15 drops of Thieves essential oil to the soap and mix with the fork or whisk.

Add about 4 ounces of distilled water and mix well.

Pour your mix into the soap bottle.

Add another 4 ounces or so of water and swirl to mix.

Add a couple more ounces of water to total about 10 ounces. You need to leave plenty of headroom to allow for the foam pump. I was making these to send to New Mexico so left a bit more headroom to allow for altitude changes. This was less successful than I had hoped, but at least the box smelled good when my son opened it.

Close tightly and swirl gently to mix; way back in Chemistry lab we were taught to “invert and swirl”.

If you have a label maker you can put one on. Chalkboard style labels would be really cute but I didn’t have any of those.

Bootleg Thieves Foaming Soap

Here are the three bottles all ready to ship west…I bagged them in a sealed Ziploc but apparently they still leaked.

Bootleg Thieves Foaming Soap bottles

Well, that’s my little tutorial. I hope you find it helpful!

Clean a Baseball Cap

Dirty hat
Dirty hat!

My older son has this hat he got in Boston several years ago.  It got pretty grungy/stinky so he asked me to see if I could clean it.  You don’t want to put hats in the washing machine or the dishwasher, they can be damaged.  So a hand wash was in order.

First, fill a clean dishpan with warm (not hot) water and put in half a scoop of OxiClean.  Make sure it is dissolved.

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Next, find a very soft toothbrush and grab some Dawn.  You need to spot treat the worst parts of the dirty hat.  Squirt some Dawn on the worst areas and GENTLY GENTLY tap/rub with the soft wetted toothbrush to work the detergent into the fiber.  Embroidery must be treated with extra care.  You can rub in with fingers if you are afraid the brush is too much.  Get all around the hat band, which is where they usually get most sweat stains.  This hat was grungy on the bill as well.

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Now, drop the hat into the OxiClean solution and swish it around then leave to soak…

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After just a few minutes, the water turned rather brown, so I drained it, refilled with fresh OxiClean and water, and resubmerged the hat.

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I weighted it with a dinner plate to keep it down.  NOW, let it soak for a few hours.  I went for about 3 but you could go much longer if needed.

Rinse well with slightly warm water, being careful of embroidery.  Hopefully, the hat looks and smells much better.  If not, repeat from step one.

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Blot the hat dry with towels, then stuff with a towel and set it to dry, under a fan is ideal.  After a while, you can remove the inner towel and let it finish drying.

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BOOM, you have a fresh clean hat!

I hope this is helpful!  Do you have any hat-cleaning hacks?  Drop them in the comment section!

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Dealing With A Dirty Shower

Our house is pretty old. It was built in 1983 and we have been remodeling off and on since we moved in.  Our master shower is on our list of things to update. Someday we will gut the whole bathroom and redo it.  But for now, it’s roomy and functional, if hideous.  The grout is stained and has been cracking.  We have patched it up but it is UGLY.  My husband said the icky stuff might be the only thing holding the shower together…

I have been neglecting it for a while now, with the vague idea of doing some kind of blog post on amazing shower cleaners.  Sure, it’s nasty, but this is for the greater good.   Ahem.

I’m sure all of you have tried various cleaning methods that claim to be the easiest, fastest, bestest, no-scrub, environmentally friendly, chemical free, blah blah blah…  So far, I have found that nothing is totally scrub free and nothing works on every single type of ickiness.  Soap scum is not the same thing as hard water deposit.  Mildew that has stained your grout won’t magically disappear without some chemical intervention.  (By the way, technically EVERYTHING is chemicals, even water, vinegar, and essential oils, so that whole “chemical-free cleaning” concept is kind of silly.)

That said, I have a few things that have proven to be better than others in my house.  The warm vinegar mixed with blue Dawn in a spray bottle and left to soak is pretty good at getting dirt, scum, and even some hard water deposits but you will still probably need to do some scrubbing.  And it smells like vinegar, which my boys all hate.

This post contains affiliate links.  For my full disclosure policy see here.

When it comes to the stained grout and caulk, chlorine bleach is my favorite option (gasp!).  I like Clorox Gel Cleaner.  I don’t use this very often because it smells kind of nasty and is not the best thing to have going into a septic tank, but in small amounts it’s fine.   Hydrogen peroxide is milder and safer as it breaks down quickly into carbon dioxide and water.  And it’s cheap!  Put into a spray bottle and apply as needed to your stained areas.  It needs to sit a while to work so you will need to reapply or soak paper towels in it and leave to dry.

For years I have been tempted by glowing commentaries on the joys of steam cleaners and finally got one about a year ago.  I chose a HomeRight because it had good reviews on Amazon and sounded pretty versatile.  I have cleaned several things with it so far, and here’s my honest unbiased review of it for cleaning a really ugly old dirty shower.

This photo shows everything included with the HomeRight Steam Cleaner:

Graphic photos follow.  You have been warned.

My results:  it works well for getting surface dirt and soap scum off your shower tile and grout.  You still need to do some scrubbing.  It doesn’t do much for hard water deposits on its own; spraying with vinegar before steam scrubbing would work better.  I didn’t use vinegar this time for a couple of reasons, one, I wanted to see how well the steamer worked alone, and two, my husband was home and doesn’t like to smell vinegar.

It is hot steam (290 degrees) so it can sanitize without bleach, so that is a plus.  One thing I was surprised about (though I shouldn’t have been) was how loud it is.  High-pressure steam (55 psi) makes a lot of noise.  My kids (who are essentially grown) run away when I am using the steam cleaner.  My husband works from home so if he’s on a conference call I can’t use the cleaner in the kitchen; it’s way too loud even with his office door closed.  If you get one, maybe consider ear protection if you have sensitive hearing.

You must use distilled water, as tap water will cause mineral build up and shorten the life of your steamer.  It comes with several little cleaning attachments.  You might want to order extras of the little nylon and brass brushes as they wear out plus if you are using a brush in the toilet you might want a different one for other things…I don’t use brushes on the toilet, just the jet nozzle.

For the shower, I started with the larger nylon brush and did some scrubbing on the heaviest grime, then switched to the squeegee and went over the walls, door, and floor.  They include one little microfiber cloth but you need more than that.  I used old towels to wipe up the dirty water.

Here are some before shots:

Up close, the true horror is revealed…

More ickiness!

And the after…still in need of chemical intervention but better.

Some staining but way better!

The HomeRight Steamer is pretty versatile and I have used it on floors, stovetop, toilets, sinks, and counters and been happy with the results.  Cleaning the oven–not so much.  My oven was horrible though, so your results might be better, and I probably should have tried the little brass brush instead of nylon.  A friend of mine borrowed it to remove wallpaper in her home and said it worked great.  Wish I had had it back when we first got this house, because taking down the wallpaper here was a huge pain!

You should read the instructions thoroughly before using.  Some things should NOT be cleaned with steam, including your dishwasher, refrigerator, and washing machine; you can damage plastic or rubber seals with the high heat.

I have yet to clean windows with it, but people say it’s fantastic.  I’m hoping for some rain to settle our dust before cleaning the windows.

All told, I would definitely buy it again.   What’s your best shower cleaning method or tip?

Cleaning Utterly Filthy Window Tracks

When you live on the edge of the windswept Great Plains surrounded by wheat fields and home construction, dirty windows are a given.

Along with our dirty windows, we get heavy dirt building up in the window tracks, especially on the west side of our house.  At times it’s so thick I think we could plant lettuce in there…obviously, I don’t clean often enough.   This is real life and it’s dirty.

The best way I have found to clean these tracks is very simple and you probably have everything you need on hand.

This process works with DRY dirt, don’t try it when it’s wet and sticky.

You will need:

One old toothbrush

Vacuum with small nozzle

Window cleaning solution

Rag

Qtips

Open your window to allow access to the track.  Scrub the dirt with the toothbrush to loosen it, then suck it up with the vacuum nozzle.  Scrub as much as you can and keep vacuuming until you can’t get any more dirt up.

As you can see, the track is full of dirt, don’t judge me.

Start scrubbing with a toothbrush to loosen the dirt.

Vacuum window tracks
Use your vacuum nozzle to suck up that loose dirt.

 

Now it just needs a wipe with a rag and some window cleaner, and some Q tip for the corners.

 

Our windows have little square holes at the bottom to allow water to drain out.  This is a good time to make sure those aren’t clogged up.

Now use a little window cleaner and rag to get the last bits of dirt.  You may need a Q tip to get into small crevices, depending on how picky you are.

There you go!  Shiny clean window tracks to go with your shiny clean windows (assuming you cleaned those too)!