Monthly Archives: August 2015

Choose Soy Wax Candles and Breathe Easy, Candle Lovers

soy wax candles - 29Forever Soaps+

soy wax candles – 29Forever Soaps+

Soft, flickering candlelight is romantic and pleasing to the senses. The scented glow of candles is the perfect complement to a relaxing evening bath. The dancing flames quickly create a sensual and soothing atmosphere. Well, at least you’ve got that going for you—which is nice—until the soot-stained walls and respiratory irritations ruin the moment.

How About a Nice Hot, Steaming Mug of Petrochemicals?

Paraffin is the most commonly-used wax in candles because its high melting point makes gorgeous pillar candles, it burns fairly uniformly and is cost effective. Paraffin is a by-product of petroleum. Specifically, it is the leftover waste from gasoline refining, and burning paraffin can release the same carcinogens produced when gasoline is burned in your car. Did you just say yuck?  It’s worse than yucky; it’s downright unhealthy.  I know from personal experience that, over time, the sticky, black petro-soot emitted from burning paraffin wax clings to everything including walls, upholstery, and ductwork. I suppose you could repaint your walls and replace your furniture but what about the delicate lungs of young children and pets? You can’t replace those.

Soy Wax Burns Clean

Because there is no soot or carcinogens from petroleum, soy wax burns clean. Have you ever noticed the black smoke ascending from a paraffin candle after you blow it out? Yeah, there’s none of that with soy. Test it out for yourself with jarred candles. Extinguish a paraffin container candle and a soy container candle with their respective metal lids. Go ahead; I’ll wait. OK, now take off the lids and take a peek. I’m sure you’re not feeling romantic or relaxed about the black soot on the paraffin candle lid.

Safe for the Environment and Good for Economy

Soy wax is vegetable derived and biodegradable.  This means it won’t be clinging to your rose bushes for another century or lying in wait deep in the soil and groundwater for your great-great-great-great-great-great-grandchildren. Parenthetically, it’s good news that lead wicks are not much of a concern anymore, at least in most countries. In fact, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission has banned lead wicks. Most reputable candle makers have not used lead-core wicks for several years. In fact, many use pure cotton, paper core and even hemp.  Another positive is that many soy beans are grown in the good old U.S. of A.

Easy Clean Up

Soy wax is water soluble. It can easily be removed from containers with soap and water. If you melt soy wax tarts in an electric tart warmer, you can simply pour the melted wax out and wipe the container clean with a paper towel. If the wax has hardened, put the container in the freezer for a while and then the wax will pop right out. Most importantly, soy wax can be effortlessly cleaned off your gorgeous antique oak table if you accidentally spill hot wax. (Ask me how I know.)

Affordable

Soy wax candles are generally not much more expensive than paraffin candles. In fact, in many cases, they are cheaper than big name brand paraffin candles. You just need to be sure that they are made from 100% soy with no undesirable ingredients. Just like everything else, there are both great quality and poor quality soy candles.

An Easy DIY

Speaking of affordable, why not make them yourself?  Because of the easy clean up, an unintentional spill of melted soy wax will not become an unwanted modern art exhibit affixed to your kitchen counter. There is also low shrinkage so, unlike paraffin, you won’t need to top off the candles with more wax once they harden. If you use the pre-tabbed wicks, it’s even easier if you are a candle-making newbie. Pure soy wax generally should be burned in containers because of its lower melting point. However, there are some soy waxes with higher melting points suitable for pillar candles.

Scentsible

Soy wax has exceptional scent throw. If you decide to make your own candles, you can splurge on scenting with pure plant essential oils using the money you save buying soy wax flakes in bulk. The combination of eucalyptus and mint not only cleans and disinfects the air but is beneficial for headaches and sinus problems. Many people find lavender and lemongrass oils to promote relaxation; citrus oils to be uplifting for their mood; and patchouli to make them feel totally chill.

You diehard candle lovers can relax and breathe easy—literally. Soy wax to the rescue. Just think, if you replace the paraffin candles burning in your fireplace with soy wax candles, you can rest assured every Christmas that you have given Santa Claus the best present ever—a huge reduction in his dry cleaning bills.

© 29Forever Soaps +     2015

7 Natural Spider Repellents

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How do you feel about creepy crawly spiders lurking about? Many of us respect all living things, even scary spiders. Admit it, though. The thought of all those furry legs waltzing around your home at night is unsettling, at the very least. Then, there are those of us who scream and dance the Irish jig as if we were being mauled by a saber-toothed tiger. Here are some pesticide-free ways to lessen the panic-inducing arachnid encounters.

  1.  Keep Out!

Keep the porch light off because lights attract bugs, and bugs attract spiders. Cut back unkempt bushes and trees near your home. Keep the exterior free of leaves, grass clippings, and wood piles. Make sure all crevices, nooks, and crannies are sealed up tight. Caulk around windows and doors, and check screens for holes and proper fit. Inspect plants and firewood before bringing them inside. For those who are not averse to killing spiders, sprinkle food-grade (not pool grade) diatomaceous earth with a squeeze bottle around the exterior perimeter. The powder dehydrates them by getting under their external skeletal plates but is safe for animals. Diatomaceous earth can be found in feed stores or online, such as here.

  1. Botanical Bouncers

Let natural vigilantes enforce the “Do Not Enter” law. Grow spider-repelling plants such as lavender, mint, cilantro, and garlic—particularly under windows. Throw some eucalyptus sprigs and sprinkle cinnamon around the perimeter of your home/garage/shed. Place lemon, lime, and orange peels in your garden. Cedar mulch repels many insects, including spiders. While you’re at it, place cedar blocks in your home and use cedar hangers. Since spiders detest citrus, spray sugarless citrus oil outside the dwelling. You can also wipe your countertops with it. Sugarless citrus oil can be found in auto parts or beauty supply stores or online here. Spiders (particularly wolf spiders) are repelled by the smell of chestnuts. Place chestnuts outside and inside windows and doors.

  1. Essential Oil Spray

Make sure you are always locked and loaded with a spray bottle full of natural repellent. Dissolve a tablespoon of salt in a warm gallon of water. Mix in a few drops of peppermint, eucalyptus, citronella, citrus, or tea tree oil; 5 drops of dishwashing detergent; and a dash of vinegar. Why dish detergent? It emulsifies the oils in the water for a more soluble mixture. Spray not only outside but also inside the dwelling on baseboards, window sills, and corners. Reapply once a week. In addition, spray locations populated by other insects, which are spiders’ food. Eliminating spiders’ food is a great deterrent. Do not use essential oils if you have cats, however.  Neem oil is another alternative and is safe for pets and children.  Make sure it is pure neem oil and not watered own with additives, such as this one.

  1. Spice Things Up

If you would rather not use essential oils in your mixture, you can substitute them with a few cloves of garlic, capsaicin powder, chili powder, or hot sauce. Of course, this is best for outside use only unless you don’t mind your baseboards smelling like tacos. Bonus: The potent mixture might even repel pesky neighbors.

  1. Pet Patrol

Cats and dogs walking the beat in the homestead can’t hurt. Rest assured that their inquisitive nature and expert investigative skills will arrest any spiders you missed. Cats make exceptional undercover agents due to their stealth and agility—well, at least for the one hour per day that they are awake.

  1. Electronic Insect Repellents

Plugging in an electronic ultrasound unit in each room may help cut down on creepy crawlers entering your abode. There are mixed reviews on their effectiveness, but it may be worth a try. Look for units that constantly change up the ultrasonic waves so that the pests cannot adapt to the sound, similar to this. The units claim to be harmless to pets, but keep in mind that cats have very sensitive ears.

  1. It’s Time to Clean House

Regular dusting and vacuuming will help keep things under control. Reducing piles of paper, boxes and bags are key, too. Don’t roll your eyes; I know it’s easier said than done. Bright side: if you don’t have time to clean, at least you won’t know how many bugs are lurking under the clutter. Here’s an incentive: lemon-scented furniture polish is also a repellent, and rubbing citrus peels on baseboards, window sills and bookshelves is a quick preventative.

You are now fully armed and ready for battle with your natural spider repellents. Keep in mind that in the event that your proactive efforts fail, screaming and flailing your arms will most likely evoke someone else to take action.

Sources:

http://www.wikihow.com/Make-Spider-Repellent-at-Home

http://www.fightbugs.com/natural-spider-repellent

http://www.naturallivingideas.com/9-natural-ways-to-keep-spiders-out-of-your-home