The Humble Soapberry – My New DIY Friend

The Humble Soapberry – My New DIY Friend

It really is all in the name – fancy having a tree that produces soap-filled berries! Mother Nature really showed off with these little gems, which happen to be cousins with the commonly known lychee. The dried shells of this fruit contain saponins, a natural detergent that reduces the surface tension of water to lift dirt and grease. Soapberries have antibacterial and anti-fungal properties and are perfectly suited for so many cleaning and body care applications – I’m obsessed with their awesomeness.

Soapberries are so gentle on the skin, hypoallergenic and non-toxic. They are greywater safe, don’t have a strong scent and are completely biodegradable – simply throw them in your garden compost when you’re done. Unfortunately the soapberry tree or ‘Sapindus Mukorossi’ doesn’t grow here in Australia, but we can get our hands on the dried shells of these incredible berries and use them to clean, wash and shampoo.


So, how do they work exactly?

Soapberries contain saponins which is a substance produced by plants in an anti-microbial effort to protect its seeds – it tastes bad to insects. So, when soapberries are placed in water (warm is ideal but not essential), the saponins are released and act to lift dirt, grease and grime.

If you’re making the transition directly from mainstream detergents, you’ll notice that the gentle bubbles created only foam for a short while, but the cleaning efficiency remains high. Can I remind you that bubbles aren’t necessary to achieve ‘clean’? I can’t stress this enough. We’ve been conditioned to expect big bubbles in the sink, a thick lather on hair etc., but I can assure you that this is absolutely not necessary. The synthetic chemicals used to achieve bubbles, like SLS/SLES, are not ingredients you want having prolonged contact with your skin; not only are there contamination concerns and the potential for harmful by-products to be created when they combine with other ingredients, but they have also been found to be toxic to aquatics (and where do these products go – straight down the drain).


Simple uses for soapberries:

  • Check out this video I made demonstrating how easy it is to make a batch of my Soapberry Master Stock. Soapberry stock is so adaptable, not only for cleaning, but perfect for body and skin-care applications. I use the Soapberry Master Stock for clothes washing, dishwashing, cleaning surfaces and even shampooing hair.
  • 5 soapberries in a cotton bag, thrown in with your next load of laundry will effectively clean your clothes. Warm water is ideal, but not necessary – just note that the soapberries won’t last as long with warm water as they will with cool. You should be able to get about five washes out of the same lot of berries. Just let them dry between washes to keep them fresh and ready to reuse. If you find your clothes aren’t washing as well as you’re used to, you might want to boost the cleaning power in your next load with a tablespoon of sodium percarbonate. Or try my Stain Solution for the particularly grubby items.
  • If you prefer an actual ‘washing detergent’ then check out my recipe for Liquid Laundry Detergent here.
  • I like to throw 3-4 soapberries in a jar with 1 cup of warm water, shake until foamy, and then empty into a sink for dishwashing. Dry the soapberries out between uses (I just use the lid of the jar and leave it under the sink) and reuse 4-5 times.

So where do you find soapberries?

A quick search online should provide you with a few options, however, I highly recommend “That Red House”. I recently met Talia, Adelaide-based founder of TRH, my favourite supplier of organic soapberries. She is doing amazing things in this green DIY space; her intentions are pure and genuine – she and her team sincerely care about the health of the planet as well as helping people consider their waste and use of toxic products. She is genuinely a good human! Find them here and if you use the code “Krissy” you’ll get a 5% discount. 

Of course, you can find even more tried and tested recipes using soapberries in my new book Naturally Inspired: Simple DIY Recipes for Body Care and Cleaning, including dishwashing liquid and a simple guide to cleaning your jewellery. Check it out here.


Krissy Ballinger

Krissy Ballinger

Author, Advocate & Founder


With a background in health promotion, Krissy's passion is to educate and increase awareness on reducing the number of toxins that people expose themselves to on a daily basis, through an honest, simple and realistic approach.

She has sold over 20,000 self-published books and is now published as the author of Naturally Inspired, Simple DIY Recipes for Body Care and Cleaning.

Her recipes have taken her to the screen on more than one occasion, with morning TV appearances, and she received recognition as a ‘Woman Who Will Change The World’ in the AusMumpreneur business awards in 2018.

Plenty Of Reasons To Love Vinegar

Plenty Of Reasons To Love Vinegar

White vinegar is the unsung hero sitting in the kitchen cupboard of so many homes. It is biodegradable, inexpensive and useful in so many cleaning applications – even for use as a mild disinfectant. It is definitely a staple ingredient in many of my natural DIY recipes!

The process of vinegar production involves the fermentation of pure ethanol, commonly from grain or sugar, into pure acetic acid. It is then diluted with water, usually at a ratio of 5-10% acetic acid. There have been some heavy debates online where vinegar is concerned, surrounding its production, with many people boycotting ‘homebrand’ vinegar because of the misguided belief that it comes from synthetic acetic acid. From my research (and this insightful article from Tracey, founder of Biome was very helpful), I am of the understanding that if a bottle is labelled ‘vinegar’, it has been fermented from ethanol; if petrochemicals were used to create the acetic acid, then the label would say ‘imitation vinegar’. Imitation vinegar isn’t usually sold as a stand-alone product, rather used as an additive to preserve food, and will usually be listed as E260 on the label.

Some people don’t like the smell of vinegar, so much so that they’re turned off using it to clean. I personally don’t understand this, I mean, doesn’t everyone put vinegar on their hot chips? 😉 Seriously though, if you’re one of these people that doesn’t like the smell of vinegar, rest assured that when it dries after use in cleaning around the house, the smell dissipates very quickly. In saying that, essential oils are a wonderful addition to cleaning recipes, with their gorgeous scents – not to mention health benefits. This Citrus Cleaning Spray using citrus peels and vinegar is my go-to surface spray and has a much milder vinegar aroma. Watch the video on how to make it here.

Vinegar is hypoallergenic and has mild antibacterial and antifungal properties. I also find it is wonderful at softening clothes – goodbye gloopy fabric softener and goodbye slimy washing machine walls and pipes! You could either add white vinegar straight to your fabric softener compartment or check out my hugely popular recipe for Fabric Softener.

I also use vinegar instead of rinse aid in my dishwasher. It is as simple as putting some in a ramekin on the top shelf of the dishwasher, or in the designated compartment. This is a beautiful way to reduce toxin exposure and save money. And, because I know you’re thinking it, I recently had a serviceman come out to replace our fridge door. He asked what I did for a quid, found out about my book and proceeded to tell me that the only products people should be using in their dishwashers and washing machines are good old bicarb, citric acid, washing soda, vinegar etc. He said the whole notion of these ingredients ruining your appliance is a marketing ploy to have you spending dollars on collaborating brands. Despite all of this, I still urge you to do more research for yourself if you’re not convinced.


There are so many other wonderful, convenient, eco-friendly and money-saving uses for white vinegar and these are just a few:

  • Descaling your kettle is as easy as adding a cup of water and a tablespoon of vinegar to your kettle, boiling it, and then rinsing well. This will eradicate all hard water build up in a jiffy!
  • Vinegar can also be used as a light disinfectant on chopping boards. I spray some on after scrubbing the board with salt and the fleshy side of a half a lemon.


  • If you notice a ring of grime around your tub after a bath, simply spray some vinegar, let it sit for a bit then wash off with water. If your tub needs a little extra, you might like to try my Cleaning Paste.
  • Vinegar is handy to use when polishing cutlery too.
  • Window spray: mix equal parts water and vinegar into a spray bottle – I like to add essential oils like orange and lemon. For best results, use with a microfibre cloth.
  • Next time you need to mop the floors, add a few cups of vinegar to a bucket of water – simple. Note: the vinegar is quite diluted, so you shouldn’t have any trouble with wood or laminate floors, however, it is always best to do your research if you’re doubtful.
  • Clothing deodoriser: if you need to remove smells from clothing, you can try soaking them in warm water with a cup each of vinegar and bicarb, then washing as usual (with my washing powder and fabric softener). Be sure to air-dry and note that some clothes might need repeat washes.



  • To remove urine odour (thankfully my toilet training days are over!), simply blot first to absorb excess liquid, then, lightly spray the affected area with a solution of equal parts cold water and vinegar, and blot again. Repeat this process 2-3 times. If you notice an odour once the carpet is dry, sprinkle some bicarb on the area (with a few drops of eucalyptus, lemon or tea tree oil if you have them), give it time to fully dry and then vacuum up.


My new book Naturally Inspired: Simple DIY recipes for Body Care and Cleaning has even more tried and tested recipes using white vinegar, including a guide to cleaning your drain, making an eco-safe weed spray and even conditioning your leather furniture naturally. Click here for more information.



My Favourite Suppliers Of Natural Ingredients, Packaging & Accessories

My Favourite Suppliers Of Natural Ingredients, Packaging & Accessories

For over 3 years, I prided myself on being the one-stop shop for raw ingredients and supplies for all of your natural DIY needs. Then, I just couldn’t do it anymore (read this blog post if you’re keen to know why). I promised to share my suppliers with you, and here it is. I have plans to continuously add to this list as I find reputable business worthy of recommendation. If you have a recommendation for me, or if you run a business yourself that aligns with my vision, get in touch!

Where possible, I have secured a discount code with suppliers. In some instances, these suppliers have kindly offered a small kickback for me too. By using the coupon codes provided, we both benefit (and I do believe after the years of research I put in it is well deserved!). Each supplier varies in their terms and conditions, so if you’re unsure at checkout, send them an email 🙂

I have developed a beautiful business relationship with most of my trusty suppliers (I’m the customer who calls and emails with a billion questions about quality, sourcing, possible contamination, sustainability etc) but I do recommend you keep the following in mind when choosing where you shop:

  • Don’t take my, or anyone else’s, word for it. Ever. What is good for me, may not be good for you (although my version of good in this space is pretty good!). Ask your own questions, do your own research if you feel you need to.
  • At the time of my research, the suppliers below ticked all of the boxes for me, but I didn’t always buy every product they sold. Some ingredients didn’t meet my standards, hence the wide number of suppliers I used to order from. (As time goes on and I add suppliers I haven’t personally had time to research, I’ll be sure to make that clear in the write-up.)
  • Just because certain ingredients met my needs then, doesn’t mean they still will 6, 12, 18 months down the line. People change, situations change, formulas and processes change. I won’t have time to keep an eye on every ingredient listed and sold, but I will tell you what I used to purchase and you can be sure that at the time it was by far the best quality I could source for a reasonable price.
  • When given the choice between regular and certified organic, make a decision based on your priorities and budget. Some of the companies listed have both versions available. I almost always stocked the certified organic version, but this can be considerably more expensive. Also bear in mind that some ingredients cannot be certified as organic.
  • If I haven’t listed a supplier for a particular ingredient you are after, this is what you need to do… Do some research and reading. Ask around. Ecosia (Google) it: “insert ingredient” + “insert city (if you want to stay local)” + “organic” (if that is important to you, or possible, depending on the ingredient you’re after of course – not everything can be sourced organically). If you have a supplier you trust or you yourself are a supplier, let us know here.
  • Most of these suppliers have wholesale programs, meaning you can apply to get bulk discounts. I won’t go into detail on this within each supplier info block, but if you run a business, you might like to ask them about this. Often, shipping becomes cheaper too.

The following is a list of suppliers I personally used when I stocked DIY ingredients and supplies:



Who: Tony and Anna are the humans behind Blants and they’re absolutely lovely and a pleasure to deal with. Kind and caring, they are doing what they can to provide people with affordable and easily accessible ingredients for natural DIY recipes.


What I used to buy from them:

  • Citric acid
  • Himalayan salt
  • Washing soda
  • Bicarb (organic)
  • Magnesium chloride
  • Natural borax (not synthetic)
  • Coconut soap
  • Dead Sea salt
  • Epsom (I recommend the natural over gold label)
  • Bentonite clay (organic)
  • They also sell sodium percarbonate and activated charcoal

Shipping: At a charge, calculated at checkout. Be mindful these ingredients are heavy and shipping is never free (someone is paying for it, whether you see it or not).

 Code: “KrissyTILP” for 5% discount


Who: Joe is the frontman of this family run business that has specialised in the sourcing and supply of essential oils, carrier oils and skincare raw materials since 1992. I love that Joe is happy and willing to supply information on anything and everything – completely transparent.


What I used to buy from them:

  • Fractionated coconut oil
  • Sweet Almond oil (organic)
  • Apricot kernel oil (organic)
  • Witch hazel (organic)
  • Vitamin E oil
  • Jojoba oil (organic)
  • Vitamin C powder

Shipping: Postage calculated at checkout.

Code: “Cloud” for 5% discount

Northern Light Beeswax

Who: Jeffrey is the most passionate advocate for bees, he’s adamant his bees are the happiest and his beeswax is the very best. I’ve had lengthy conversations with Jeff in the past, and his passion is insane!


What I used to buy from them:

  • Beeswax pellets
  • Tea light wicks

Shipping: Free on orders over $200

Code: “krissy” – for 5% discount

Deluxe Shea Butter

Who: Kwabena is the most passionate man you’ll meet when it comes to sourcing top-quality fair-trade Shea butter in an ethical manner. He is such an approachable man, and always happy to answer all questions asked (trust me!).


What I used to buy from them: 

  • Pure, unrefined organic shea butter

Shipping: Calculated at checkout

Code: “TILP21″ – for 5% discount


Who: Claudia took pride in hand-making all of her own Castile soap and she did this in Eumundi in QLD. She very recently joined forces with her son’s business “Naked Press”. I believe she still makes her own Castile soap but if you’re concerned, it pays to send an email and ask.


What I used to buy from them: 

  • Castile Soap

Shipping: FREE Australia wide at last check

Code: No code, sorry (but tell them I sent you!)


Australian Wholesale Oils

Who: To be honest, I don’t know a great deal about these guys, but whenever I have spoken to them and asked questions, they’ve been more than happy to answer. It’s worth checking out their range – they’ve got so many DIY ingredients (and a great deal of them are certified organic).


What I used to buy from them: 

  • Candelilla wax

Shipping: Free shipping on orders over $200

Code: “krissy” – for 10% discount


Sydney Essential Oil Company

Who: Their name is deceiving of their complete range; I bought quite a few quality ingredients from these guys. They’ve always been happy to answer questions and have provided me with great detail on their supply chain; Connie, in particular, was very helpful. They’ve got what seems like an endless list of DIY ingredients (and a great deal of them are certified organic).


What I used to buy from them: 

  • Rose hydrosol (organic)
  • Lavender hydrosol (organic)
  • Evening primrose (organic)
  • Argan oil (organic)
  • Castor oil (organic)
  • Coconut oil (organic)
  • Jojoba oil (organic)

Shipping: Calculated at checkout. They also allow pick up from their warehouse in Hallam, VIC.

Code: No code, sorry (but tell them I sent you!)



Who: I don’t know a great deal about these guys but their response time to emails has always been good. I like to point this out as it matters to me if people are willing to answer questions in a timely manner! I only ever purchased zinc oxide from them, but you might like to explore their range.


What I used to buy from them: 

  • Zinc oxide (non-nano particles)

Shipping: Calculated at checkout.

Code: No code, sorry (but tell them I sent you!)



Who: This is where I got my foaming pump bottles from! I can almost hear the squeals of excitement!


What I used to buy from them: 

  • Foaming pump bottles
  • (Their standard trigger sprays don’t withstand vinegar or essential oils – just a heads up)

Shipping: Calculated at checkout.

Code: No code, sorry (but tell them I sent you!)


Plasdene Packaging

Who: I also used these guys for most of my packaging needs. It was hit and miss on their products and it’s not easy to work things out via their website, but they will send samples for you to try out. They have an office in Perth so it was handy for me; I believe they also have offices in most capital cities.


What I used to buy from them: 

  • Boston bottles

Shipping: Calculated when you order.

Code: No code, sorry (but tell them I sent you!)


Synergy Packaging

Who: I got many of my packaging items from these guys. Shipping is a killer if you live in WA, but the quality of their products makes it worth it.


What I used to buy from them: 

  • Lip balm tins
  • Cosmetic tins
  • Cosmetic jars
  • Packaging bottles/tubs

Shipping: Calculated at checkout.

Code: No code, sorry (but tell them I sent you!)


Gala Imports Australia

Who: Nic is lovely to deal with over email and they’re quick to respond. I have tried quite a few of their products and most were top notch.


What I used to buy from them: 

  • Roller bottles
  • Lip balm glass jars
  • Glass cosmetic jars

Shipping: Calculated when you order (free over $500 I believe)

Code: No code, sorry (but tell them I sent you!)


That Red House

Who: L.O.V.E my soapberries! I use them in quite a few recipes in my new book; dishwashing and washing liquid are my favourite uses. The team at That Red House are beautiful people and genuinely care about the health of the planet.


What I used to buy from them: 

  • Soapberries
  • (The stainless steel pegs are also awesome!)

Shipping: Free shipping on orders over $30

Code: “Krissy” for 5% discount



Who: These guys are Perth-based and have ended my monthly Aunt-Flo landfill contribution! The first and only menstrual cups I’ve used and I LOVE them. Read my blog here

Web: **

What I used to buy from them: 

  • Juju (menstrual) cups

Shipping: Free shipping on orders over $45


Star Stuff Group

Who: Stewart is the man behind this family run business and he was always so keen and eager to help with all of my packaging needs. Plastic really was the only way for me to economically and safely transport raw ingredients all over Oz and I wanted to find recyclable bags, made from renewable resources. This is where I got them!


What I used to buy from them: 

  • Product packaging bags

Shipping: Calculated based on your order

Code: “TILP19″ – for 5% discount



Who: This is where I got my labels and product stickers made, (Melbourne-based) and their pricing is very competitive, if not the best I have found. Anthony, and Julie in the office, have always been a pleasure to deal with. They have in-house designers to help with your artwork.


What I used to buy from them: 

  • Labels sheets
  • Product stickers

Shipping: Calculated based on your order

Code: No code, sorry (but tell them I sent you!)



Supplier Recommendation List – By Ingredient


Activated charcoal Blants (code: “KrissyTILP” for 5% off)

Almond oil – Leonardi (code: “Cloud” for 5% off)

Almonds – Bulk food store like The Source, or your local supermarket

Aloe vera gel – Sydney Essential Oils Company (no code yet!)

Apple cider vinegar  – Your local supermarket, or health food store

Apricot kernel oil – Leonardi (code: “Cloud” for 5% off)

Argan oil – Sydney Essential Oils Company (no code yet!)

Arrowroot flour – Bulk food store like The Source, or your local supermarket (be wary of additives).

Avocado oil – Your local supermarket.

Beeswax Northern Light (code: “krissy” for 5% off).

Bentonite clay – Blants (code: “KrissyTILP” for 5% off).

Borax – Blants (code: “KrissyTILP” for 5% off). I don’t believe the brand at Bunnings is naturally derived but happy to stand corrected (let me know).

Botanicals – Bulk food store like The Source, or your garden (dehydrate them).

Candelilla wax AWO (code: “krissy” for 10% off)

Carrier oils – look below for FCO, sweet almond, rosehip oil, etc.

Castile soap Willows aka Naked Press (no code yet!)

Castor oil – Sydney Essential Oils Company (no code yet!)

Cinnamon – Bulk food store like The Source, or your local supermarket.

Citric acid – Blants (code: “KrissyTILP” for 5% off)

Clear alcohol – I just use Vodka – some for me, some for the soap 😉

Clove – Bulk food store like The Source, or your local supermarket.

Cocoa/cacao powder – Bulk food store like The Source, or your local supermarket.

Coconut – Bulk food store like The Source, or your local supermarket.

Coconut milk – Your local supermarket.

Coconut oil – your local supermarket, health food store or Sydney Essential Oils Company (no code yet!)

Coffee beans  – Your local supermarket.

Dead Sea salt – Blants (code: “KrissyTILP” for 5% off)

Epsom salt – Blants (code: “KrissyTILP” for 5% off)

Essential oils – follow this link for more information on essential oils.

Evening primrose oil – Sydney Essential Oils Company (no code yet!)

Fractionated coconut oil – Leonardi (code: “Cloud” for 5% off)

Freeze-dried fruits – Your local supermarket.

Gelatin powder – Try bulk food stores like The Source, health food store or your local supermarket.

Grapeseed oil – Your local supermarket, or health food store

Himalayan salt – Your local supermarket, or health food store. Or, Blants (code: “KrissyTILP” for 5% off)

Honey – Your local supermarket, health food store (or a local beekeeper!)

Hydrogen peroxide – Your local supermarket (near the bandaids)

Jojoba oil – Leonardi (code: “Cloud” for 5% off) or Sydney Essential Oils Company (no code yet!)

Lemon juice – Your local supermarket, or fresh food store

Macadamia oil – Your local supermarket, or health food store

Magnesium – Blants (code: “KrissyTILP” for 5% off)

Micas – check out Aussie Soap Supplies

Nutmeg – Bulk food store like The Source, or your local supermarket.

Oats – Bulk food store like The Source, or your local supermarket.

Olive oil – Your local supermarket.

Quinoa – Bulk food store like The Source, or your local supermarket.

Rose water – Sydney Essential Oils Company (no code yet!)

Rosehip oil – Sydney Essential Oils Company (no code yet!)

Salt –Bulk food store like The Source, catering companies often have additive-free salt, or your local supermarket. 

Shea butter Deluxe Shea Butter (code: “TILP21” for 5% off)

Soap powder – Blants (code: “KrissyTILP” for 5% off). Or mill down blocks of pure laundry soap from your local supermarket, or health food store.

Soapberries That Red House (code: “Krissy” for 5% off)

Sodium bicarbonate – Blants (code: “KrissyTILP” for 5% off). You could also use the supermarket brand McKenzies (they recently sent me samples and confirmed their bicarb is aluminium-free).

Sodium carbonate, also known as washing soda – Blants (code: “KrissyTILP” for 5% off). I’m not sure if the brand at the supermarket is naturally derived but let me know if you find out otherwise.

Sodium percarbonate – Blants (code: “KrissyTILP” for 5% off).

Spirulina – Bulk food store like The Source.

Sugar – Your local supermarket.

Turmeric – Bulk food store like The Source, or your local supermarket.

Vanilla beans and paste – Your local supermarket.

Vegetable glycerine – Leonardi (code: “Cloud” for 5% off)

Vitamin C powder – Leonardi (code: “Cloud” for 5% off)

Vitamin E oil – Leonardi (code: “Cloud” for 5% off)

White vinegar – Your local supermarket

Witch hazel – Leonardi (code: “Cloud” for 5% off)

Xanthan gum – Bulk food store like The Source, health food store or your local supermarket

Xylitol – Health food stores.

Zinc oxide – N-essentials (no code yet!)



The following is a list of businesses that have approached me personally, allowed themselves to be scrutinised (kindly, of course!) and passed the test (remain alert and don’t be afraid to ask questions though):


Blooming Mandala. These girls are doing all the right things in this space and from my research, I am happy to recommend the products they source and sell (and they stock just about everything you need to DIY). They offer local pick up from Bertram or Atwell (WA) or shipping is a flat rate of $12. Use coupon code TILP10 for 10% off!




Supplier list by state, as recommended to me by the TILP community:

Please note that I haven’t had the opportunity to personally vet the following list of businesses. All I have done is simply collate the suggestions given to me by my lovely TILPotters over in the Facebook discussion group. As times goes by, I will work through them and provide more info on the ingredents they sell, shipping/pick up info etc., but for now, you’ll need to jump onto each site, or make a phone call and suss them out yourselves.


Info coming…


Centaur Packaging – Bomaderry  


New Directions Australia – Sydney



Bayside Soap – Wynnum


Biome – Brisbane


Escentials of Australia – Noosa


Family Life Organics – Townsville


Glass Bottles Direct – Yandina


Grandmas Pantry – Capalba


Green Living Australia – Underwood


Handmade Naturals by Corinne – Brisbane


Live Pure & Simple – Toowoomba


My Essential Alchamy – Toowoomba


Oils For Life Australia – Darra


Plant Essentials – Townsville


Replenish Refill – Hervey Bay 



Amber Living Glassware – Bridgewater


Natural Good Life – Nangkita


The Honey Shoppe – Adelaide



Robyn’s Soap House – Knoxfield


Valerie’s Pantry – Geelong


Roving Refills – mobile around VIC



Anita Essentials

(mainly packaging and accessories)


Aussie Soap Supplies – Kardinya


Barefoot Creations – Karratha


Diffusional Aromatherapy Supplies – Kingsway


Eco Warehouse – Bunbury


Fodder and Forage 


Label Lane – Ellenbrook

(mainly labels)


Life Less Toxic – Swan View


Range Products – Welshpool


Replenish – Kalamunda


Saltbush Eco Store – Ellenbrook


Stock Your Pantry – Moora


The Organic Potioneer – Fremantle

(mainly essential oils)


Tranquil Scents – Kwinana


Wasteless Pantry – Perth


Weigh ‘n Pay – Woodvale

online only


Baraka Shea Butter

New zealand




Pure Nature – Auckland


This post contains affiliate links. Please note, I reach out to businesses and ask if they’d like to collaborate with me, or offer me affiliate links, because I love THEM, not the other way around. I only team up with businesses whose values align with mine. I may earn a small commission as a result of any purchases you make with this brand which allows me to invest more time into running my website, and providing free content for you.

Citrus Cleaning Spray

Citrus Cleaning Spray

This citrus cleaning spray is now my go-to for all cleaning. It is particularly awesome at cleaning greasy splashbacks and getting grubby marks off my walls (why do my kids insist on touching them, climbing them, rubbing their feet all over them???).

I’ve made a little video to show you just how easy it is to make. Yes, you need to be a little organised, but, if you’re mindful to put all of your citrus peels into jars and covering them with vinegar, you’ll always have some brewing.

The complete recipe and method is available in my new book, Naturally Inspired. Click here to grab it, read about it, admire it!

Cleaning Your Shower Without The Nasties

Cleaning Your Shower Without The Nasties

It seems that you guys love to see photos of my icky toilet and shower because whenever I share before and after images on Facebook or Instagram, interaction is off the charts!

Here are photos of my shower screens before and after I used the following (very simple) method to clean them. (Note that I hadn’t actually cleaned my glass for a good 8-12 weeks – not joking! 🙈)

Not bad, right? All it took was a few ingredients, 20-30 minutes of my time and the willingness to participate in a very light workout. I am the first one to encourage muscle-power over harsh chemicals, and some of my recipes require this, but not this one, no sir. I hardly broke a sweat, scout’s honour.

Once you’ve had a go for yourself, I hope that like me, you’ll plant this recipe firmly at the top of your DIY cleaning favourites and be glad you can now achieve a sparkling shower so simply, without resorting to expensive and (quite often) toxin-laden mainstream sprays.


Makes: 270 g | 9.5 oz Prep time: < 5 min.


3/4 cup | 200 g | 7.1 oz citric acid

1/4 cup | 70 g | 2.5 oz sodium bicarbonate

30 drops of essential oils

A good splash of water

My choice of essential oils…

My favourite essential oil in this recipe is clove but don’t be limited by my suggestions. Use oils that fit your budget, or those that you already have in your collection. Read here for more information.


  1. Add citric acid, sodium bicarbonate and essential oils to a bowl and mix until combined.
  2. Add enough water to make a paste. The mixture will fizz so make sure your bowl is big enough to allow for this.



Use a microfibre cleaning cloth to smear over shower screens and tiles, making sure all surfaces are covered. Leave for 20-30 minutes. Scrub well (with the same cleaning cloth), then rinse and dry. 


  • To avoid a sticky residue, make sure you rinse off all of the mixture completely.
  • If you have black tiles, test first in an inconspicuous area.
  • I strongly suggest you check out the blog posts under “Recommended Reading“.

This recipe can also be found in Naturally Inspired – my latest book.

Index of Natural Ingredients

Index of Natural Ingredients

It would be quite normal to be asked to make a cake, right? Most people would probably guess that butter, eggs and flour are generally required. However, if that same person was asked to make deodorant paste or a dishwasher tablets, they might find it a little more challenging to name and describe the ingredients. Am I right?

Initially, the ingredients required to create my recipes may seem foreign and impossible to source, and you might not know where to start. The unknown always seems daunting, but I promise that once you’ve seen them once or twice, sourced a few (which is surprisingly easy – hellooooo Google!) and even spoken them out loud (go on, try it), it won’t feel so intimidating.

Here is a list of just about every ingredient I have used in my recipes to date, and a little bit of info about each one. It may help you learn about the purpose of each ingredient, and also what to look out for when sourcing them.

If you’re inspired by my free recipes online, or perhaps you have ordered a copy of my new book, and you’d like to get organised and pre-order your ingredients, check this blog out!


Ingredient Index

Activated charcoal helps to draw out toxins, impurities and excess oil from skin. It works by attracting, trapping and removing positively charged toxins, and can be used both externally and internally. It is also used to whiten teeth. Look for activated charcoal made from coconut shells or other natural sources. Be careful – activated charcoal is a very fine, messy black powder and even though it washes out of your mouth pretty easily, it takes a lot longer to get it out from under your fingernails!

Almond oil is a light, easily absorbed and a popular DIY carrier oil. It is versatile, nourishing and soothing to skin, and rich in vitamin E. Be wary when using this carrier oil around people with nut allergies.

Almonds (ground) are rich in vitamin E and provide a gentle exfoliation when used in body scrubs.

Aloe vera gel is well known for its soothing and healing properties. It contains anti-inflammatory properties and is nourishing, helping to protect and moisturise the skin. Many aloe vera gels on the market contain some pretty nasty additives so be vigilant and avoid the green ones (the liquid should be on the clear side).

Apple cider vinegar is antibacterial, naturally astringent, odour busting and wonderful for body and skin care. I especially love dabbing it on pimples – it works like magic! I encourage you to find a brand that contains the ‘mother’.

Apricot kernel oil, rich in fatty acids, is a favourite of mine. It is soothing to irritated skin, may improve skin tone, and reduce wrinkles and fine lines. It is a light and nourishing oil that is easily absorbed and suitable for most skin types, particularly dry and mature skin.

Argan oil is a precious oil, rich in antioxidants, fatty acids and vitamin E. Its powerful hydrating, strengthening and softening properties makes it perfect for hair, skin and nails.

Arrowroot flour is a superfine, lightweight powder used in body and skin-care recipes for its ability to thicken and absorb oils/moisture. It can be substituted with other fine flours such as tapioca and cornflour (which hold similar properties). Be mindful of sneaky additives.

Avocado oil is a thick and luxurious oil that penetrates deeply, making it perfect for dehydrated skin. Its high fatty acid and vitamin E content makes it effective in healing skin. I love combining this oil with live oil when oil cleansing.

Beeswax provides a protective barrier when applied to skin, locking in moisture without suffocating skin. Beeswax blocks can be grated, however, pellets are easiest to weigh and melt. While fresh beeswax can be used in DIY recipes, it needs to be melted and filtered first, to remove impurities. Beeswax helps to give balms and lotions a more solid consistency. See Candelilla wax if you’re a vegan.

Bentonite clay is a superfine, odourless powder that is well regarded for its ability to draw and absorb toxins. It holds a negative charge when it is added to water, swelling to form a sponge, attracting positively charged toxins and escorting them out of the body. Bentonite clay is packed full of minerals and suitable for all skin types, particularly oily. Avoid prolonged contact with metal. See also; Clays.

Borax, also known as sodium borate, is a naturally occurring mineral. Effective as a laundry booster, general cleaning ingredient, water softener, mould inhibitor and more, borax has many uses in DIY cleaning. It is a controversial ingredient, and I recommend doing some extra research (I’ve written about it here), however I’m comfortable using it in wash-off, cleaning products.

Botanicals in my recipes refer to the dried flower, bulbs, leaves, seeds and stems of plants. When combined with hot water, a beautiful nutrient-dense aromatic steam is released. With varying lovely colours and sizes, they also add beauty to recipes. Always be sure to source spray-free or dry your own botanicals.

Candelilla wax comes from the candelilla plant, and is an alternative to beeswax. Just be mindful that you only need half as much; so if a recipe calls for 20 g | 0.7 oz of beeswax, you can substitute for 10 g | 0.4 oz of candelilla wax.

Carrier oils refer to oils that remain liquid at all temperatures. The most common, accessible and economical options include fractionated coconut oil, sweet almond oil and extra virgin olive oil, but you’re free to use any liquid oil. Refer to this blog for more information on suitable carrier oils for skin types.

Castile soap is a natural, biodegradable and versatile liquid soap usually derived from olives and/or coconut and perfect for both body care and cleaning! It is a beautiful, natural foaming cleanser that acts as a surfactant, helping to lift away dirt and grease. People intolerant to soaps can usually tolerate castile soap. Castile soap also comes in a solid block form and this can be grated for laundry applications.

Castor oil is a thick oil that is deeply moisturising and soothing, especially for irritated skin. Its healing properties make it a good choice for those with acne-prone skin.

Cinnamon not only smells amazing but also contains antibacterial properties, making it great for acne-prone skin and is loaded with powerful antioxidants essential for youthful skin.

Citric acid helps to remove grime and stains, particularly mineral deposits on basins, shower screens and dishes. It also helps to soften water and give bath bombs their fizz.

Clays come in many different types, and you can substitute suggested clays for whatever you already have, or can access, although each clay typically serves a different purpose. Some popular clays include red clay (rich in minerals and useful for detoxifying and adding colour to recipes), green clay (a deep cleanser that revitalises the complexion and clears congestion), pink clay (probably the most gentle clay, perfect for dry and sensitive skin) and kaolin (known to detoxify skin, balance sebum production, and commonly recommended for oily and sensitive skin).

Clear alcohol is used to remove bubbles on top of just-poured melt and pour soap. It is also used to help disperse oils in water-based room spray recipes – the higher the proof alcohol you can source for this purpose, the better.

Clove is rich in antioxidants and antimicrobial properties, so as well having as a delicious spicy aroma, it is excellent when used for oral care purposes.

Cocoa/cacao powder is useful when adding tint and colour to balms and powders.

Coconut (desiccated) is used in the Coconut and Lime Body Scrub to add a little tropical exfoliation to the recipe.

Coconut milk is used in the Basic Shampoo (find the recipe in this book) due to its nourishing and moisturising properties, promoting healthy hair.

Coconut oil is an easily accessible ingredient, which is highly moisturising and nourishing, possessing antibacterial and antifungal properties. Coconut oil solidifies in cooler temperatures and will liquefy at approximately 25˚C | 77˚F. Using coconut oil that has been naturally refined and deodorised (little to no coconut scent) will ensure that you are in full control of the final aroma of your recipe.

Coffee beans contain anti-inflammatory properties and stimulate circulation making them perfect for body and skin care. When ground, they also provide excellent skin exfoliation.

Colourants refer to ingredients that tint and colour balms and powders. The most common colourants I use in my recipes are beetroot powder, spirulina and micas.

Dead Sea salt is rich in minerals, including magnesium, potassium and calcium. Commonly added to bath salts, these minerals are absorbed transdermally with benefits including increased circulation and better healing of various skin conditions. Note: Dead Sea salt will turn slushy in an unsealed container.

Epsom salt – see magnesium.

Essential oils – follow this link for more information on essential oils.

Evening primrose oil contains fatty acids and is rich in antioxidants. It is renowned for its anti-ageing and restorative effects, as well as its ability to aid in healing.

Fractionated coconut oil, commonly referred to as FCO, is a stable and light carrier oil that is non-greasy and is absorbed well by the skin. Rich in natural antioxidants and vitamins, FCO is a popular choice of carrier oil for many DIY-ers.

Freeze-dried fruits can be found in most supermarkets – they’re different to dehydrated or dried fruit. 

Gelatin powder is used to set the Charcoal and Turmeric Face Peel and the Fragrant Jelly Jar (recipe here). Look for an ethical brand, and if you’re vegan, you may choose to avoid it.

Grapeseed oil is rich in fatty acids, antioxidants and vitamin E, and is perfect for most skin types. It won’t clog skin or leave it feeling greasy. 

Himalayan salt is a powerhouse of minerals – boasting trace amounts of 84 of them. It can stimulate circulation and aid in muscle relaxation and general detoxification. See also; Salt.

Honey is always s best sourced fresh and raw and unadulterated, so try to find a beekeeper in your area – you’d be surprised how many people have backyard hives with more gorgeous honey than they know what to do with. Antifungal and antibacterial, honey gives the skin and hair a gorgeous glow. My preferences for body and skin care are manuka or jarrah.

Hydrogen peroxide is also known as oxygen bleach and is usually sold at a concentration of (3%). Decomposing into oxygen and water, it is also eco-friendly. Hydrogen peroxide features in my cleaning recipes due to its mild bleaching capabilities and disinfecting properties. Note that recipes with hydrogen peroxide should be made in small batches as it degrades quickly when exposed to light.

Jojoba oil is probably my most favourite oil. Rich in vitamins, fatty acids and antioxidants, jojoba is actually a liquid wax and has the same molecular structure as the body’s natural oils, which allows for easy and deep absorption.

Lemon juice is lightening and brightening when used in body and skin-care recipes; when used in cleaning, lemon juice is great at removing stains and odour. 

Macadamia oil is a skin-loving oil which is incredibly moisturising, rich in fatty acids and great for mature skin. It absorbs beautifully, leaving skin smooth and soft. Be wary when using this oil around people with nut allergies.

Magnesium is an incredible mineral that I believe everyone could benefit from adding to their daily routines, as many of us are deficient. This mineral helps to regulate over 300 biochemical reactions in the body, with benefits including energy production, cell renewal and sleep regulation. The two types of magnesium I use in my recipes are magnesium chloride and magnesium sulfate (commonly known as Epsom salt), and they’re both wonderful ways to increase your magnesium levels. I consider magnesium chloride to be more readily absorbed, giving us noticeably higher energy levels and better sleep, and magnesium sulfate to work better to detox, soothe and relax the body, and aid in reducing inflammation. Be careful, magnesium chloride will go slushy when left unsealed.

Micas are minerals naturally formed from rocks, used to add shimmer and colour to recipes. While micas come in a variety of natural shades, many are coated in artificial, bright colours. I tend to stay away from them but if you want a pop of colour, go for it.

Nutmeg offers a delicious aroma to my scrubs and helps to fight blemishes.

Oats contain anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties and are suitable for all skin types.

Olive oil is a highly moisturising and versatile carrier oil, rich in antioxidants and fatty acids.

Quinoa seeds are mildly exfoliating and add a creamy texture to the Facial Buff and Revitalising Mask.

Rose water, also known as rose hydrosol, is my favourite hydrosol to work with as it smells incredible. It is calming for the skin helping to reduce redness and irritation. If you can’t source rose water, try lavender water instead.

Rosehip oil is perfect for dry and ageing skin, helping to improve the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. Rich in fatty acids and antioxidants, it helps to repair, hydrate and nourish the skin. Rosehip oil goes rancid quite quickly so keep it refrigerated.

Salt – Himalayan salt is preferable in body and skin-care recipes due to its rich mineral content, however, rock, sea and lake salt is also suitable. I personally avoid using table salt due to the additives used, such as anti-caking agents. In saying that, table salt is typically the most economical option for cleaning recipes. See also; Himalayan salt.

Shea butter is my go-to butter in DIY body and skin-care recipes. Rich in fatty acids and vitamins A and E, shea butter is lush, softening and incredibly nourishing to the skin. It is known for its anti-inflammatory and cell regeneration properties. You can swap shea butter for cocoa butter or mango butter, but be mindful that the recipe outcome will be firmer.

Soap powder, used in cleaning recipes – I recommend sourcing the purest laundry soap you can find. I use pure coconut soap powder, or castile soap powder. If you are buying soap in a block, make sure it is milled to a very fine consistency.

Soapberries are the dried shell of a fruit, commonly called soap nuts. They contain saponins that act as a natural surfactant. They are antibacterial and eco-friendly (compostable) and can be used in many body care and cleaning applications. 

Sodium bicarbonate, commonly known as bicarb or baking soda, is a versatile ingredient used in both body care and cleaning recipes. It is antifungal, antiseptic and gently exfoliating, and excellent at eliminating odour. Have you ever wondered how sodium bicarbonate is produced? Well, Trona Ore (natural and ancient deposits, 400-500km deep) is brought to the surface, refined into slurry containing both sodium carbonate and sodium bicarbonate. The crystals and liquid are separated in a centrifuge; the crystals are then dissolved in a bicarbonate solution and filtered to remove any non-soluble material. Purified carbon dioxide is fed into the filtered solution with the resulting reaction forming sodium bicarbonate. It is then cured, packaged and shipped.

Sodium carbonate, also known as washing soda, softens water and is effective at removing stains. It acts as a fungicide, helping to eliminate mould and mildew. Sodium carbonate is harvested from deep underground deposits of sodium carbonate and sodium bicarbonate. The slurry is brought to the surface where it is filtered and refined, leaving us with pure sodium carbonate.


Sodium percarbonate, also known as oxygen bleach (the powdered form), is an effective disinfectant and household cleaning ingredient, brightening clothes and removing stains. It is most effective when combined with warm/hot water. Sodium percarbonate breaks down into oxygen, water and soda ash, making it an eco-friendly, as well as powerful, ingredient. 

Spirulina (green) is a true superfood, a fine algae that is deep green in colour. It is rish in fatty acids, vitamins and minerals, and aids in detoxification. Spirulina also comes in blue – I love using this as a colourant.

Sugar is typically a staple in face scrubs. You can use any kind – raw, white, caster, brown, coconut, etc. The finer the granules, the softer the scrub will be on your skin. If it’s all you have, raw sugar can be milled into smaller granules. 

Turmeric is a spice famous for its anti-inflammatory properties. It may help reduce scarring and also fight acne.

Vanilla beans and paste are used in my recipes for the divine aroma.

Vegetable glycerine is an unscented, clear liquid, derived from plants like coconut, soy and palm. When used in body care, it acts as a humectant, bringing moisture to skin and hair, and locking it in. Vegetable glycerine can soften and smooth skin, and cleanses without clogging pores. With healing properties, it is perfect for those with sensitive skin.

Vitamin C powder (also known as ascorbic acid) is used in body and skin-care recipes primarily for its antioxidant effects, and its ability to aid in the renewal of skin cells. When added to the bath (one teaspoon in a full tub will do), research suggests it will neutralise chlorine. Vitamin C is unstable in water-based recipes and will degrade within a week or two, so don’t go making up huge batches of your favourite serum or swim spray with this ingredient.

Vitamin E oil is a fat-soluble vitamin that helps to prevent free radical damage. It possesses anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties and is optional in all body and skin-care recipes. It will help to prolong the shelf life of oil-based recipes.

Water can be the perfect breeding ground for bacteria so always use purified water, or boiled and cooled water. Water-based products only have a short shelf life. Refer to page 41 for more information.

White vinegar is an inexpensive and biodegradable ingredient, popular in cleaning recipes and useful as a mild disinfectant. I steer away from imitation vinegar and opt for brands that state their vinegar has been fermented.

Witch hazel is an astringent, meaning that it tightens pores. It is softening and calming to the skin as well as anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial. I prefer witch hazel that is alcohol-free, mainly because I find alcohol is drying to the skin.

Xanthan gum is typically used to thicken gluten-free food, and happens to be the perfect ingredient to thicken my Creamy Body Wash.

Xylitol is used in DIY toothpaste and mouthwash (find the recipes here) to sweeten it. Research suggests that xylitol is beneficial for dental health. Keep away from pets.

Zinc oxide is a popular choice for DIY sunscreen, used to reflect UV rays. It is also wonderfully healing to the skin, locking in moisture and soothing irritation. Look for non-nano particles and be careful not to inhale the dust.


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