08 March 2011

The Top 10 Things Every Natural Household (with children) Should Have

Welcome to the March Carnival of Natural Parenting: Natural Parenting Top 10 Lists

This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Hobo Mama and Code Name: Mama. This month our participants have shared Top 10 lists on a wide variety of aspects of attachment parenting and natural living. Please read to the end to find a list of links to the other carnival participants.


1. Vinegar: The cleaning powers of vinegar are nearly endless. It disinfects, sanitizes and leaves a fresh vinegar scent! OK, maybe that’s not a positive, but it is a very versatile product for very little money. You can even use it for your hair! Plus, if your children get into it, you won’t have to call poison control.

2. Baking Soda: It removes odors, forms a paste great for scrubbing stainless steel and can even be used in the laundry. When combined with vinegar, it fizzes and foams to help loosen grease and unclog drains. Some people put it in the fridge, litter boxes, diaper pails and garbage pails to remove odors. Just recently, I learned that some women even use it as a deodorant (I can’t believe I didn’t think of this).

3. Nature’s Miracle: I know this may sound odd, especially if you don’t have pets, but I have found this to be another one of those products I just can’t live without. It is generally made for cats or dogs and is used to remove stains and odors from their accidents. However, since it is made with enzymes, it can digest just about any stain you can think of. I’ve used it on the carpet to remove everything from cat vomit to smooshed blueberries and other things I’d rather not mention. It’s completely natural and can replace just about any other type of cleaner (besides vinegar).

4. Oscillo/Oscillococcinum: This homeopathic can be used at the first sign of the flu to shorten its duration and lessen the severity of its symptoms. Or, you can take it during the flu for a similar effect, though it does work better at the beginning. It lasts for a while so keeping one box on hand is a good idea so you won’t have to run to the store when you feel yucky.

5. Sambucol/Sambucus/Sambu Guard: Though the brand name may be different, and the ingredients may not all be the same, one thing reigns true: elderberry is a wonderful, natural immune system booster that almost everyone can take to prevent and treat things like colds and flu. In my opinion, it can probably combat a lot more than those simple ailments, but things like that are not evaluated by the FDA.

6. Rescue Remedy: When I was a child, my mother used this on me whenever I was in an emotionally unstable situation. Two times I remember specifically include being stung by a bee and having some sort of panic attack at a store (I don’t remember the details). In both cases, I instantly began to calm down after taking the drops and within a few minutes was restored to a restful state. You cannot overdose and there are no side effects because it is made from flowers. Since there is alcohol in the original version (though minimal) they do make one for children without it.

7. An aloe plant: Since aloe is in everything from shampoos to lotions and is one of the go-to remedies for sunburn, why not have a plant in your house? If you burn yourself in the kitchen, your child touches the hot stove or you have any other skin problem, break off a leaf and rub the aloe goodness on your skin. I’ve used it for cuts, burns and even diaper rash. Not only is it natural, safe relief, it’s a renewable resource!

8. Oatmeal Bath: Both of my daughters have eczema, or so I’ve been told, so I stocked up on this product a long time ago. Generally, I bathe them every few weeks in an oatmeal bath unless I see skin problems because I like to give them a break from the normal bath routine. A soak in oatmeal is good for most skin problems and can relieve the itchiness of problems like poison ivy and chicken pox. You never know when you might need it!

9. A good natural lotion and a good natural sun block: I’m leaving these choices up to you because everyone’s preferences are different, just as everyone’s skin needs are different. Currently, I use an olive oil lotion and another one that I consistently forget the name of on my children. In the coming months, I’ll be using sunscreen sparingly on them (after their 20 minute vitamin D fix), but I want it to be a natural one. The bottom line: everything we put on our skin is absorbed into our bodies so why absorb something that would be less than beneficial?

10. Tiger balm/Arnica: Tiger balm smells, Arnica doesn’t. Take your pick. Personally, I don’t mind the tiger balm smell as long as I’m not going to be in public. Both relieve pain from sore muscles and aches or whatever else is ailing you and both are natural treatments that have been used for years.

Carnival of Natural Parenting -- Hobo Mama and Code Name: MamaVisit Hobo Mama and Code Name: Mama to find out how you can participate in the next Carnival of Natural Parenting!
Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:


  1. Rescue remedy and arnica are consistently in use in our home! Fab stuff!

    For eczema, we use lavender essential oil in the bath. Works a charm! Will definitely try the oats bath though. Thanks for the tip!

    Oh, and not sure if you get it in the US, but Green People do an AWESOME natural sunblock.

    Great post!

    P.S. I had a quote today to get some drains unblocked. Going to try "When combined with vinegar, it fizzes and foams to help loosen grease and unclog drains" that first!

  2. Definitely rescue remedy and arnica. My wife washes her hair with vinegar and baking soda, and my kids love washing windows, the walls, the floors, etc. with vinegar.

  3. I need to remember to try more of these (even though I do use a lot!). Like arnica or tiger balm — I keep hearing about them and never have gotten any. I used to have an aloe plant, but I killed it… :)

    I agree with you about Nature's Miracle! Also Kids 'n' Pets, and we used to be cat sitters, so I should know about both facets. :)

  4. I'm so happy you posted this. I always have Nature's Miracle sitting downstairs by the litter box, and it never once occurred to me that it was a natural product that would work great throughout the rest of the house! I've never used elderberry or Rescue Remedy and I would love to try both! I'm a big fan of everything else. I just came back from buying a huge bottle of vinegar at the store ;-)

  5. I LOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOVE your list. I have each and every item on here and am always telling my mommy friends about these items. Rescue Remedy is amazing stuff! I used to give it to the children at the preschool I worked at and parents were just in awe of it. Vinegar and Baking Soda are can't live without items too. Great post! I'm sending some folks your way!

  6. Thank you all so much! I'm very glad I was able to offer some new alternatives for everyone :)

  7. I love this list - maybe because it's probably my top 10, too?! I've been switching to vinegar for cleaning (I was sort of a cleaning-product-whore for a while, so we're using up what I had amassed and replacing with vinegar when out) and use baking soda for everything, from brushing my teeth (in conjunction with toothpaste and was) to laundry to everyday cleaning, not to mention it's great for skin bumps and can be used sparingly for nasal lavage (I'm soooooo congested right now!). I recommend the Rescue Remedy to everyone - great stuff! Definitely recommending this article to people who don't believe me about replacements and their efficacy in my household!

  8. Great list. Will be stocking up on things! :)


  9. I find the smell of tiger balm to be intoxicating!

  10. For some reason, we didn't get our elderberry out as much this winter. Last year we really relied on it (and it worked!), I just blanked on it this season. I need to remember to restock for next year :)

  11. Looooooove Nature's Miracle -- though its recently been renamed (same color bottle though, and on the back it says "formerly Nature's Miracle") The newer stuff does seem to have more of a scent, which is a bit annoying to me. But with two potty training toddlers, I buy this in the gallon size!

    We love arnica and tigar balm, too. I do have an aloe plant, but I NEVER remember to use it!

  12. Many of your favorites are mine, too. I want to try Nature's Miracle. I hadn't heard of it before now.

  13. What a fantastic list; many of the things are essentials for us too, but some are new for me, so I'm off to check them out. Thank you!

    Mrs green @littlegreenblog.com

  14. Aloe is definitely awesome! I would also add coconut oil to the list..it's a wonder product as well. I use it for cooking, as a moisturizer, lubricant, and sunscreen. :D

  15. I keep hearing great things about coconut oil (only recently though) but every time I'm in the store I stare at it and wonder what I would ever do with it haha. I'm going to try to work up the nerve to actually buy it some day soon :)

  16. I love this list. We have many of these items in our home--a home with many pets but no children. I hadn't heard of Rescue Remedy before, but I will be looking for it now. Thank you for sharing what you know with the rest of us.

    wordygirl at earthlink dot net

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  22. One of my girlfriends uses Rescue Remedy on her greyhound during the 4th of July fireworks. She swears by it!

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