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DIY Refillery Recipes for Spring + Summer Simplicity

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DIY Refillery Recipes for Spring + Summer Simplicity

Simplicity isn't always the most convenient route, but it can definitely be the clearest route to a more conscious living experience. Spring and summer go hand and hand with simplicity as we aim to ditch routine for summer afternoons, sunny walks, and longer and longer moments outside. The sustainable life sometimes takes a little more forethought, so we're getting these recipes posted early so that you can get them set to take off with you.


DIY Bubble Blend

If you're a parent of young ones, you'll know just how much the bubble phase can pile up the plastic. Reuse your bubble wands with this blend that's cool to splash all around and degrade, without the colourants/fragrances/petrochemicals. There are also plenty of ideas on Pinterest for making your own wand (we are going to try wire and a branch this year), and thrifting a metal pie plate can make it simple and low waste when it comes to dispensing + using the mix, too.

Upcycle a container with:

- 1 cup glycerin or corn syrup

- 2 cups dish soap (use a biodegradable option)

- 6 cups water

Shake it up - add food colouring if you'd like - and enjoy!


DIY Bug Spray

Bug spray isn't a real toughie to make. If you're headed the natural route, you can definitely make your own sprays, especially for sensitive skin or little ones. You can also spray this on your lawn chair, clothing, or screens without the aerosol cans or inhalants that come with the usual insect sprays.

Upcycle a sprayer or spritz bottle with:

- Witch hazel (you can refill this!)

- Essential oils that bugs dislike: citrus oils (ie. lemongrass), citronella, peppermint, lavender, cinnamon, eucalyptus, thyme

- water can be added if desired

-> use about 10 drops witch hazel per drop of essential oil, or to simplify it - 1 part essential oils to 10 parts witch hazel

-> note that some EOs need a carrier oil to be directly applied to skin, and some essential oils, like citrus oils, are "phototoxic" (meaning they can cause issues for your skin when applied directly and then exposed to sunlight), so spraying onto clothing and other fabrics is a best bet (and really, the only thing that can prevent ticks anyway, so clothing is always pretty helpful!)

If you want to make this process simpler still (and don't keep a wide variety of Eos on hand), you can use the Forager's Elixir from Living Libations (we have a few on hand this spring) to mix into a sprayer with your witch hazel and/or water.


DIY Hand Wash for the Beach/Outings

Wet wipes are so convenient, but if you're moving towards the low waste lifestyle, you might notice that they become one of the last things to ditch waste-wise when you're out and about. 

While a metal sprayer of our refillery Oneka hand sanitizer can go a long way (easy to throw in your bag and simple to refill), sometimes hands may need a little wash first, and that's usually where the wet wipes come in.

Last summer, wet wipes were the last thing to let go of that created waste in my beach/to go bag for outings with our family, and this little "recipe" seemed to work well and easy enough to keep it going for the summer months.

Store everything inside a wet bag, and then you'll have a place to put things afterward. If you're headed to the beach, you may have another wet bag already for throwing wet bathing suits in, and then your cloths can go in there as well. That was the case for us, so we kept the spray bottle and wipes in a mesh produce bag, that way I could visually see if I needed to "refill" the cloths etc. before our next trip out for the day.

In a baggie, place some reusable cloths/cloth wipes and a spray bottle (I used a metal bottle for durability in our adventures). You can put a little bit of Castile soap in (I did a quarter cup to 2 cups water), or a touch of vinegar (1 part to 5 parts water), or even dilute some Oneka hand sanitizer spray. We would spray our hands with this with several mists, then wiped them off with our cloth wipes. The wipes also served as a makeshift "plate" on a picnic table, napkins, or hankies as they were needed as well. I found that with our two boys (age 3 and 5 at the time) I would keep about 10 wipes in the baggie and that worked out to always be enough. In the summer, we don't use our cloth wipes as hankies very much, and so we already had something that we could make work without buying something new for the summer months.

DIY Sun Loving Body Oil

Body oil, for me, is such a lovely summer thing - it locks some glow and sunshine into the skin and really adds a lot of moisture back that the skin naturally can absorb after sunny days that can leave you dehydrated and dry.

Some natural oils have properties that make them a good option for summer time, such as sweet almond oil, so that is the base that I use for any summer skin oil that I'm working on. Sweet almond oil contains omega 3 fatty acids that can protect skin against the sun's UV rays, safeguarding some sun damage. Almond oil and coconut oil contain vitamin E, which has antioxidant properties that can also aid in assisting with sun damage. While I am definitely not advocating for these oils to take the place of your sunscreen (wear sunscreen! wear clothing!), they might be a great option in replacing your body lotion for the summer months.

While skin oil can contain a few different oils, I generally just add some essential oils to a base carrier oil (you can use jojoba, sweet almond, or fractionated coco oil - all which can be found in an organic, transparently sourced version in our refillery), for an added scent. There are many essential oils that love the sunshine, and some that do not. I recommend reading my blog for entertainment and curiosity purposes, and then making sure you do your research on this one - but I love a good blend of lavender and patchouli myself! I add a few drops (again, follow the ratio in the recipe above so ensure that the oil carries the EO well - 1 drop to 20 drops carrier oil) and then shake it inside a dropper bottle. You can then use the oil on your skin, through the hair after a dip, on your hands, and after shaving legs (etc) to add some healthy, moisturizing glow to summer skin.


DIY Bug Bite Roller

It can be super simple to blend your own 'after bite' care as well - grab a roller and blend a carrier oil with some soothing essential oils for use on bites that haven't been scratched or broken open yet.

In a 10mL roller bottle, combine:

- jojoba or sweet almond oil

- add 10 drops total of any of these soothing oils for bug bites: lavender, tea tree, patchouli, frankincense -> so, for example, 5 drops of lavender, 3 drops tea tree, 2 drops frankincense (10 drops total for a 10mL roller bottle)

*there are some other essential oils that may be helpful, like basil, roman chamomile, eucalyptus and ylang ylang - these have some use restrictions that should be adhered to for pregnancy, younger children, or certain health conditions (and the ones included in the recipe above are generally well tolerated)

You can also make a baking soda paste (yay for more refillery options) with water to a nice consistency (just add a couple drops of water at a time to get things mixed to a paste) and add 10 drops or so of tea tree oil and apply that directly to a bite. It's definitely a bit messier, but the main ingredient in after bite is actually sodium bicarbonate (baking soda). Bentonite clay is also a great option for drawing out and soothing skin; it can be made into a paste in the same manner and have peppermint or tea tree oil added to soothe and cool the area as well.


Use what you have, get set ahead

There are many ways to get things set up ahead of time, so that sustainability and conscious living can flow a little more smoothly. I hope these recipes can help you see a few ways to simplify your summer season or use a few of the ingredients you may already have refilled in another way! As you're getting things sorted out, you may find you already have a lot at home in terms of ingredients and "vessels" to package them in without needing to grab another pre-plastic packaged option. I *almost* put a DIY sunscreen I made one summer on here, but it was so messy and zinc-y pasty that I am not going to suggest anyone try that one again on their own, haha! 

If you try one of the recipes or have any questions, leave me a comment below!

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1 comment

  • Your timing is perfect for these DIY tips! We are heading out on our first camping trip of the season on Tuesday and all of these things will be made—and used! We don’t have little ones anymore, but big kids need wipes too!

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