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Home Remedies: Simple Home Remedies Made with 4 Common Home Ingredients

Updated on February 13, 2011

Simple Home Remedies - 4 Basic Ingredients

What are home remedies really? Things that you can make yourself or do yourself at home rather than using fancy products – whether they be medicines, body care products, cleansers, or pet products. Home remedies are inherently environmentally friendly and about as 'green' as you can get. The other nice feature of home remedies is that you can usually save a bundle - especially in this case where you are using basically 4 ingredients which cost very little to use.

The 4 ingredients? Salt, lemons, vinegar and baking soda - with a few and sundry other herbs or oils thrown in occasionally. I received this environmentally friendly ‘recipe book’ if you will for my last birthday and have been using these ideas for cleaning, curing ailments, or trouble-shooting common household problems since last fall. The beauty of it all is – you only need 4 ingredients!

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Cast of Characters

The book I received is called Salt, Lemons, Vinegar and Baking Soda (Hundreds of earth-friendly household projects, solutions and formulas). It apparently is out of print at the moment or as my research has shown me trying to locate it, sold out. If you can get your hands on a copy of it, it is well worth the expense. I have highlighted some of the best 'recipes' I have found in its pages, but also did some research via other sources to check or verify the formulas for success.

For these natural home remedies, you will need the following:

  • Salt - Regular table version
  • Lemons - Just regular old lemons
  • Vinegar - Distilled white variety unless specified
  • Baking Soda

Other additions that I have mentioned in these formulas below included

  • Dried crushed lavender (or other fragrant herb)
  • Olive oil
  • Rose water
  • Apple cider vinegar in specific formulas
  • Kosher salt
  • Epsom salt
  • Sea salt
  • Almond oil
  • Dish washing liquid such as Dawn

Personal Care Products

Moisturizing Body and Facial Scrub

  • 1/2 cup sea salt
  • 1/3 cup almond oil
  • 5 drops lavender essential oil (optional - or use another essential oil)

Put sea salt into a small plastic container and cover with almond oil and lavender oil if using. When you pour oil over the salt, it dissolves on its own. Gently massage small amount of mixture onto wet skin, rinse thoroughly and pat dry. Store remainder away from heat and light, tightly covered.

Deep Conditioning Hair Treatment

  • 3 tablespoons Epsom salt
  • 3 tablespoons hair conditioner

Mix equal parts in small bowl. Heat in microwave for 20 seconds; stir well to combine. Wash hair, work warm mixture through hair from scalp to tips and leave on 20 minutes. Rinse thoroughly with warm water. Use this once per month.

Scalp Flaking - Preventing Dandruff

Scrub your hair with table salt before shampooing. Afterwards, use a bit less shampoo after scrubbing your scalp with the salt as it will make the shampoo really lather.

Dandruff and Oily Hair Repair

  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 1 cup warm water (or 2 cups warm water for oily hair treatment)

Mix lemon juice and water. Shampoo hair, rinse as usual. Pour lemon water mixture over scalp. Leave on a few minutes, then rinse thoroughly. For oily hair, make sure to add the extra cup of water. Repeat weekly.

Do-It-Yourself Deodorant

  • 1/2 cup baking soda
  • 1/2 cup cornstarch
  • Finely ground dried lavender or other fragrant herb (optional)

Mix and store in any shaker type container. (This amount will last a month or so) Sprinkle a small amount on damp washcloth and pat onto underarms – do not rinse. Add finely ground dried herb if desired to add fragrance.


Health Remedies

Sore Throat Soother

  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup warm water

Pour salt into water and stir until dissolved. Gargle with a swig of the mixture for 5-10 seconds. Use 2-3 times a day. Reduces swelling and inflammation of the throat

Sinus Congestion Reliever

  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup warm water

Dissolve salt in warm water and cool to body temperature. Put small amount in palm of your hand and gently sniff the water into a plugged nostril holding the other nostril closed.

Sore Throat Soother

  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice

Add honey to small bowl; stir in lemon juice. Swallow the mixture slowly so it coats the back of your throat for as long as possible. The lemon juice is known to loosen congestion.

Mosquito Repellent

  • Peel of 1 lemon

Cut the peel off the lemon and then rub the essential oil from the outside of the skin against your skin. You might have to pinch the lemon skin a bit to get it to release the oil contained in the skin. The strong lemon scent is what repels the mosquitoes.

Athlete’s Foot Treatment

  • 1 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1 cup warm water

Wash your feet before and after this treatment. Soak affected areas of skin in mixture made of equal parts apple cider vinegar and water for 20 minutes twice a day. Dry thoroughly. Sometimes it takes 2 weeks but it should clear it up.

Muscle Ache Reliever

  • 3 cups apple cider vinegar

Add to warm bathwater.

Canker Sore Soother

  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • Small glass warm water

Make mouth rinse of the above, stir to dissolve and then sip and swish around mouth to coat sore. Repeat this 3-4 times a day.

Constipation Relief

  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1 cup warm water
  • 1 teaspoon honey

Add lemon juice to warm water and stir in the honey. Drink 1 glass of this and if necessary, repeat every few hours.

Bug Bite Relief

  • 1 spoonful baking soda
  • 1 spoonful water

Make a thick paste. Dab this mixture on affected areas and let dry. Rinse and repeat as needed.

Gas Relief Before It Starts

Add a pinch of baking soda to beans while they are cooking and it will reduce the ‘gas effect’.

Home Remedies for Cleaning

All Natural Fruit and Vegetable Wash

  • 1 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons baking soda
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice

Put water in spray bottle and add baking soda and lemon juice. Shake mixture and spray on fruits and vegetables just before prepping or eating. Rinse produce thoroughly once done. The wash itself will last up to 1 week.

Copper Pot Scrub

  • 1/4 cup vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon salt

Soak clean cloth in vinegar and sprinkle the cloth with the salt. Rub over the copper pan and remove the black spots. Rinse with warm water, dry with a clean dry cloth.

Cast Iron Cleaner

  • 1/2 cup salt
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil

Rinse with hot water, scrape residual off with silicone spatula or wooden utensil. Heat over medium heat for 30 seconds. When dry, remove from heat. Add salt and oil and scrub with paper towel until clean. Rinse with hot water and dry over medium heat.

Natural Drain Cleaner

  • 1/2 cup salt
  • 1 cup baking soda
  • 1 quart boiling water

Pour salt down drain. Pour baking soda down drain after that. Let sit overnight. In the morning, pour boiling water down the drain to rinse free.

Silk Flower Cleaner

  • 1-2 cups salt
  • Paper or bag or plastic bag large enough to contain flowers or arrangement

Put a small arrangement in a paper bag with 1-2 cups salt. If flowers will fit in plastic bag, you can use that as well. Place arrangement of flowers or individual flowers in bag and shake. Removes dust magically.

Flower Pot Cleaner

  • 1 handful salt

Place salt on damp rag and scrub the inside of pot and outside – rise well with clean water.

Nonstick Cookware Cleaner - Get Out Residual Oil

  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda

Add lemon juice to pan, add baking soda and scrub with nylon sponge. Rinse with hot water.

Plastic Food Storage Container Cleaner

  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon baking soda

Especially good for tomato-based stains. Mix equal parts of baking soda and lemon juice in stained container. Scrub with nylon coated sponge but do not rinse immediately. Fill with water and let sit overnight for maximum freshness.

Oven Buildup Prevention

  • 1/2 cup vinegar
  • 1/2 cup distilled water

After cleaning your oven, mix equal parts vinegar and distilled water and apply on a clean cloth to oven surfaces. Let air-dry before using the oven. (Tap water may leave spots so use distilled water in this recipe)

Silver Cleaner

  • 2 quarts hot water
  • 1 cup baking soda
  • Aluminum foil

Pour hot water into a gallon sized plastic bucket or large dishpan. Add baking soda and stir to dissolve. Place a strip of aluminum foil about 2 inches wide to the pan along with your silver items and let everything soak for 30 minutes. Remove silver, rinse with fresh water and dry with soft cloth.

Cleaner for Stainless Steel Anything

  • Small spoonful baking soda

Put baking soda on dampened sponge and squeeze sponge a few times to make a paste. Rub lightly on stainless steel in direction of the grain. Rinse thoroughly and buff with paper towel to remove water spots.

Pet and Miscellaneous Practical Remedies

Pet Bed Freshener

  • 1/2 cup salt

Add salt to laundry – and during warmer weather, set outside to dry in the sun

Natural Flea Spray

  • 1 lemon
  • 2 cups water

Cut lemon into 4-6 pieces and place in large glass bowl. Bring water to boil and pour over the lemon pieces, then let sit overnight. Strain in the morning and transfer to a spray bottle. Use to spray dogs or cats generously from head to tail but avoid the eyes.

Skunked Dog Cleaning Shampoo This totally works! Been There/Used It!

  • 1 quart hydrogen peroxide
  • 1/4 cup baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon dish soap such as Dawn

Mix peroxide with baking soda and dish soap in large plastic bucket – do not store as it will produce bubbles and explode). Wear latex gloves and bathe dog outside if possible. Work mixture into the fur but keep away from dog’s face and eyes. Let stand 10 minutes and then rinse.

Carpet Cleaner for Pet Vomit

  • 2-3 handfuls baking soda

Sprinkle on mess and let baking soda dry, then scrape or vacuum up. Follow with a splash of club soda if any stains remain – do not scrub while wet as it will drive the stain deeper into fibers.

Keeping Clothes From Fading Color

  • 1 cup vinegar
  • 1/2 cup salt
  • Color-safe detergent

Fill washing machine with cold water, add vinegar, salt and detergent. Wait a few minutes to let salt dissolve. Wash brights with similarly colored items in small loads and colors will be set for the future. If particularly vibrant colors, double the amount of vinegar and salt.

No Drip Candles

  • 1/2 cup salt
  • 2 cups warm water

Mix salt and water in plastic container wide enough to hold candles. Stir until salt is dissolved and add the candles. Weight down the candles to keep them submerged and then soak overnight. Let dry completely before using.

Car Window Anti-Icing Formula

  • 1/4 cup salt
  • 1-1/2 cups warm water

Dissolve salt in the warm water and wipe on your car windows BEFORE the storm hits. Snow and ice will have a harder time sticking to the windows. Make sure you take the car through the car wash when the weather clears to clean off the salt residue

Natural Fabric Softener

  • Juice of 4 lemons
  • 2 cups cold water
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda

In large plastic container, add lemon juice to the cold water. Add baking soda, cover and shake. Add lemon mixture to the final rinse cycle.

Pretreatment For Grass Stains

  • 1 tablespoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice

Sprinkle baking soda on area, followed by the lemon juice. When mix starts to fizz, rub the fabric together – launder as usual.

Booster for Laundry Detergent Cleaning Power

  • 1/2 cup baking soda

Add to wash cycle and clothes will come out perkier. If clothes are not particularly soiled, you may have to use less detergent. This works best with liquid detergents rather than powdered.

Homemade Lemon Oil

  • 1/2 cup lemon juice
  • 1 cup olive oil

Mix ingredients in glass jar with a lid and shake vigorously to combine. Apply with soft cotton cloth to furniture and buff briskly, then allow to dry. Store unused portion in refrigerator for 3 weeks. If it appears cloudy on reuse, just let stand at room temperature until back to normal.

Crisper Vegetable Drawer Extender

  • 1/4 cup baking soda
  • 2 paper towels

Place paper towel in crisper drawer bottom and sprinkle with baking soda, cover with other paper towel. Replace every week or so as you replenish produce to keep produce fresher longer.

Fruit Fly Trap

  • 2 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1 small piece overripe fruit

Place a small piece of overripe fruit in bowl and cover with apple cider vinegar. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and poke a dozen small holes in the plastic. The flies will enter through the holes and won’t be able to exit.


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    • akirchner profile imageAUTHOR

      Audrey Kirchner 

      9 years ago from Washington

      Thanks Neil - never heard that but neat!

    • Neil Sperling profile image

      Neil Sperling 

      9 years ago from Port Dover Ontario Canada

      KISS - keep it sweet and simple


    • akirchner profile imageAUTHOR

      Audrey Kirchner 

      9 years ago from Washington

      Katrinasui - Thanks so much for stopping by! I agree and I do the same.

    • katrinasui profile image


      9 years ago

      I love using natural products for cleaning. It is really good to know that you can do so many things with these simple ingredients.

    • akirchner profile imageAUTHOR

      Audrey Kirchner 

      10 years ago from Washington

      I believe in going as natural as you can go in this day and age of chemicals - so amen! Thanks for stopping by.

    • katiem2 profile image

      Katie McMurray 

      10 years ago from Westerville

      akirchner, I love these simple home remedies made with 4 common home ingredients, always best to use what God provides first. Thanks and Peace :)

    • akirchner profile imageAUTHOR

      Audrey Kirchner 

      10 years ago from Washington

      Thank you so much for commenting love of night!

    • loveofnight profile image


      10 years ago from Baltimore, Maryland

      thumbs up to you, there are quite a few tried but true remedies here....thx

    • akirchner profile imageAUTHOR

      Audrey Kirchner 

      10 years ago from Washington

      I'm going to try it myself this year because mosquitos LOVE me - and we happen to just live on a wetlands - brilliant! I think smelling like fish and chips might be kinda cool since I love them....thanks as always for commenting!

    • Nell Rose profile image

      Nell Rose 

      10 years ago from England

      Hiya, great stuff. I will definetly save this. I always use vinegar for mosquito bites when I am on holiday. My friends sit there itching and scratching even after buying the expensive creams and lotions, and I just tip the vinegar jar on the table where we are eating, over my bites. Works every time, mind you I smell like fish and chips! but hey you can't have everything!! cheers nell

    • akirchner profile imageAUTHOR

      Audrey Kirchner 

      10 years ago from Washington

      Thank you very much for stopping by and for commenting, money glitch!

    • Money Glitch profile image

      Money Glitch 

      10 years ago from Texas

      Lots of great remedies here, thanks so much for sharing! Bookmarking so that I can refer back to this one. :)

    • akirchner profile imageAUTHOR

      Audrey Kirchner 

      10 years ago from Washington

      Thank you, Benson Yeung for commenting.

    • Benson Yeung profile image

      Benson Yeung 

      10 years ago from Hong Kong

      simple but sweet.

      thanks for sharing.

    • akirchner profile imageAUTHOR

      Audrey Kirchner 

      10 years ago from Washington

      Thanks so much prasetio!

    • prasetio30 profile image


      10 years ago from malang-indonesia

      I get amazing information. I think all the material is easy to find around the house, especially in the kitchen. good research and very useful. I rate this up!

    • akirchner profile imageAUTHOR

      Audrey Kirchner 

      10 years ago from Washington

      Thanks so much for commenting - and it is really amazing!

    • Katrina Ariel profile image

      Katrina Ariel 

      10 years ago from The Highlands of British Columbia, Canada

      Wow - amazing what you can do with these simple ingredients!

    • akirchner profile imageAUTHOR

      Audrey Kirchner 

      10 years ago from Washington

      Thanks for the link - that is very interesting! I know a lot of older folks swear that vinegar is the cancer remedy too - who knows what works but I always like the idea of natural. Thanks so much for commenting, ruminator!

    • ruminator profile image

      Susanna Jade 

      10 years ago from Big Skies, NM

      what a great collection of remedies and cleaners, I'll refer to this often. Baking soda is such a miracle substance along with vinegar. There is an Italian doctor who uses baking soda to cure cancer, it is truly remarkable. You can read about that at this link to my hub:

    • akirchner profile imageAUTHOR

      Audrey Kirchner 

      10 years ago from Washington

      Too funny - I prefer all natural as long as it works! Glad to be of service out there in cyberland.

    • Haunty profile image


      10 years ago from Hungary

      Thank you for touching it. It's amazing I can go to the kitchen right now and try your recipes. :)

    • akirchner profile imageAUTHOR

      Audrey Kirchner 

      10 years ago from Washington

      Thanks very much for commenting, Haunty! It is amazing what simple ingredients can do for you though and I only touched the tip of the proverbial iceberg.

    • Haunty profile image


      10 years ago from Hungary

      This is an immediate bookmark in my book, akirchner. :) I hope it wins the weekly contest!

    • akirchner profile imageAUTHOR

      Audrey Kirchner 

      10 years ago from Washington

      Thanks so much for commenting and for the good wishes! Yes, that is the best all time window washing and mirror washing technique around! And it doesn't cost a fortune.

    • Missi Darnell profile image

      Missi Darnell 

      10 years ago from Southern California

      Love your hub! Extremely useful! Reminds me of the days of my mothers inexpensive home remedies. Vinegar and newspaper makes for a streak free shiny window or mirror everytime. Good luck with the contest.

    • akirchner profile imageAUTHOR

      Audrey Kirchner 

      10 years ago from Washington

      Thanks, salt, for commenting and sounds interesting about eucalyptus on the floors.

      Thanks, prettydarkhorse, for commenting.

    • prettydarkhorse profile image


      10 years ago from US

      complete, good job,

    • salt profile image


      10 years ago from australia

      I love using natural products for cleaning.. the epsom salts, baking soda and salt are good for oven cleaning and I use eucalyptus oil on the floors.

    • akirchner profile imageAUTHOR

      Audrey Kirchner 

      10 years ago from Washington

      fortunerep and sandyspider - thanks so much for commenting.

    • Sandyspider profile image

      Sandy Mertens 

      10 years ago from Wisconsin, USA

      Good home recipes.

    • fortunerep profile image

      Dori S Matte 

      10 years ago from Hillsborough

      Absolutely great hub!!!


    • akirchner profile imageAUTHOR

      Audrey Kirchner 

      10 years ago from Washington

      Thanks, Shellie - I use the apple cider one after my sessions with The Griffin - puppy training 101 - he is at 80 pounds already and I think he has testosterone poisoning. I have become his personal yanked-about trainer so the cider vinegar really works - I know! Thanks for commenting.

    • theherbivorehippi profile image


      10 years ago from Holly, MI

      Now here is a Hub I can use!!! I am for sure going to put the apple cider vinegar to the test for muscle aches as soon as my running season starts! These are all so great! Oh..and the grass stain one! You know I get grass stains playing with these dogs!

    • akirchner profile imageAUTHOR

      Audrey Kirchner 

      10 years ago from Washington

      Thanks kiddo! It is always so sweet of you to comment and make me feel good.

    • Darlene Sabella profile image

      Darlene Sabella 

      10 years ago from Hello, my name is Toast and Jam, I live in the forest with my dog named Sam ...

      Another of your well done articles, I really enjoyed reading this...great hub my friend...

    • akirchner profile imageAUTHOR

      Audrey Kirchner 

      10 years ago from Washington

      Me, too - and hate all those chemical smells these days - especially with the bronchitis! Thanks so much for commenting.

    • Dolores Monet profile image

      Dolores Monet 

      10 years ago from East Coast, United States

      What a way to save money! I love all things homemade and am going to bookmark this hub for future reference!

    • akirchner profile imageAUTHOR

      Audrey Kirchner 

      10 years ago from Washington

      Thanks very much and I totally agree!

    • BkCreative profile image


      10 years ago from Brooklyn, New York City

      Excellent! And a healthy list of everything I will ever need. I am soooo enjoying your hubs and will bookmark.

      The nicest thing about using all these natural products is that your home always smells so good and without those awful toxic chemical smells.

      Thanks for your newest hub for me to save.


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