Gardener’s Hand Scrub

The following is a guest post from Merissa from

Do you hear it? The birds have begun their yearly song…spring has arrived! On our little farm, this is a time of great preparation. I’ve started working on some simple meal plans that will get us through the summer when it’s too hot to want to cook much and when we are too busy to go to town often for groceries.

I’ve already planted my seedling starts and in just a few weeks it will be warm enough here in South Dakota to plant them outside in my garden.

I love to garden. It’s been my passion for many years to use my garden to provide as much food as I possibly can for my family. But of course, we all know that it’s not easy or clean work! We not only have a garden to sustain ourselves but we also plant extras to preserve food for winter and to sell at the local farmer’s market. By the end of the day I’m tired and full of dirt.

The signs of a good gardener right?!


That’s when I pull out my jar of Gardener’s Hand Scrub to clean and freshen up. It’s so simple to make with just a few basic ingredients! Today I’m sharing the recipe with you so that you can enjoy using it this summer just as much as I do.

Gardener’s Hand Scrub


  • 1 cup sugar (white or brown will work)
  • 1 tablespoon sea salt
  •  ½ cup coconut oil
  • 5 drops tea tree essential oil


  • In a medium bowl, mix together the sugar and the salt.
  • In another bowl, melt the coconut oil until it’s liquid. (Or you can stick it in the microwave for a few seconds.)
  • Pour the coconut oil over the sugar mixture and mix all the ingredients together until the sugar is thoroughly coated.
  • Add a few drops of the tea tree essential oil and give the mixture another stir to incorporate it throughout, then pour the scrub into a container or jar that can hold at least 2 cups.

Store in your bathroom or wherever where you regularly wash your hands after coming in from outside.

The sugar and salt will scrub any garden goo from your hands.


The coconut oil helps to rehydrate your hands after you’ve worked with them and scrubbed them clean, and the tea tree oil is antiseptic, anti-inflammatory, anti-fungal, anti-parasitic, and antimicrobial, so it adds several great properties to the scrub. You could also replace the tea tree oil with lavender essential oil since it has similar properties.

This simple hand scrub will help to keep your hands clean and free of dirt, no matter how much you work in your garden this summer!

Merissa Alink loves making the most with what she has and she blogs all about it on You can find her recipe for Gardener’s Hand Scrub and over 130 other DIY recipes in her book, Little House Living: The Make-Your-Own Guide to a Frugal, Simple, and Self-Sufficient Life, which is available on Amazon.

This post may contain a link to an affiliate. See my disclosure policy for more information.

We Need Your Gardening Tips!


Do you love to garden? Over the years we’ve done a variety of different types of gardens with our kids. They love growing their own food and it’s been a great way to get them to try new things as well.

I’m always looking for new gardening ideas and tips. Do you have a great one you’d like to share? I’m working on an gardening ebook and I’d love to include your best gardening tip!

Anyone who submits a tip will receive a free copy of the ebook when it is finished. I’d love to learn from you and help encourage other readers to give gardening a try!

If you have a tip you can submit it below. If you have more than one tip just refresh this page and submit a new tip.

Gardening Ebook

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Cleaning with Baking Soda

By contributing writer Angie

Baking soda isn’t just for baking cookies and making science fair volcano experiments, even though both of those can be pretty fun. Cleaning with baking soda can be an inexpensive, safe, and green cleaning alternative, just like its science fair volcano friend, vinegar.

So, why not go get a big box of baking soda and try out some of these cleaning methods that you might not have tried before?

Cleaning with Baking Soda | The Happy Housewife

10 Ways to Start Cleaning with Baking Soda

1. Remove trash can odors. To help neutralize trash can smells, you can sprinkle baking soda on the bottom of your trash can. If you have particularly bad trash can odors, you can even follow up that method by sprinkling some more baking soda inside the trash bag.

2. Kitchen drain cleaner. If you have a garbage disposal, then you might have had the experience of a stinky kitchen sink. To combat this smell, as well as do some cleaning, add a half cup of baking soda to your drain while running very hot water.

3. Clean tiled floors. By adding a half cup of baking soda to a bucket of warm water, you can clean your tiled floors. For particularly tough spots, you can make a paste for spot cleaning.

4. Use as a surface cleaner. Counter tops can be cleaned by sprinkling baking soda on the surface and then wiping it down with warm water.

5. Deodorize carpets. To give your carpet an extra cleaning the next time you vacuum, just sprinkle baking soda in carpeted areas and let it sit for 10 – 15 minutes. Once the time has passed, vacuum the carpet as you usually would.

6. Spot cleaning spills on carpets. You should first clean up as much of the spill as possible and dry the area. Then, you can spread the area with baking soda to help get rid of odors that might occur, especially if the spill was able to soak far into the carpet. After you’ve allowed the baking soda to sit for 10 – 15 minutes, vacuum that area of the carpet.

7. Get rid of refrigerator and freezer odors. This is, of course, a classic use for baking soda. In fact, they even sell boxes that are specially made to allow maximum air flow through the box in order to help them be more effective. Just remember to change the refrigerator and freezer baking soda boxes periodically. While there isn’t any harm in forgetting and leaving them there, they will become less effective.

8. Cleaning food stuck on pots and pans. If you have food stuck on pots and pans that just won’t budge, you can sprinkle on a decent amount of baking soda and then add hot water to the pan. Allow it to sit for several hours before trying to work on the stuck-on food again. It still may take some work to remove it, but the baking soda should help.

9. Boost your laundry’s cleaning power. By adding a half to a full cup of baking soda to your laundry, you can help brighten and clean your clothes.

10. Clean up grease spills. Baking soda can be poured on grease spills and then scrubbed to clean the greasy area.

Do you use baking soda as a cleaning agent in your home? If so, what is your favorite use?

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photo by Joel Kramer

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Prepare Your Vegetable Garden for Spring

By contributing writer Angie

The season for vegetable gardening is coming to an end in many parts of the country. After a long spring and summer of working on the garden, it can be tempting to just let the cold weather take over and pretend like you don’t remember that you still have a garden.

This is the perfect time, however, to prepare your vegetable garden for next year.

Prepare Your Vegetable Garden for Spring | The Happy Housewife

7 Ways to Prepare Your Vegetable Garden for Spring

Pull Out Dead and Dying Plants

After you’ve gathered the last of what you can from your vegetable garden, especially if you have an impending frost and no covers, it’s the perfect time to remove the last of any dead, dying, or diseased plants from your garden. If you have a compost pile or bin, it is best to not put any of your plants that have become diseased into it.

Plant a Cover Crop

There are a variety of crops that are suitable for planting in your garden after you’ve pulled out your vegetable plants. One example, which is a hearty choice for cold weather, is winter wheat.

Cover crops can help add nutrients back into the soil, especially if you are growing many of the same types of vegetables in your garden each year. A cover crop can also help fight back weeds and minimize soil erosion. Once your growing season comes around again in the spring, just plow under the winter cover crop.

Take Advantage of Falling Leaves

There is no reason to bag up your fallen leaves this year. Rake them up into a large pile, and use a mulching mower several times to mulch them into the perfect cover and compost for your garden. Even if you don’t have a vegetable garden, you can put these mulched leaves around other plants in your yard for a little extra winter warmth.

Plant Hearty Winter Plants

If you live in a climate where winter is still a viable growing season, your preparations in the fall are even more important. Get your winter crops ready by getting them planted. If your winter weather is mild, it may still be a good idea to have row covers ready, just in case.

Bring the Garden Inside

While you can’t bring your whole vegetable garden inside, it can brighten up the cold winter days to have a kitchen garden box full of fresh herbs. Find a nice sunny spot, and enjoy your grocery store savings over the course of the winter as you use the fresh herbs readily growing in your kitchen.

Look for End of Season Deals

As stores make room for fall and winter holiday merchandise, they put outdoor and garden supplies on clearance. This can be a great time to save money while picking up something that you’ve had your eye on all summer.

Add Nutrients Back into the Soil

Have your garden soil tested to see if it is lacking some important nutrients. While you still may need to add more of the lacking nutrients in the spring, adding them now will help get your soil a little closer to ready for spring planting.

Do you garden? What are you doing in your garden at this time of year?

photo by Southern Foodways Alliance

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