The Life-Changing Magic of DIY Cleansers

“By saying ‘thank you’, it becomes easier to throw it away.”

- Translated for Marie Kondo

In an interview with the San Francisco lifestyle tycoon, Tim Ferris, Marie Kondo explained part of the philosophy that sparked her book, The Life Changing Magic of Tidying up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing.   She offered that when you are trying to let something go, sincerely thanking that thing for whatever purpose it served, makes it easier to let go.  In thanking it, she asks herself questions like “What did that thing teach you about yourself?”, or “what moment of joy did the experience spark for you?”. In the process of letting go, we are to thank what we have sloughed off. In doing so, we recognize its purpose.

She continued by posing that when you give something a purpose, you are practically implying your own values and priorities (in more Japanese words or less).  Essentially, letting go, lets you connect with the truly important things in your life.

I listened to this interview while making a DIY cleanser to take care of the yoga mat I perch on every morning to rinse my mind and joints.  As Marie explained how clarifying your values through tidying seeps into other aspects of your life, I dropped ingredients I repurpose for so many things into my reusable spray bottle, and smiled at myself. I had this pleasant and simple thing off for so long!  Instead of spiraling into a self-condemning mental loop, I applied Marie's philosophy to my habits.

In cleaning my mat and deciding not to get down on myself, I let go of a habit of procrastination and judgement. If only for a moment. But undoing habits takes practice, just like making habits does. Slow and steady…

This inauspicious process also allowed a thought that has been mulling around in my head as I mature personally and professionally to drip back into my head.  The phrase "the way you do anything is the way you do everything". Like the essential oils in my spray bottle, this thought mixed with Marie's. I thought about how clarifying my thoughts, visions, work, relationships, my room, my home, and anything else you can think of, has been pivotal how people receive me and creations.  

If I am not clear with myself, I can’t be clear with anyone else. Isolating my true intentions makes it so my actions reach other people with more power, effectiveness, and authenticity. Acknowledging that motivates me to continue to cleanse all corners of my life.

I am definitely prone to clutter.  But, again, I'm practicing. It’s an every day thing. It’s meditation in the morning, and it’s focus on what I allow in my sphere and what I allow to move out.

Decidedly imbuing a simple act with all the meaning in the world, I cleaned my mat, and now I have a homemade cleaner recipe for you.  I like DIY cleaners because you can use multipurpose ingredients instead of accumulating a new collection of chemicals for every occasion. For the recipe, and for the blog my dramatics brought forth, I am thankful. Hope you enjoy!




  • spray bottle

    (glass preferred but not a huge game changer)

  • tea tree essential oil (3 drops)

  • lemon essential oil (1 drop)

  • eucalyptus essential oil (2 drops)

  • water (many people prefer distilled, but I feel good about Bay Area tap)

  • alcohol-free witch hazel

cleanser materials (1 of 1).jpg

How to:  

I used a 4 oz. bottle.  Note how many ounces your bottle is and multiply or divide the number of drops of essential oil you use accordingly.

Fill ¼ of the bottle with witch hazel.  Fill the rest with water, leaving some room for the contents to mix when you shake it.  Drop in the essential oils, and screw on the top.

To use, just shake and spray.

I used these essential oils because they are especially great as natural cleansers, they are cheaper, and the plants they come from are not as taxing to cultivate.  I used witch hazel, because it disinfects like white vinegar without the smell few hate, but even fewer really love.

I use it for less intense cleaning jobs like my yoga mat, desk, and window sills.  I find it especially important for my mat because my skin pretty much absorbs everything I put on it, and it's nice to take care of an object that serves me so well with the mindfulness I’d like to use it as a vehicle for.