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      Keep it Fresh and Clean
      The most important thing to remember when making your own home spa recipes is to keep everything very clean and to always work with fresh ingredients.

Gather your Equipment

You'll need some small bowls for mixing, a sharp knife for mincing and cheesecloth to hold ingredients together to create "sachets".  A large coffee filter secured with a rubber band also works well as a sachet if you don't have cheesecloth.  I love using wooden spoons and spatulas, and glass or ceramic bowls for mixing, but use whatever you have.  A plastic tub works great as a foot bath.

Prepping Ingredients

Be sure to wash fresh ingredients very well and dry them gently.  When a recipe calls for fresh herbs, usually they'll need mincing, which releases essential oils and scent.  Delicate fresh flower blossoms can be used whole and are often added at the last moment.

Using Herbs

Some herbs and flowers can cause skin irritation.  Be sure to check with your local county extension office is you're not sure.  If you will be using herbs, teas or hardy flowers in a soak they'll be most effective if you steep them in hot water for a few minutes before adding them to your bath.  A great way to do this is to tie them in a loose bundle using cheesecloth or a coffee filter secured with a rubber band.  Let the bundle, or "sachet" steep in a pan of hot water for a few minutes.  Then add the "tea" to foot bath or bath, and use the bundle gently as a scrubbing tool.  (Works best with cheesecloth.)

Be Careful!

Always test the temperature of water with your hand and avoid very hot water.  Do a spot-test of your home spa treatment on a small patch of skin.  If redness, swelling or itching occurs - wash it off immediately and do not use the mixture.  Even completely natural ingredients can cause an allergic reaction.

Enjoy

Be present and in the moment when you are creating and enjoying your home spa treatment!  Creating a great home spa treatment is like cooking a wonderful meal - sometimes the preparation is as therapeutic as the treatment itself.  And it's a really fun activity to share.