Have you ever been halfway through an overnight hike and realised you left your toiletries bag at home? Worry and whiff not! The Aussie bush is filled with natural ingredients that’ll help keep you clean in a pinch.

When hiking overnight, there are essentials – the supplies you need to survive – and then there are items you can technically go without but you’ll sorely miss, like deodorant. 

As far as odour protection goes, Schmidt’s new range of Certified Natural Aerosol Deodorants are a hiker’s best friend. They’re ozone-friendly, offer 48-hour odour protection, and have no aluminium salts or artificial fragrances – meaning they’re good for you and the planet! 

But say you did forget your toiletries bag, which native Aussie flora could help out a sweaty and stinky hiker? I’ve unearthed a few quirky and some tried-and-true natural ingredients that could help you feel fresh again, even after a few days on the trail.

 

 

Always remember to be curious, while still practising minimal-impact adventuring – don’t pick flowers, damage plants, or remove material from protected reserves and parks and only use what you need, if you need. 

1. Banksia Flower Hairbrush

Have you noticed that banksia flowers look a lot like round hairbrushes? A Banksia hairbrush can be a quick fix for any twists and tangles you manage to gain while in the bush. In fact, the Coastal banksia (Banksia integrifolia) is mentioned in Native Australian plants: horticulture and uses as having been used for this very purpose by Aboriginal people. 

It’s a hardy plant found in coastal and inland regions from central Queensland to Victoria. I found one near the top of the Mt Gravatt Summit Track in Brisbane and the bristles were way bouncier than I expected them to be! I reckon this could totally work as a hair detangler on the trail.

I suggest, instead of breaking the flower off the tree, finding one that’s at the same height as your hair and giving it a twirl through so other Explorers can continue to enjoy its beauty (and convenience) too!

 

2. Soap Tree Suds

Soap tree AKA Red Ash (Alphitonia excelsa) is an incredible example of natural innovation. When torn up and agitated with water, the leaves produce a soapy wash which you can use to clean your hands (and face, and pits… you get the idea).  

 

 

This tree, which grows up to 18m tall, is found in Eucalypt forests across Queensland, NSW, and the top of the NT. You’ll be looking for a tree with distinctive glossy dark green leaves and a silver/white underside. The high saponin content in the leaves is what produces the soapy effect!

 

3. Lemon Myrtle Perfume

Calling the rainforest home is Lemon myrtle (Backhousia citriodora) which has antifungal and antimicrobial properties – not to mention an awesome natural scent. You can spot Lemon myrtle by looking for clusters of little white flowers, and its amazing scent is released by crushing their deep green leaves (which you can do with your hands!).

 

Photo from Flickr

 

If you find yourself six days into a trip with nought a shower in sight, try crushing some leaves and carrying them in a little drawstring bag to disguise your… new natural odour. Think of it as an air freshener for Explorers. Of course, if you’d packed some Schmidt’s Certified Natural Aerosol Deodorant, you wouldn’t have had to resort to these methods – hindsight is 20/20.

4. Sand Exfoliant

Okay, I admit this one might be a bit of a no-brainer but it deserves a spot on the scrub list! You know those people that walk off the beach with one helluva glow about them and you can’t help but feel slightly annoyed by how glorious they look? It’s likely because of sand! These fine granules are Mother Nature’s gift to our skin, sloughing away dead skin cells and leaving us feeling fresh as a daisy. 

And the good news is, you don’t have to be on the coast to get your hands on it. Many rivers across Australia are girt by sandstone, which means they feature sandy riverbeds and banks. 

You may even be lucky enough to find river sand mixed in with Aussie mud, a double whammy as mud can help to soak up impurities in the skin. 

My favourite way to exfoliate using sand is to slap it on wet, let it dry, then brush it away along with your dead skin cells. It can also double as dry body brushing to assist with circulation.

 

5. Eucalyptus Disinfectant & Repellent

To round out our Aussie bush ingredient line up is one of the real MVPs – eucalyptus leaves. Well-known for its fresh aroma and antiseptic qualities, eucalyptus leaves have many more clever uses including as an insect repellent and decongestant.

Eucalyptus oil is typically distilled from Blue gums (Eucalyptus globulus) which are native to south eastern Australia. Although they’re now naturalised outside of Australia too, they remain a true blue Aussie icon.

 

 

And when I’m admiring said gum trees, the last thing I want to do while freshening up is spray an aerosol with artificial scents that damage the ozone. That’s why Schmidt’s Certified Natural Aerosol Deodorants with their uber-natural scents and ozone-friendly spray is a total win.

If you’re keen to get your DIY at home, you can whip up your own eucalyptus oil pretty easily using some fresh leaves and extra virgin olive oil (EVOO). All you’ll need is a crock pot, roughly 700g of fresh eucalyptus leaves (torn, chopped, and crushed to release the oils) and some EVOO. Pop the leaves in the crock pot, pour in just enough EVOO to cover them, then leave for 6-8 hours. Once boiled down, use a cloth to strain and voila – your very own eucalyptus oil.

Just remember to test patch if you have sensitive skin! 

Natural Ingredients Galore

This is just a small sample of the amazing Australian plants with hygiene applications that can be found in the Aussie bush. It’s always good to know what’s in your backyard – and what you put on your skin. 

 

 

Now that you’ve been inspired to overhaul your hygiene products, why not give Schmidt’s Certified Aerosol Natural Deodorant’s a go? It ticks all the boxes – natural scents, ozone-friendly spray (or stick format), Australian made, vegan certified, not tested on animals, and no aluminium salts. 

With Schmidt’s in your toiletries bag, you’ll never leave it behind again!

 

Feature photo by @henry_brydon