DIY Detox: 10 steps to cleanse on the cheap

by Emily from Frugal Living NW on January 3, 2015

Cheap and Easy DIY Detox

Are you ready to shed some weight and renew your energy? You’ve heard that your neighbor felt so much better after she tried a “detox,” and you wonder: “Does it really work? What does it cost? Should I do it, too?”

Detox or cleanse are words that are thrown around all too often these days.  It seems everyone is trying this detox or that cleanse in order to feel better. You must admit, all those health claims are intriguing:

  • Lose 10 pounds in 7 days!
  • Feel better than ever with our ABC detox!
  • Restore your body’s function with XYZ cleanse!
  • Regain the lost energy you crave!

The question is: Do they work? Can it really be the cure all? Could it be the answers to your weary-mind’s prayers?

Quite possibly, yes.

Well sign me up!

Then, there is the fee and all the products. The frugal alarm is going off!

Are there more cost-effective options?

What is a Detox anyway?

Let’s start with the understanding of what a cleanse or detox can do for you. According to Wikipedia, a detox is “a process, real or perceived, of removing toxins from the body.” A cleanse means to “rid of impurities.” They sound very similar, so we will use the terms interchangeably here.

The basic premise of a detox is to allow the body rest and restoration from the toxic buildup it endures daily. This can be due to the food we eat, lack of sleep, stress, unknown food allergens, environmental toxins, and nutrient deficiency.

Cleanses can offer restoration of body systems such as the digestive system, the liver, and the adrenals. The blood and bowels can be cleaned of impurities. The immune system and internal inflammation can be reduced by removing the usual suspects such as sugar, gluten, dairy, and caffeine.

Depending on the level of detox you would like to try, you may be enlisting on a juicing-only regimen, fasting, or a whole food diet. Some help the body along with herbal supplements, natural laxatives, and colonics. There is a wide variety of options along with their various price points.

Results may vary depending on level of commitment and the internal environment of a person. You will learn something new about your body and how best to take care of it. Weight loss is a welcome bonus to the purge of the toxic load we have absorbed from our surroundings.

How can you reap the benefits without breaking the bank?

10 Steps for a Cleanse on the Cheap

1. Drink a cup of hot water with juice of ½ a lemon every morning. This helps to stimulate the liver.

2. Load yourself up on water! At least half your weight in ounces. Add another 8 ounces for every caffeinated beverage you consume. This helps to flush the kidneys.

3. Decrease the amount of caffeine you ingest (preferably none). Drink green tea if you need it, herbal tea, or a coffee substitute like Teechino or Dandy Blend (Amazon). Taking out stimulants helps to restore the adrenals.

4. Take supplements:  Probiotics are a must for healthy gut flora, in addition to a quality Fish Oil such as Cod Liver Oil, Vitamin D3, and a whole food supplement.

5. Drink apple cider vinegar: 1 tablespoon in water before a meal (start with one meal, possibly work up to two). This helps to optimize your absorption of Vitamin B12 and Iron from your stomach by increasing your stomach acid. Most of us actually LACK stomach acid.

6. Eat high quality REAL foods that are easily digested and seasonal. If you rather do a juice cleanse, use organic vegetables.* Be sure to check out our Juicing on a Budget series for specifics on juicing.

7. Engage in some light exercise such as walking. When you do a cleanse you need to be easy on yourself, so skip the vigorous workouts and just take a yoga class or go for a walk.

8. Start a journal. Write out thoughts and feelings that may be stored in your body. Negative emotions, stress, and daily troubles have a huge impact on the way our body assimilates nutrients.

9. Create a relaxing ritual. Take a bath at night, sip some herbal tea while the kids are in quiet time, meditate, or pray to slow you down.

10. Get to bed earlier than usual and aim for at least 8 hours of sleep per night. Best to be in bed no later than 10 pm. This is when the body starts to repair itself.

As you can see, it is possible to do this on your own, however you may want to consider working with a professional for your first try at a cleanse. I especially recommend starting with a real food cleanse versus a juicing or fasting detox for any busy mother. We need to slow down, but we also need to have enough energy to go on with caring for our kids, our home, and our day-to-day duties.

Six Pros of Working with a Pro

1. A detailed protocol of what to do every step of every day.

2. A community forum. The moderator is your expert to ask questions, discuss reactions, and receive ongoing support. The bonus is you learn so much from the other participants!

3. HOW-TO videos for recipes, self-care ideas, and visual aids to help you understand the process.

4. RECIPES!  The recipes are specific to the body system you are aiming to restore.

5. A grocery list for ease of preparing for the week of food.

6. Accountability and safety. People are more likely to follow through with a detox if money is paid. You want to get your money’s worth!  Also, since you are under the ‘care’ of a professional, you know that you are being looked after during the process.

Whether you decide to go the frugal route or jump in with a professional, taking five days, a week, or a month to restart your body will benefit you and your family in numerous ways. When you feel lighter, fresher, and better than you have in a long time, you will spread that joy to everyone you encounter. You may even change your day-to-day eating routine, continue on a specific supplement, or make a resting ritual a weekly treat.


Looking for more information and an extended plan? Check out The Plan: Eliminate the Surprising “Healthy” Foods That Are Making You Fat–and Lose Weight Fast. We’ve heard rave reviews about this book.  It’s a cleanse/detox plan to help you figure out what foods are good or not good for your body.

Check out some recommended resources compiled just for you!

Follow Angela Davis at Frugal Living NW’s board GET FIT on Pinterest.

*If you choose to do a juice or fasting cleanse, please make sure you speak with a medical professional. This article is written in an attempt to educate you on cleanses and detoxes.  I am a Nutrition Counselor, not a MD.  This article is not stating that these tactics will cure or prevent disease.  But, it will make you feel so much better!
Selena Moffitt is a mom on a mission to help women survive motherhood through simple changes for herself and her family. Visit her blog at

This post may contain affiliate links. See the disclosure policy for more information.

{ 25 comments… read them below or add one }

Yvonne Talley October 11, 2015 at 4:20 pm

I am in beginning stages of menopause .I have noticed iI have gainned quite a bit of weight especially in my midsection . Will this


Jerrilynn January 5, 2015 at 8:25 am

Just a warning on drinking vinegar in water. My mom tried this and it caused stomach bleeding. Please check with your dr. first and if you have any history of stomach issues, you might want to skip.


kirsten January 4, 2015 at 2:04 pm

If you want some motivation, the documentary Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead is a good one (on Netflix). A pretty extreme example, but great information. :-)


Lacy January 27, 2014 at 5:03 pm

I read that using fresh lemon juice works best, but what about lemon essential oil? And if so how many drops would you use?


selena January 27, 2014 at 8:28 pm

Lemon essential oil actually contains lemonine, which comes from the peel . This is very good for you as well. The lemon juice has its own set of properties. I like to do both when I can.


Nicky April 26, 2013 at 3:34 pm



Nicky April 24, 2013 at 10:04 pm

I have a question about the water consumption. It says “2. Load yourself up on water! At least half your weight in ounces.”

So, say your 150 lbs. Half your weight is 75 lbs. Converted to ounces that is 1200, or 150 cups of water. Is this correct, or am I misunderstanding this? Any clarification would be great. Thanks!


Emily from Frugal Living NW April 25, 2013 at 8:46 am

Hi, Nicky – I didn’t write this post, but the ounces are referring to the amount of water. So, in your example, it would mean drinking 75 ounces of water a day. Hope that makes sense!


Selena April 25, 2013 at 9:53 am

Thanks Emily! That is exactly what I meant :)


selena March 8, 2013 at 3:55 pm

Pricilla,1/2 a lemon is usually about 4 tsp or so…depending on size. Quality supplements – well, that is subjective. I have my favorites that I recommend, but generally, this means not the costco, walgreens, etc generic brand. Too many fillers and inability to break down well for absorption in the body.


Priscilla March 8, 2013 at 3:24 pm

regarding #4) supplements, HOW do I determine which brands are good quality?


Priscilla March 8, 2013 at 2:55 pm

What is the measurement or how much is juice of ½ a lemon? I don’t have fresh lemons, if I use bottled 100% lemon juice…


selena March 2, 2013 at 12:22 am

Sarah, Lemon water needs to be fresh lemon and hot water only to gain the most benefits.
The bottled green tea may have more sugar than your body needs…especially on a detox.
Lemon juice in a bottle is not as fresh and may have lost it’s “power.” :)
I hope that helps


Sarah February 28, 2013 at 9:43 am

Hello, I have a couple of questions about the recipe please. Do you have to use fresh lemon juice or can it be the concentrated kind you can buy in a bottle? Also, I drink green tea every morning – the kind that comes pre-made in a bottle with ginseng and honey. Can I use the bottled lemon juice and the pre-made bottled green tea and have this recipe still be just as effective?


Kate February 28, 2013 at 1:53 pm

I think it would still work but the more fresh your ingredients are the better the results.


sarah rae April 5, 2012 at 1:00 am

Your Bowels are very dirty… some of the nastiest bacteria around live there… don’t kill them all though! They might be dirty but they are necessary!


Selena April 5, 2012 at 6:39 am

Yes! We need those healthy bacteria in your gut. Many of us have damaged those beautiful flora with anything from vaccines and antibiotics to sugar and processed foods!


kirsten April 3, 2012 at 3:35 pm

The body is self cleansing. Your bowels and blood are not dirty. Eat healthy to begin with and drink water.


Selena April 5, 2012 at 6:38 am

Yes, you’re body is self-cleansing, however overload it with toxins, and the your organs have a hard time keeping up. That’s when the sludge can settle in and gunk up the works!


Jennifer Roland April 3, 2012 at 2:48 pm

Selena, I have been wanting to do a cleanse, but I am concerned because I am still breastfeeding once or twice a day. I worry that a high level of toxins may excrete in my breastmilk. Should I wait until I end the breastfeeding relationship?


Selena April 3, 2012 at 3:06 pm

Jennifer, this is a good concern. It would depend on the type of cleanse. I would definitely recommend a professionally guided cleanse. I would also suggest a whole food cleanse. This can be done safely! The cleanse I linked to in the post would be perfect. Here is that link again:


Andee Z April 3, 2012 at 1:38 pm

This is very timely! I really want to do a cleanse – but don’t think I’m ready for the “Master Cleanse”. I’ve been experimenting with juicing, but I feel confident about starting a real food cleanse.

Doing “on the cheap” is even better!


Selena April 3, 2012 at 2:10 pm

Andee, if you want to learn more about a very affordable cleanse, check out this link: or you can email me directly at :)


Hilary A April 3, 2012 at 1:30 pm

This is an excellent checklist, thank you for sharing! Apple cider vinegar is really good. If you are a lover of kombucha, you know it’s frequently three dollars or more a bottle. I find that a teaspoon of apple cider vinegar in 12 ounces of water gives me that sour but tasty kombucha experience for pennies on the dollar. It is also very healthy and cleansing, and helpful to the digestive system.


Selena April 3, 2012 at 2:10 pm

ACV is great for helping digestion in the stomach for sure! Kombucha can be loaded with sugar, so I like your substitute :)


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