A while back somebody asked me what we do for body/cleaning products, and I don’t really think I ever got back to them about it. So, today I thought I’d share a couple of the most recent things we’re doing. First let me say, in the spirit of "Gratitude Friday"- I’m grateful for Sodium Bicarbonate! (aka Baking Soda). A serious YAY for this stuff!
When you start thinking about disposability consciousness and how it’s really infected our lives, you start to think about it all a little differently. Every container, every product you put on and in your body, every bit of packaging, etc., has a story behind it. It’s usually not a pretty story- with roots in exploitation, pollution, slavery, land theft, you name it- not to mention, most of these things are toxic for your body and the earth! I spent a great deal of time feeling helpless. I knew that this was not a sustainable way to live. I knew that this was not an ethical way to live. But what was I to do without my deodorant and hair conditioner, and all the other little plastic containers everywhere that I’d grown so accustomed to? I slowly started gathering information and making small changes. Because, no matter how overwhelming it seems, there’s always something that we can do. And regardless of whether or not our small actions make the difference we’d like, they are a far better option than inaction. That’s my official stance- and it’s lifted me up in spite of a very dire situation here.
"Action is a great restorer and builder of confidence. Inaction is not only the result, but the cause, of fear. Perhaps the action you take will be successful; perhaps different action or adjustments will have to follow. But any action is better than no action at all." (Norman Vincent Peale)
And so, with that in mind, we’ve started doing. We’ve rid ourselves of all our toxic cleaning products, and the only things that remain are baking soda and vinegar. The "green" cleaning products may be less toxic for our homes, but they are still held in plastic containers and support a toxic industry. Deodorant? We just pat a little baking soda on, and honestly- it’s the best deodorant I’ve ever used. Also, oddly enough, antiperspirants caused me to sweat more. Shampoo? Baking soda and water on our scalp once a week or so- rinse with diluted apple cider vinegar (to condition). Jeff no longer suffers from a dry itchy scalp, and our hair doesn’t get greasy nearly as quickly. I must admit, I’ve been lazy and I use a quarter sized amount of baby shampoo on my roots about once a week. We just still have some and I don’t always make the baking soda paste before I find myself in the shower… but still! I never would have thought my hair would still be okay without a thick lather of soap and a bunch of conditioner (I have pretty thick hair). Let’s see… we also quit using all lathery body washes, and most soap too. I found my skin is happier if I just rinse well and scrub a little, and if I’m actually dirty from the garden or something then I’ll use a little castile soap. We also cloth diaper, and switched to the family cloth, and that’s going great. The latest developments have been laundry soap and toothpaste, and I wanted to share the recipes with you.
I followed this recipe, and it’s really nice! I may change up ingredients at some point as I do more research, but it’s nice to know exactly what is in my toothpaste. Also, each container is recyclable and provides us with many batches of toothpaste.
Homemade laundry soap. My sister in law made me a batch a while back and it was great. Then we wanted to use up our box of detergent, but when it ran out I decided it was time to take the plunge. It was so simple! I followed this recipe, which seems to be a pretty standard one.
I did the math and found my new homemade detergent to be around 13-15 cents a load, versus the 23 cents a load from our other natural detergent (and that was a sale price). I can also make many batches out of the ingredients I bought, and recycle all of the boxes when I’m done.
In the future I plan to find better alternatives for dish soaps. I would also love to make our own soaps out of tallow from deer that we hunt, and also our own lip balms from beeswax (hopefully from our own hives!). If we decide that we’re staying in this house indefinitely, then we’ll likely convert our toilets to composting ones, we’ll create a grey water system, etc. It’s a process, but the more I do, the more I realize it’s very simple. It’s much better for us, and it’s also much cheaper. Each of the changes we made (which all seemed overwhelming at first), are ones that we are really happy about and are keeping. I don’t know why we’d ever go back. Plus, with all these changes, we don’t have the "trash" that we used to. We literally send out about 1 small plastic grocery bag’s worth of trash every two weeks. That garbage is almost entirely from food packaging we couldn’t get away from. That and bones- although I recently read about a composting system for animal products, and I’m greatly intrigued!
What changes have you made or would like to make?