Now that I rarely go to the store it really irks me to make a trip because we’ve run out of toothpaste or cleaner of some kind. And with so few labels to read I can scrutinize the heck out of everything.
My goal this year is to come up with solutions for everything I buy. I’ve learned how to make my own lotion, salve and lip cover. I’ve learned how to mix my own facial oil which actually works better for me than lotion although when I have time I still plan to mix some of that into lotion form since I think in the summer it may be nicer to have a lotion to put on frequently.
I’ve been making my own toothpaste which works and tastes great. I’ve been making my own underarm deoderant which works fine for me but I’m not training for the half marathon this winter so perhaps that one isn’t a fair test yet.
I’ve been making my own vapor rub, both for us and the kids and it’s nice to know it’s not petroleum based and contains the same active ingredients as Vic’s.
I’m still testing dish soap, dishwasher soap and laundry soap recipes but hoping to share those with you soon. You can bet your bottom dollar they are earth friendly (not just claiming to be) and contain nothing creepy.
The last thing I’m geared up to do but still looking for time to make is a year’s worth of soap – both bar soap and liquid soap.
The great thing about all of these things is that by buying a small arsenal of essential oils and using pantry ingredients plus a few specialty items like sodium carbonate (washing soda) or potash (lye) you can make your own solutions to what encompasses multiple aisles at the druggists or grocers. You invest one time in spray bottles and recycle food or lotion bottles to store things in.
There are no planetary resources that go into manufacturing, distributing, marketing, corporate research and develop which may include animal testing, and there are no bottles for you to recycle when you are done. It really doesn’t get much more sustainable than that. And you just can’t beat the cost of making things using stuff you already have in your pantry.
Once you’ve built up a nice library of essential oils, that is.
If stored properly, essential oils will last for years. You can buy essential oils at almost any health food store but I’ve found the quality of oils from Mountain Rose Herbs to be amazing and they don’t have those “not for human consumption” warnings on them which is nice if I plan to use them in a toothpaste or mouthwash. I’m increasingly wary of the source of all my spices and oils in the wake of food recalls related to black pepper this year.
Please consider trying some of these solutions and let me know what you think!
Daytime Face Oil for Aging Skin
This is great for rosacea-prone skin as well
2 Tablespoons sweet almond, olive or apricot oil
1 teaspoon any or all: jojoba oil, borage seed oil, carrot
10 drops evening primrose oil
15 drops German chammomile essential oil
5 drops lavendar or geranium essential oil
5 drops palma rosa oil
Spray clean face with a lavendar or rose and water spritzer (add EO to distilled water in a spray bottle) then gently massage in the oil. After a few minutes if it feels like there is excess oil you can blot it with a tissue but it seems to soak right in for me.
Nighttime Face Oil for Aging or Rosacea-Prone Skin
2 teaspoons wheatgerm oil
2 teaspoons avocado oil
30 drops jojoba oil
10 drops borage seed oil
20 drops evening primrose oil
10 drops German chammomile oil
15 drops Geranium oil
10 drops Carrot oil
Use as the day time oil.
Note: I am just using the daytime oil which seems to work fine for me. I am adding some olive oil that I infused with chammomile, comfrey and borage flowers last summer since I have it on hand. I use that same infused oil in my lotion mix and my salve since it is so anti-inflammatory and soothing.
Window and Glass Cleaner
For windows, glass and any shiny surface I use vinegar.
For anything needing scrubbing powder (like the shower or sink basin) I use baking soda (sodium bicarbonate.) This includes the stove top with it’s baked on gunk that I’m afraid to scratch, as well as my white tiled bathroom floor and grout. I remember whining to my grandpa once when I was tasked with cleaning the bathroom as a small child. “How do you expect me to get it clean?” I asked. “Put some elbow grease into it, kid” he said. So add elbow grease to my list too.
Carpet Stain Remover
For carpet stains I use borax which you can buy with most laundry detergents. It’s sold as a laundry booster. Blot your carpet stain dry, sprinkle borax on, let it dry and vacuum it up.
Dash liquid soap such as dish soap or Dr. Bronner’s liquid soap
2 Tablespoons vodka
5 ml lavender essential oil
5 ml niaouli essential oil
5 ml lemon myrtle essential oil
3 ml oregano essential oil (you can use pine if you like that scent but I abhor that pine smell)
32 ounces distilled water (I’ve used filtered and it seems to last forever without molding)
Mix everything together and put into a spray bottle.
2 Tablespoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 Tablespoon vegetable glycerine* (you can omit and use this as a powder which you sprinkle on your toothbrush instead)
10-20 drops essential oil like clove, cinnamon or mint
Liquid stevia to taste
2 oz water
6 drops tea tree oil
6 drops peppermint, cinnamon or clove oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 oz vodka
1/4 cup vodka or witch hazel
1/4 cup water
1/2 teaspoon vegetable glycerin (optional)
10 drops tea tree oil
20-40 drops essential oil of your choice (lavendar, rose geranium, clary sage, vanilla, clove or citrus would all be nice. More masculine scents might be fir, sage or bay laurel)
Add any combination of essential oil drops to water to get the strength and scent you love. Spray with abandon, avoiding eyes. You can also place your liquid in a shallow bowl of pebbles with a bamboo skewer to scent the room, or use direct essential oils to scent pine cones or dried flowers in a bowl potpourri style. Some stores also sell those plug ins with blank “filters” that you can simply put your own essential oils on and plug into an outlet. Compare this with those chemical laden “air fresheners”.
Remember the first R is “Reduce.” By reducing the number of personal or household products you buy you really are making a difference.
Update: I had totally forgotten about this link which I posted sometime last spring. This site has some really simple and effective home made cleaning solvents too.
Pay special attention when they say “According to a study at Virginia Tech, spraying hydrogen peroxide and vinegar right after one another is just as effective at killing germs as lung-irritating, stream-polluting chlorine bleach.” How cool is that?
* I recently read something that said you should avoid toothpastes with glycerin in them because it coats your teeth, making it difficult for them to remineralize so I’ve been leaving this out.