For years now, I have made 70% (percentage approximated very unscientifically) of my cleaning supplies with rubbing alcohol, white vinegar and baking soda. It has saved me money, and my house is clean as ever. Then, in November, I read this blog post about homemade deodorant, lip balm,shower scrub and eye make-up remover. Deodorant was on my shopping list at the time, and I thought that I would like to try a homemade deodorant. It took me a while to get around to doing it. Do not worry! I have been using antiperspirant in the meantime. I just pulled a stick out of my travel bag. Then, on Tuesday, I read this post on Apartment Therapy about cleaning the washing machine. I am not sure how, but that made me wonder if I could make my own laundry detergent and other products as well. I did some research, and my loving husband went out in search of the ingredients. He had to visit three grocery stores to find everything I needed. The good news is that I have large quantities of everything left over, so it will be a long time before we have to buy them again. The kitchen then became ground zero for production.
I used this website by the Money Saving Queen for the laundry detergent. The recipe calls for Fels Naptha or Ivory soap. I did not have either of those brands, but I did have several bars of soap in the basement since we do not use bars anymore. I decided to try one of those. I pulled out this one that my sister bought for Douglas last Christmas. The saying is pretty funny. It seemed a shame to use it, but it is also silly to hang onto it forever if no one sees it. The box had the same quote, so I put it on the shelf in the bathroom where it can be appreciated.
I only used half of the bar since it was large.
The only other ingredients for the laundry detergent were Borax and washing soda. I mixed them in a large bowl.
Then, I poured the dry mixture into an air-tight container and immediately went down to do a load of laundry. That is something there is never a shortage of in our house! It worked wonderfully, and the clothes came out looking and smelling clean.
Next, it was on to the dish-washing detergent. I chose to use TLC’s How Stuff Works recipe. As with all of the formulas, I did a lot of research and went with one that seemed to show up in many places. I also made sure to read the reviews to make sure that it worked well for people. For this I used the same bowl, since the major ingredients were the same. The recipe calls for Borax, washing soda, salt (I used kosher salt since a couple of recipes recommended that) and citric acid. Citric acid was a difficult ingredient to find; I will look online next time. This time we used the Kool-Aid packets of unsweetened lemonade. This site also recommends using vinegar in the rinse cycle. Douglas did the dishes last night and used a squirt of lemon juice in place of the vinegar. The dishes came out spotless. Yay!
Ali Does It Herself was my go-to site for the deodorant, since she was my original inspiration. I needed baking soda and corn starch (both of which we already had in large quantities in the house), coconut oil, tea tree oil and lavender essential oil. I used a bit too much lavender I think. In the future, I will follow the recipe better; I was not very careful with the measurements to be honest. You have to spread the deodorant on with your fingers. I worried about this, because I thought that it would be sticky like store-bought brands. Fortunately, this is not the case at all; the coconut oil is actually wonderful for the hands, and I just rub it in like a lotion. Perhaps this could be the solution for those who suffer sweaty palms! I have been using this deodorant for three days now and love it. There have been no issues with smell or sweat even while working out.
Thankfully Thrifty was my source for the toothpaste formula. The ingredients are baking soda, coconut oil, salt and peppermint essential oil. Some other sites said that the salt is optional. I wish that I had left it out because the toothpaste is too salty for our liking, but my teeth feel clean after using it.
Overall, I am pleased with my experiments. This will save us money and is better for the environment and our bodies. Once I had the ingredients, it took me less than an hour to make all of the products. This included stopping to stage and take photos, so in the future it will not take as long. I hope that I have inspired some of you to try one or all of these recipes. If you do, let me know how it goes.