Recipes and DIY

General How-To:

Now that I'm really getting into making my own cleaning products and toiletries, many people are asking for my recipes.  These are the ones I use regularly and have tested and found to be effective. I hope that you find them helpful!

Follow this link for some great household cleaner recipes.

Homemade Laundry Detergent
I have tweaked a few recipes I have seen online and found what works best for me. You may find that given your water and machine, you need to alter it a little too. This works well in all machines, and I hear tell that homemade detergents are great in high efficiency machines because they are low-sud.
  • 1 box washing soda
  • 1 box borax
  • 1-2 bars of bar soap (I use whatever is on sale that doesn't have a ton of unpronounceable ingredients)
  • 1 container Oxyclean
  1. Into your storage container (I use a box from when I used to buy Tide), dump the borax and washing soda.
  2. With a kitchen grater, shave the bar soap into the box
  3. Mix thoroughly.  The borax tends to be clumpy, try to break up the clumps as best you can.
  4. I use about half a scoop from that old Tide box for each load, as well as one scoop of the Oxyclean.
Homemade Deodorant
I tried the homemade route with this.  It was too much work, didn't save any money, made my skin break out and didn't really work.  I'm sticking with Tom's of Maine.

I recently started reading about why and how to go shampoo-free.  If you are interested in the why of it (harsh chemicals is the "why" in a nutshell)- there is a good article at Simple Mom blog about the topic:  How to Clean Your Hair Without Shampoo.  There are alot of slightly varied versions out there on how to do this.  Here is what worked for me.  Like all the other things, you'll probably have to adjust a bit for your own hair type, lifestyle, etc. This will take several months to really take hold.  After a lifetime of shampoo, your hair becomes dependent on those nasty chemicals in shampoo.  Give you hair and scalp time to adjust and all will be well.  Wear alot of hats in the meantime.
For wash:
  • 1tbs baking soda
  • Tiny amount warm water 
For rinse:
  • 1tbs apple cider vinegar
  • 1 cup warm water
  1. If you currently wash your hair more than 4 times a week (I was raised to wash it daily), start off by tapering shampoo use before introducing new washing method.  Spend a month or two going every other day, then a month or two washing every third day.  Once you're down to every 3 days or so (only 2-3 times a week or fewer), that seems to be a good time to switch to the baking soda and apple cider vinegar method.
  2. To wash with baking soda 2-3 times/week, combine baking soda and enough water to make a paste.   I have always washed my hair in the shower and I think that this method is best done in the shower as well.  Once your hair is nice and wet, work in the baking soda mixture.  If you have short hair, you probably only need the 1tbs.  I have long, thick hair and I use 2 tbs.  Massage it in well and let it sit for a minute or two.  Rinse with warm water.   
  3. To rinse with apple cider vinegar every 2-3 washes, mix 1-2 tbs apple cider vinegar with 1cup warm water.  Simple work through hair, let sit a few minutes, then rinse with with warm water.  Yes, you will smell like vinegar after this, but only for a few minutes after your shower.  It wears off quickly, I promise.