Thursday, April 24, 2008

It's Green Alright, But Please Don't Drink It

So this is a blog topic I've had filed away in my brain for a while now and it's finally time to put my thoughts in writing...

I've been on a bit of a journey over the past year and I'll be perfectly honest with ya here--this journey has really SUCKED at times!! And yet, God in His loving mercy, has brought so many wonderful things out of the "sucky" things. (Did I just invent a new word? Or is "sucky" found in Webster's?) Basically, the long and the short of it is that I've had problems with allergies for 10 years. I never really had the specific allergies diagnosed, but was able to keep the symptoms to a minimum with medication. Then in January of 2007, my allergies went absolutely haywire. Haywire--as in I was itching all over my body, all the time. Hence, you can begin to deduce here why my journey has had some really sucky moments. Nothing was able to control my allergies once my body decided to go into sensitivity overdrive and after doing some investigating, I decided that I was not willing to travel down the traditional road for allergy treatments. The traditional route usually involves allergists, scratch testings, more medication, and allergy shots. Instead, I began the slow process of testing for and eliminating my allergies, one at a time, through a treatment called N.A.E.T. (Find out more about NAET here.) In the process, I discovered that I had an extremely complex case of allergies, including foods, chemicals, environment and even internal body chemistry reactions. And I gotta give a shout out to Dr. Rebecca S. because she has truly been an immense blessing to me through all of this!

So one of the many ways that God has brought good out of my journey is that I began to put more consideration into the things that were going into my body. The truth of the matter is that I'm lazy and I knew there were all sorts of things out there that were probably not very good for my body (chemicals in household products, etc.), but it just seemed like too much work to actually do something about it. But out of sheer desparation, I knew I had to start eliminating as many toxins as possible from my home. Dr. Rebecca was a great help to me in this process, as she used the NAET technique to help identify which specific products I was reacting to...and there was a lot of them! So for me, it basically came down to two options: 1. I could either spend a lot of money buying organic, natural cleaning products or 2. I could make my own. Option #2 was the obvious choice for the frugal homemaker in me!

Many of my questions about making homemade, all-natural cleaners were answered by Sara, who is wholly committed to living as naturally as possible on a budget. Through her blog, I found some fantastic resources with oodles of natural cleaning "recipes." It's taken a little experimenting, but I've think I've finally found my nitch. I make about half of my own cleaning products and the rest I buy as natural as possible. I wanted to share with all of you, my faithful readers, 2 of these recipes. Take it from me--if I, Little Miss Lazy Pants, can do it, you can, too!

Homemade Liquid Laundry Detergent
I found this recipe at The Frugal Shopper. It may sound complicated, but I cannot stress enough how simple this to make! After preparing this recipe successfully twice, I'm totally hooked. It's insanely cheap (something like under $.02 per load), 100% natural for the body, 100% safe for the environment, plus it actually does get my family's clothes clean. What more could a girl want?! See my notes below on where to purchase the ingredients.

What you'll need:
  • 3-4 gallon bucket, with a lid (I bought mine at The Container Store for $10)
  • 3 Pints Water (that's 6 cups)
  • 1/2 Bar pure Ivory soap, Grated
  • 2/3 Cup Washing Soda
  • 2/3 Cup Borax
  • 1 Quart (4 cups) Hot Water + Additional hot water

Mix Ivory soap in a saucepan with 3 pints of water, and heat on low until dissolved. Stir in Washing Soda and Borax. Stir until thickened, and remove from heat. Add the 1 Quart Hot Water to the bucket. Add soap mixture to the bucket, and mix well. Add an additional 22 cups hot water (that's 1 gallon + 6 cups), and mix well. Set aside for 24 hours, or until mixture thickens. Use about 1/2 cup of mixture per load, or slightly more for larger loads and heavily soiled loads.

**Note: Washing Soda and Borax can typically be found at the average grocery store, in the aisle with other cleaning products. The most common brand of washing soda is put out by Arm & Hammer in a bright yellow box. Both of these cleaners are extremely versatile and each of them sells for around $2.50 per box.

Cidar Vinegar Astringent

Another phenomenal product that I've discovered on this journey is cidar vinegar. I had no clue just how many uses there are for it, including cleansing both hair and skin. I guess if it's safe enough to put on your salad, then it's also going to be gentle on the outside of the body, too. I can't believe how much money I wasted all these years on expensive astringents...ugh, God-forbid those days when I used "Sea Breeze!!" I might has well have been pouring paint-thinner on my face. And guess what else I've discovered?? Cidar Vinegar makes my face look brilliant! Seriously, take my word for it and give it a try!

What you'll need:

  • 1 - 8 ounce bottle, preferrably with a "pop-top" lid
  • cidar vinegar
  • water

Fill the bottle about 40% full with cidar vinegar. Then fill to the top with water. Shake gently to combine. To use, squirt astringent on a cotton pad or cotton ball and apply to face.

**Note: I just bought a plain old bottle for $.99 from the travel section at Target. It works perfectly! Oh, by the way, I strongly recommend not to use more that 40% vinegar in this recipe, otherwise your eyes will sting like crazy.


RT said...

I love it that you're making your own household supplies! I've often thought that our ancestors did just fine cleaning their homes without all these toxic materials, so why can't we? Thanks for sharing your recipes... You're encouraging me towards good things. : )

Love you!

Amber said...

I'm on my way to the store to buy my supplies for making laundry detergent. Great ideas on your blog--I really enjoy it and have linked to it on mine.

Thanks for the ideas!