Reading natural living and homesteading blogs can be daunting. There’s so many things that can be made cheaply, just as effectively, and oftentimes safer than traditional items and it can get overwhelming. So instead of overwhelming you with recipes for cleaners and detergents, I figured I could outright tell you what things you can switch out for homemade and green TODAY.
These are the things I started with when I began my natural journey, and so I know for a fact they’re simple and fast alternatives to implement. These five things are innocuous items that we use every day, that surprisingly have a huge impact on our health and planet. Making the switch will be low cost too, so you have little guilt tossing out/giving away what you were using and going natural.
- Dish Liquid: Dish liquid is the easiest thing in the world to change out. Traditional dish liquid contains nasty petroleum-based detergent, cleansers, fragrances, and surfactants. They can be drying, and in all are just not good for you. Instead of using traditional liquids, you can switch to liquid castile soap and clean just as effectively with less waste (since they’re super concentrated) and less toxicity. Most 16 ounce bottles cost about the same as traditional dish liquid anyway, so the switch is easy. Kirk’s, Dr. Wood’s, and Dr. Bronner’s make the best liquid castile soaps.
- Bar Soap: This is easier. Instead of using beauty bars like Dove, use a bar of plain castile or tallow soap. Beauty bars are not soap at all, but really a mix of surfactants, cleansers, and detergents mixed with a fragrance. They can actually dry out skin more by totally stripping any natural oils on the skin, and so they have to add moisturizer so you’re not even getting all that clean. Castile and tallow soaps are just saponified oils or fats with (usually essential oil based) fragrances. The ingredients list is shorter but so much better for you! Great brands include Ivory, Dr. Bronner’s, Kirk’s, and Grandpa’s. And my own, of course. 😉
- Deodorant: Traditional deodorants (specifically antiperspirants) contain many compounds such as alum, petroleum-based stabilizers, and fragrances that are being connected to breast cancer and hormonal issues. Additionally, they can cause allergic reactions over time or just stop working completely. Antiperspirants are much worse because they prevent sweating entirely, which is bad for your skin (how else will it cleanse itself of impurities in the pores?) and can cause health problems in its own right. Switch to a brand like Tom’s of Maine or make your own (my favorite and the most effective recipe I have seen, can be done in the microwave).
- Laundry Soap: This one’s a bit harder than the last three. Really the only option for a completely clean laundry powder or liquid is to make your own, and there’s a totally borax free way to do it. For liquid, just use straight castile liquid soap, only one tablespoon for a regular load or two tablespoons for a large load. For powder soap mix equal parts washing soda, and sea salt and four ounces of grated and powdered bar soap. Use only a tablespoon for a regular load and two tablespoons for a large load. I’ll have a full tutorial up on Wednesday on how exactly to make powder detergent, which I find to be much more economical. EDIT: POWDER SOAP HERE
- Fabric Softener: This is an easy switch for HE washers; two tablespoons of citric acid or a packet of lemonade mix (no sugar) in the softener section will work fine. For those without an HE washer, use a Downy Ball filled with a cup of straight white vinegar. You could even make “dryer sheets” out of washcloths soaked in vinegar. The smell doesn’t linger, just kills any bacteria and freshens the clothing. Super easy and affordable!
You see? It’s so easy to make the first steps toward cutting out the toxic junk from your home and life. If someone like me, who was a teenager living at home with a mom who thinks chemicals make everything better, can achieve it, then you can too! Check in next post for a fast, easy, and Borax-free powder laundry soap recipe.