When I first started out on my homestead adventure I decided that I was going to eliminate all chemicals from my home by making everything myself. If I make all natural cleaners and body products myself then I know exactly what is in them and I can protect my family from toxins and poisons. I made all purpose cleaner, dishwasher detergent, laundry detergent, liquid hand soap, shampoo, bar soap, conditioner, toothpaste and deodorant. I probably made some other things too that I am forgetting now. A lot of these things I still make instead of buying the chemical laden store versions, but admittedly, I have gone back to buying the store versions of some of these. I know that sounds blasphemous but hear me out. As much as I want to completely rid my house of chemicals, some of these DIY cleaners just didn’t work for me. I decided I needed to compromise. I have read other blogs where compromise is not an option and I understand, chemicals are scary. But giving up all of the products you have used your entire life all at once is a bit daunting as well. Not to mention the time it takes to make all of these and to do your research to make sure what you are making is actually better for you than what you were buying! So here are 5 DIY household products that are easy to make yourself at home and you may even have the ingredients for some of them already!
#1 – All Purpose Cleaner:
This one is simple: vinegar and water. If you want to get wild you can do apple cider vinegar, water AND essential oils like Rosemary. That’s my latest preference for cleaning counter tops, tables, sinks and even the toilet. I enjoy the rosemary scent and it works as a disinfectant as well!
#2 – Liquid Hand Soap:
Just fill a soap dispenser with equal parts Dr. Bronner’s Liquid Castile Soap and water, then add a few drops of Vitamin E Oil, and 10-20 drops of essential oils. I usually use Lavender essential oil which smells amazing. Just shake up the soap dispenser bottle and it’s ready to use!
#3 – Toothpaste:
Here is the recipe I use:
4 Tbs. Baking Soda
2.5 tsp. Coconut Oil
2 tsp. Hydrogen Peroxide
1/4 tsp. sea salt
10-20 drop peppermint essential oils
The homemade toothpaste takes a little getting used to, but I now think “regular” toothpaste tastes weird and is way too foamy.
#4 – Deodorant:
There are definitely pros and cons to homemade deodorant, but to be quite frank, store bought deodorant scares me. It is something that you are applying directly to your body, every day, very close to a lot of really important organs and it probably has parabens and aluminium in it. This homemade recipe (I make the shea butter one) takes a little while to get used to as well, however, I urge you to give it a chance. Try it for at least 2 weeks before you make up your mind. It’s not an anti-antiperspirant like a lot of store bought deodorant but I believe after using it for a while, you start sweating less. One con of this deodorant is that sometimes it does leave oil stains on your clothes if you use too much of it (a little goes a long way). Also, at times it has caused a mild rash and can sting if you put it on right after shaving. I have been using this for nearly 2 years now though and I am pretty happy with the results.
#5 – Shampoo and Conditioner:
This homemade shampoo recipe which contains Dr. Bronner’s Liquid Castile Soap, coconut milk, olive oil and essential oils works pretty well but you have to make it in small batches or the coconut milk will begin to spoil. I also noticed in the comments for the recipe that there were complaints of the Dr. Bronner’s stripping hair color. I don’t dye my hair so I can’t speak to that. The conditioner which contains water, apple cider vinegar, olive oil and essential oils works fairly well but often leaves my hair feeling oily so I only use it once or twice a week.
BONUS! – Bar Soap:
Making your own bar soap is a little more complicated and time consuming than the rest of the homemade products here, but it’s well worth it. I make a large batch of bar soap at one time and it lasts quite a while. My bar soap contains water, lye, coconut oil, olive oil, shea butter and essential oils. It’s fun to experiment with the different essential oils to come up with some uniquely scented soaps. Read my blog post on how to make homemade bar soap here!
Ok so what about the laundry detergent and dishwasher soap that I mentioned I have made before? Well, I made my own laundry detergent mixture from a recipe found online which contained Super Washing Soda, Borax and SUN Oxygen Cleaner. Fine. My clothes seemed reasonably clean but they were missing that fresh clean laundry scent that I had become accustomed to. The all natural DIY bloggers said, no problem, just throw some essential oils in the wash with the laundry. Problem solved, right? Wrong. My gut said it was a bad idea, but I tried it anyway and ended up with oil stains all over our clothes, because oil doesn’t mix with water. Duh. Did anyone even try this out before suggesting it? Anyways, after a while of missing the clean laundry scent and wondering if our clothes were actually clean, we switched back to store bought laundry detergent. I also tried making some homemade dishwasher detergent, which was a powder, and the dishes never got clean. I think I tried a few different recipes here but alas, the dishes continued to come out of the dishwasher with grime on them. After only a few weeks of rewashing all of the dishes by hand, I was done with homemade dishwasher soap.
I am sure that there are DIY All Natural laundry and dishwasher detergent recipes out there that work great, but I haven’t found them yet and I am ok with a little compromise here and there if it means saving my sanity. Maybe some of these recipes you won’t like, but try them out for yourself and decide which ones work for you! Chances are you have a lot of the ingredients already. Ease into it if you’re not used to it. Even if you only switch one product out for a homemade one, you’re still better off than you were before. There is no all or nothing in the real world.
Do you have any homemade cleaning or body products that you love? Or that you tried and abandoned? Let me know in the comments!