Top Posts of 2012: DIY Tutorials Rule The Roost!

After reviewing the most viewed, shared and commented on posts from My Healthy Green Family, it is clear that do-it-yourself tutorials and recipes rule the roost!   Here they are, in order.

#1. Washing My Hair With Baking Soda

#2. Homemade All Natural Deodorant with Men and Women’s Fragrances

#3. Homemade Borax-Free Laundry Detergent with Price and Product Comparisons

#4. Homemade Borax-Free Dishwasher Detergent

#5. 100% Whole Wheat Sandwich Bread That Rises Like White!

#6. Plastic Wrap Alternative: DIY Beeswax Cotton Wraps

#7. Homemade Citrus Vinegar Cleaner

#8. To Can or Not To Can? BPA Is the Question

#9. Whipped Body Butter with 2 Simple Ingredients

#10. DIY Faux Paper Towels: Upcycled, Eco-friendly and Cheap!

For more eco-friendly and economical tutorials check out My Healthy Green Family’s DIY Recipes page.

Thanks for all your encouragement, ideas and support over the year!  Watch for more tutorials coming soon.  See you in 2013!

 

How to make a simple desiccant to keep products dry.

Some homemade cleaning products such as laundry detergent and dishwasher detergent need a desiccant to keep them from clumping together.  A desiccant is a little package containing something that is drier than the container it is placed in.  The desiccant absorbs the moisture that is in the container, keeping the intended product drier and less clumpy.

I made a simple desiccant by using powdered white clay.  Put 2 tbsp. in a thin, child’s sock (or the end of a pair of pantihose) and tie a knot at the end.  Place inside airtight container.  Replace as needed.  Alternatively, you can purchase silica at craft stores, and use the same way.  You can also use cheesecloth, place clay or silica in the middle, and tie the ends together to form a little pouch.

 

Homemade Borax-Free Dishwasher Detergent

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I have tried many different “eco-friendly” dishwasher detergents over the years.  From 7th Generation to Ecos, Method to Ecover, I just couldn’t find one that worked very well.  And with a price as high as those, I certainly wanted something that worked.

Eventually I came across a recipe to make my own dishwasher detergent.  It contained washing soda, borax, salt and citric acid.  It worked… somewhat.  I wasn’t satisfied with the results and neither was I satisfied with the ingredient Borax.  I am not convinced Borax is safe, especially when used on eating utensils etc.  After discussing the homemade recipe with some others, the thought came up “what if we just removed the Borax?”  So when I ran out of my detergent I did just that.  I removed the Borax.   I also added white distilled vinegar as a rinse aid.  The combination provides great results!!

So here is my borax-free dishwasher detergent recipe:

  • 1 cup washing soda (old recipe used  baking soda)
  • 1/4 c. citric acid
  • 1/4 c. coarse salt
  • 10-15 drops of citrus essential oil (Optional.  Orange, grapefruit, or lemon essential oils have great cleaning as well as antibacterial properties.)
  • Distilled white vinegar (in the rinse aid compartment)

Mix first 3 ingredients well in an air tight container. Add essential oil.  Mix again.  Fill your rinse aid compartment with undiluted white distilled vinegar.

Use 1 tsp. detergent for average loads.
Use 1 tbsp. detergent for extra greasy, dirty loads.

UPDATE:  More is not better!  If you are having any build up issues use less! 

Where to find ingredients:
Citric acid is easily purchased in bulk at  U-Brew  stores.  You may find it at grocery stores near the canning supplies, or in the bulk section.  You can also buy it at Mountain Rose Herbs Co.   Some people use plain, uncolored koolaid and get the same effects.  (Make sure you use the colorless koolaid or you will dye your dishwasher!) This is because koolaid is very high in citric acid.  I don’t like the other ingredients in koolaid though so I choose not to use it.  Lemi Shine is also sometimes used to replace citric acid.  I feel the same way about lemi shine as I do about koolaid.
Coarse salt: same as pickling salt.  Found in most grocery stores or purchase coarse sea salt online at Mountain Rose Herbs.  Don’t use regular table salt because of the iodine content.
Baking Soda: We all know where to find it!
Essential Oil: Found in most natural food stores or online at Mountain Rose Herbs.
Tips:

  • I rinse off my dishes reasonably well ever since I switched to chemical-free dishwasher detergents.  Rinsing off grease and baked-on food will help any cleaner, not just a homemade one.
  • Hard water: I don’t know if this would work in hard water or not because my water is soft.  However, my own research indicates that citric acid is often used in addition to regular dishwasher detergents to help prevent mineral deposits on the dishes.  Try it out and let me know!
  • I placed one glass in the dishwasher and left it in for many loads as my tester.  I have done over 30 loads with this recipe to date.

Cost: (based on Mountain Rose Herbs prices)
5 lb. of citric acid is $20.
5 lb. of baking soda is $11.75.
5 lb. of coarse sea salt is $15.
Essential oil (optional) varies in price..

Is it worth it to make your own?
Based on the prices above (not including essential oils), and the fact that there are 36 tbsp. of sugar in a lb. (similar texture and weight to this detergent), I worked this detergent out to cost $0.08 a load. 

7th Generation dishwashing tabs (about 1 tbsp. each) are $6.99 for 20. (based on online price from London Drugs)  So 7th Generation dishwashing tabs cost $0.35 cents a load.   

You’ll be saving a lot of money (not to mention your health and the environment) by making your own eco-friendly detergent.

This post has been linked to Frugal Days, Sustainable Ways #25, Simple Living Wednesday, Homestead Helps Wednesday #5, Homestead Revival Barn Hop #61MorrisTribe’s Homesteading Blog Carnival #6, Whole Foods Wednesday #56 and  Fat Tuesday.

Have You Lost Your Chemical-Conditioning? Make Your Own Cleaning Supplies.

This past year has been a real learning experience for me.  I thought I was eco-friendly before, buying all-natural cleaning supplies, natural shampoos and deodorants… and now, a year later, here I MAKING my own products.  So if I was green then, what am I now?  Good question.  I’d like to say sustainable.

For most of my life, if I ran out of dishwasher detergent, laundry soap, bathroom cleaner, deodorant, shampoo etc., life would go on hold until I ran to the store to buy some more.  It never crossed my mind that I should make it myself.  In fact, because of the chemicals used in most of these products, there is no way I COULD make them myself.  It wasn’t until I became aware of the dangers in those chemical-based products and started using all natural products, that I realised that these ingredients are actually ones I could get my hands on, and I could make myself. 

Talk about enlightening!  Talk about liberating!  Talk about sustainable!  I don’t actually HAVE to run to the store as soon as I run out of something.  I can actually make it myself, and chances are, I will even have the ingredients in my own kitchen or laundry room already!  The clouds have cleared.  I see the light. 

I have been cleaning for some time now with baking soda and vinegar-water.  They work perfectly.  They don’t kill every last bit of bacteria in the house but I am OK with that.  Bacteria isn’t always a bad thing.  But it did take me a while to let go of my 7th Generation cleaners and head to my cupboard for the baking soda.  Chemical conditioning, I call it. 

For a few months now I have been washing my hair with baking soda-water and rinsing with apple cider vinegar-water.  Fantastic results.  Chemical-free, cheap, safe and available.  I had read about doing it for literally YEARS but I couldn’t put down the shampoo bottle.  Because I was chemically-conditioned to  that chemicals work better.  But they don’t.  My hair is shinier, healthier, and much less dry than it has ever been in my entire life. 

Today I ran out of dishwasher detergent.  Today I looked up how to make my own.  Today I realised that I can easily make my own from ingredients I already have.  Salt.  Baking Soda.  Borax.  Vinegar. 

Next I ran out of laundry detergent.  I looked that up too and have discovered how to make my own.  I did pick up a few ingredients for this one… washing soda (cheap!!!) and pure glycerin soap (also cheap!).   And tomorrow, when I wake up, I am making my own laundry detergent. 

Up next will be deodorant.  I fell in love with an all-natural, baking soda-based locally-made deodorant that I picked up at a farmer’s market last summer.  It worked so well I bought some for my husband.  We put it to the test on hot summer days.  It worked perfectly for both of us.  No aluminium. No preservatives.  No color, or chemicals.  I could keep supporting the local supplier, but once I read the ingredients, I thought “I could make this!”  The ingredients are great and I already have them in my cupboards.  I can MAKE my own deodorant!

I feel as though a whole new world has been opened up before me.  What an opportunity!  I don’t need the chemicals.  I don’t need the preservatives.  I don’t need the beauty isle at the store.  I can make my own from basic ingredients that most stores carry.  And I can feel good about using the products because I can actually pronounce the ingredients.  My family is safe from unknown, harmful chemicals.  No longer do I have to buy the all natural but expensive supplies.  I can make my own.  Have you lost your chemical-conditioning yet?  Come try it with me!

This post has been linked to Common Sense Homesteading’s Living Well #27Frugal Days, Sustainable Ways #13Homesteading Trading Post Link Up and The Prairie Homestead’s Homestead Barnhop #48.