When we went all-natural last year and started removing toxins from our home, I managed to find some awesome products for lotions, detergents, shampoos, and conditioners. I wasn’t so lucky in the toothpaste department. It’s hard to find gluten-free, fluoride-free toothpaste that doesn’t taste like salty tree bark.
However, for the products we loved, we went through A LOT of them. And while I felt like a million bucks, that was neither the point of buying them nor was it my plan to spend like that to feel that way.
I started to wonder, what if I am spending a million bucks just to keep my family healthy? I really don’t want to do that. AND I AM SO TIRED OF RUNNING TO THE STORE!!!! Seriously, the products weren’t even always at the same store. It was an entire afternoon just to stock up on lotion. I just can’t even with that. Even if I did have a can of Coke in the car, that’s still a long time. I have a friend who gave birth to her third son in less time than it takes me to run these errands. Bless her heart. My labors, on the other hand, were much like my shopping. Took for freaking ever.
This whole let’s-turn-our-kitchen-into-a-lab-experiment-to-see if-we-can-save-money finally took off when the detergent I normally bought online was out of stock. Wanting to still avoid perfumes, dyes, and chemicals I can’t pronounce, I started researching homemade detergent recipes. And then I was hooked.
I have included links to all the recipes as they are not originally mine. I am also including approximate yields and prices so you can see where they stack up.
Also, you’ll notice my amazing photography. I took pictures of my craftswomanship. And I think you’ll notice my photos LOOK JUST LIKE EVERYONE ELSE’S. My photography is amazing. Also, twine. So much twine.
Welcome to Spirited and then Some Party Decorating Services, where we believe twine makes everything better.
Homemade, all-natural laundry detergent, Kirk’s Natural castile soap
As the first of the homemade recipes I endeavored to make, this one became my Mount Everest. Could I do it? Could I climb to the top and MAKE MY OWN DETERGENT? Look at me going all Laura Ingalls Wilder, except for the part where I have electricity and Laura wants to slap my face.
The research was pretty fascinating. To borax or not to borax? We are deciding to NOT borax because we don’t know how well it will work for us. But a lot of all-natural families out there are totally using it, and are living to blog about it.
This is the recipe I followed, minus the borax. I researched this recipe from Mommypotamus, this recipe from Wellness Mama, and this recipe from Back to Her Roots to evaluate the supplies I wanted to use. Ultimately, I bought Kirk’s castile soap at Whole Foods, followed its recipe, and then took my favorite ideas from the other sites to concoct my final batch. I definitely add essential oils to everything and hydrogen peroxide to the whites. Vinegar and baking soda as needed.
Kirk’s castile soap is supposed to be fine for HE washers as the soap is low sudsing. However a team member at Whole Foods explained you really need to know the warranty on your own washer/dryer. Using certain materials, such as castile soap, can possibly void your warranty.
Of all my recipes, this one was also the most labor-intensive because I had to grate the bars of soap using a cheese grater and then grind them in my chopper/grinder (I bought a cheap one that works well from Costco). The elbow grease was worth it. The overall cost was significantly less than most shelf brands. My recipe yielded 2 cups (without borax). I doubled the recipe for a total of 4 cups or 32 oz. of detergent.
And as for the essential oils suggested by Mommypotamus? Don’t tell anyone, since I am not on the EE bandwagon just yet, but, um, I LOVE ADDING LEMON EE’S TO MY WASH. Omigod!! The smell is divine. My clothes smell like lemonade. I seriously wanted to drink my clothes the first time I washed them with this stuff.
I did some research on prices, and this is what I found (prices per ounce are approximations):
Charlie’s soap – $0.31/oz
Tide – $0.16/oz
Homemade – $0.11/oz ($3.52 for this double batch)
Xtra – $0.034/oz
Mine wasn’t the cheapest, but the house smells like lemonade when I do laundry now. I’m sticking to it.
Toxin-free Toothpaste, courtesy of Dr. Amy Myers
This toothpaste recipe, of the four recipes I am sharing here, was the trickiest of them all. My toothpaste came out rock solid. But it does work. I plan to add more coconut oil to it in the future to see if that softens it. I also added more water to my blue bottle solution (bottle found at Whole Foods, by the way) because every time I started brushing it was flat out, “Holy hydrogen peroxide!” Yowzah! It took some getting used to. Then after I’d come down from the hydrogen peroxide high, I had a “Holy baking soda, Batman!” moment. But as I kept brushing, I found the taste was rather pleasant (as is the aftertaste) and the sudsing bubbles actually gave a clean feeling. Put another way, the recipe says to use between two and six drops of peppermint essential oil. I was all, “Yeah, well, I’m going with just two. I can take it.” No. I. Can’t. Six drops it is.
I’m not convinced we can get Toodle and Twinkle to brush with this just yet. But at least K-Hubs and I have a recipe we can use.
The cost for this one is pennies on the dollar. For this 8 oz. jar I spent less than a dollar total.
The rub on this one isn’t about price. It’s whether you can stomach the texture and peroxide/baking soda flavors that aren’t easily masked.
Exfoliating Sugar Scrub, courtesy of Dr. Amy Myers
OMIGOD!!!!!!!!!!!!!! We are IN LOVE WITH THIS ONE! Toodle calls it “cookie sugar for the bathtub that we can’t eat.” And she’s always a little sad, as am I, when she gets to the part about not eating it. Dr. Myers’ recipe calls for jasmine essential oil. I couldn’t find it at any of my local health food stores. So I settled for lavender.
Oh. My. God.
I cannot find the words to describe the awesomeness of this one. Everyone on my Christmas list will be getting this as a gift. We will not be running out ever. If Costco stops selling raw organic sugar in bulk, I will chain myself to their storefront until they bring it back. I cannot get enough of this stuff.
And let me just tell you why. Not only does it smell wonderful, but it ACTUALLY WORKS. It moisturizes. It exfoliates. It calms. It soothes.
Toodle came into contact with something while at church that irritated her skin, giving her eczema-like patches on her elbows and backs of knees. I used this on her in the bath before bed, rinsed off before getting out, and patted her dry. You’ll notice when you use this the glycerine and coconut oil continue to soften your skin.
The next day the irritation was significantly less pronounced and is now almost gone.
Dr. Myers’ recipe calls for vitamin e. I didn’t add this ingredient because I’m still researching which brands our family can use. Remember soygate? I did find vitamin e, along with the glycerine, at Whole Foods, in the event you’d like to add it to your recipe.
The cost for this scrub is $3.38 for approximately 8 oz. of product. As a comparison, I recently bought a facial exfoliant for about $14.99. I did use this on my face and didn’t notice any adverse effects.
I’m glad this recipe is cheap because, I confess, I kind of go nuts with this stuff. And the smell. Omigosh. Just everything with the smell.
Homemade body lotion, courtesy of Wellness Mama
After seeing how well the exfoliating sugar scrub worked on Toodle and how much we loved the smell, I wondered if I could take this kitchen-as-a-lab up a notch and make my own lotion. Yes, yes, I can. And it’s to die for!!
My pictures don’t do it justice because, as it turns out, the dishes I used to make the lotion happen to be the exact same color as the lotion itself. The lovely yellow dishes you are about to see were handed down to Mom by, I’m pretty sure, a colleague. Said colleague was all, “Hey, I have microwaveable dishes from the 70s I don’t want anymore. Do you want them?” And Mom was all, “Yeah, we just got a hand-me-down microwave from a friend so hand-me-down microwaveable dishes would be awesome!!!” True as toast. Our first microwave was a monstrosity. It took two people to lift it onto the counter. Also, we got new furniture and housewares anytime someone died (also true as toast) or when a colleague said, “Hey, I don’t want this anymore.” The former is how we got a new couch. The latter is how we got our first word processor that showed one line of typed text at a time. Magical.
Okay, so because of the matchy-matchy lotion/glass bowls, you won’t really be able to tell how the lotion sets, but trust me, it does.
This lotion recipe is another from Wellness Mama. I. Love. Her.
Although it’s called lotion, I really think of it as a body butter in the sense that it’s thick and doesn’t feel watered down. There are numerous optional add-ons to this recipe that can make it feel more complicated than it its. Using what I had on hand, I relied on olive oil, yellow beeswax (from Whole Foods), coconut oil, and lavender essential oil. But, remember, I AM NOT GETTING ON THE ESSENTIAL OILS BANDWAGON YET. I am just using them in ALL MY RECIPES. It’s not the same thing.
This one made me nervous. I was convinced I would ruin the recipe. But I did exactly what Wellness Mama said to do, let the runny oil set for about 15 minutes and saw that, yes, it does turn into lotion. If you want a body butter that isn’t yellow, white beeswax is available, too.
It has worked wonders on our family’s dry skin. Also, a little goes a long way with this recipe. Use a dollop. A smidgen. Even Laura Ingalls Wilder agrees. Just a dollop will do the trick.
Price comparisons are as follows:
Acure – $9.99 for 8 oz.
Homemade – $2.79 for 8 oz.
Sold! To the woman in the kitchen who made lotion for a fraction of the price.
But now I’m wondering, could I make my own shampoo and conditioner?