Friday, September 14, 2007

Simple Living - Making Household Cleaners

Today is my first soap making day. I am so excited. My husband asked me the other day what led up to me wanting to make soap. Let me explain.

I am striving to live more simply. I have always tried to cook most of my meals from scratch. After all, it is healthier, and I can monitor what is going into the bodies of my family. Next year I will garden and can and freeze my crop. But since we have been trying to sell our house this year I didn't want to try to tackle a garden just to abandon it.

My house is filled with cleaning supplies. I have cleaning supplies stuffed under two bathroom sinks, one kitchen sink, and overflowing the shelves in my laundry room. What can I say? I like to clean. But how much of it is really necessary? I started by making my own daily shower spray and have been really pleased with the results. I have been developing some awful scent allergies over the last few years, and have little tolerance for many of the perfumes in store bought cleansers. This way I can adjust the scents.

Next, I made my own laundry detergent, and abandoned my fabric softener for white vinegar. My clothes have come out so clean! And my towels are much more absorbent. They don't smell like vinegar, or perfume, but fresh, as if they have been dried outside on a clothes line. I also use my laundry detergent, diluted in water, for household cleaning. I fill the sink with warm water, add a little detergent, and use it to clean my bathrooms and kitchen. I even add it to the toilet for toilet cleaning. It cleans, disinfects, and deodorizes.

I have started making my own sugar and salt scrubs for the shower, and a milk bath for the tub. I have been so pleased with the results. My favorite new cleanser, however, is my new face cleaner. I have oily skin and have trouble wiping out the oil and dirt on my skin without really drying out my skin. I hate to dry out my skin, then try to moisturize, as then my skin looks and feels very shiny and oily just a couple hours after I apply the moisturizer.

I mixed ground up uncooked oatmeal with plain yogurt. Yes, it has to be refrigerated, but it is SO worth it. I take a spoonful out of the fridge just as I need it. I have been using this just over a week and absolutely love what it is doing to my skin. I had one of those boil-like pimples on the side of my face the first day I used this cleaner. Within two days it was gone! No red spot! No scar! No pain! My face is staying smooth. I have not had to use moisturizer. Best of all, after a whole day at the zoo (temp 98 degrees) 'glowing' in the heat, my face was not shiny at all, and my foundation wasn't running off my face. And the 'character lines' around my eyes and on my forehead that really stand out when my face is dry have smoothed out.

I should warn you that after I rinsed it off the first time, I almost followed with a regular cleanser. My face didn't feel clean. It felt oily!!! I was so used to my face feeling stripped of oils, and associating this with 'clean'. But, trust me, once you dry your face off it will feel incredible. Clean, soft, and moisturized.

For those of you wanting to try your hand at natural cleansers, here are a couple recipes that I have had luck with:

Shower spray
1/2 cup hydrogen peroxide
1/2 cup rubbing alcohol
6 drops dishwashing liquid
2 teaspoons dishwasher rinse
24 ounces Water

Laundry Detergent
1 bar Fels Naptha soap**
1 cup Borax
I cup washing soda*
1/4 cup OxyClean

**I had trouble finding Fels Naptha, but it is the most recommended. You can also use Zote, or Colgate Octagon, or your own homemade soap.
*This was at the store under the name brand Arm & Hammer. Make sure you pick up washing soda and not just regular Arm & Hammer laundry detergent.

I'll let you know how my soap turns out. And those of you who know me may be getting some for Christmas. ;)

What do you do to simplify your life? Have any tips for others?


Ann said...

OooooH, I'm going to try the face cleanser one. I need something to fix my skin up and the stuff I've been using isn't working anymore.
As for the shower cleaner, what kind of dishwashing liquid do you use to mix in it?
btw, thanks for the nice comments you have left on my blog, its nice to know someone reads it....

koinoniacommunity said...

Hey Ann! I use Dawn (I fall for the whole grease cutting line) but anything will work.