Thursday, March 24, 2011

Guest Post: Maria - DIY Cleaning Supplies

By Maria

When SHTF, who’s going to clean your clothes? No, not the cleaning lady; she’s hiding in a bunker somewhere. Nope, not your mom in New Jersey. Just you and your trusty homemade cleaning supplies.

That you need to buy thirty different products for your face, hair, kitchen cleaning, and laundry is a big commercial lie. You end up wasting money, creating waste, and slowly poisoning your body with nasty chemicals that stay in your fat cells for longer than it takes for the actual stuff to run down the drain and ruin some poor fish’s life. The truth is that you can make most of your cleaning supplies with these basic and cheap ingredients:

• Water
• Vegetable-based soap (Dr Bronner’s is fair-trade, vegan, cruelty-free, and already infused with moisturizing jojoba oil and other good stuff)
• Antibacterial essential oils like tea tree oil and lavender
• Vinegar
• Washing soda
• Borax

These ingredients collectively last longer and are cheaper than the thirty bottles of sprays and suds you get from the grocery store. You’ll save money now and know how to survive later.

DIY Disinfecting Cleaning Spray
This is for everything from cleaning the kitchen counter to wiping down door handles during flu season. Tea tree oil debuts in this recipe; a recent study in Italy has concluded that the stuff actually inhibits growth of the dreaded H1N1 virus, so it’s an effective antibacterial agent. No need for bleach here. Combine the following ingredients in an empty spray bottle, shake, and spray.
• 4 cups water
• 6 tbsp liquid soap
• 40 to 60 drops of tea tree oil

DIY Laundry Detergent
• 1/3 bar vegetable-based soap, grated to a powder
• ½ cup washing soda
• ½ cup borax
Put the grated soap in a sauce pan, adding 6 cups of water over heat until the soap melts. Add washing soda and borax and stir until consistent. In a bucket, pour 4 cups of hot water (not boiling) and then the soap mixture, stirring until consistent. Add 6 more cups of water followed by a gallon. Stir again and then let it sit (with a lid) overnight or over 24 hours. The mixture will turn into a soupy gel and you can use ½ cup of it for a full laundry load, even with a high efficiency (HE) washer. Soap is low-sudsing, so it won’t turn into a 5th grade volcano project.

DIY Fabric Softener
Just add ½ cup of white vinegar at the start of your washer’s rinse cycle. This way, you can line-dry your clothes to save money on the energy bill.

DIY Shampoo
• 1 cup water
• 1 cup liquid vegetable-based soap (some of Dr Bronner’s stuff comes already scented, so it’s a good choice yet again)
• 1 tsp jojoba oil for dry hair, lavender oil for oily scalps
• Optional ½ cup of aloe vera gel for added moisture
Mix these ingredients in an old bottle and shake before use. The concoction is soupy, but don’t let it fool you—it lathers surprisingly well. Apply directly to hair. Bonus: this mixture doubles for shaving cream.

DIY Hair Conditioner
Combine ¼ cup of apple cider vinegar with 2 cups of water in an old bottle. It smells bad, but it’ll go away when you rinse it out. It leaves your hair soft, shiny, and dandruff-free.

DIY Body Soap
Combine 1 cup of liquid vegetable-based soap with ½ to 1 cup of water with a few drops of your favorite essential oil. Tea tree oil and lavender are both antiseptic and good choices.

You can make body soap from the little bar soap scraps you leave in the drain, too. Put them all in a pot of water, about 1 cup of water per 1 tbsp of soap, and heat until thoroughly mixed. Add a few drops of essential oil and put in a bottle. Shake before use.

Bio: Maria Rainier is a freelance writer and blog junkie. She is currently a resident blogger at First in Education where she writes about education, online degree programs, and what it takes to succeed as a remote student in online schools. In her spare time, she enjoys square-foot gardening, swimming, and avoiding her laptop.

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