I've gotten a few emails asking for updates on how all of the natural recipes I've posted have worked so far, so I wanted to give a quick update along with some new recipes. I'm so glad you've been interested in this!
The laundry detergent has been working amazingly well! Shawn even commented that our clothes look cleaner and brighter than before. I've been adding 1/2 cup extra borax to each load (as recommended on the borax box) and our whites are whiter than they've ever been - and all without bleach!
The no shampoo routine is still going really well. My hair continues to feel more silky and look more shiny as time goes on, but without feeling greasy at all. I've found that it's key to find a good container for the baking soda solution to make sure it reaches your roots. You don't want to just pour it onto your hair as that defeats the purpose. But if you find an old shampoo bottle or another container with a small spout, you can get close to the roots and rub it in. And what about the extra shampoo and conditioner left over? Shawn will use the shampoo. And the conditioner works perfectly as shaving cream! It leaves your legs so smooth.
For an all-purpose cleaner, I've been using 1 part white vinegar mixed with 1 part water and a few drops of essential oil*. It is food safe and the vinegar smell disappears as soon as it dries. I use it on our kitchen counters, sinks, stovetop, and in the bathroom - it even works on windows and mirrors! For greasy, gritty messes, I put baking soda in a little shaker, shake it on the mess, then spray it with the vinegar solution. It fizzes and softens the mess and is so easy to wipe up (and again, is food safe).
Another fun discovery has been making my own peanut butter. I'll admit, I'm pretty picky when it comes to peanut butter. After having the real stuff without additives (like sugar), it's hard to go back to the "normal" brands like Jiff. Do you have a blender or (even better) a food processor? If so, just pour in roasted peanuts (they can be salted or unsalted, whatever you like better) and start pureeing. I was a lucky girl to get a new food processor this past weekend after saving up for it and I am loving it. I just poured the peanuts into the work bowl and started it up. The peanuts went from small bits to sand-like to clumped up in a bowl to, finally, a perfectly smooth peanut butter in about 3 minutes. And I didn't add a thing! It's a little harder to achieve in a blender, but still very possible. You may want to add a little peanut oil or pure olive oil to aid in the process. And when you're done, just scoop it into an empty peanut butter jar and refrigerate it. It's so, so good!
Last but not least, I've found an alternative to Swiffer sheets. For the wet ones (my favorite for a quick floor cleaning before company arrives), just soak a cleaning rag in whatever you clean floors with - I used vinegar and water for my tile. Normal rags are the perfect size for a Swiffer mop. Just ring them out a little bit, put it on the mop like you normally would a disposable sheet, and you're good to go! You can just throw the sheet in with the dirty laundry when you're done.
Next up? Homemade deodorant, dishwashing detergent, and toothpaste. Once you start making your own supplies from scratch, it's hard to stop! I'm just trying to run out of the products I have before I begin so that it actually does save money.
*You can find essential oils at Whole Foods or other health food stores and while they do cost more than you'd expect for such a tiny amount of liquid, they last a long time because you only use a few drops at a time.