One of the recent fresh fruit snacks my students received was pomelo! They were delicious and the kids loved them! I decided I would cut or peel them for everyone so I could save the peels to make cleaning vinegar.
All I did was make sure any pulp was removed and placed as many as could fit into a half gallon mason jar. Then white vinegar was poured over. I’ll let it set on the counter for a couple weeks, then strain and bottle to use for an amazing smelling cleaner! Essentially almost free, yet somewhat fancy.
This works with any citrus peel, and the peels will need to be composted after being removed from the vinegar.
This weekend I realized I had run out of many of my essential products for hygiene and cleaning. I truly enjoy making things myself because I am sensitive to many scents and, as my husband would say, I have “touch issues” where many textures leave me with the heebie jeebies. I do my best to not buy into all the daily propaganda we’re bombarded with (mostly advertisements) and scare tactics of companies and people trying to make money. Trusting my instincts, reading up on research, and avoiding dangerous chemicals led me to many do-it-yourself products that I now love and wouldn’t want to be without.
A list of what I made then followed by general recipes and pictures: perfume, lip balm (chapstick), body lotion, deodorant, tooth powder / toothpaste, mouth rinse, and general purpose disinfectant spray.
This is a roll-on perfume diluted with jojoba as a carrier oil. I really just had a small amount of bergamot left and decided to make a grounding, sensual perfume. So I added one of my favorite scents, sandalwood, and only a couple drops of patchouli as a base note. Due to the sandalwood being already diluted, I filled a little less than half of the roller bottle with that, then about 1/5 was bergamot, 2 drops of patchouli, then filled it up the rest of the way with jojoba. Mmmmm! I can still smell it on my wrists and neck.
I use a Salton warming tray and re-purposed glass jars to melt the waxes, butters, and oils together first. Then once the beeswax is melted, I add in the essential oils. The majority of the recipe is a mixture of the oils. These are both skin healing, nourishing oils with added help from the herbs. I love using red raspberry oil as well because of the possibility of sun protection. My favorite brand of lip balm is badger and it has mostly peppermint and a little orange, so I added quite a bit of peppermint essential oil, then a little orange. I always test my recipe by dropping a few drops into the container, wait for it to cool, then test the consistency. Too hard? Add more liquid oil. Too soft? Add more beeswax. This one somehow ended up perfectly hard, yet melts as soon as I touch my lips or finger to it. It’s extra pepperminty and I love it!
I’ve made other types of body butters or lotions before, but not quite something that was emulsified. I used these herb infused oils again because of their wonderful properties for skin. There was no real recipe for this, I melted only a small amount of beeswax and cocoa butter, and used more oils. Knowing I needed to eventually add water, I only made about half of what would fill my container. I use an immersion blender to make mayonnaise, which is notoriously difficult to emulsify, and it works beautifully and astonishingly quickly every time. This is what I employed for this project as well. It came together quickly, and I was able to gauge how much water to add by testing the lotion as I was making it. I added approximately an equal volume of water as oils. Then I mixed in the essential oils. I love rose scented everything, but I kind of needed the oils to help mask the strong herbal scent of the yarrow oil. I have been using this all day and am surprised and impressed how much I like it. It made enough to fill my cool vintage Oscar de la Renta jar and then some!
Honestly, I don’t even know where I get all of my items. As I type this, I am realizing how much vintage I own, and how I acquired it all is a mystery. Who owns a vintage deodorant jar? Me, I guess.
This recipe can barely be called that. It’s baking soda and lemon essential oil only. Lemon is antibacterial, which is what causes our armpits to stink. I wouldn’t put lemon on my skin neat, but it hasn’t bothered me in a deodorant before. I have experimented with more cream-based deodorants that are similar to Schmidt’s, but I took a jar of baking soda with me to Mexico and Cuba during the summer time and never caught a bad smell from my armpits. Except that one time when I forgot to pat it on, and it was not pretty. I know some people have bad reactions to baking soda only, but I only pat on a pinch when my armpits are totally dry and haven’t had any problems. I did feel some irritation from the cream-based ones I made in the past. Different strokes for different folks. I’m happy with my simple recipe.
This also is barely a recipe. I call this tooth powder / paste because it essentially forms a paste once wet. I dump some baking soda into my jar, then drip plenty of peppermint essential oil in and mix! It’s nice to have that minty feel in my mouth when I brush so I started adding the oil. I used to brush with just baking soda, but this feels deluxe.
I put the kettle on with enough water to fill this bottle, then waited for it to cool back down to about room temperature. The waiting was the hardest part! When it was ready, I poured almost to the top of the bottle, then put about a tablespoon of baking soda in for good oral health, then about 30 drops of peppermint oil and 15 drops of clove. I don’t know if a mouth rinse is essential, but it feels nice sometimes and is extra healthy because of the clove, which is known to be useful for mouth complaints.
When I went digging around my cupboards to find all my ingredients to make these products, I realized my disinfecting spray was empty and knew it was a quick and simple concoction to make. I filled the bottle up 1/3 with water, 1/2 with vinegar, then 1/6 with witch hazel, then put in 30 drops of eucalyptus and 15 drops each clove and grapefruit. I realize my vinegar isn’t pictured, and it’s because the bottle is too giant to fit in this scene. I buy white vinegar in a big plastic jug that I recycle so it’s not completely zero waste. I luckily can find witch hazel in bulk at my local co-op!
As you can see, I have quite a lot of essential oils and basics that help me make these items. I did not have to make any trips to the store and didn’t spend any money that hadn’t already been spent. For the record, I do not prefer one essential oil brand over another. I buy from my local shops brands that are trusted. I think there has been so much more talk about fraudulent essential oil companies since the start-up of other brands that are worried about not getting enough sales. Don’t buy into this nonsense. Essential oils are clearly labeled and you will not be easily fooled by “bad” brands.
Here’s what I keep them in:
Here is the Salton warming tray:
I use these items very frequently and feel that they are necessary in my home. I am passionate about a clean and healthy home that is breathable. I am passionate about healthy, happy skin, mind, teeth, and body. Now I’m going to keep that perfume with me and breathe in deeply all next week at work with my Kindergartners. 🙂
These are the three ingredients I use to make laundry powder in about ten minutes. Washing soda, borax, and a bar of castile soap are all you need! I choose Dr. Bronner’s lavender because sometimes I like a scent, but often I choose unscented because of my sensitivities to smells. However, the lavender is so subtle that I feel like its main purpose is to mask the more detergent-like smell of borax. Also, it makes doing laundry a tiny bit more pleasant. Or so I think. The jar is just some reused jar I had and have been using it for this recipe because it is the exact right size. I went through a phase of spray painting the lids of my re-purposed glass jars. Hehe.
Here are all the tools you’ll need. A 1 cup measuring tool, a knife, and something to process / chop the soap up if you’re not into shredding / grating it by hand. Clearly I am not into it. I’ve had this ninja chopper for probably close to 6 years and it still works great! First I slice up the bar of soap.
Then I put about half of it in to the chopper along with 1 cup of either borax or washing soda.
This is important so as not to gum up the chopper with just soap. The powder keeps the soap from sticking to itself so much. I pulse it until quite fine.
Then I repeat with the remainder of the soap bar and 1 cup of the other powder. I pour it all into my jar and sort of rotate it a bit to mix it all up together.
It’s done! I write in washable marker stolen from a pack at school that I also use to write on my cloth bulk bags at the store. Pictured here are two of my wool dryer balls I picked up at the Sun Valley Wool Fest last year. I decided to sprinkle about 20 drops of orange essential oil on them for my last few loads of laundry because I had done some deep cleaning with the towels and rags and needed a pleasant scent boost.
It’s really the most simple and rewarding process. Yes, there is packaging involved, but it’s plastic free and I prefer to use simple ingredients rather than pay a high price for bulk laundry detergent from a city 20 miles away. Perhaps not “zero” waste but definitely low waste and very inexpensive. Each batch costs me about $4 USD. This is what works for me and my husband, who is a carpenter and artist and is pleased with its performance as well.