Thursday, February 19, 2009

More Simple Living Links & Recipes

This picture in no way relates to this post. He's just cute and makes me smile. I'd add a picture of Pumpkin, but all his pictures are blurry as he's constantly on the go!


We'll just start at the beginning of the day.

I am looking forward to using our own soap soon. We've got all the ingredients and are just awaiting Sweetheart making the soap molds. Until then, we use all sorts of soaps, some handmade, some store bought.

I started using vinegar for conditioner over a year ago. I used just plain white vinegar and filled up an old conditioner bottle with it refilling as needed. It worked fine. Somewhere along the way, I started using apple cider vinegar and I don't know why. I think I ran out of white, but had the apple cider on hand. I'll just finish that bottle off that and decide what to do from there. You can steep herbs in the vinegar, but I never have. I never seem to remember until I'm in the shower and then it's too late!

I still used regular shampoo until it ran out. I had tried using baking soda for shampoo because I'd read others were with great success. Me, not so much. Turns out--you need to dissolve the baking soda in water first, not just rub the powder on your head. Ohhhh. Lesson learned.

I read a link off of Tonia's one day that explained it all better than I can, or have time to do. While I love Tonia's site and heartily recommend its reading, the blog with the shampooing info I am not endorsing. I've not read around it to know where she's coming from on things. The direct link to the shampoo post is fine.

I keep the baking soda in just a canning jar in the bathroom with a spoon. In the shower is just an old plastic jar with no lid I'm forever reusing. When I go to turn the shower on, I put a spoonful of the baking soda in the jar and fill it with the hot water. I do not recommend filling the jar with soda and water after a shower and just letting it sit. Why? When you dump it on your wet head the next morning, it's freezing. Ask me how I know...

After I wet my hair, I pour the soda water mixture on my scalp a bit at a time rubbing it in to my scalp. When I'm out of the mix, I just rinse it all with the water. Then I pour some of the vinegar in the old shampoo bottle either directly on my head, or mix it with water in the same jar I used for the soda. It bubbles. That's fine. After I do the vinegar rinse, I rinse my hair once more.

My hair only has ever smelled like vinegar one time and that was because I forgot to rinse out the straight vinegar. Live and learn. (Keep it out of your eyes though as it may sting. Surprisingly, I haven't done that one. Sweetheart just warned me.) Really, you won't smell like Easter eggs doing this! It's like using vinegar for cleaning, which I do all the time. There is no smell when it dries.

All this takes less time to do than to write. It takes no longer than regular shampooing. For me, it takes even less because my hair is so crazy thick that it takes forever to get regular shampoo out of it. My hair is naturally wavy and pretty long. This all works great for me and I get less tangles than I ever did using regular shampoos and conditioners and I think I tried them all.

Why would anyone do this? Well, for me it actually works BETTER than the standard products. Also, it is a lot more natural which is better for all of us in so many ways. (The link goes into more details about the common chemicals in shampoo.) It's also A LOT less expensive. I haven't bought shampoo or conditioner for over a year now and I used to go through bottle after bottle because my hair is so long and thick.


What's next?
Shan's site for homemade laundry detergent. However, last time I looked I couldn't find the link. Sorry! Here's what to do though.

I feel like Pioneer Woman whenever I line everything up on the counter like this. Of course, if I was Pioneer Woman, there would be large quantities of butter involved. And better photos. And more people reading and commenting.

Anyway, the basic recipe for Homemade Laundry Detergent is easy. Ingredients: 1 bar of Ivory or 1/3 bar of Fels Naptha soap, 1/2 cup borax, 1/2 cup washing soda,

32 cups of water, and essential oils, if desired. NOTE: Washing soda is NOT the same as baking soda. Both are by Arm & Hammer, but they are not the same. It should be in the laundry area of the store.

Grate the soap. I just use a regular cheese grater and it only takes a minute or two.

Put six cups of water in a big pan and melt the grated soap. Stir. This should only take a few minutes (5+-) depending on your heat. Don't walk away with the temp to high. It will boil over. Again, ask me how I know. At least it smells nice when it does.Once the soap melts, add the borax and washing soda. Stir until dissolved. Remove from heat. Add four cups of hot water to your bucket, or other storage container. Pour the soap mix in. Stir well. Add 22 more cups of water to the bucket. Stir. Add a few drops of essential oils, if you like. I added lavender this time, but peppermint is nice, too!

Let the detergent sit for about 24 hours to gel, if you like. I try to remember to stir it a few times as it's cooling and gelling just to help keep it from separating. I don't always remember. I just keep mine in the bucket with a towel over it on the dryer in the laundry room. Use 1/2 cup or so per load. I just kept the cup from the last jug of laundry detergent I used about a year ago. I've been using this recipe for about a year now with no complaints. I just pour it directly on spots as needed as well instead of special stain removers.

Again, this is something that is easy, more natural and a lot less expensive. It also takes less time to whip up a batch than it does to go to the store. I've run out of soap while still having laundry. When that happens, I just scoop it out and use it ungelled. It still works just fine. Once our own soap is ready and I'm out of Ivory, I'll just grate that up. Can you tell I'm looking forward to soap making?


I've got more to share from making cheese and butter this weekend, but it'll have to wait. This has taken too long already. Hope you're enjoying these ideas. I'm off to finish dinner!


Bonnie said...

Oh I'm excited tp read about cheesemaking, thats something I've been wanting to try for a long time!
Thanks for all the links, etc., I'm going to give the hair washing a go.

Shan said...


I had a moment and stopped in for a chat! I too, enjoy the change from chemical laden products to the more natural ones.

I have not tried the baking soda alternative when washing my hair, but I think I will give it a whirl.
Thank you for posting the information.

Thank you also for the link to my blog...I myself had to do some hunting for the post about laundry soap with the link attached. For some reason, I didn't put the post under any category, so that makes it hard to find. Here is the direct link

I have a DVD about soapmaking and I believe I will wait until spring and make mine outside using my campstove. I am a "spiller" and I am afraid that I would make a very big mess out of my kitchen with all of the caustic ingredients.

I just love hearing about the happenings over at your house! And they are even more charming with your darling pictures!

Yours kindredly,
Honey Hill Farm

Anonymous said...

These hints are so helpful. Thank you so much....
I found you through Joanne's blog!

Anonymous said...

Love the pic. of my nephew!!! Give the boys a squeeze from Aunt Carey.

Proverbs3122 said...

I may have to try the shampoo/conditioner thing one day. I don't know why I'm scared to try it. I mean, all it can do is not work for me, right???

I, too, make our own laundry detergent. When I first started working outside the home again this past fall, I stopped for a while. But I HATE the way our towels smell using regular detergent -- even with putting tea tree oil in the wash, they smell musty when I dry off. I cannot stand that experience. I found when we were making the detergent, the towels didn't have that smell. So, this past week, when we ran out, I made some more. I ran out of the bar soap time before last and I had some liquid peppermint castille soap I had bought from our co-op. I used that instead (about 1/2 c.) and it worked fine, too.

Thanks for sharing all your days' activities with us and your recipes and how-tos.

Jodi said...

Kimberly ~ Thank you for checking on me - that's so sweet! :o) Baby and I are fine as is the rest of the gang. I just seem to have a cup that runneth over of late. Not a bad thing ... just not very conducive to blogging.

My Bridget (9 y.o.) and I have been using the baking soda for shampoo (and vinegar rinse) since you posted this. It's working beautifully so far! I will be so excited if I can quit buying shampoo.

We made our own laundry soap for years and loved it! The only reason I stopped was because I cannot find the Washing Soda nor the Fels since we moved. I guess I need to find an online source. (I know I could use Ivory if I ever find the Washing Soda, but I just greatly prefer the finished product that results from Fels over Ivory.)

Hugs to you and yours. Praying all is going well for your family.

Alison said...

I'm impressed! The strange, chemical names listed on shampoo and conditioner bottles have worried me for many years but I have never thought to seek more natural alternatives. So I am heartily thankful to you, and for the directions to it via The Simple Wife. A reconoitering of local shops for the necessary ingredients is starting to shape up ... I like your writing style, too!

Anonymous said...

Hi there!
Just read this on Joanne's site. Had the same question for her, but thought I'd throw it your way too. Does this work in a HE front loader washer? Or does it get too bubbly? The HE detergents are so pricy! Whew...would love to use this as an alternative, but hate to do a huge batch if it's not going to work with my machine. My email is:
Thanks so much!

Anonymous said...

I jumped to your site from Joanne Heim's blog and followed your directions for laundry. FYI - I posted a link to your blog on FB. Thanks for the great pics - that really helped my confidence. Can't wait to start doing laundry!
Grace and Peace,
Kim Feth


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