Tag Archives: homemade shampoo

Household Gold:Baking Soda

I make no secret about it, baking soda is my solution to almost everything.

I thought I’d write another post exclusively about baking soda and what I use it for since my last post is very out of date.

So, what exactly IS baking soda you might ask? Well very simply, it’s a mineral similar to salt that is mined. Sodium bicarbonate is naturally occurring in the earth just like so many other minerals and like salt, it tends to condense in certain areas. We have some very large deposits in places like Wyoming and Colorado where it’s mined from and after a cleansing process that involves dissolving it in water and then letting the water evaporate (again, to put it simply) it is sent to households all over the world.

It can be used in cleaning, food, and even industrial products like glass. Over the years it has slowly made it’s way into many areas of my life in place of chemicals and products.

How I Use Baking Soda

Shampoo

  • I’ve mentioned many times how I don’t use conventional shampoo but instead I dissolve a tablespoon or so of baking soda in a little water and work in through my thoroughly combed hair before my shower. I rinse it off in the shower and use white vinegar if I need a conditioner. It works great for me and I’ve been using it for probably about three years now at least.

Household cleaner

  • Baking soda is a great scrubbing agent and can be used safely on counters, toilets, bathtubs, floors and walls. If I have a particularly hard to clean spot I sprinkle baking soda over it and add either hydrogen peroxide or vinegar to make it foam up. It’s like magic.

Laundry Detergent

  • I do equal parts baking soda, washing soda (very similar to baking soda), and borax as a laundry detergent. If I have a particularly gnarly load that I want to soak I grate in a bit of laundry stain soap during the soak and prewash cycle. The reason this is such an economical is because you only need two or three tablespoons per load to do the job.

Baking Powder

  • Baking powder is ridiculously easy to make and is comprised of ingredients we already mostly have in our pantry. If you have the ingredients you can make a container of baking powder for a couple pennies rather than spending a couple dollars. The ratio is 1/4 part cream of tartar, 1/4 part corn starch and 1/2 part baking soda. Simple, and SUPER cheap.

Baking

  • Obviously baking soda is called ‘baking’ soda for a reason and I naturally use it in my kitchen for the usual recipes.

Toothpaste

  • I recently started making my own toothpaste and so far I like it. It’s not for the faint of heart though so you have to be committed if you want to try it. My recipe is 6 Tablespoons baking soda, several drops of peppermint oil, and enough vegetable glycerin to make it a paste. My one problem is that when I put this mixture into a tube it tends to settle a bit and I have to press and work it occasionally to keep it in good squeezing shape. Next batch I may put in an eight ounce mason jar for storage instead.

Facial Scrub

  • There are many great facial scrubs you can make using baking soda. In fact, a very nice and tingly one would be to use the toothpaste mixture! How’s that for multitasking? But I really love mixing an oil with it like olive oil or coconut oil. It gently exfoliates and neutralizes at the same time. Since I’m not a big face product person I only do this once a week tops.

Misc

  • Baking soda can be used for many other little things that I don’t use frequently enough to mention above. It kills fleas, can be used as an ant repellent, weed killer, refrigerator moisture and odor attraction, treatment for urinary tract infection, solution for neti pot, etc.

As you can see, my relationship with baking soda runs deep, it’s longterm, it has a ‘drawer’ in my house. Very serious.

The amount of money I safe by using baking soda over other products is probably ridiculous. I’m a little out of touch on how much things like shampoo and detergent cost or the frequency at which they’re replaced since I’ve been doing baking soda for so long. The other side of the equation is waste management and plastic reduction. Rather than dealing with all sorts of bottles, jugs and tubes I only have to have an occasional box which is harmless and can be properly recycled, unlike plastic. There is also far less processing involved which means less chemicals slipped in here and there and less environmental damage.

So that’s the current overview of how much I use and love baking soda in my daily life. I hope that it’s helpful to you!

Question: Do you use baking soda for anything unconventional? What are your helpful household hints?

Ideals

You can skip reading this post if you want since I’m sure it will be deathly boring to some of you, and at best, irrelevant. The very few of my readers who dream of farms, off the grid electricity, well water and sustainable lifestyle may relate somewhat here.

Today I am in a pensive mood and feel like divulging my need to expound on my life ideals and dreams.

So, what would be my ‘ideal’ life? Well the older  I get the more developed my dreams become they very generally involve having a self-sustaining farm. It’s a long stretch for my life because I can’t say that it will ever even remotely happen but I love thinking about it. I also like the idea that most of what goes into it, I already have the ability to put into action. Sure, I don’t have land or anything but becoming more self sustaining can be a process that anyone, anywhere can do.

I have a list of things I want to purge from my current lifestyle that would contribute to my dream lifestyle.

  • I want to stop buying, using or throwing away plastics. There are a very few areas of life in which I feel plastics are necessary in our society and they generally involve such things and refrigerators, computers and other technologically advanced products. As far as toys, grocery bags, food packaging,  food storage, clothing, carpeting, furniture, etc go, I think we massively and grossly over use plastic. It can’t be recycled into anything but plastic bags because of the huge variety of different components in each plastic product and the plastic bags that are made from recycled plastic can’t be recycled or reused. This is known as downcycling…..it’s a problem. The hormonal damage alone is enough for me to think twice about having a plastic environment but the fact that plastic doesn’t degrade for many many many years makes me want to limit my usage of it. As a country we seem to have more and more plastic products produced every year and if none of them are degrading  then the build up is simply getting out of control not only in landfills but in nature too. Shoot, the amount of litter that ends up next to the road in front of my house is enough to make me swear it off!
  • Coal based energy. Now you may think I’m a tree hugging hippy to want to stop using coal based energy but really I think it’s because I personally can’t generate coal based energy, therefore I have no control over my sources, and the big companies that control it are really starting to annoy me. Our own power company is a monopoly in our city and they recently screwed us over (in a fairly long line of screws) and I felt so helpless that it made me just automatically look at other things. And by look, I mean fantasize. Solar panels ain’t cheap folks.
  • Eliminate all genetically modified crops from my diet and life in general.  Many of you know my feelings towards Monsanto (something like they’re potentially the antichrist, etc) and those feelings have only increased the more I learn. But Monsanto isn’t the only one pumping out GMCs and just because I hate that company doesn’t mean I’m not being rational in wanting to avoid the products. The true reason, of course, is based in the health of my body and my family as well as the farming system in this country. I love food, REAL food and the biotech companies are putting real food in danger.

It’s surprisingly hard to get away from nearly all these things since they permeate our country, our culture and our daily lives. If you’ve ever seen No Impact Man you really get an idea of how hard our society make it to live naturally.  I realize it’s a process but I am slowly working towards my goals. I have been switching my food storage from plastic bags and tupperware to mason jars.

Stored dried goods in mason jars. I'm also using other sizes in place of plastic tupperware.

I’m using cardboard to store my homemade laundry detergent instead of a plastic container, my homemade shampoo is stored in a jar, and any toys I’ve bought Avery are wooden. I am not trying to abandon technology in this pursuit since I understand the necessities of plastic in our electronics and even though I tend to be an extremist in my ideals, I do have some shred of moderate realism. The same goes with power. I understand our modern day usage but I do like to take advantage what we get for free from nature (light, fresh air, etc). Shane has done a lot of consolidating and making our computers/entertainment electronics more power efficient.

We try to stay conservative but yeah, we have a lot of electronics.

You all know my rampage against using GM foods and I am still holding strong. I have done very well for the most part keeping anything from entering our pantry/fridge but there are always those random situations (I used a cupcake mix for superbowl cupcakes, occasionally I buy a cereal without think or checking the label etc) that slip past my radar.

I also have a list of things I really would like to add to our lifestyle that  we currently don’t have the resources to include into our life.

  • At least a couple acres of land. I have such limited usable space in our current living situation that I can’t help but fantasize about having more.

Winter look at part of my herb garden. So sad.The garden I currently attempt to succeed at has a lot of very prominent issues the main one being lack of sunshine. It's sad.

I have one or two beds that get a good amount of sun but they are plagued by burrowing, stealing squirrels because we’re in a neighborhood with an aggressive squirrel population. I grew up in the country and saw a squirrel maybe once or twice a month. Here, they are EVERYWHERE. I’ve seen them climbing up the screen on our sliding glass door….seriously. But I would love to have land that I could really cultivate a successful garden on. It’d be nice to have chickens too. I want my kids to be able to run and play outside without getting immediately bored of the tiny yard…..the way I do.

  • A cellar or basement. This may seem simple but I really have no place to store or cellar food. My pantry barely fits my biweekly groceries and my garage is in no way temperature controlled. When I can things they tend to get spread around the house randomly and the same goes with our batches of homebrew beer….we just need somewhere to put our homemade goods!
  • As I mentioned above, I’d love to have sustainable electricity (wind or solar) as well as a water source such as a well or rain water storage tanks. Even if the sources are only used for watering gardens or animals, I’d like to have it all the same just in case.

It doesn’t seem like too much to ask to live a natural life but apparently it’s easier said than done, at least in this country. We are consumers, we want the next thing, we want our trash to disappear every week from the end of our driveway and not think about it, we’d rather pay a bill then go through the trouble to make our own, of pretty much anything, from food, to resources, to household products. I figure things are cyclical and if it’s not a sustainable lifestyle for a entire country we’ll have to change eventually but that change doesn’t just happen, we have to make it. I’m an naturally a researcher and because of this I come to learn of things I can’t live with so it only seems right for me to figure out how to live without. The usual outcome is that I spend less money, lose weight without fake foods, find fulfillment or character building in making something on my own, spend less time doing pointless things like wasting hours on Facebook…yes, I just went there.

I love that I don’t have to buy shampoo all the time and throw away the bottles, I love that I can use two Tblsp of my own laundry detergent rather than a cup of store bought (again with throwing away buckets or bottles), I love tasting tomatoes from my own garden, I just want more of these things.

In the past few years I’ve improved my quality of life significantly by educating myself, trying new things and keeping an open mind. Maybe some day I’ll be able to expand further with all my ideal components and lack of the less ideal ones. But until I’ll keep traveling the paths I’ve been finding. I’m blessed and I can’t deny it.

Question: Are you interested in any of this? Do you hate the amount of trash you product? What are your plans for improving the quality of your life?