I've been trying out various recipes that are homemade versions of what you can buy at the store. Sometimes it's to save money and other times it's to avoid allergies. Here are some of my findings:
Homemade laundry soap
When we first got cloth diapers I knew I could spend extra on laundry soap or make my own. I wanted to make a dry powder version so I hunted around on the internet and found a suitable recipe. I can say that after using it for almost two years now that it is an easy success. Here's the recipe:
1 bar of hard soap (I use Kirk's Castile)
1 cup of Borax
1 cup of washing soda
Grate the hard soap as finely as you can and mix together with borax and washing soda, getting rid of any lumps. 1 tablespoon of your detergent is all that is needed to wash a full load of laundry.
Sometimes I throw in a 1/2 Downey ball of white vinegar to my laundry. It helps to dissolve the soap and it naturally acts as a fabric softener. Your clothes may have a vinegar smell to them but that will dissipate upon drying.
I've been frustrated with toothpaste. It seems like such a money making business. In the past I've had toothpaste that made my teeth hurt and burned my tongue (whitening), and were not great for when stress made canker sores emerge. They have a bunch of chemicals in them and lots of sweeteners. I also question the use of fluoride as it has some serious health side effects and is not safe for children under the age of six (this includes fluoridated water). So, in June I bucked up the courage to make my own. It's not bad, just a little salty tasting and I got great results at my dentist last week. When they asked about how I was going to remineralize my teeth without fluoride I told them I was drinking bone broth (lots of bioavailable calcium and minerals).
1 part baking soda
1 part coconut oil
a dash of salt
a splash of peppermint extract
Mix and put in a squeezable tube or store in an airtight container.
I found that in the heat the coconut oil liquifies and separates and you may have to shake up your toothpaste. The baking soda cleans and whitens your teeth, the coconut oil is antibacterial and doesn't go rancid for years (plus it puts a nice sealer coat on your teeth to keep bacteria away), and the salt is good for your gums. I give this recipe a big thumbs up. I love it.
I really liked the idea of homemade shampoo. I originally thought it would be a great way to get away from all the chemicals and such. Unfortunately, after giving it a try for over a month I didn't like the outcome of my hair. My hair was greasy, staticy, and it tangled. I tried to thicken the shampoo with starch but the starch would only float around as big flakes in my bottle. The shampoo is mostly water with a little baking soda.
1 cup of hot water
1 tbs of baking soda
Mix until soda dissolves. Shake contents before use. Leave in hair for two minutes before rinsing.
I think this would be a great idea for camping since it's biodegradable. I wouldn't pre-mix it with water but just sprinkle it in my hair to soak up any oils before rinsing it out.
Apple cider vinegar is a good conditioner. I don't know that I was using enough (I used a squirt bottle) or maybe I was rinsing it out too much. I think for best results you're supposed to just leave it in your hair to dry without rinsing. I know that white vinegar as a fabric softener works great, so I think it was user error on my part. By the end of the month my hair had a lot of static in it and it was more challenging to get the tangles out.
Again, I think this might be a great idea for camping.