Because of the internet and the bunch of killjoys who use it, those of us who look up stuff and read links our friends send to us on a regular basis have come to realize, in excruciating detail, that everything (every single thing) inside our homes is pretty much killing us. We are surrounded by chemicals, breathing them in from the time we roll off our toxic mattresses in the morning to when we relax in the evening on our comfortable couch as tiny particles of flame-retardant carcinogens waft upwards, entering our bloodstream via the air we breathe and our very own skin, that traitor.
So what is a conscientious person supposed to do? Well, some of us are purists and dress only in ethically-sourced hemp, use only milk paint and eat food that only comes from biological resources that don’t have eyes, which means that even some plants are off-limits. Others among us don’t go that far. I am one of those others. But still, I really, really, really despise being forced to play along with our Industrial Food-and-Chemical Overlords, so on to the real point of this missive: I recently made my own toothpaste, and I liked it.
The toothpaste-making was preceded by the laundry detergent-making, which is pretty much Homesteading 101 for anyone who has read a book on being thrifty or followed the career of the Duggars as they make their alternative way through the world. So I was long overdue for making my own detergent. Which, by the way, if you haven’t tried it, is as great as everyone on the internet says it is. No need to make the typically-recommended Duggar-sized batches, however, as most of us don’t have a household the size of an orphanage with a mountain of uniforms to wash. But the toothpaste took my initiative to another level. I will leave the personal revelations out of this post, but suffice it to say, as I have grown older I have felt increasing anxiety about oral health, especially since my children came along and leached away much of my calcium. If you’re up to reading a bit about how conventional toothpaste and laundry detergents are killing us all, little by little, then check out making your own detergent and toothpaste. As far as the toothpaste-making recipe I followed goes, the baking soda aspect is a little intense so it would be a good idea, perhaps, to alter the ratios a bit. The pay-off, besides the chemical-free aspect, is the satisfaction that comes from not buying into the first-world obsession with products and corporate validation. When I bought the ingredients for the detergent, etc., I felt a little silly when I realized that this stuff has been around forever but I had been seduced, up to this time, by a lifetime of exposure to commercials touting the specially-made detergent bottles with their flashy graphics and promises of a better, brighter, laboratory-induced-field-of-clover experience! The typical laundry detergent is like an acid trip for your clothes: a fake chemical ride to a land of bliss that actually results in disappointment and death. Not to overstate it or anything.
But I must end with the granddaddy of chemical-free household living: the ultimate example of our family’s so-old-it’s-new trading of artificial products for something made from nature. A substance so amazing and varied in its uses that I feel like I’m in love when I talk about it. This humble but mighty substance is nothing other than vinegar. I use it from morning to night, from drinking raw apple cider vinegar before breakfast (truly as bad as it sounds) to spraying down the bathroom dozens of times a day due to a child who lives in our home, who shall remain nameless, and his lack of facility with the facilities. We use gallons of the vinegar and it works better, every time and all the time, than any commercial junk we have ever bought. So let’s hear it for vinegar, for baking soda and borax, and, especially, for essential oils like peppermint and cinnamon, which make it all smell good, naturally.