Making Stuff: the Domestic Edition

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.

My homemade toothpaste. In a cute jam jar to make me brush like a champ!

My homemade toothpaste. In a cute jam jar to make me brush like a champ!

Homemade Laundry Detergent Information

Homemade Toothpaste Information

Natural Oral Health Routine

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2 thoughts on “Making Stuff: the Domestic Edition

  1. I read about homemade detergent a while back, but decided against it reading several accounts of ruined septic systems. Have you ever dealt with any issues because of your homemade detergent?
    The toothpaste definitely has my interest peeked. I noticed recently that Alden often forgets to spit it out, and it alarmed me. I realized if he is scrubbing his teeth with something that alarms me when he swallows it, why I am allowing him to scrub his teeth with it? ( this inner conflict does not apply to my copious use of hair color of course. ;) ) And oil pulling, what is up with oil pulling?
    Am I your most obnoxious commenter?
    Probably.

    • Are you kidding? I love your comments. They are conversation-starters. And I can’t believe you brought up oil pulling, because I started that too, but I didn’t put it in the post, because I didn’t want to seem too granola. But man, I love the oil pulling. I don’t love doing it, because it’s a little gross, but the effects have been fantastic for me. I never had a cavity until my first pregnancy, and it’s been all downhill from there. But oil pulling really does seem to work. It’s hard to justify the effects, as they are anecdotal, but I know things have been better for me since I started the pullin’. I just had to research the right coconut oil to buy without spending a billion dollars or buying some stuff that claims to be unrefined but isn’t. I found a blog post (http://www.evolvingwellness.com/essay/how-to-choose-a-coconut-oil-comparing-best-and-worst-brands) with the breakdown of info on coconut oil on the market As far as the detergent goes, I hadn’t heard about the septic system thing, so thank you for that, but I’ll read about how to deal with it here: http://barefootmommy.blogspot.com/2011/05/septic-friendly-homemade-laundry.html After looking up different laundry soap recipes, I didn’t bother with Fels-Naptha — I used Bronners instead, and not as much as was called for, so I’m not sure if the oil/fat ratio would be different, but in the future I think I’ll add in something acidic, as is suggested in the blog post I referenced, to help the soap break down just to make sure. And the homemade toothpaste will probably taste really horrible to your guys, but I think if I increased the essential oil ratio to baking soda (I got really carried away with the baking soda), all will be improved next time. But you’re right: if it’s so terrible to swallow commercially-produced toothpaste, should we really be using it? All the processed toxic garbage out there is such a depressing topic.

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