With our recent Celiac diagnoses and all of the reactions we are having, I am trying my hardest to take out not only all of the foods we are reacting to but also all household/personal care products (especially after I had such a bad reaction to lipstick)! We are doing this for the simple reason that the more ingredients we let into the house, the harder it is to determine which ones are causing the reactions. I have tried before to come up with “all-natural/diy” household and personal care products, but there were still several that I had not managed to find a decent substitute for. Now with my arthritis, I have had renewed determination to find reasonable substitutes!
Hand soap:Currently, we are using Dr. Bronner’s, but I have enough tallow in the freezer to make at least half a year supply of bar soap….so maybe I’ll get around to that at some point.
Shower soap: Again the kids and I are using Dr. Bronner’s (until I can get that bar soap made)! It has a nice lather and cleans well.
Shampoo: 1/4 cup milk (whole milk or coconut milk…the more fat the better), 1/3 Dr. Bronner’s, 1 tsp olive oil….this works really well! It produces a nice lather and doesn’t leave your hair dry and matted. I do find that I need to condition my hair once a week, but other than that I can’t tell much difference between this and shampoos I have used in the past!
Conditioner: dab a small amount of coconut oil in your hair (a tsp or two for me) and put on a shower cap for an hour while your hair soaks up the coconut oil. Then rinse/wash out. This works really well, but it is very easy to get too much! It feels like you haven’t put anything in your hair at all and that you need more coconut oil, but you do NOT!
Toothpaste: I tried a recipe I found online that used coconut oil and Dr. Bronner’s as a base, and absolutely hated it. I have concluded that the best choice is straight baking soda. It works well and surprisingly doesn’t taste that terrible (especially in comparison to the first recipe I tried)! My dad (and also my dentist) would like me to add some straight fluoride paste to the baking soda, but other than that, he thought the baking soda was a reasonable solution. Once I switched to the baking soda, I stopped having sore gums with occasional red patches. Dad said the patches looked like it was just some kind of irritation/inflammation (which would go along with all of my other symptoms). But, since starting the baking soda, I haven’t had any more trouble with it….so I guess we can mark that symptom off!!
Floss: Which brings us to floss….if you have ever looked closely at store bought floss, you will notice that there is stuff on the floss (I think mainly for flavoring). I decided to use some nylon thread I had leftover from a craft project. It is wider than regular cotton thready, doesn’t break, and has the same texture as store bought dental floss. This choice was also approved by my dad and dentist.
Deodorant: I had heard of the deodorant crystal, but I had never gotten around to trying it. Now I have, and I am REALLY pleased with the results!!! I had used Tom’s deodorant before, and it always left me stinky by the end of the day. While the deodorant crystal does not keep you from sweating, it does keep you from stinking (so word to the wise…don’t wear shirts that are tight under the arms or you will get big sweat marks). You can buy the crystal at Walmart for less than $5, and it lasts for an entire year!!
Hair Gel: All of the hair gel I had received as a barter for tutoring services had wheat in it…..so I had to get rid of it. Apparently finding a GF hair gel is fairly difficult…who knew?!? I ended up finding a recipe for flaxseed gel that you can use as a hair gel or as an egg replacement (killed two birds with one stone on that solution)! All you do is heat 1/8 cup of flaxseeds and 1 cup of water on the stove (stirring) for about 10 minutes. Then strain and cool. It keeps for at most a week, and it works really well! I am thinking about starting to make it using only 1 Tablespoon of flaxseeds and 1/2 cup of water just because I don’t use that much hair gel in a week!
Lip gloss: Currently, I am using plain old Vaseline. It is working just fine, but I would prefer to find something else….most of my other products are edible and that is what I would like to move towards. I tried coconut oil, but you need something that will rest on top of your lips without absorbing too quickly. I also tried lard one day (I was desperate). It worked better than coconut oil, but I had to keep reapplying it. I know there are recipes online that call for beeswax mix with other oils, but the Vaseline was convenient since I was traveling at the time so for now that’s what I am using.
Sugar scrub: I had to stick to the basics as far as personal care products due to time constraints (I can’t reproduce EVERYTHING they sell in the store). Lucky for me I’m a pretty low maintenance gal! However, I did make up a sugar scrub that I have enjoyed using on occasion! Take sugar, add oil till it is damp and any essential oils you prefer (I used almond), and enjoy!
*I should probably add at this point that I need to try a recipe for Sunblock I found (basically just add zinc oxide powder to your favorite lotion) and a recipe for Acne Treatment (I keep having a couple bumps come up every week or two that are really annoying). However, I just haven’t had the time yet….wonder why!?! It most certainly wouldn’t be our insane crazy diet where I have to make “eggs” and milk before I can even begin to think about making bread and then do a mountain of dishes before I think about cooking the next meal….no couldn’t be that! Maybe I’ll get to this sometime next month… :-)
Dishwasher detergent: I have tried homemade dishwasher detergent before but eventually the glasses would get cloudy, even if I used a vinegar rinse. I finally figured it out though…I was using too much baking soda! All you have to do is use a teaspoon or two of baking soda with a little vinegar for the rinse cycle. It works great!
Laundry soap: I have done several different kinds of laundry soap in the past: store bought, homemade liquid, homemade powdered, and now soap nuts. Apparently native American Indians in the western United States used to use the nuts from certain plants that actually contained sopanins (aka soap) within their fruit. Today you can order them online and use them in your washing machine. I have been very pleased with the soap nuts. I was also pleased with my homemade powder (a 50/50 mix of baking soda and borax) as well as just using a small amount of Dr. Bronner’s in the laundry. I think the thing I like the best about the soap nuts though is that I don’t end up with residual soap stuck in my laundry. It also makes the clothes softer without adding anything.
All-purpose cleaners: Ummm….I hate to say it but I really haven’t done that much cleaning recently (mostly because I am just trying to stay afloat with the cooking, dishes, laundry, etc. I am trying to make habit of vacuuming (gotta keep all of the bugs away since I cancelled the people that were spraying our house), dusting, and cleaning the bathrooms and kitchen once a week, but it’s a work in progress… When I have used homemade cleaning products in the past, I have used vinegar, baking soda, salt, as well as bleach and ammonia. I am trying to get away from the bleach and ammonia just because they are not recommended for consumption. However, there are some cleaning problems I have not managed to find a way around yet.
And that’s pretty much all we are using as far as personal care/household products goes! I am feeling A LOT better since taking all of this stuff out. I still have arthritis flare ups from time to time, so we are pursuing a few other avenues to try and better pin down my triggers and get my immune system back on track. Let me know if you try any of these or having any tried and true recipes to share (preferably that are edible)!