35 Comments

  1. Mika

    We switched to “no poo” shampoo after my hubby kept having serious migraine clusters. One of his biggest triggers is msg. Wouldn’t you know it, it was in the Trader Joe’s herbal shampoo we thought was a healthy, all natural choice. This has led me to start making other body care and cleaning products!


    1. Mika, that’s not a big surprise to me. Many times the products that we think are “natural” or “healthy” or “green” are not. It’s unfortunate. I’m glad you brought this to my attention though – my teenage son has gotten several migraine headaches during the past year and we’re trying to figure out what his triggers are. This will make me go check out his shampoo! I hope your husband gets his headaches figured out as well.
      Thanks, Mika. :)

  2. Tina Lemna

    I’ve been using Dr Bronners Sal Suds to clean my bathroom, tile floors, I make a counter spray with it & essential oils and I use 1 T to wash my clothes. I love it but I would appreciate your thoughts on it.


    1. Tina, I love Dr. Bronner’s Sal Suds and use it for laundry and household cleaning. Honestly, I just sprayed some in a pan that I roasted beets in and shook baking soda on it to soak over night! I trust all of the Dr. Bronner products and wish they made a dishwasher detergent! Dr. Bronner’s granddaughter has a blog http://lisa.drbronner.com/ and she couldn’t be any nicer to communicate with. Thanks, Tina!
      ps oh – and I didn’t think I’d like the Sal Suds smell at first but do very much like its fresh, pine scent!

  3. Kimberly P.

    You posted exactly what I’ve been thinking and feeling lately. Thank you! In a world of canned, bottled and packaged “semi-homemade”, your blog is refreshing and so appreciated.


    1. Oh, Kimberly, thank you! What a nice compliment!
      I agree that it seems everything is either canned, bottled or packaged. Between the wastefulness of it all and the cost – not to mention the health costs – there really has to be a better way. The trick for me is finding the quickest way to make something and then make a lot so that I don’t get lazy and just buy it at the store! Thanks again, Kimberly. :)

  4. Tina Lemna

    Sara,
    Thank you for replying! I just wanted to say that I also use Sal Suds in my dishwasher even though I was worried it would produce too many suds. One teaspoon cleans all of my dishes much better than when I was using Cascade. Give it a try and see what you think. I love your blog!


    1. Thanks, Tina, both for the nice compliment :) and the tip on the Sal Suds in the dishwasher. Do you dilute at all first or just straight Sal Suds? I have a good mix I like thus far and you’ll read about it soon…it’s inexpensive and easy to make! Thanks again, Tina!

  5. Karen

    Many commercial cleaners irritate my very sensitive eyes. Am slowly switching over to Dr. Bronner’s, either with just water or with baking soda.
    Last year I bought a sample size of celebrity-endorsed shampoo at a chain drugstore. My scalp itched and I had bumps so bad the doctor performed a biopsy. The shampoo contained argan oil, a darling of the cosmetics industry right now. No more of any of that brand for me!


    1. Karen, I’m sorry to hear that about your reaction and that you had to have a biopsy. Yikes! I have very sensitive skin also and have been very happy with the Dr. Bronner products. Thanks, Karen! :)

      1. Debbie M

        Yes, in my shower I have only Dr. Bronner’s, which I use as body soap, face soap, and shampoo, and vinegar water, which I use as conditioner. It’s cheap, it doesn’t take much room, and it works. My favorite!


  6. We make almost all of our cleaning products and we’re taking baby steps towards making our own personal care products (it can be overwhelming if we do it all at once!).

    You mention you’ll be making facial moisturizer. I have very dry skin, so this is a necessity for me. I’d love to hear how you make this.
    Shannon recently posted..Jazzing Up LeftoversMy Profile


    1. Shannon, baby steps is the way to go! I started this process of switching all the cleaning supplies in January and have been quite pleased with the results.
      The facial moisturizer is a work in progress but I have a jar sitting on my kitchen counter that reads, “Almost moisturizer” because it needs a thickener. I need to find a source for what my great-grandmother used. I’ll definitely share it!! Thanks, Shannon and good job making your cleaning products! :)

      1. Debbie M

        But does it really need a thickener? Have you tried it as it is?


        1. Yes, it’s too runny and I even tried whipping it in the blender!! :)
          It needs something and I’ll get to the bottom of it!

  7. Mandy

    I can’t wait for you to post the recipes, Sara. I will be happy to try them!


    1. Oh, good, Mandy! It’s amazing how much money I’ve saved just on liquid hand soap alone – mostly because I can’t buy anything with triclosan in it because it makes my hands breakout. Make sure to save containers you’d like to reuse – that’s another bonus – not having to buy and re-buy soap dispensers! Thanks, Mandy :)

  8. Tina Lemna

    Hi Sara, I use the Sal Suds straight in the dishwasher but it only takes a little bit! A teaspoon at the most. My dishes shine with the Sal Suds. I look forward to your new recipes!

  9. Cathy Kirchner

    I had this almost written, and then bumped the wrong key! I was talking with friends recently, along the same lines, and I have a slightly different take on your topic. My parents were products of the depression. My mom’s family was from Texas, and my dad’s family was from Arkansas. Both families had to follow the crops across Texas and Oklahoma, through New Mexico, Arizona, and up California until they reached Oregon. My mom’s family was better off. Her father had butchering skills, so they were never without meat. They HAD to grow and can their own fruits and vegetables. They couldn’t afford to purchase canned and prepared items at stores. My father’s family was not as fortunate. Because of some “habits” of his father, he grew up in a family that were migrant workers, always hoping for leftovers from the fields and farms that they worked on. Both families had to follow the crops – across Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, California, and up into Oregon. My parents met when both families were in the Yuba City, CA area, and they married in 1942. My mom is now 91 years old. We never home canned fruits and veggies when I was growing up. She did make jams and jellies, and sewed some of my clothes. Not to excess. See, in the home I grew up in, if you could afford to purchase canned and prepared products from the store, you were successful – if you canned fruits and veggies at home, you were poor. And, if you had to figure out how to make your own soap ——– boy! you were really at the bottom of the barrel. Granted – it’s perception, but it was a reality in my parents lives for most of their formative years.


    1. Cathy, I’ve heard this before “…if you could afford to purchase canned and prepared products from the store, you were successful – if you canned fruits and veggies at home, you were poor.” And, my grandparents thought they had “made it” when they could toss out their soap scraps!
      This is perception may still be true today but by doing the math, they less cost route (on the wallet, to the environment and to ourselves) is to make these items.
      Thank you for sharing this and I’m sorry your comment disappeared when you were almost done. I can’t stand that and I appreciate you re-entering it. :)


  10. I agree – and I get a kick out of commercials that tell us we need a brand new product that we never needed before – they actually tell us to throw away our dishcloths in one and use only paper towels instead. Or the touchless handsoap dispenser – I still cant figure out why they think it’s bad to touch a soap pump just before you wash your hands anyway.
    Heidi recently posted..SaturdayMy Profile


    1. Heidi :) so true! Why is it bad to touch a soap pump when your hands are dirty? Are people touching it when their are clean?
      The paper towel is another pet peeve of mine…it’s so expensive to buy paper towels and wasteful! Wiping up with a cloth and then rinsing it out to wipe again is easy and saves all around.
      Thanks, Heidi!!

    2. Cathy Kirchner

      Heidi – your comment made me smile, and almost laugh out loud! I’ve spent most of the summer at home recovering from emergency surgery, and unfortunately watched more TV than ought to be legally allowed! The marketing scheme that has me laughing and angry at the same time is a new one by Cottonelle wipes. They’re telling us all now that TP is not enough to use in the bathroom. That we need to use TP and Cottonelle for that really clean feeling. Who knew??????? All these years, and we’ve been doing it wrong.


  11. What a great blog post – and it’s so true. My great-grandmother grew up in the depression and so I understand the whole “the poor made/canned their own products” comment. And, many people still feel that way.

    However, I’m starting to look at it from a health point-of-view now. I haven’t done much research on it, but I bet if you compare the store bought products from the 1940s to the store bought products of today, we would find that the ones from decades past were still better for us. Over the years, big companies have added more and more chemicals to things because it helps them improve the shelf life of the products (among other reasons) – which to me is bad business. While they have to think from a financial standpoint, they should also be thinking about what these added chemicals are doing to people and the health problems they are causing.

    I have also started making my own household cleaners and other products. It is cheaper, but I mainly do it because I feel like it’s better for my family’s health. Thanks for the post and I’m looking forward to the recipes you have to share! :)
    Andrea recently posted..Girls Fashion Fall 2013My Profile


    1. Andrea, thank you! And for your re-tweeting on social media! :)
      I think you’re right about the products from years ago. One that often comes to mind is shortening. Shortening used to be lard and now it’s made in such a way that I refuse to buy it because of the health concerns. Bring on the real products like butter or bacon fat! (I do keep a stash of bacon grease in my freezer, by the way. It adds just a bit of flavoring when a recipe calls for meat but I don’t actually want to put it in – my family is getting tricked by me!! ;))


  12. Oh Sara – I love to hear you “rage against the machine!!!” You are so right! I feel like our lives have become so much more complicated with all the “conveniences” we need to choose, buy, and maintain – and then replace before we can blink. I would love to switch over to a more handmade life, but I need to do it one thing at a time. I am looking forward to seeing the results of your experiments!
    Annie Kip recently posted..Having A Plan: Baby-Steps For Starting Something NewMy Profile


    1. Annie, I am the first to admit that when I’m at Target and I need hand soap (or whatever!), I consider buying it because it’s right there and the bottle is so clean and fresh – and I don’t have to make it! But then I take a deep breath and remind myself how easy it is to simply go home and make it. Baby steps or small incremental changes are the key to make things stick, too.
      And, I agree with you completely, “I feel like our lives have become so much more complicated with all the “conveniences” we need to choose, buy, and maintain – and then replace before we can blink.” We really have to stop and think.
      Thanks, Annie!! :)


  13. What a great idea with the bacon fat – I’ve never thought about freezing that. Next time we have bacon, I will save it instead of throwing it out! :)
    Andrea recently posted..Girls Fashion Fall 2013My Profile

  14. Sue Kalt

    I learned long ago that “Natural” was a marketing hype as was, “New and Improved,” “Nature made,” etc. Remember just because something is “natural” does not mean it is good for you. Fungus is natural. Mold is natural, an Amanita muscaria is natural, but it does not mean you want to eat it or that it is good for you.

    If you really want to start thinking about where our food comes from, watch, “Food, Inc.” After I saw that I cannot go down the aisles of boxed and canned foods without thinking, “Chemicals,” “Fake Food,” “Laboratory Food.”

    I saw a documentary where they interviewed potato chip maker, Lays. They were discussing how to break into new markets to hook people onto their chips. They were trying to figure out what chemical they could add to the chips to make consumers crave more of them.

    I read labels and am astounded by the polysyllabic mouthfuls of chemical substances added to “natural” and “healthy” foods. As long as it is in a box, can, or package, it is not food.

    With that said, doing everything the way our grandparents did is not always feasible — it takes time to cook from scratch and I do not have the time nor the inclination to shop every other day for ingredients. We make choices, we are surrounded by chemicals, we breathe air full of them, we sit on them, we dress in them.

    Our ancestors did not live long and healthy lives either. Life expectancy was short back then. Please keep that in perspective as we go on our, “back to basics” movement.


    1. Sue, you are right on many points here. I like the idea of finding the good in putting fewer chemicals into my body or into the environment and living a healthy life. Finding that balance is key because you’re right – we can’t go back to how life used to be nor should we want to.
      Thanks, Sue! I saw that same movie and it is astounding what’s listed in the ingredients of the food we eat. :(

  15. Carrie

    This is a subject I have been thinking about a lot lately. Why are we tricked by companies selling us “all natural” ingredients or made with “vinegar”? I have also been taking baby steps towards eating organic, locally raised foods and making my own cleaners. I love Dr. Bronner’s products. I make my own cleaners and hand soap. I love it as a body wash. Shampoo is something I am working on. I think I have not found the right recipe. I make my own face wash with olive oil, caster oil, and a few drops of tea tree oil. My moisturizer is coconut oil.
    I feel we are still purchasing products, just not the excess packaging or hazardous ingredients. We are making healthier choices for us and the environment.


    1. Carrie, good for you! It sounds like you are on the right path for less packaging and fewer chemicals in your consumer products.
      I must try the coconut oil as moisturizer. It’s getting lots of recommendations!
      Thank you, Carrie! Keep up the good work :)

  16. Susan

    Dinner is about to burn, so really quick…I love, love, love coconut oil as a facial moisterizer. And for the whole body, and hair conditioner, and baby rash ointment….


    1. Susan, I will definitely try this! Thank you! And, I hope your dinner didn’t burn…:)

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