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Now That’s Useful

So I’ve been trying to be more eco-friendly lately, and my bank account has recently been begging me to also look for a smaller-budget way of doing things. With my oldest son’s severe allergy to dust cats pollen everything, we have to be picky about the way we do laundry, anyway. Buying dye- and fragrance-free everything can get pretty pricey.

I’ve had several laundry and house-cleaning pins on Pinterest for quite some time, but I’ve only recently begun trying them. I’ve since completely overhauled the way I do laundry.

Here’s the original pin, from CraftingAGreenWorld.com:

Laundry Pin

The instructions call for a mix of half a cup washing soda, half a cup borax, and half a cup of soap (grated). The website also mentions that you can additionally include half a cup baking soda, half a cup Oxyclean, and/or a few drops of tea tree oil. Simply combine with a whisk, pour into a lovely jar, and use 1-2 Tablespoons per load.

As usual, I cannot follow simple instructions. After reading several other websites with eco-friendly laundry recipes, I decided that baking soda was just as good as washing soda. Therefore, my recipe is simply as follows:

Take a container (re-use a container you can’t recycle in your area), fill it half full with borax and half full with baking soda, leaving room at the top for shaking. Put on the cap, and shake, shake, shake to combine. I sprinkle a bit in the bottom of the washer — I don’t really measure, but I’m sure it’s around two tablespoons, as in the original recipe.

Laundry soap

Crafting a Green World also suggests using vinegar as a rinsing agent. For quite some time, I’ve used vinegar instead of fabric softener in my rinse compartment. I keep a small jar with orange peels and vinegar. Every couple of weeks, I refresh the orange peels and just re-fill the vinegar in the jar when it runs out. A quarter of a cup per load is enough to provide a nice rinse and deodorization.

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Have you ever made your own laundry soap? Is your recipe better than mine? I’m always willing to try new things, so let me know!

Happy Pinning!

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Okay, so when I first heard about people going without ever shampooing their hair again, ever, I thought those people must be crazy. But then I kept hearing about it, and I gave it and checked it out. Even after reading into it, I was skeptical, but what kind of amateur blogger would I be if I didn’t try things out?

Here’s the original pin from simplemom.net:

Image

The idea is that you get rid of your nasty, chemical-filled, scalp-drying shampoo and clean your hair with baking soda and vinegar. Could it be true? A cheap, “green” alternative for hair washing? I doubted it. I have an oily scalp and fine hair, so even when I do wash my hair daily, I look dirty by the end of the night. I honestly did not believe that this would work.

But like I said before, I gave it a shot. I went to the dollar store and got those ketchup and mustard bottles to put my new “shampoo” and “conditioner” in and mixed up my first batch. In the red ketchup bottle, I put a tablespoon of baking soda and 8 oz of water. In the yellow mustard bottle, I put a tablespoon of vinegar and then filled it up (10-12 oz, maybe) with water.

In the shower, I shook the baking soda bottle and applied the mixture to my scalp much in the way I do when colouring my hair; except, you know, I actually want this stuff on my scalp. I massaged it in a bit as I went along and then gave myself a nice scalp massage when I felt I had enough on, making sure to finger-comb some through my hair. Following the advice of many of the blogs I read, I left the mixture on my hair for a couple of minutes before shaking my vinegar mixture bottle and splashing on a bit of a vinegar rinse and then rinsing the whole lot out in the water.

I admit, after the first time, I still had my doubts. My hair didn’t feel clean. It felt waxy, and it looked … okay, but not great. It took all my willpower to only repeat this washing every other day and not to turn back to my familiar shampoo. I also read that there would be an adjustment period of a couple of weeks to a couple of months, and I was determined to give it at least a month.

Lo and behold, the day before the two-week mark, my hair washed out and felt clean. And it looked good, too. Now it’s been a month, and as long as I repeat the washing daily, my hair looks and feels the same as it did when I was religiously using shampoo. And as a bonus, I no longer have to use the curling creme I used to apply to my hair to get the effect I like. Granted, I’m nowhere near the ability to wash every four or five days like some of the bloggers, but what I have is good enough for me.

So here’s a picture of the back of my hair today. Literally, all I did was wash/condition with my mixtures, let my hair air-dry, and ran my fingers through it. I might make more of an effort if I was going out somewhere, but today was my day off!

What I like:

  • This is cheap! And I’m talking CHEAP, people. After doing the math, I pay five and a half cents a month to wash and condition my hair.
  • It’s nice to not have to use curling creme and blow dry my hair to get it to look the way I like.
  • With as much damage as I do to my hair when I colour it, I like to feel like I’m doing something nice for my hair.

What I don’t like:

  • The adjustment period sucks. No, really. It’s horrible. At least for me. My hair was horribly greasy-looking and felt dirty for nearly two weeks. I’m glad my hair was long enough to put up in a pony tail at the time, or I would have given up on the whole process.
  • I miss the smell of my shampoo. I’ve read that you can put essential oils in the vinegar rinse, but I haven’t tried it. Also, the essential oils in the rinse can help with the vinegar smell, but honestly, I can’t smell it after I rinse with water.
  • It doesn’t foam up. If you need that foamy, soapy feel, this will feel weird.

The Verdict:

I’m very happy with this method of washing my hair. It took a while to adjust to the feel of the mixtures as opposed to shampoo, and the adjustment period for my scalp was not fun at all, but I won’t go back to shampoo.

Has anybody else ever tried this method? Had different results than I did? Any good advice for me? Let me hear from you! And happy pinning!