Saturday, July 16, 2011

Natural Toiletries and Cleaners

If you'll remember a couple months back, I committed to removing as many xenoestrogens from my environment as I could.  Because one of the things I'm dealing with adenomyosis, which is an estrogen-driven disease of the uterus, it's important not only to clean up my diet, lose weight and exercise, but to decrease as much as possible the toxic burden on my body in regards to those chemicals and phytochemicals that are known to mimic estrogen (aka: xenoestrogens).

And that would be basically anything that we women rely on to beautify ourselves. 


I thought it might be helpful to walk you thru a typical day of how I clean myself, my clothes and my house using all natural stuff.  If anyone wants recipes for any of this, or want me to make some stuff for ya, just let me know. Some I'm still experimenting, and I have a few more recipes for toiletries and cleaners I'll fiddle with this month.  

First up:  Washing the Person.  
We start with purified water via our shower filter from Aquasana.
(BTW, they're having a huge 50% off sale this month)

Next, a batch of non-scented handmade soap I made just for myself.  
I added all kinds of skin-loving oils and butters, silk fibers, clay and milk powder to make it luxurious.
I actually also use this for my hair.  It takes a bit of getting used to lathering up the locks with bar soap, but now after a couple months, it's no biggie.

Handmade soap can leave a residue on your hair, weighing it down after a several washings.  Plus it doesn't strip your hair of it's natural oils (which actually helps in styling it without using the gels/mousses/sprays), so I've found that once a week or so, it helps to do a vinegar rinse.  I use one of those cake decorating squirt bottles filled about 1/3 full of vinegar and work it thru my hair, rinsing with cool water.  

Let me tell ya, your hair will feel like silk after this, and there won't be a vinegar stink.  
Your comb will breeze right thru the tangles too.  You can use the filtered clear kind too.

After my shower, comes this trio:
Brushing my teeth by dipping my brush in Magnesium Oil, kept in a cute vintage apothecary jar. 
This fixes the transparancy issues, but not the whitening, so I'm looking for something to deal with that.
Daily green smoothies with blueberries are wreaking havoc on the pearly whites :)
I'm also using Xylitol products for cavity protection.  
More on that and the Mag Oil in another post about my suppliments and eating regimin.

Handmade deodorant.  LOVE this stuff.  I used a simple blend of coconut oil, baking soda, cornstarch, and a touch of Magnesium Gel (I'll talk about the gel down further).  
Keeps the stink at bay so long as I wash my pits daily.
This particular recipe goes on like a cream, but next time around I'll add some beeswax to keep it hard.

And a touch of this if I need some moisturizing.  Great for dry patches or all over (not too much!) before bed is heavenly. Oh, and it makes a nice, um, personal lubricant. :)

Moving on, I've already written a couple posts about the natural mineral makeup that I'm using HERE and HERE.  I don't need any styling products for my hair now that I'm using my bar soap, but when I have some flyaways I use a touch of the Magnesium Gel I mentioned above.  I tried using it as a traditional hair gel, but it dulled my hair and made it sorta goofy-feeling.  

Next up:  Washing the Clothing and Household.

Elbow grease, gloves, microfiber mits, scrubbing sponge and simple vinegar and/or baking soda.  This combo works for every surface 'cept for maybe your oven (I do ammonia for that about once every um, four years?)
Since our water is now filtered in the shower, and I use citric acid in my soap formulations, soap scum isn't much of an issue.  I keep it all in a wee basket under my sink.  Just a spritz of vinegar usually does the trick, but sprinkling some baking soda, then spritzing vinegar works great on those more stubborn stains.

For toilets, I spray good ole bleach because I haven't found a good substitute, although I hear vinegar works as well.  May switch to that.  I spritz the surfaces and inside the bowl, turn on the fan and leave for a while, then swish/flush and wipe down the surfaces.

To get clothing and linens clean, I use the stuff in these three glass jars:

Pappa Bear jar is my handmade soap formulated specifically for laundry, 
grated with my Presto Salad Shooter (thank you Goodwill).  
Then 1/2 cup of a mix of washing soda and borax in the Mama Bear jar, and the Baby Bear jar holds the powdered active ingredient in Oxyclean I purchase from the Chemistry Store to avoid the dyes, fragrances and all that rot in the commercial brand. I use a 2 TBLS measure per load.

I'm currently working on a homemade stain stick.  I'll let you know how that goes....

Just takes this wee scoop ('bout 1/4 cup or less) per load of the soap curls, under the filling hot water.

I also fill a downey ball 'bout halfway with vinegar for softening.  
Throw it in on top of the clothes before ya close the lid.
My clean clothes smell CLEAN and are SOFT and static free outta the dryer.  
I will mention that every few times I wash whites, I do short wash with bleach first, then a full wash with the above stuff.
In my experience, handmade laundry products work wonderfully, but now and then, if you have hard water, you may need to run a load with regular detergent and bleach to hold back the dingies.

Because our laundry water isn't filtered, I purchased this laundry pouch from Nature and Wisdom, the same place I get my Mag. Oil and Gel.  It's filled with prills, which make the water less thick (if you can imagine) and helps the cleaning agents agitate more thoroughly thru the clothing. 

Speaking of prills, I drink prill water too.  Here's that set up:

Start with a glass gallon jar.  I had to go to the health food shop to find glass containers...everything at the regular store was plastic.  This happened to be an apple cider jar.

Throw in the packet of prills, which again thin the water so it more easily gets into your cells. Initially you fill the jar with filtered water and let it sit for 24 hours.  Then pour off 3 quarts into a separate container (see below), leaving one quart in the jar.  Refill, and more prill water only takes an hour since the last treated quart was left.  See the line?  I pour off the water till it gets to that point.

This is what I pour the three quarts into.  A glass dispenser found at Gordmans.

And this is what I drink my prill water in.....a glass water bottle that came with our Aquasana shower and kitchen faucet order. I drink at least 3 of these a day...or around 90-100oz of filtered prill water.

Here's the Aquasana filter on our sink faucet.  Ya pull that little sticky-outy thing on the front of the spigot to get the clean water.  So far we've been really pleased with Aquasana.  We'll replace the 2 shower filters and the sink filter every 6 months.

 For hand washing dishes (and just plain old hand washing) we use my handmade liquid soap.  Let me tell you how much I HATE making liquid soap.  Quite the ordeal. When this gets used up, we'll switch to just a plain old handmade bar soap.

The only cleaner I've not had consistent success with is dishwasher detergent.  I had been using this trio (why is everything in 3's?)  Baking Soda/Borax mix, a touch of organic dish detergent in the prewash, and vinegar in the rinse.

This combo certainly get stuff clean-especially since we presoak our dishes in the sink, but it leaves a cloudy residue on the glasses.  So now we use just a touch of this:

I'd like to just get into the habit of handwashing the dishes and using the dishwasher as a ginormous dry rack.
We shall see....

Let me know if you have any questions.  It's been a fun challenge for me to do this.  
I feel good getting the toxic junk outta of the house as much as possible.  
It's only been a couple months, but it's all mostly routine now. 

Thanks for reading!


  1. Wow! You have made a big commitment to living a healthier life style! I am proud of you. We use the natural deodrant-the stone stick and that works great...but you are WAY ahead of me when it comes to all the other stuff. I have washed my hair, in a pinch, with bar soap and rinsed with vinegar. My grandmother ALWAYS washed her hair that way~and I love how you have gone green with all your products-you should feel very proud of yourself! xo Diana

  2. Awesome! For toilets we use arm and hammer super washing soda (which is awesome as a "comet" like substance) and some lemon. I also throw in a couple denture cleaners to loosen the UGH if it is particularly dirty.

  3. I'm intrigued by the water prills and magnesium oil. Never heard of share more when you can!

    It's been a couple years since I started using and making green, frugal cleaning products. I generally use a baking soda/vinegar combo in the toilets, though sometimes borax if I'm feeling lazy.

    We have very similar laundry detergent recipes (I use Jab's: but I'm curious what the ingredient is you buy from The Chemistry Store. We have hard water here and I can tell whites are getting dingy. I think the thing I love most about homemade laundry detergent is grating the Ivory soap...I'm weird like that.

    As for dishwasher detergent, I've tried recipes from Jab's, Passionate Homemaking, etc. and I finally gave up. None of those concoctions work on our hard well water, no matter how much citric acid I used. So, the compromise is white vinegar as the rinse agent and a phosphate-free gel detergent.

    I figure if I'm cleaning the rest of the house with baking soda, vinegar and co., making the homemade laundry detergent, and using Ivory and ACV to wash my hair more often than not, it's okay to use a store-bought detergent in the dishwasher.

  4. Thanks for all the interesting and helpful info. I really enjoyed reading this article. Very well written!

  5. Hi, Cindy! I think you're awesome for what you do. I also like your sense of humor :) Thanks for sharing your tips and advices about cleaning with us and making our lives a bit easier.


I'm all ears! Er, eyes.