**I am reposting this for Passionate Homemaking's Natural Housecleaning Carnival**
It has been my desire and goal to not only use more earth-friendly products, but also to simplify. I realized the other day, I've come a long ways in that direction.
It's always fun to look back and be able to say that. Like my very wise father-in-law said, looking back (and he purposefully does so every 6 months-mine only happens when I notice a specific change), one should always see some change, or there are problems. If I can be as wise as he is when I'm 60, I'll be a very happy (and wise) lady! And hopefully healthy also.
I buy at WFM, a box of Seventh Generation's powdered laundry detergent. It's pricey-$18 for 48 loads. But, I found I could add equal amounts of baking soda (which costs about $2 total), and still only use half of what it calls for. So I end up getting about 200 loads of laundry for $20. For a fabric softener, I add about 1/2 cup of distilled white vinegar, adds only pennies to the load, and it works fantastic as a softener. And it's all natural and biodegradable. Tide costs more then that!
We mostly only use Dr. Bronner's peppermint castile soap now. Peppermint simply because that is all Trader Joe's ever carries. It's $9 for a quart plastic bottle and it lasts us about 4 months. We use it for our hair (all 4 of us). No more shampoo and conditioner. It works great! And we also use it for body soap-although we do keep a bar of dove unscented around. And I have found it works fantastic for shaving. It foams up great and keeps my skin nice and smooth and hydrated. Drew doesn't use it for that-yet. :) I am thinking about putting it in our hand soap pump once it's gone and adding water.
Also, I mixed coconut oil and tea tree oil and put it in a container. And we have been using that for any owies the kids (or myself) get. Also, I have been putting it on my face when I think of it, as I have really bad acne. And it seems to help that. I also use it for lotion if my skin is dry. It takes some getting used to, but I do like it. It's cheaper and better for your skin then even any 'natural' lotions out there. It's about 1 cup of CO to 1 tsp tea tree oil. Someday I'll add vitamin E, bees wax and aloe vera for a really healing concoction. But for now, my simple one seems to be working fine.
My list is pretty small, and has not really changed much since I posted here. Although I mostly only use baking soda and vinegar. I do use lemon or hydrogen peroxide now and then, but my trusty baking soda and vinegar are my staples. I am almost out of vinegar and I feel myself start to tremble in fear. Granted I can get a huge container 2 blocks away... It's just the thought! But the stuff is amazing! I use it to clean my drains once a month. I use it to scrub pots with stuck on 'gunk'. I have also started to sprinkle some baking soda on stains on clothes and spray some vinegar over it. It does seem to help, although it's hard to tell. Also, I keep a spray bottle of vinegar in the shower, and I spray down after my shower. No need to scrub. If I find a really yucky spot, I'll sprinkle baking soda on it and spray it with vinegar and let it sit until my next shower. All natural, all inexpensive and all easy to find. It's the perfect solution to my household needs. Buying cleaning products would be so much more expensive!
Dish detergent is one thing I'm still not loving, but I think it's better then most. I bought 'Earth Friendly's Ultra Dishmate-the Natural Grapefruit. It was about $3.50 at WFM for 25 oz. Maybe $1 more then the usual store-bought brand. And the Earth Friendly company is pretty well-known for it's green products. It honestly does not cut grease as well as the JOY brand we were using. But the ingredients list is MUCH smaller and the company worthy of my patronage. Drew is not real happy with it. I might break down and buy a small bottle of the Joy and keep it under the sink, for the few times a week he does dishes. But, I will stick with this dish detergent until I find something better.