Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Lets Get Chemically Clean!

UPDATE 4/18/2017
After trying all of these things for several weeks, months, and years, the only one I have kept is the All Purpose Cleaner. It works GREAT on my granite and keeps it streak free!

The face cleaning with oil worked for a little while, then I suppose my face, or hormones changing due to pregnancy, did not like it anymore. I have since switched to just using my Norwex face cloth and then every-other day using the charcoal bar soap by BeautyCounter. I've been doing this over a year now and LOVE it. Followed up with Cetaphil Daily Moisturizer with SPF 15.

Hair care with ACV and pure soap. That one's a no-go for us. I have changed up our shampoo though and use a natural, SLS free shampoo: Nature's Gate Herbal Daily Cleanse Shampoo. We do not use any conditioner in our house, either. If the girls are having some tangle issues, I will use a small amount of Dr. Bronners Lavendar Leave-In Conditioner and Styling Crème. But only on the ends of their hair and never on the scalp!

Lastly, the laundry detergent. After further research, the "detergent" I had been using for over a year was simply just a laundry booster. So, over a three day period I had to strip away all the buildup that had happened on our clothes over that time. Let's just say the color of water the soaked clothes were in was not something you would want to put on your body. Yuck! We have switched to BioKleen Free and Clear and we are very happy with the result!

A resource that has proven very beneficial in education is the EWG Skin Deep Database ( This organization rates thousands and thousands of products for their safety and protecting you from unwanted and harmful chemicals. Each of the products that it rates gets a score from 1, safest, to 10, run and hide from it. There's also an app you can use in the store and scan a barcode to see if it is rated and all the details on every single ingredient and it's rating as well. SO VERY HELPFUL!

This process of finding products that put less chemicals into our home and bodies is an adventure in trial an error. Hopefully some of my mis-steps will save you time and energy in your process!


Chemicals. Toxic. Harmful. Who wants these things in their house, much less on their skin and their children’s skin? This is my chronicles of my journey to keep my family and our home as healthy and chemically-pure as possible. I also needed anything that I wanted to try to be economical and of course effective. These are ways that I can serve my family and help them be the healthiest that they can be. If nothing else this is where I can keep up with my recipes! Here we go!

All Purpose Cleaner
In 2013 we moved into a new house and the counter tops were granite. I had not had this material in my previous kitchens, and my regular cleaner was leaving streaks on this new, beautiful surface! I had to figure out something else and I didn't want to have to buy the specific “granite cleaners”. Enter, alcohol. Yep, isopropyl alcohol is what I use to clean not only my granite counter tops, but my stainless steel appliances, my bathrooms, mirrors, windows, etc. It disinfects as I clean and there isn't any lingering smell. It’s simple and inexpensive and it TOTALLY works.
1 cup isopropyl alcohol
1 cup water
10ish drops of dish soap
10ish drops of tea tree oil
Mix in a spray bottle and get cleaning. I use cloth to wipe down everything in my house. I find it works better than paper towels or a sponge. The cleaner will look a bit streaky as it dries, but once the alcohol evaporates, you have a streak-free shine!

Face Cleaning with Oil
It all started with the Oil Cleansing method. Strange, yes. Effective, most definitely. It seems a little counter-intuitive to wash your face with oil, but basic chemistry to the rescue! Like dissolves like, therefore, oil will clean away oil. I want to use the good, moisturizing oils to take away the dirty oils produced from my pores that have pollutants from the environment and makeup on them all day long. I also want to kill bacteria so that I don’t have to deal with those pesky breakouts or blackheads, etc. You get the picture. Oh, and this needs to be a quick and inexpensive thing to do, too.
There are many different articles and opinions on the oil cleansing method. From what types of oil you should use to what type of astringent you should use to what types of essential oils to include. Since everyone’s skin type is a little different, there is no hard and fast rule which gives one magic formula for all. You have to test out different things and find out what works best for your skin. I have a combination skin type; oily in the summer months and dryer in the winter months. Here’s what I do:
4 parts cold-pressed virgin sunflower oil
1 part castor oil
10 drops tea tree oil
Mix together and store in glass bottle. Massage on your face about a quarter size amount every-other day. Put a HOT washcloth over your face to open the pores and draw out the nastiness. Rinse the towel and repeat putting two more HOT washcloths over your face. No need to wipe or scrub. The hot water will take care of the oil. Your face will feel soft as a baby bum and not oily at all. No need to moisturize. I do this at night just before bed so my skin has some time to “breath” without anything on it. Just splash warm water on in the morning and you are good to go. On the off nights, I just wipe my face gently with hot water.

Hair Care with Soap & Apple Cider Vinegar
I am very attached to my hair. Very. Like crying after haircuts which took off 0.7 inches because all of my hair was gone! Yes, it’s bad. So, ditching my shampoo and conditioner had me a bit hesitant. I have read countless articles about people going “no-poo” and loving it. And other who hated it. The part of the shampoo that people are referring to as “poo” is the part that makes it foam. Without going into it too much, the “poo” comes from sulfates. These are chemicals that studies have shown will leave a residue in your heart, kidneys, liver and brain just from simple skin contact. Some of it never leaves your body, so yep, you’re just storing up those chemicals in your body. Yuck. The sulfates (most common ones are sodium laurel & laureth sulfate) are a cheap detergent that makes the shampoo have lather. The lather does nothing to actually clean your hair, even though cosmetic companies would want us to believe that the more lather, the cleaner your hair. Simply not true. And with so many other chemicals in shampoo and conditioners that strip your hair of natural oils to just cover them up with other chemicals, including silicon in our conditioners. But, I didn't want to give up my lathering shampoo and soft shiny hair altogether. Baby steps here! So, enter “sorta-poo”.  This recipe includes coconut milk which naturally has very gentle surfactants that will create a great foam when mixed with pure soap. The pure soap I use is castile soap. It is an olive oil based soap and has seemingly endless usage possibilities. Even though it is pricey, you can use it all over the house as a cleaner, and it is very concentrated so you only have to use a tiny amount for each use. After I did the “sorta-poo”, I rinsed my hair with an apple cider vinegar mixture to help with the shine and flyways. THIS WAS FABULOUS! My hair dried in about 20 minutes, which, for me is the nearest thing to a hair miracle. My hair didn't have all of those extra chemicals from the conventional condition coating each strand, so the air was allowed to do it’s thang and dry my hair! I have very, very thick, long, wavy hair. I typically straighten my hair with a ceramic flat iron once every 4-5 days, which is how long I could go between shampoos with conventional product. With the “sorta-poo” method, I  can go 7-9 days without a wash, and I am embracing my waves because they aren't as frizzy and “call-of-the-wild” looking as they use to be!
For a single use “sorta-poo”:
1 teaspoon coconut milk
1 tablespoon castile soap (I use the gentle baby one)
Shake shake shake and you get tons of foam! Just work it all into your hair and rinse.
For a single use apple cider vinegar rinse:
½ cup water (distilled is preferred, but regular tap is fine)
¼ cup apple cider vinegar
Pour over clean hair. Let it sit for a minute or two and then rinse. It smells really strong when you first put it on your hair, but the smell decreases as the vinegar evaporates.

Laundry Soap
This is one I had intended to try out a long, long time ago, but never actually got around to it. My mom gave me her food processor that she never used and I was itching to use it for something, anything! I had the bar of soap and all of the ingredients I needed to make the laundry detergent, so I decided to give it a whirl! The food processor makes this process take up literally 5 minutes of my day and I have detergent for over a month. I shouldn't even have to start with how many chemicals and dye’s and fragrances are in laundry detergent. All of these ingredients in some form and amount stay with your clothes and therefore get onto your skin, your largest organ, and eventually absorb into your skin. There are a plethora of recipes out there for laundry detergent: liquid or powder, pro-borax, anti-borax, etc. Do your research and come to your own conviction regarding borax, but for me, since there is such a controversy around the product, I am going to avoid it for the time being.
I have had great success with this detergent. The kids clothes are very clean the husbands shirts have no stinky deodorant smell, the towels are absorbent again and there’s no musty smells in anything. Clothes also dry faster because there is no chemical residue on them from the wash.
½ c. baking soda
1 cup washing soda
½ cup citric acid (this acts as a preservatives. It draws the moisture out of the detergent, so it gets rock hard. You have to use the back of a spoon to loosen it up, but then it stays loose afterwards. If you don’t want to have to do this, you can put a packet of silica beads in the container and it stays loose)
¼ cup coarse sea salt
1 bar pure castile soap (I use tea tree scented one and the tea tree oil is also anti-bacterial)
Shred the soap, and mix all other ingredients together in the food processor. Store in an air tight container. Use 1-2 tablespoons per load of laundry.

That’s all that I've tried for now! I just made some homemade baby wipe solution, so I’m going to test it out and see how I like it. Also up for experimentation is deodorant and homemade “paper” towels.