Friday, October 21, 2011

Greener Fields

We are making some changes around here.

I have been battling a slew of health problems (more on that later) and as a result, I've been paying even more attention to what's around me that could possibly be affecting my health.  More and more I am drawn to a simpler, greener lifestyle; one that involves less chemical and more natural.  It worries me that my society is always chasing easier, and as a result we've found shortcuts that work great but that we didn't think long enough about how much they might hurt us in the long run.

We already eat as much organic as I can afford and I feel like I do my part to recycle through my obsession with second-hand.  I'll never buy new if I can find it gently used for less!  I'm also finding that often a few extra minutes can result in a home necessity product that is cheaper, more natural, and maybe even works better. 

So, we are going greener.  And of course, I'm going to blog about it; what changes we're making, how we're doing it, what works, what doesn't, what saves money, what costs more, if I'm seeing any change to my health, and ultimately, if it's worth it.

Our first simple change:  Homemade laundry soap.

Several years ago, I out of the blue started having crazy itching and these odd little bumps on my arms and back.  (Gross, TMI...sorry.)  I tried everything I could, then finally (with the onset of bikini season fast approaching) went to a dermatologist, who determined I was having a contact allergy to something.  He asked if I had changed anything in my routine (new soap, different lotion, etc.) and when I said no, he said that he most commonly seeing this allergy develop from dyer sheets.  Dryer sheets?  Crazy!  He said to stop using them and come back in several months if I don't see a difference.  Well, guess what?  He was right.  Within less than two months my skin was entirely back to it's old, lovely self. 

I haven't used dryer sheets in a long time, but recently brought them back when I found some that smelled oh-so-good.  I missed having lavender-scented clothes!  I started using them again, and while I didn't notice anything at first, the itching has slowly started to come back.  So, I started researching some alternatives.  In the process, I was shocked to learn that dryer sheets are chock-full of known cancer-causing agents.  GROSS.  I couldn't throw them away fast enough.

I also learned that a lot of the dryer sheet alternatives are already in a homemade laundry detergent.  Laundry detergent also has a lot of junk we don't need soaking into our skin (yep, even the Free and Clear stuff I use) and a simple, homemade version is healthier and reduces static cling and soften clothes all on its own.  Sold!

What you need:
I bar of grated soap (Folks were recommending Ivory, Yardley and Castile; I wanted Castile because it's the most natural, but they didn't have it at my store.)
1 cup of Borax (Found in the laundry aisle.)
1 cup of baking soda (Most recipes call for washing soda, but I read that it can be a little caustic for baby clothes and that baking soda is just fine for normal washes.)   

Just grate the soap with a cheese grater, then mix everything together in a plastic bag.  Use 1-2 tablespoons per load, depending on size and dirtiness.  This took me about 2 minutes and cost about $1.25 for what will supposedly be 35ish loads.

I went with Yardley.  It smells delicious.  Aren't the grated soap flakes so pretty and curly?
Ok, so I wish this were more natural.  Next time I'll get soap at Whole Foods.
That's the "ingredient" list on my laundry detergent.  Gross and weird.
What the heck is a cationic-type fabric softener?  If you can't even tell me what it is,
I don't think I want it.
Just 'cause.  This picture has nothing to do with laundry.  It just makes me laugh.
So we'll see how this goes.  Next up?  Homemade hand soap.  


  1. Homemade laundry detergent?? Didn't even know you could make that stuff at home. I'm not sure I'll be making this, but it's on my bucket list:). Love the picture of Waverly...she gets cuter and cuter every post.

  2. can get Castile soap at The Grey Pony.


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