Stuff You Can Make Yourself: Glass/Mirror Cleaner

WindowCleaner

Hey!

It’s finally acting like Spring outside, over most of the country, and people all over are doing something they only do around this time of year.  Oh, they SAY they do it more often, but really, cleaning your windows (inside AND outside), is pretty much a spring cleaning activity.  (Wait…I may have just tipped my “lazy” hand…)

After much testing, I have come up with the worlds greatest all-natural, ammonia-free window cleaner.

Here’s the recipe:

In a 26-oz. spray bottle (or larger), combine:

20 oz. distilled water
4 oz. white vinegar
1 oz. rubbing alcohol (or absolute vodka, if you really wanna use it to clean windows)
1 to 2 tsp. cornstarch (or tapioca flour/starch)

Shake before each use…the cornstarch won’t dissolve, so you need to shake it or it’ll clog up the sprayer!

Plus, it’s fun.  Shaking things is fun.

To break it down, the water is the carrier, the vinegar is the cleaning agent, the alcohol makes it dry faster, and the cornstarch prevents streaking!

Take that, blue window juice!  If you NEED it to be blue, pop a drop or two of food coloring in there, but don’t overdo it!

Note:  I’ve been using this on my surfaces too, and it works nicely!  Do not use on sealed granite or other sealed solid surface, though!  Alcohol will damage the sealant!

Stuff You Can Make Yourself: Floor Cleaner

FloorCleaner

Hello my lovelies!

Ok, I make a lot of neat stuff that not everyone can make at home.  I mean…do you have bentonite clay, citric acid and raw shea butter just hanging around in your cupboards?  (I just know someone’s going to comment saying, “Why yes…yes I do!” and the effect will be squashed…but that’s ok.  You get the point.)

I’ve been making much more than soap for a while now, but my cleaning products aren’t the kind of thing I’d want to package and sell.  It’s just too darned easy to make them at home, and they’re WORLDS cheaper than anything commercial…especially the organic brands.

So here’s my natural floor cleaner recipe.  It’s great on hardwood, laminate, vinyl, tile…whatever you’ve got.  It works!

In a spray bottle, available at any hardware store, mix:

20 oz. distilled water (tap water has buggies and junk in it that will leave residue and film on your floors)
4 oz. white vinegar
5-10 drops of sweet orange essential oil (available at most health food stores)

The water’s the carrier.  The vinegar’s the cleaning agent.  The oil adds fragrance and wood conditioning, as well as grease cutting and cleaning properties.  If you have wood or laminate floors, go for closer to 10 drops.  If you have ceramic tile, stay on the lower end with 5 drops.

SHAKE BEFORE EACH USE!  The orange oil will rise to the top, so shake that bottle when you use it!

Spray on, mop.  No need to rinse.

Simple, cheap, and it works!  Enjoy!

What the Heck is Patchouli?

Pogostemon_cablin

This is probably the question I get most often.

 

Isn’t it something hippies and druggies like?

 

Patchouli (Pogostemon Cablin) is a tropical herb of the mint family.  It’s used extensively in making incense, thus the association with the 1960s and 1970s.

I use it for several reasons:

It smells nice!  It’s got a combination floral/herbal scent that a lot of people like, even if they can’t put their finger on exactly what it is.

It blends beautifully!  It can blend with florals, herbals, citrus, spice…just about anything you can think of.  It can temper a particularly biting scent, or pick up a rather heavy one.

It’s a scent stabilizer, too!  Some essential oils are notorious for fading over time–any type of citrus comes to mind.  Adding a little patchouli will cause the scent to hold.

Bar Shampoo! For Real!

Love your hair!
Ok, I realize that bar shampoo is a new concept for a lot of people.  Here’s a quick bar shampoo 101 for you:
First, what’s the difference between a bar of shampoo and a bar of regular natural soap?
The difference between our soaps and shampoos is mainly in the percentages of the various oils used.  For example, coconut oil is much better for the hair than olive oil, so I’ll use a higher percentage of coconut.  But it can also be drying when saponified, so I’ll go higher on natural humectant oils such as castor.  Almond, coconut, castor and jojoba are the best for shampoos, with lower percentages of necessary oils such as palm, which makes a firm, long lasting bar, with a creamy lather.  Additives are also different.  No grit or clay in shampoos, but plenty of honey, sugar, coconut milk, and things like that!  The best news is that it’s all good for the skin!
To use, wet your hair as usual, then rub the shampoo with your hands just like any other soap.  Work the lather into your hair, starting at the scalp and working through to the ends.  You might need to get another bunch on your hands if you have a lot of hair, or if you just want more lather.
Some folks even like to rub the bar right on their heads and into their hair, but I don’t find this necessary, particularly when using a coconut milk shampoo.
Bar shampoo won’t strip your hair or scalp of its natural oils, so go easy on the conditioner, if you use it at all.  I find that a simple, natural detangling solution of apple cider vinegar and warm water is sufficient for me.  I know…sounds weird.  But it works and it’s SO MUCH LESS EXPENSIVE than all those conditioners designed to put back what commercial shampoos strip out!  No, I don’t walk around smelling like a salad!
Now that you know how, wanna know why you should?
As I said up there, bar shampoo doesn’t strip your scalp of its natural oils.  When you use commercial shampoo, you strip everything out of your hair and scalp.  Seems like a good idea, but the result is that your scalp will compensate by overproducing oils.  When you switch to natural bar shampoo, it might take a few shampoos (5 to 8) for your scalp to stop overproducing oils.  Once your skin gets back to normal, what a difference you’ll see and feel!
My own experience has resulted in a number of things.  First, my hair is softer and smoother.  Second, I don’t shed nearly as much!  Third, my scalp does not itch or feel dry or irritated anymore.  I’m finally taking care of my “head skin”!!  My hair is even growing faster than it used to!  I will never use anything else!

What’s with all the Coconut? I don’t like Coconut!

Coconut
Ah, coconut.
To be blunt, I’ve never liked the smell of coconut myself.  I don’t like the taste either, for that matter.
But, oh, what it does for soap!
First, what it doesn’t do:  It doesn’t make anything SMELL like coconut!  That’s probably my favorite part!
Coconut oil is one of my indispensible ingredients.  It makes a strong, bubbly lather, and is the main contributor to the cleansing properties of my soap.
Coconut milk is another wonderful substance!  It adds so much conditioning, and makes that bubbly lather even creamier and more abundant!
Whatever would I do without the coconut?
What a nut!

Why Natural Soap? What’s the Diff?

Patchouli Herbal
There are lots of differences, but the most important has to do with glycerin.  Glycerin is what gives soap its “slip” and moisture.  It’s the element in professional shaving soaps that make that lather result in a good shave.
Commercial soap companies extract the natural glycerin from their soap and sell it to lotion companies, or use it in their own lotion products if they have them.  That’s why commercial soaps are so drying.
Handmade soap retains all its natural glycerin content, so it’s never drying.  Because I use only handmade soap, my need for lotion has diminished dramatically, and I haven’t purchased shaving cream since I tested my first handmade bar.
The other differences are pretty obvious…commercial soap uses synthetic chemicals for lather, fragrance, and handmade soaps are very often all-natural or even entirely organic.
Ours are usually 100% organic, with the exception of a few natural fragrance oils which I will occasionally use instead of an organic essential oil.  Mine are also always vegan.  No animal products.
Those are the major differences.  Isn’t soap educational?