With all the skin troubles I have had I started taking a second look at body/hair care products, soaps, deodorants, and general cleaners. I read a few other blogs about toxins and cancer-causing chemicals in these products and made the decision to just stop using them altogether. While SCD doesn’t dictate what we put on the outside, I have often read “don’t put something on your skin that you wouldn’t eat” and decided to try it that way. I couldn’t be happier! I don’t miss anything I have thrown away and honestly I feel less stressed with not having to shop for each individual cleaner or soap that I used to think I needed. The biggest change was my scalp after giving up shampoo and conditioner. It definitely doesn’t itch as much. I still have some all natural general purpose cleaner that my boyfriend tends to prefer but we don’t use it much. We usually only use that for scrubbing down the shower and toilet. We definitely steer clear of any chemical cleansers that promise to be ‘antibacterial’.
The best source I have found for learning how to clean without chemicals is the book Green Housekeeping by Ellen Sandbeck. I will be updating this post with new things as I figure out what works best.
Here are my favorite natural ways to clean myself and my home:
General cleaning of household surfaces
Vinegar works for just about every hard surface. Some say dilute it with equal parts water. I just put it in a spray bottle and spray liberally on surfaces. Wipe clean with a wet cloth. The smell dissipates quickly when it dries.
Baking soda can be used to scrub tougher dirtier spots. Either mix it with a bit of water or sprinkle it over a wet surface then wipe with a cloth.
To clean your shower: spray the walls and any spot that shows signs of scum or mold with vinegar 20 mins before you plan to shower. Bring an old margarine tub with baking soda, add water until it forms a paste, and use that with a wet sponge to scrub walls clean. You shouldn’t need to scrub much!
Cleaning the stovetop: I have a flat ceramic stovetop that I bought second hand because I was so fed up with spilling stuff in the coils of my old stove (not to mention the uneven surfaces were hard to work with!). I quickly realized a ceramic top is not that easy to clean and no matter how much kitchen cleaner I used it wouldn’t get rid of cacked on food. The only thing that came close was the magic erasers (I won’t mention the brand) but I knew they were full of chemicals. Enter baking Soda. This is surprisingly good for cleaning the ceramic cook top and anything that needs scrubbing. I usually spray some vinegar first then sprinkle the baking soda. Using a wet cloth, I give a few wipes and the baking soda seems to do the scrubbing for me. I will never buy anything else to clean a cook top again, this is by far the best method!
Soap nuts– These are fabulous and I’m quite surprised how long a bag of these has lasted me. It doesn’t take a lot per load to end up with clean clothes. I use mine for 2 loads each since I’m using cold water. I just pop a small handful of soap nuts into the little cloth bag and toss into the washing machine. Note that soap nuts can be composted too.
Laundry/dryer balls– I was very surprised these worked so well. In the winters here it gets very dry and everything turns to static. I had absolutely no problems with static using these. In fact they may have even been better than dryer sheets. Plus your clothes don’t come out smelling like medicine.
I stopped using shampoo cold turkey and although I did get some build up at first, it really wasn’t that bad. In fact no one even noticed. Once I found a good rountine with natural food-based solutions, I was pretty happy.
Egg– couldn’t be simpler. Crack an egg on your head and massage through. Rinse thoroughly. This will get rid of any buildup and greasiness.
Apple Cider Vinegar– I use this as a rinse. About 1 tbsp vinegar to 1 cup of water. Pour through your hair and leave it on a few minutes. Some leave this in their hair, but I rinse it out thoroughly. Note that I use regular vinegar for cleaning the house, but apple cider vinegar for my hair. I think most regular vinegars are from corn, and I’m trying to avoid corn on my skin.
Baking Soda– This helps with grease a bit (egg works better) and helps with smells too. I mix some with water until pasty then apply to hair and massage in. Rinse thoroughly.
Coconut oil– I use this as a makeup remover and moisturizer. It works wonders for removing mascara without burning your eyes. Plus it leaves the skin around your eyes really soft. I have also heard of men using coconut oil in place of shaving cream and aftershave.
Yogurt– I use yogurt as a face mask (when I remember to) especially if dealing with acne breakouts. Try using yogurt that is room-temperature, smear it all over and let it dry for about 15 minutes then rinse off with lukewarm water. So nice! (Yes I know my yogurt jar is empty, I have a hard time remembering to take a picture when I have a full one)
Bar of soap– I buy a regular old bar of soap made from emu oil. It’s expensive but lasts a long time. I prefer not to use vegetable based ones simply because I don’t know if it came from wheat. I highly recommend soaps from animal fats or goat milk. I use this in the shower as well as all bathrooms and kitchen in the house for washing hands. While I wouldn’t eat the bar of soap, it is made from edible ingredients.
Coconut oil– Again, this can be used as an overall moisturizer. It also works well as a deodorant!
Baking soda– Pat some on the underarms after applying coconut oil. You will not smell at al
l, trust me!
Manuka Honey– This works great for scrapes, burns and cuts. It is antibacterial and helps the healing process.