“Our bodies are our gardens – our wills are our gardeners.” ~William Shakespeare
If you are like me, you have been using typical products most of your life. Deodorant, toothpaste, mouthwash, household cleaners - all purchased off the shelf at big name stores in plastic containers, and containing less than desirable ingredients. You know the saying "if you wouldn't eat it, you probably shouldn't put it on yourself?" It makes sense because our skin is such a large organ, it soaks up the things we put on ourselves. Maybe its time we all woke up and treated our bodies and the earth better.
So here I am, making my own zero waste products. And you can too, because I'm going to tell you how to do it. With 6 ingredients, most of which you probably have in your kitchen, you can make so many personal and home care products easily, cheaply, and safely. If you are ready for the fun to ensue, take a trust walk with me: Empty out your cabinets of all of your personal products and household cleaners. Don't be too ashamed, we all have way more than we think we do, and more than we need. Put whatever you are ready to part with on freecycle, or your curb for a neighbor to take. Better that someone else use it up if they were going to go buy it new at the store anyway!
Now, gather up your: vinegar, baking soda, cornstarch or arrowroot powder, solid coconut oil, peppermint oil and tea tree oil (tea tree oil is a natural antibacterial and anti fungal). And any other essential oils that you like, such as lavender, patchouli, etc.
Toothpaste: mix baking soda, coconut oil and peppermint oil til it forms a paste. Put in a glass jar. DONE.
Mouthwash: mix water, baking soda, peppermint oil and tea tree oil in a jar, shake. Now you never again need to buy a huge plastic mouthwash container.
Deodorant: mix coconut oil, baking soda, arrowroot or cornstarch powder and tea tree oil until it forms a thick paste. Store in a small glass jar and apply a small amount with your hands as needed.
When my 3 year old started expressing sincere interest in helping me clean, I knew it was time to make a change from store bought cleaners. It's not, after all, very safe to let a little one spray and wipe with products that contain bleach and heavy metals. And saying 'no' to such sweet offerings seemed strange and unkind (and foolish!)
Household cleaner: mix water and vinegar in a spray bottle.
Spray and use a cloth rag to clean counters, tables, mop the floor, even the carpet (if you rent a proper steam cleaning machine). Vinegar is a natural antibacterial and anti-fungal. Honestly, its quite magical how much this cheap, safe, plant based product can do. If you don't believe me, google it yourself.
Making hand and body soap is a bit more involved. Good thing we have artisans like my very own practically-sister-in-law making and selling it. Check out her site on FB: The Soap Lorde in Laurel, MD. Pictured above is her Juicy Orange & Sweet Rose bar. Aubrey's soaps and bath bombs are INCREDIBLE. I will never again buy liquid hand soap or body wash. She has a customer for life in me.
For more great recipes, visit the Zero Waste Blog here: http://www.zerowastehome.com/2010/03/zero-waste-recipes.html. Bea Johnson even makes her own mascara, which sounds far out, but kind of cool :)