Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Going Green... One Pinterest Obsession After Another

I am a big fan of Pinterest. I post a million things hoping to get to just a few worthwhile projects before I die.

One of the boards I have created for myself is a DIY board... I'm sure all of my fellow pin-addicts have one of these as well. My board is filled with all kinds of recipes and ideas to save time, money, my sanity, and the environment.

Although I have taken the time to Pin these ideas, I admit I have only put a few concepts into actual play in my life. I did however, plant some seedlings in my leftover egg shells and am regrowing my green onions from the cuttings, so not all is lost ;)

Since moving to this farm in January 2014, a farm which has been certified organic for the past several years, it occurs to me, more than ever, that I need to be making some changes in a few items I use on a regular basis; such as laundry detergent.

So, my interest was piqued when a class at the local community college was brought to my attention. The class was about how to make homemade cosmetics and products. I signed myself up and coerced my sister into going along.

The two hour class was fun and informative ... we didn't get as much hands-on as this klutz would have cared for, but as there were Pyrex dishes filled with melted wax, etc., it's probably better that I attempt these things in my own kitchen and not in a room full of witnesses.

Our instructor,  Louise, encouraged us all to share the recipes and techniques with family and friends. She also said to experiment a bit to see what combinations of oils and fragrances you like... don't be afraid to venture out of your comfort zone. So, as I know I will misplace my newly-acquired recipes AND I want to do as instructed, I will share what I learned here ... I will add some stock pictures from the web as I don't have any of my own yet. I will also attempt to add some links to aid in purchasing some products, tutorials, and such.

Homemade Liquid Laundry Detergent

1/3 bar soap (Ivory is suggested although you can also use Fels-Naptha); grated
1/2c. Arm & Hammer Washing SODA (not detergent...the boxes look similar, so be mindful)
1/2c. Borax
30 drops of Essential Oils of your choice (lavender, or lemongrass ... keep it pleasant and simple) You can purchase oils at most health food stores or order oils here 
3  1-gallon water jugs

Bring 5 cups of water to a boil. Lower heat and add the grated soap and stir until melted. Add an additional 4 cups of water to the mixture; stir. Remove from heat and add the Washing Soda and Borax; mix well. Do not add essential oils until mixture has cooled just a little bit to avoid dissipation. 

Take your 3 1-gallon containers and add 7 cups of water to each. Stir mixture, then pour 3 cups of mixture into each of the 1-gallon containers. As the mixture cools, you will want to shake it. You can then transfer mixture to a more manageable storage container, if you like. 

Use 1/3c of your detergent per load ( 1/4 c. if you have a front-load machine) As there are no chemicals to prevent separation of ingredients, it is important that you SHAKE WELL BEFORE USE

All products, except for the essential oils (link provided above), can be purchased at Walmart. 

Homemade Powder Laundry Detergent

2 bars soap ( Ivory, Fels-Naptha, or Dr. Bronner) HINT: Ivory is cheaper and more readily available. 
1 1/2c. Arm & Hammer Washing Soda (again, be sure it's the washing soda and NOT their detergent...big difference) 
1 1/2c. Borax
Essential Oils ( optional and amount added is at your discretion. Start with a few drops and add more as you go along) 

Finely grate your bars of soap using an old fashioned cheese grater OR you can use a food processor. Just be careful when grating the harder bars of soap if using a processor.... you don't want to damage or ruin an expensive kitchen appliance to save a few dollars. Ivory is soft and should grate nicely.

If you'd like to mix the ingredients into a finer powder to avoid any soap flakes from streaking your darker clothing, run small batches through a coffee grinder for just a few seconds before storing. 

Use 2T of your detergent per load. If you have a front load washer, you can use 1T per load. 

HINT: Save your plastic 1-gallon coffee containers to store your detergent. I have saved up quite a few and am going to spray them with chalkboard paint and write what's inside and how much to use (Thank you Pinterest for the idea!!!)  LOL

Homemade Lotion

1 3/4c. hot water (specific instruction below regarding temp) 
1/4c. emulsifying wax available here
1/4c. oil of choice (avocado, olive, coconut) HINT: Always get cold pressed extra virgin oils
7 drops of essential oils of your choice
(2 candy thermometers are handy and should be used for this recipe) 

In a Pyrex measuring glass, combine the oil and emulsifying wax. Microwave 1 minute until melted. Optimal temperature is 155*F (-/+ 5*)

Microwave 1 3/4c water for 1 minute. Optimal temperature is 120*F  (-/+ 5*)

Add the essential oils to the wax/oil  mixture at optimal temperature. Stir. 

Once you determine that your temperature is optimal for both the wax/oil mixture and water, pour the hot water into the wax/oil  mixture and watch it turn milky ( color will depend on the oil you use. Avocado and olive oil mixtures may turn a lovely yellow while coconut will be white). Occasionally stir the temperature of your lotion mixture until it cools to  approximately 125*F. 

Pour the lotion mixture into wide mouth pint-size jars. Mildly shake the jars until the mixture cools. You can transfer into a plastic bottle with dispenser if you like, just be sure bottle is free of BPA so it doesn't leech into your organic lotion. You can recycle an old lotion bottle OR Amazon has quite a few selections ( I did not check to see BPA content in any of these bottles) 

This lotion is smooth and luxurious... good for hands, face, body. Use sparingly as a little goes a long way. 

Homemade Deodorant

3T. Shea Butter (refined) can be found at most health food stores or available here
3T Arm & Hammer Baking Soda   IMPORTANT: Arm & Hammer is the only baking soda that does NOT have traces of aluminum. Only use Arm & Hammer
2T Corn Starch
2T Cocoa Butter  - can be found at health food stores or available here
2 Vitamin E oil gel capsules (puncture and squeezed into recipe as instructed) 
 4 drops Essential Oils (Tea Tree Oil, Orange Oil suggested. Lavender highly recommended as it has natural qualities to kill bacteria, viruses, fungi) 

Melt all ingredients (except Vitamin E and Essential Oils) in microwave safe dish for approximately 30 seconds Stir well. 

Add Vitamin E from capsules and Essential Oils. Mix well and pour into small containers. You can even use your empty deodorant tubes, if you like. 
You should have enough for two containers. Keep one to use and keep the other in the refrigerator. 

TO USE: Scrape a little deodorant out of the jar with the back of your fingernail; a small, pea-sized amount will do. Hold under your arm for 5 seconds or until it is warm enough to spread under your arm. It make take a few days use to notice if this product is working for you. Remember, this is a deodorant, NOT an antiperspirant. Although the mixture will have some antiperspirant properties, you may still sweat a bit. 

IMPORTANT NOTE: Some individuals may have a sensitivity to baking soda. If you notice a reaction, you may want to cut back on the baking soda for your next batch. 

Homemade Lip Balm

1 1/2 tsp. Beeswax
1 7/8 tsp. Coconut Oil 
1 1/8 tsp Cocoa Butter (link for purchase above) 
3 tsp. Olive Oil
3 Vitamin E Capsules
4 Drops of Essential Oils ( Peppermint is recommended, but experiment with oils of your liking) 

Place all ingredients ( EXCEPT FOR THE VITAMIN E CAPSULES - HEATING THE VITAMIN E WHILE MELTING THE OTHER INGREDIENTS WILL CAUSE IT TO LOSE IT'S HELPFUL, HEALING PROPERTIES) into a Pyrex measuring cup. Melt ingredients in double boiler OR microwave. Melt, stirring often until all ingredients are liquid and mixed well. 

Remove from heat and add the content of the Vitamin E capsules ( pierce capsule and squeeze oil into mixture; discard capsule) and the Essential Oils

You will notice that there is not much product once melted. That's Okay! You will have enough to fill 6 empty lip balm tubes. Carefully pour the mixture into a 1c. measuring cup to ease with pouring. Fill tubes and allow them to cool and harden. 

Another great resource for products to assist you in these DIY projects is Mountain Rose Herbs

I hope you are able to make a few items for yourself. They were much easier than I had originally thought, and after attending last night's class, I am more motivated than ever to place a DIY Day on the calendar and stock up! 

It is important to remember that the cosmetic items DO NOT have any preservatives, so they will "spoil" with time. Best rule of thumb is to use them up within a 6 month time frame. SO, if you're making big batches, be sure to share with family and friends. 

Feel free to share this blog post and I'd love to hear back from you regarding your success with these DIY recipes. 

*DISCLAIMER> > > Again, I used stock photos from a google search. I do not own these pictures and did not obtain permission to use them.