What Does “Small Keys” Mean?

Small Keys Square pic

Generally when new people walk up to my shop, they look a little confused for a minute as they try to put together what the name “Small Keys” has to do with the products they see in front of them.. I thought I’d just take a moment to explain how I came up with the name Small Keys and why I’m always so obsessed with keys.

I’m not positive where the key obsession initially started, but for as long as I can remember I’ve loved the symbolism of keys and doorways (as in, new beginnings). I’ve collected a variety of keys over the years and some of my keys are more memorable than others. One of my favorites is a beautiful diamond key necklace symbolizing the birth of my daughter and that new door in my life. I even have a key tattooed on the back of my neck symbolizing another new door to my life a few years ago. So this was part of the story of my name, a new door for me in opening this new company, but the meaning goes much deeper.

A couple of years ago, I started reading up on what was in products and studying labels and began making some of my own products, I became obsessed with what I was putting on my body and in my home. I started throwing things away and buying ingredients. The more I read, the more overwhelmed I became. If I really wanted to do what was healthiest for me and my daughter, I needed to get rid of every single thing we used on a daily basis…and I needed to throw out our food and all the plastic, and then I started reading about the chemicals sprayed on furniture and the dyes in clothes, and it went on and on and on. I started to become overwhelmed and then…

I GOT PISSED OFF…I feel like we, as consumers are assumed to be ignorant. We believe the hype surrounding beauty claims, we don’t read our labels, and most of the time we feel like we don’t even have a choice on what we put in and on our bodies…limited by finances, ignorant of ingredients and exhausted trying to keep up.

So I took matters into my own hands, started educating myself, starting throwing out the horrible toxins, stopped listening to the ads and started doing my own research. Then my home full of concoctions began to interest those around me, and that was the beginning… the beginning of small steps, small keys, tiny changes that are leading through much bigger doors.

WHY SMALL KEYS?

  • Because the marketing moguls assume we are ignorant and can be convinced that glossy ads = miracle results
  • Because we are poisoning our bodies and our children’s bodies daily through the foods we eat, the air we breathe and the products we use on a daily basis.
  • Because every small step makes a difference in my well being and my daughter’s future.
  • Because the more I know, the more I am morally required to share my findings. I can’t sit idly by and watch my friends filling their kids and homes with toxic substances.
  • Because my friends, family and now customers are starting to look at labels and ask questions instead of merely saying I’ve lost my mind.

Small Keys is all about taking baby steps…baby steps towards a less toxic lifestyle. Sometimes I don’t make the healthiest choices, but I don’t beat myself up. I know that I’m doing better than I was a year ago. Every piece of knowledge is power.

You are probably like me; you want to live in a non-toxic environment. You want more sustainable life, but you are busy, overwhelmed and don’t know where to start.

I strive to educate others about the toxic substances in our household, beauty and bath products. Through education, we begin the process of change…through Small Steps!

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Lathering up with Beer Soaps

Beer SoapsBeer in soap? The initial thought may seem a little odd, but after a little explanation it makes perfect sense. You won’t step out of the shower smelling like a brewery, and there’s not actually any alcohol in the soap so you don’t have to worry about hiding the soap from the kids!

WHY USE BEER IN SOAP?

Hops soothe irritated skin and contain skin softening amino acids Beer also helps create creamy, foamy bubbles.

There is no alcohol left in the soap because I cook the alcohol out. You also won’t find the smell of beer although there is sometimes a soft aroma of hops, grains, malts and extracts. I also add essential oils that compliment the particular beers used.

To make beer soap, I simply cook down the beer, then freeze it. Typically in the first phase of soap making you would mix distilled water with lye, but in beer soaps I replace the water with beer ice cubes. Beer mixed with lye can overheat and burn which is why I freeze it first. Once the beer is mixed with the lye well, I make the soap just like any other batch.

ABOUT MY SOAPS:

If you are new to my products, you may not know about my commitment to ingredient purity. Unlike traditional store bought soaps, my soaps contain no harsh detergents and have natural glycerin which is a byproduct of the soapmaking process. In store bought soaps, glycerin is removed and sold separately or used in other products.

In addition, I only use high quality, pure essential oils to fragrance my soaps (and other products) instead of synthetic fragrance/perfume oils. I only use natural colorants such as clays, herbs and botanicals so you will not find oxides, micas or any other man-made colors in my products. There are no added chemicals, just pure oils, butters, botanicals, clays and skin-loving ingredients.

With my soaps, I strive to formulate a variety of recipes to please different skin types. My goal is not that you use and enjoy these soaps, not just have soaps to display in your bathroom. You will find that cold process soaps last longer than traditional soaps as long as you keep them dry between uses.

ABOUT THE BEER:

Photo courtesy of Triple C Brewing Co.

Photo courtesy of Triple C Brewing Co.

Like all the other ingredients in my soap, the beer I chose to use is a fantastic, quality product full of great ingredients. Triple C Brewing Company is a local Charlotte, NC craft brewery, and I am always interested in using local ingredients in my products and supporting other small businesses. You can visit their taproom at 2900 Griffith St. Charlotte, NC 28203 where they always have great events going on. In addition to finding their beer in my soaps, you can also find their beers at Assorted Table Wine Shoppe or Pure Pizza both located at the 7th Street Public Market where my full-time space is located.

CURRENT BEER SOAPS:

Online Golden CitrusCitrus Beer Soap makes a wonderful shampoo bar or body bar. This is the bar that I personally use as shampoo instead of traditional shampoos. Avocado oil and Shea butter make this a great moisturizing shampoo bar.

Ingredients: Saponified Oils of (Olive, Avocado, Shea Butter, Coconut & Castor) Triple C Golden Boy Beer, Essential Oils of Tangerine, Orange, Bergamot, Lemon and Litsea Cubeba

online Smoked AmberSmoked Amber Triple C Beer Soap has a nice, smoky, manly scent that goes along well with the scent of the actual Smoked Amber Beer. The ground oats add a nice exfoliation, and the clay and cocoa powder also add great cleansing properties.

Ingredients: Saponified Oils of (Olive, Organic Sustainable Palm, Coconut & Castor) Triple C Smoked Amber Beer, Old Fashioned Oats, Cocoa Powder, White Kaolin Clay, Essential Oils of Cedarwood & Orange

Shave SoapsBeer Shave Soaps are making a comeback. Many guys are going back to the traditional use of safety razors and shave brushes and soaps. Many guys find that they have less break outs when they make the switch to shave soaps from shaving cream.

Ingredients: Saponified Oils of (Olive, Cocoa Butter, Shea Butter, Coconut & Castor) Triple C Golden Boy Beer, Bentonite Clay, Essential Oils of Bay & Bergamot (or Unscented)

Online Tea Tree, Lemongrass & HoneyHoney, Tea Tree & Lemongrass Triple C Beer Soap – Honey is a humectant (draws moisture to the skin) which makes this a really nice moisturizing bar. Tea tree oil and Lemongrass are both anti-bacterial and odor cutting so this is cleansing while still moisturizing.

Ingredients: Saponified Oils of (Olive, Organic Sustainable Palm, Coconut & Castor), Triple C Golden Boy Beer, Local Raw Honey, Essential Oils of Tea Tree & Lemongrass

Online Road to NowhereRoad to Nowhere Triple C Beer Soap is made with one of my favorite recipes. The cocoa butter makes this a moisturizing bar with stable lather that lasts a long time. I added no essential oils to this one so this is great for anyone with sensitivities. You can smell the hops a little and the chocolate a bit. Chocolate is also great for skin!

Ingredients: Saponified Oils of (Olive, Organic Sustainable Palm, Cocoa Butter, Coconut, Sweet Almond & Castor) Triple C Road to Nowhere Beer, White Kaolin Clay, Unsweetened Chocolate

COMING SOON – DOGGIE SOAP MADE WITH BEER! THIS IS A RECIPE THAT I AM ALREADY MAKING FOR DOGS WITH SKIN ISSUES, BUT WILL NOW BE MADE WITH BEER!

WHERE TO PURCHASE BEER SOAP:

The 7th Street Public Market – This is where you can find me Tuesday – Sunday so my largest selections will always be located at the market!

The Boulevard at South End – One of my favorite stores to shop at, and you can find lots of other local artisan’s work here! I generally stop by to restock The Boulevard on Mondays so their selection of beer soaps and other products is usually up to date. This is a store you need to check out if you live in Charlotte! I love shopping for gifts, unique clothing and jewelry at The Boulevard.

My Etsy Store has all my latest beer soaps and other products. I will continue to add different fragrances and experiment with different beers so check back for other selections!

AS SEEN ON THE CHARLOTTE TODAY SHOW:

You can fast forward to the 2 minute mark to skip the other products mentioned!

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The Top 10 Questions I Get Asked About Handmade Soap

DSC_1411I have become quite obsessed with handmade soaps over the past few months. I originally planned to try my hand at soap making just to take one more store-bought item off my shelves.  Then I made a couple of batches, and the addiction started.

Making soaps has become my creative outlet in recent days. I’m not naturally artistic, but I am mathematically minded so the measuring and mixing of oils gives me much satisfaction. Each batch of handmade soap is completely different from the last. Each oil and butter brings something new to the equation. In addition to making them, I adore using my soaps and trying out other handmade soaps. I will never buy a store-bought soap again. As I give away and sell my creations, many friends and family agree that store-bought soaps are a thing of the past.

As I’ve been selling my soaps, I have noticed the same questions coming up again and again. I thought it would be nice to address some of the top questions in one place as a resource for anyone new to the idea of handmade soaps.

 

TOP 10 QUESTIONS THAT I GET ASKED ABOUT MY HANDMADE SOAPS:

#10: What is the difference between handmade soaps & commercial bar soaps?

The two biggest differences are the glycerin in handmade soaps and the lack of detergents.

Glycerin is naturally produced during saponification. It’s a humectant which means it draws moisture from the air to your skin so it leaves your skin soft and moisturized. Commercial soaps remove the glycerin and sell it separately and/or use glycerin in more profitable products like moisturizers.

Detergents are synthetic often petroleum based cleansers whereas soap is simply oils and butters saponified with lye. I won’t get into the whole issue of polluting our water supply with detergents or my issues with petroleum byproducts. Detergents strip your skin, leaving it dry whereas soap cleanses without stripping.

Another issue with detergent based soaps is that the preservatives required to keep these acidic soaps from growing bacteria are toxic and drying as well. A well formulated handmade soap will outshine a detergent based bar soap any day!

If you are new to handmade soaps, you are in for a huge treat because they leave your skin feeling completely different than commercial soaps. I superfat all my soaps by about 5%, which means that I leave 5% extra oils/butters that doesn’t get turned into soap. Those extra oils/butters leave your skin moisturized.

#9: Why is the labeling on bar soaps so confusing? What do many of those ingredients on store bought soaps start with sodium? Why do I not see lye as an ingredient on many soaps?

I really enjoy deciphering labels on commercial soaps now that I am making soap myself. It can be very confusing simply because here in the US we do not have regulations on how the soaps need to be labeled. So sometimes you will buy handmade soaps that have no labels, and store-bought soaps are not all labeled the same. Here are some basic guidelines:

Sodium hydroxide is lye. Some soapmakers list what goes into their soaps and some list what the product is. So, for instance a bar that only contains olive oil, lye and water may have those three ingredients listed or may say “sodium olivate” as a single ingredient. Sodium olivate is the saponified version of olive oil. I like to list mine in the common names so it’s easier to understand for the majority of consumers. So I list all my oils and butters as saponified oils of… because I think customers understand “saponified olive oil” more easily than “sodium olivate”.

My biggest issue with soap labels is the term “fragrance”. If you are a big “natural foodie”, you can equate this general term to the term “natural flavor” on food labels. It’s a catch-all word that could mean many things. Fragrance oils are synthetic replications of actual scents, and those are proprietary blends so companies aren’t going to list out the breakdown of ingredients in a “fragrance”. The other issue with “fragrance” is that a buyer may have sensitivities or allergies and need to know what is in a product.

“Natural” ingredients can also be irritating and activate allergies, but at least if you know what exactly is in your products you can steer clear of items that irritate your skin. Since I only use essential oils as scent, I simply list those specific oils out on my labels. There are certain essential oils that aren’t recommended if you are pregnant, and if you have allergies, you want to be sure and read the labels carefully.

Another confusing thing that you will find on commercial soaps is fragrance added to soaps that are “unscented”. Kirks Castile is a soap I used to use that has fragrance in the unscented version. They add fragrance to cover the scent of the natural oils/butters. The issue with that is that people with sensitive skin could have reactions to synthetic fragrances, and buy unscented soap thinking they are getting no fragrance. Read your labels!

One of my  “unscented” bars of soap will still have somewhat of a fragrance because the oils and butters have their own scent.

#8: What does curing a soap mean? Why does that take 4-6 weeks?

Curing the soaps simply means I slice it and place the slices on a rack that allows good air flow turning the soaps occasionally. Most soaps take 4-6 weeks to cure, although any soaps that are mostly olive oil or all olive oil take 6 months to cure.

The cure time allows two things to happen. First, the water in the bar slowly evaporates which causes the bar to become hard. A hard bar will last much longer than a soft bar that hasn’t cured long enough. Secondly, curing allows the bar to become more gentle. I always test my bars immediately after cutting them to get a good idea of lather. That initial test makes my skin a little itchy and irritated. Every week that bar cures adds a whole new level of gentleness. Since I have the opportunity to test the bars out throughout those weeks, I can attest to the fact that they really do change a lot during that cure time.

#7: What is the difference between cold process, hot process, milled and melt & pour soap?

Most of us handmade soap makers speak up about the fact that our soaps are cold or hot processed because we worked hard to make these soaps and want people to know we didn’t just use a base pre-made soap.

“Cold process” refers to the fact that no heat was added to the soaping process. You mix an exact amount of lye water with whatever oils & butters you are using, then your mixture naturally heats up on it’s own. You let it process in a mold, then cut and cure the soap for 4-6 weeks (or longer for some soaps).

“Hot process ” refers to making the soap in the same way except adding heat to the process to speed up saponification. That usually occurs by putting the fresh soap in a crock pot. Hot process soaps work the same way as cold process, but hot process soaps have more of a rough texture usually. Cold process soap is similar to cake batter when it’s poured into molds, whereas hot process is more like a really thick, clumpy pudding.  Hot process gets the soap to a usable state faster, but cold process allows you to swirl colors and other creative flair.

Milled soap/French milled soap/rebatched soap is soap that was originally created through the hot or cold process. The soap is shredded, a little liquid added, and then it’s cooked and molded. This is a great way to redo soap that didn’t turn out pretty and it’s a great way to add fragrance that sticks around since the saponification has already occurred.

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Melt & Pour “Glycerin” Soap

Melt and pour soap is pretty much exactly what it sounds like. It’s a base soap that you purchase pre-made. You don’t have to worry with mixing lye because the soap is already made. You can add colors and scents and easily melt and pour the mixture into molds. Most melt and pour doesn’t meet my qualifications for “natural”, but I did find a natural base made by a company called SFIC that I am happy with.

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Peppermint mustache melt & pour soaps

I use the melt and pour for cute kid soaps with embedded items or other cute shapes. Melt and pour is great if you want to make some soaps with your kids or you need to make soaps that will be immediately ready to use. Many elaborately designed soaps that you find in stores are melt and pour. These are often called glycerin soaps and many have a transparent look. Melt and pour soaps are a great way begin the soaping addiction.

 

#6: Why do you specify that some of your soaps are palm free and the ones with palm state that they are made with sustainable palm? What is wrong with palm oil?

Palm oil is generally used in place of tallow or lard in vegetable based soaps for hardness. You can make a bar of hard soap without palm, but it will usually take longer than 4-6 weeks to cure. The issue with palm oil is that rain-forests are being destroyed and orangutans endangered by profit driven companies. Palm oil is used in many food products as well as soaps.

With the growing concerns over the sourcing of palm oil, I am committed to only purchasing through sustain-ably produced companies. There are plenty of consumers who do not want to purchase items with palm oil at all which is why I create some soaps that have no palm oil.

#5: Why do you specify that some of your soaps are vegan?

This is one I find interesting because there are many people who don’t ever really think about what is in their soap. One day recently a lady asked me if other soaps contain meat since many of mine are, “Vegan”. No, most soaps do not contain meat, but most traditional soaps contain animal fats – lard, tallow…Personally, I have no issue with animal fats in soap. I do however want to be sure that anyone who buys my soaps knows what they are getting. I also want to educate people so they know how to read store labels.

I do make milk soaps and honey soaps with vegetable oils and butters so those are vegetarian, but not vegan. I always list ingredients and specify Vegan or Vegetarian. In the future I may create some soaps with animal fats, but those would be clearly labeled and I would use separate utensils for those so there is no cross-contamination.

#4: Can I use these soaps on my face?

I am formulating some bars that are specifically for washing your face, but many of the bars I currently have could be used on your face. Your face is more sensitive generally than your body, so the essential oils and butters/oils that may work well on your body, could be irritating on your face. Typically, my regular soaps will be a little too drying for your face. I do like to use the plain goat milk soap on my face sometimes, but I moisturize well after.

#3: I can’t use store-bought bar soap because they irritate my skin. Can I use your homemade soaps?

Well, maybe…I don’t know your skin issues nor do I try to diagnose skin problems (even though people are constantly showing me their rashes and skin problems while asking for advice). What I do know is that many people are allergic to the detergents in storebought soaps. Those detergents can leave your skin dry and irritated. Many people do find that their skin reacts very well to natural handmade soaps. I am happy to give you a sample to try out!

#2 I really love the smell of (insert common store bought scents)…can you make a soap with that fragrance?

Personally, I have made the decision to not use any fragrance oils/synthetic fragrances in my soaps and other products. That means there are certain scents that I simply can’t replicate.

For instance, vanilla. Vanilla beans make a great exfoliant and my vanilla infused body oil has a heavenly natural vanilla smell, but the vanilla scent doesn’t make it through the lye process in soap making. I can’t make soaps with a strong vanilla smell because I don’t use vanilla fragrance oil. That’s just one example of a fragrance I can’t replicate.

 

There are also many fragrances that would be very expensive to make with essential oils. You can replicate the rose scent with fragrance oils (although it won’t truly replicate that smell), but if you are looking to have rose soap you will be disappointed in the price. Bulgarian Rose Essential Oil currently costs $356.50 for 1/2 oz (Mountain Rose Herbs).  Soap requires between 1/2 – 1 oz of essential oil per pound. Basically, a bar of soap with only rose essential oil could cost you $200+. I use Palmarosa essential oil often as a replacement for rose so there are options, but there are definitely some scents that can’t be economically achieved with essential oils. Jasmine is another scent that would be expensive to replicate.

If you have a fragrance you are interested in, feel free to ask me if it’s one I can make with essential oils.

#1 Is there lye in your soap?

Safety first when working with lye:)

Safety first when working with lye:)

There is no lye in the finished soap, but you CAN’T have bar soap that didn’t have lye in the process. Lye is what makes the soap, soap. Lye reacts with the oils and butters through a chemical process called saponification and the end result is soap. Each oil and butter requires a specific amount of lye to saponify so measurements have to be very exact.

Some older people remember a time when soaps were marketed as “lye soap”. Typically those soaps were a basic lard soap or tallow soap. I often have people tell me they have bought soaps from elsewhere that didn’t have lye in them. Bar soap isn’t soap unless it was made with lye by the very definition of bar soap.

Liquid soap uses potassium hydroxide instead of sodium hydroxide. If you tried to make “soap” without lye, you would simply have a bunch of oils and butters mixed together. You wouldn’t have soap.

 

***Interesting lye fact – If you eat bagels or pretzels, you are eating a product that required lye. I use food grade lye in my soaps which is the exact same lye used to make bagels & pretzels. Lye is dangerous, but once it goes through the chemical reaction, as long as you used the correct amount of additions, the result is safe.

***Interesting lye fact – lick your soap to see if it’s lye heavy. My daughter loves to tell everyone that I lick the soaps. If you are a soap maker, this is not odd, but to the rest of the world it seems a little crazy. If soap has not finished with saponification or if you put too much lye in the soap, touching your tongue to the soap will cause a zap. It’s a similar feeling to putting your tongue on a 9 volt battery. Doing a quick zap test lets a soap maker know that the soap is safe and has saponified. It still needs to cure, but you know that it’s not lye heavy and that you did a good job of mixing the lye with the oils.

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I’m sure other questions will come up along the way, but these have been the ones I hear most. Come visit me at The 7th Street Public Market in Charlotte, NC to check out my current soaps. I also list some of my soaps in my Etsy shop, and I’m happy to take custom orders as well!

Interested in making soaps? Here are a few of my favorite resources:

Soap Queen & Soap Queen TV - Anne-Marie represents Brambleberry which is a company that sells soap making supplies. She has a whole series of videos on cold process soap making that were super helpful to me starting out.

Soaping 101 & Soaping 101 on YouTube - This is my current “go to” for soaping ideas and is a fantastic starting point once you move past the beginner stage. This is where I got the idea on how to make dog soap, pine tar soap and several other ideas that I’ve tried out recently. There is also a Soaping 101 group on Facebook which is an unbelievable group of helpful people. Anytime I have a soaping question or issue, that’s where I get advice.

Humblebee & Me - A blog with a variety of DIY projects including soap, cooking and other beauty recipes.

The Nerdy Farm Wife - This is another favorite blogger who writes about soapmaking in addition to other great DIY beauty projects.

 

 

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The Oil Cleansing Method: A Complexion Saviour


oilsUp until about a year ago, I had never heard of the Oil Cleansing Method
(or OCM as it’s called around the web). Now, if I had to pick one practice that has given me the biggest results in my beauty routine, it would be an easy choice. The oil cleansing method has completely changed my complexion.

One year ago my face was a stressed out, troubled disaster. I was unknowingly adding to my issues by using overly drying products. I was breaking out, picking at breakouts and coating my face in tons of makeup to cover my issues. At night I would strip all the oils from my skin by using acne treatments. I was in a terrible viscous cycle, and there were many times that I sat at home in shame because I was so embarrassed of the way my face looked.

I can remember telling someone that I literally felt like the chemistry of my skin was off balance. Now I realize that my pH was indeed off because I was stripping all the natural oil from my skin. It was a disaster and I wish I had a before and after picture, but there is no way that I would have taken a photo of my face back then.

WHAT IS THE OIL CLEANSING METHOD?

The oil cleansing method is based on the fact that like substances dissolve like substances. You wash your face with oil which removes makeup and dirt off but doesn’t leave your face dry. The oil cleansing method has a bit of a cult following online, so if you have a few hours to waste, do a Google search for “OCM” or “Oil Cleansing Method”  and start reading everyone’s stories and experiences. I list some specific posts that I like the best down at the bottom if you don’t want to sort through the millions of posts on the topic.

The first time I read about the OCM, I was skeptical. I thought I had oily skin, so the thought of cleaning my face with oil didn’t make too much sense to me. I read up on the method a lot before actually attempting it. Once I got into my routine, I have never looked back. I actually poured the remaining facial cleansers I had down the drain after realizing what chemicals were in those. I do use other handmade cleansers as part of my overall facial cleansing routine, but the main method I use for removing makeup nightly is the oil cleansing method.

You will need to give your skin a little time to get used to this method. I had some breakouts for a couple of weeks until my face became accustomed to things and it’s been fantastic since then. The only time I have breakout issues is if I don’t do a good job washing the oil off around my hairline.

WHAT OILS SHOULD YOU USE?

When I first started the oil cleansing method, I simply used extra virgin olive oil and nothing else because that is what I had on hand. Then as I started adding to my natural supplies, I used half castor and half olive oil. Castor oil is the best cleansing oil and should be the oil you use as a base, but can be very drying. I have added some descriptions of several oils at the bottom of this post that can be easily saved or printed.

If you are just starting out, just use castor and olive oil for simplicity. You don’t have to mix up a whole bottle. Just pour a little of each in your hand and rub your hands together to mix. Once you get into the routine and start seeing results, then start adding in some other oils to see what works best with your skin.

Oils I Use Currently:

When my skin is feeling oily, I use about 2/3 castor but typically I use 1/3 castor, 1/3 jojoba and 1/3 apricot kernel with a little lavender essential oil. Essential oils aren’t necessary in the cleansing oil. Since they can be a pricey addition to a product that is simply getting washed off, I like to add very little to my cleanser and save the pricey essential oils for my moisturizer.

HOW TO CLEAN YOUR FACE WITH OIL/ THE OIL CLEANSING METHOD

  1. Rub oil all over your face massaging upward in circular motions
  2. Lay a warm washcloth on your face for 15 seconds to open up the pores and steam your face
  3. Slowly rub the oil off your face with your warm washcloth, rinsing it out as you go. You need the water to be a little warmer than you would usually use to wash your face so that it cuts the oil.
  4. If you have a lot of eye makeup on, you may need to add a little extra oil around your eyes. I usually take a cotton ball and put straight apricot kernel oil on it because it’s gentle and wipe around my eyes with it if my eye makeup isn’t completely off. Be sure to completely wash all the oil off your face well especially around the hair line to avoid breakouts.
  5. I like to follow up with a toner which will get any remnants of oil and makeup off. I’ll be posting some easy DIY toners in the near future.
  6. Moisturize – You may not even need moisturizer after the OCM which is perfectly fine. I like to use moisturizing face oils with different concoctions for daytime and nighttime (recipes coming soon). The simplest and most effective face oil moisture is a few drops of straight jojoba oil. Jojoba is the closest to your skin’s sebum so it soaks right in without leaving an oily feeling.

 

RESOURCES AND DIY

The Oil Cleansing Method

How to Wash Your Face Using the Oil Cleansing Method (Video Tutorial)

Oil Cleansing for Clear Baby Soft Skin

Crunchy Betty’s Nitty Gritty on the Oil Cleansing Method - Proof that this method is highly discussed – check out the 599 comments on that post!

The Detox Diva’s Oils for the Oil Cleansing Method, Detox Your Skin: The Oil Cleansing Method, and Oil Cleansing Method Journey

Why You Need to Start Using the Oil Cleansing Method

Sorta Crunchy – The Oil Cleansing Method

 

NO TIME TO DIY?

Here are some wonderful cleansing oils you can purchase that aren’t full of toxic ingredients.

Kari Gran Skincare – Cleansing Oil

Crunchy Betty’s Exquisite Stuff Cleansing Oil or It’s Tamanu Thyme Cleansing Oil

Patyka Biokaliftin Remarquable Cleansing Oil

Vapour Organic Beauty Clarity Makeup Removing Cleansing Oil

 

PRINTABLE INSTRUCTIONS AND OIL SELECTIONS

OCM MethodOCM

 

 

How about you? Have you ever tried the oil cleansing method? What were your results?

 

* All information is for educational purposes only. This information has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

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DIY Spring Sachet Bags

DSC_0559Fragrant sachet bags bring back wonderful memories of my grandmother. She kept sachet bags in every drawer and closet of her home. When she passed away, I found bags of cloves, cedar chips and baking soda in all her winter coat pockets.

There is no question that I got my love of fragrant sachet bags from my grandmother. The piece of lace in the photo came from my grandmother’s home so her memory lives on in my sachet bag creations.

The best part of creating your own sachets is that you can pick your favorite flowers, herbs and fragrances while keeping them all non-toxic and non-allergy producing.

 

HOW TO USE YOUR SACHET BAGS

  • Use as a clothing fragrance in a drawer or closet.
  • Place in car as an air freshener.
  • Run under running bathtub water as a fragrant bath tea.
  • Pour ingredients out into a bowl as potpourri.
  • Pour into a pot of water and cook on low as a fragrant kitchen potpourri.
  • Use as a “wake up” fragrance. Place a sachet on your bedside table and inhale instead of hitting the snooze button.

 

Below you will find the exact recipe I used for my Spring Sachet Bags, but it can be easily modified. Just replace the orange peels, dried lavender and dried rose buds with whatever mix of dried herbs you prefer. Don’t use fresh flowers because they will rot. If you are using muslin bags, you can add spices as well like cinnamon or nutmeg.

 

SPRING SACHET BAG INGREDIENTS

Mixture of Dried Rosebuds, Dried Orange Peel & Dried Lavender (Sprayed with an essential oil blend – see recipe below)

ESSENTIAL OIL SACHET SPRAY RECIPE

15-30 Drops of Essential Oil (I used equal parts grapefruit, sweet orange, lemon, bergamot, lavender and neroli essential oils)

1 tbsp (½ oz) Sweet Almond Carrier Oil (Any carrier oil would work.)

2 tbsp (1 oz) Witch Hazel or Grain Alcohol

1 tsp Vegetable Glycerin

 

Note: Essential oils will quickly evaporate, but putting your essential oil blend into a carrier oil as well as adding vegetable glycerin will help your fragrance stick around. Witch hazel or alcohol helps thin the mixture and will make it easier to spray.

DIRECTIONS

Mix your dried flowers, herbs and peels together while lightly spraying with your essential oil blend. You don’t want to get the flowers too wet because your muslin bags will end up with stains on them. The essential oil blend is completely optional. Dried flowers make a nice fragrant blend even without added oils.

The best part about sachet bags is that there is no specific recipe. As you are mixing, smell to see if the fragrance is to your liking. You can also grind your dried flowers for an even more fragrant mix.

Place your mix in cotton muslin bags or just wrap in a square of cheesecloth and tie with a ribbon.

MORE RESOURCES

Crunchy Gifts: Herbal Bath Sachets

40+ Scented Sachets

Martha Stewart – How to Make Lavender Sachets

 

WHERE TO FIND YOUR SUPPLIES

The below is an affiliate links which means if you purchase through the link, I earn a small commission.  Thanks for your support!

Mountain Rose Herbs. A Herbs, Health & Harmony Com
 

NO TIME TO DIY?

I will be creating seasonal fragrant sachet bags throughout the year. Currently, my Spring Sachet Bags are quite popular with a nice blend of floral and citrus. I’m also happy to customize sachet bags for larger orders.

These would be great wedding favors, and I can stamp your muslin bag with a customized stamp for bulk orders. Contact me for further details. (toni (at) tonisouth (dot)com).

 

PRINTABLE/PIN-ABLE INSTRUCTIONS

Sachet bags

 

 

* All information is for educational purposes only. This information has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

 

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What is Zinc Oxide and Why is it in my Diaper Rash Cream?

Diaper Rash Cream

So you may be wondering why I use a synthetic substance, zinc oxide, in my products if I’m trying to be all natural. You may not even know exactly what zinc oxide is. I definitely didn’t until doing some extensive research as I started creating baby products.

As soon as I started down this crunchy path creating my own beauty and household products, I decided that I wanted to be as knowledgeable as possible on every substance I put in or on my body. I stay away from processed foods, synthetically produced substances and toxic chemicals. The very core of my values related to my product line is to keep it natural. That’s why I want to explain what zinc oxide is and why I’m using it in the diaper rash cream.

 

What is Zinc Oxide?

Zinc oxide is a fine white powder that is insoluble in water. That simply means that if you dump a little zinc oxide into a cup of hot water and stir it around, you’ll just end up with powder and water. Zinc oxide can occur naturally as the mineral zincite but most zinc oxide is synthetically produced. (see wikipedia) You’ll find zinc oxide in a lot of products as an additive, and in the beauty world you will see it in diaper rash cream and in sunscreen.

Why Zinc Oxide Works Like Magic in Diaper Rash Creams

When you mix zinc oxide with hot emollients, butters, and oils the end result is a thick white cream. While the cream is still hot, you can see the powdery zinc oxide as a separate substance but as it cools the cream becomes a normal consistency and the powder dissolves.

Rub the zinc oxide cream on your skin and water droplets will sit on top of the cream. Wash your zinc oxide hands in warm water and you’ll still have beading water. The zinc oxide repels the water and keeps it away from your skin. This is exactly what it does on your baby’s body as well. Wet diapers won’t cause diaper rash because your baby has a layer of zinc oxide cream on that repels the wetness. It’s the best substance to use in diaper rash creams because it works so well at repelling moisture.

Zinc Oxide Percentages in Other Diaper Rash Creams

Zinc oxide can be found in most “natural” diaper rash creams as well as most mainstream store bought creams. It is the active substance in all these creams which means it’s what makes the cream work. Here are a few common creams that contain zinc oxide and the percentage that they contain:

Desitin Maximum Strength Original Paste (Owned by Johnson & Johnson) – 40% (highest percentage of zinc oxide you can get without a prescription)

Booty Goo – 25%

Desitin Rapid Relief Cream (Owned by Johnson & Johnson)- 19%

Penaten Medicated Creme (A German based company owned by Johnson & Johnson)- 18%

Bourdreaux’s Butt Paste – 16%

New Penaten Creamy Diaper Rash Treatment (A German based company owned by Johnson & Johnson) - 13%

Aveeno Baby Soothing Relief Diaper Rash Cream – 13%

Triple Paste -12.8%

Weleda Calendula Diaper Rash Cream – 12%

Arbonne Herbal Diaper Rash Cream - 12%

California Baby Super Sensitive Diaper Rash Cream & Calming Diaper Rash Cream - 12%

Balmex Diaper Rash Cream with ActivGuard – 11.3%

Doctor Smith’s Premium Blend Diaper Ointment – 10%

Mustela Vitamin Barrier Cream - 10%

A & D Zinc Oxide Treatment Ointment - 10 %

Lansinoh Diaper Rash Ointment (Owned by Pigeon – an international company) – 5.5%

Burt’s Bees Baby Bee Diaper Ointment (Owned by Clorox) – ???% This is the only diaper rash cream without the percentage of zinc oxide listed on the label. Zinc oxide is the second ingredient on the label. (Ingredients are listed in order by how much  of each ingredient is in the recipe so the first ingredients are the largest portions.)

Zinc Oxide and Cloth Diapers

The downside is that it’s tough to get the cream off hands, bodies and clothes because zinc oxide repels water. There are many zinc oxide rash creams that say they are diaper safe. Apparently fish oils are the really pesky ingredient in diaper rash creams that just won’t wash out such as cod liver oil.

If you are using cloth diapers, I would definitely suggest using a liner with my diaper rash cream. If you are using natural fiber diapers, the zinc oxide should wash out fine but a liner is a good idea. With synthetic cloth diapers such as pocket diapers, you need to stay away from zinc oxide creams so my baby balm would be a better choice as a diaper rash cream.

Read here to find further info about cloth diapering.

 

What are nanoparticles and are they bad?

Nano-particles in zinc oxide have become controversial in recent years. Basically, in non-scientific terms, a nanoparticle is a super tiny version of a substance. Initially, products with zinc oxide touted nanoparticles as a feature because zinc oxide with nano-particles were absorbed into your skin so the nanoparticles wouldn’t leave a white residue on your skin. It seemed like a good feature until further research was done. The problem with nanoparticles is that the structure of a substance can change.

It’s a controversial subject, and I choose to simply use the non nano-particle zinc oxide as a safety precaution. Many companies have changed their sunscreens and diaper rash creams to non-nanoparticles as well.

Zinc Oxide Nanoparticles

 

Further Information – DIY Diaper Rash Cream

Diaper rash causes, preventions and treatments

Make your own diaper rash cream

7 Natural Baby Care Recipes

 

 

 

* All information is for educational purposes only. This information has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

 

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Clean House – Toss the Toxins and Make Your Own Household Cleaners

DSC_0201 (2)If you are considering making some changes in your household and beauty products in your pursuit of a non-toxic life, household cleaners are the first place to start. I threw away over 10 bottles of toxic cleaning supplies last week with some very mixed emotions. I felt relief from the extra space available under my counter, wasteful for not using these items, and disgust with myself for not realizing how bad the ingredients in these cleaning supplies were in the first place. Mostly I am just happy that I no longer have these toxic substances in my home.

In my quest to make baby steps towards a less toxic life I’ve had to make some decisions on what products to use up/not waste and what to go ahead and toss. For the most part, I began replacing items with homemade concoctions or eco- friendly items as I ran out. When I ran out of laundry detergent, I made my own. I used all my dryer sheets before switching to simple vinegar fabric softener. I am still using regular store-bought dishwashing detergent (because I bought it in bulk a long, long time ago), but I’ll be switching to homemade or a non-toxic eco-friendly one as soon as I run out.

Cleaning supplies were where I drew the line though. Think about it. Cleaning supplies are substances that end up in our food, in our lungs, on our clothes and furniture and in our water supply. Take a look at a few of your household cleaning supplies. Honestly if you can’t ingest it, you shouldn’t be cleaning with it because you do ingest it in multiple ways.

We’ve been convinced through savvy marketing that we need a different cleaner for every area of our home – stove top cleaner, refrigerator cleaner, toilet cleaner, tub cleaner, cleaning wipes, window cleaner and of course a multi-purpose cleaner. The truth of the matter is that you really only need a “multi-purpose” cleaner. If you are like me, you may want to try out different cleaning aromas in different areas of your home but really you only need one ingredient in your household cleaning arena. You can add boosting ingredients, stain removers and other specialty ingredients but you could keep your house clean with one multi-purpose cleaner.

You want this multi-purpose cleaner to work, to get rid of mold, mildew, dirt, grime and leave your home clean without toxic chemicals lingering on your counters. The cleaning product that you need is so simple that it is really unbelievable. Well, believe it because it works and will save you a ton of money on cleaning supplies.

1 BASIC INGREDIENT:

Distilled White Vinegar


 

 

All Purpose Household

OPTIONAL INGREDIENTS:

Dried Citrus Peels, Flowers and Herbs – My favorite boost for cleaning supplies are dried orange, lemon or lime peels. I use oranges often in my juicer so I always have orange peels around for various household uses. To dry out citrus peels, simply lay the peel or the zest out on paper towels or a drying rack until the peel is completely dry and brittle. Place the peels into your bottle of vinegar for 1-2 weeks to infuse, then drain. Rosemary and peppermint make great infusions as well. Be aware that infused vinegar can stain fabrics so keep your infused vinegar away from carpet and fabrics.

Essential Oils - I use my fabric softener blend which has Eucalyptus essential oil as a bathroom cleaner. I also like to add a little essential oil to my infused vinegar. For instance, when I infuse vinegar with oranges, I add a little orange EO to the bottle. Citrus essential oils are simply oils pressed from the peels so really I am simply adding more of the same thing when I infuse with peels then add essential oil. Citrus oils are great for cutting grease and grime and also smell better than plain vinegar.

DIRECTIONS:

Spray a few squirts anywhere you would use typical cleaners. Vinegar has a strong odor that some people don’t like, but that odor evaporates quickly. Vinegar is quite potent by itself so it’s perfectly fine to use a 50/50 dilution of half water/half vinegar. The catch with a diluted solution is that water will eventually grow bacteria so I like to keep a spray bottle of water handy and spray some water along with my vinegar solution as I’m cleaning.

 

DSC_0202 (2)USES FOR VINEGAR:

  • Floor cleaner – Vinegar mixed with warm water makes a great hardwood floor cleaner that leaves no residue.
  • Counter and appliance cleaner and disinfectant
  • Toilet and shower cleaner – Vinegar easily cuts grime and dirt. You can also spray a diluted vinegar in your shower or toilet and just leave it.
  • Coffee maker cleaner - Simply add a cup of vinegar to your coffee water and run it through the machine. Then follow up with a few batches of water run through the coffee maker until the vinegar smell is no longer noticeable.
  • Rinsing agent for dishes - Vinegar works wonders in the dishwasher as a rinsing agent. It removes hard water stains and buildup on glass and also cleans out your dishwasher.
  • Bleach replacement – Reach for the vinegar anytime you would have typically reached for bleach. It works the same, if not better and it’s not toxic. NEVER mix vinegar with chlorine bleach because you end up with a potentially deadly compound.
  • Dog and cat pee neutralizer – Vinegar gets rid of the odor of dog/cat pee, particularly if you have an animal that continuously marks its territory. Clean the pee up (cornstarch works great to lift pee on carpet), then spray the area well with vinegar. Let the vinegar sit a few minutes then wipe the area well. If you still smell an odor, spray with vinegar again. Not only will the smell be gone, but the animal won’t re-mark its territory.
  • Fabric softener – Check out my post explaining how to use vinegar as a fantastic fabric softener.
  • Washing machine cleaner – Not only do I use vinegar as a fabric softener, but I also use it in my washing machine. I spray vinegar into the ring in my HE washer after each use and wipe it down with a washcloth. I also add a half cup of vinegar and run the washing machine empty about once every couple of weeks. It’s really a necessity with an HE washing machine.
  • Glass and mirror cleaner – Warm water mixed with vinegar makes the best glass cleaner. To avoid residue, use newspaper, coffee filters or a micro-fiber towel to clean glass. If you are using traditional detergents and fabric softeners, don’t use your towels or washcloths to clean glass because you will leave behind residue.

 

MORE GREAT CLEANING RECIPES AROUND THE WEB:

19 Natural Cleaning Tips

Green Your Clean: Toxic Household Cleaners and Non-Toxic Alternatives

EcoKaren: Vinegar or Chlorine? What’s better for cleaning?

How to Clean House Without Toxic Bleach

Non-Toxic Cleaners You Can Make at Home

Back to the Basics: Frugal, Non-Toxic Green Cleaning

Daily Sparkly Shower Spray

Homemade All-Purpose Cleaning Spray with Infused Vinegar

 

How about you? Do you make your own household cleaner? Let me know in the comments any tips or special ingredients you use in your homemade cleaning supplies!

Household Cleaning

* All information is for educational purposes only. This information has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

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Would You Wash Your Clothes with a Bag of Nuts?

DSC_0199 (3)I wrote about creating your own laundry detergent a couple of weeks ago, so I’ve been a little laundry obsessed since then. Believe me, that is not a normal obsession for me! As I was researching homemade laundry detergent, I came across the subject of soapnuts/soapberries.

Until last week, I had never tried these so I was skeptical. The soap nut grows on the tree Sapindus Mukorossi and looks like a nut although it’s truly a fruit. The shells contains saponins which are a natural detergent.

There are a variety of companies that sell soap nuts or products made from soap nuts. SoapBerries is one of those companies. They take the interior seed and replant it then put the shells in a compostable bag. It’s quite ingenious, simple and environmentally conscious. You can read more about more about SoapBerries on their site.

I received two free sample packs from Green Scientific, and I told the representative that I would try them out and give my opinion. I loved the eco-friendliness but wasn’t sure if they would actually get the clothes clean. I was very pleasantly surprised with the results.

 

I washed 6 loads of laundry with each sample. My washing machine is an HE and quite temperamental so any new products are a challenge. SoapBerries were simply awesome. Here are the best aspects:

  1. Easy – Throw a packet in the washing machine with your laundry. Use each pack 4-6 times and just lay the packet out to dry out a little between washes if you aren’t doing continuous loads.
  2. No Mess – I didn’t have detergent all over the place for a change. I’m not sure how I make such a mess with my detergent, but I end up with detergent everywhere even when I use liquid.
  3. No Residue in my washing machine which is a real issue for me in my HE washer. Typically, I wipe the inside ring of the washer after every single use with vinegar and a rag. Every detergent I’ve used leaves some residue in that ring in addition to lint and dog hair. I was surprised by how little I needed to clean out the ring in the washer.
  4. Clean Clothes – I did loads of towels which came out fluffy with no residue. We had some snow this past weekend so my daughter and I slid down the hill in my neighborhood which was more of a mud/snow hill than real snow. We had mud all over our clothes. I rinsed them out with water then threw them in the washer. I also died my hair with henna this weekend which ended up all over a turquoise tank top I had on. I rinsed it with water and threw it in with the muddy clothes. They all came totally clean!
  5. No Smell – Clean clothes shouldn’t have a mountain fresh smell. Clean clothes should have zero smell which was exactly the case with my clothes after washing them with SoapBerries. The berries themselves have a funny smell when they are wet, but your clothes come out clean with no fragrance.
  6. Fully Compostable Packaging – Easy to use and earth friendly!
  7. Inexpensive – Right now on their site, you can purchase two boxes for $39.98 (on sale). That’s enough to wash 240 loads of clothes (120 per box). That’s super cheap- actually it’s a few dollars cheaper than my homemade version.

 

Final Thoughts on SoapBerries

Frankly, I’m impressed! I would actually say that these SoapBerries are even better than my homemade laundry detergent at getting my clothes clean. As soon as I go through my box of homemade detergent, I plan to switch to SoapBerries. You can purchase SoapBerries here.

 

How about you? Have you ever used or heard of soap nuts? Let me know in the comments!

 

* All information is for educational purposes only. This information has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

 

 

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Bath Powders – A Perfect Lazy Day Luxury

bath powderI decided that today is a perfect day to indulge in some pampering activities, and my first activity is going to be a nice hot bath. It’s sleeting outside right now in my little world. I picked up my daughter early from school, and we are laid out on the couch in pajamas with no plans to do anything the rest of the evening. I thought it would be a perfect time to create and share my latest obsession, bath powders.

What are Bath Powders?

Basically a bath powder is exactly what it sounds like – a powder that you put into your bath water. You will want to put the powder in something to keep your tub from becoming a huge mess. I like to use little muslin tea bags, but you can also use pantyhose, a piece of cheesecloth or a mesh tea ball.

The top ingredient in your bath powder is ground oats. You can create these very easily. Just buy old fashioned oats – not the instant oatmeal, the regular whole oats that you make oatmeal with. Throw some oats in your grinder or food processor and now you have ground oats. Yeah I know, it’s super simple.

You can throw a handful of ground oats in a muslin tea bag, place it under running water and you’ll have a wonderful, soothing, milky bath. Your skin will thank you, as will your wallet. Then you can use the rest of your oats to make some nice oatmeal. I love multi-purpose ingredients!

valentines bath powder 4The Many Uses for Ground Oats

Ground oats are what you will find in the soothing oatmeal baths on the market. Oats are wonderful on irritated skin and gentle enough for the whole family. An oatmeal bath is a perfect treatment for everything from sunburn to poison ivy.

Ground oats can be more than just a bath powder though. They are also a fantastic facial and body cleanser. You can find plenty of expensive, name brand “cleansing grains” out there which use ground oats as a main ingredient.

As with the bath powder, you can use the ground oats alone as a facial cleanser. Take a spoonful of oats, add a little water until you have a paste, then rub all over your CLEAN face using circular motions. Oats won’t remove your makeup, but they are a perfect cleansing, soothing grain. I like to use them first thing in the morning as a facial cleanser.

DSC_0199Bath Powder Additives

There are many things you could add to your bath powder. Just throw in any flowers and herbs that would go nicely in the bathtub. I like to grind up flowers and add those in the bath powder. You don’t have to grind them up, but if you do they will mix into the water more easily giving you the maximum benefits.

My soothing lavender and oats bath powder is simply ground oats and ground dried lavender. I use it daily as a morning facial cleansing grain as well as in the bathtub as a bath powder. It’s mild enough for a baby, but also fantastic for adults too. In my flowery oats bath powder, I layered ground oats, hibiscus flowers, lavender and rosebuds. The layering is simply for visual effect.

Here are a few more great bath powder additions:

Chamomile – Soothing and great to relax and help with sleep. Stay away from chamomile if you are pregnant and if you have ragweed allergies.

Calendula – Soothes irritated skin, great for acne and cramps. Stay away from calendula if you are pregnant and if you have ragweed allergies.

Green Tea – Detoxifying and replenishing additive. You can add in loose leaves, throw a green tea bag in your water or even brew some green tea and toss it in your bath.

Rosemary & Peppermint – Great for a “wake up” bath powder.

Baking Soda – Cleansing, anti-fungal and detoxifying. This dissolves easily so you don’t have to put baking soda inside your tea bag.

Echinacea & Goldenseal – I like to add these to my own flu season bath tea. I include peppermint and eucalyptus essential oils to open up sinuses.

Essential Oils – Add a few drops into your tea bag to boost the aroma of your natural herbs and flowers!

 

Check out my soothing lavender and oats bath powder and my flowery oats bath powder for sale or make your own and tell me about it in the comments!

 

* All information is for educational purposes only. This information has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

 

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DIY Ridiculously Easy Eco-Friendly Fabric Softener

DSC_0208

One of the easiest small steps to start getting rid of toxic chemicals in your home is to get rid of mainstream laundry detergent and fabric softener. Think about it – your clothes are in constant contact with your body. You lay on your sheets at night breathing in all the chemicals that are in your bedding. Your children are even more susceptible to all the toxic chemicals in detergents. Here are just a couple of posts explaining the toxins in store-bought fabric softeners.

The Toxic Danger of Fabric Softener and Dryer Sheets

8 Toxins Lurking in Your Fabric Softener

Check out this easy recipe for laundry detergent. Once you have gotten that batch made, it’s time to start thinking about changing up your fabric softener.

This recipe is so easy that it almost seems silly to write it down, but it is also so effective that I just can’t help but share. First of all, this recipe came straight from Crunchy Betty’s post, Ditch the Dryer Sheets. I have tried several different fabric softener options, but this one works the best for me. I have tried using vinegar in the rinse cycle of the washing machine, but this method works a little better to prevent static cling. By spraying the clothes, you use very little but still ensure that your vinegar reaches the whole load of clothes.

SUPPLIES:

Glass Spray Bottle – If you are going to use essential oils in your homemade products, you need to store them in glass containers. The good news is that it is super easy to re-use bottles. My favorite glass bottles to re-purpose are Bragg Apple Cider Vinegar bottles ( Bragg Organic Vinegar Apple Cider, 32 Ounce (3 Pack)).

I bought a few spray bottles at the local dollar store and tossed the plastic bottles but use the spray tops. The glass Bragg  bottles hold 4 cups, but you can easily make a smaller portion.

2 BASIC INGREDIENTS:

4 cups Distilled White Vinegar

White vinegar is the number one item that I use in every room of my house. I used it as my primary cleaner everywhere! I just buy the cheap, large jugs of white vinegar for household cleaners. Not only is white vinegar antibacterial, but it is also an excellent fabric softener.

Vinegar is great for getting any remaining dirt and residue off clothes, softening material and preventing static cling. You can actually do this softener with nothing other than vinegar.

 

2 tbsp Eucalyptus Essential Oil (Optional)

Eucalyptus essential oil is antiviral and antibacterial so it is a nice addition to vinegar. I like it more than other essential oils as an addition in cleaning. I have also used tea tree oil in my softener, but I liked the eucalyptus better.

 

 

DIRECTIONS:

Add essential oil to vinegar and shake well. It’s really that easy!

Squirt approximately 10 times onto clothes that you have just placed in the dryer. Be sure to dry clothes completely to get rid of the vinegar smell. Your clothes will come out of the dryer smelling fresh without static.

 

HE WASHING MACHINES:

If you have made the mistake of using liquid fabric softener in an HE washing machine, you’ll appreciate this new method. If you own an HE washing machine, hopefully you already know about the need to clean out the front of the machine often. Here’s a post that explains that well.

I had no clue when I moved into my condo that I needed to be cleaning out the HE washing machine after each use. Once my laundry closet started to smell like something died in there, I realized what was going on with the sludge in my washer door. If you have an HE washer and use liquid fabric softener, you will end up with softener gathered in the door area – gross! I use my new “fabric softener” to spray out and clean my HE washer door area.

 

OTHER RESOURCES:

How to Make Felted Wool Dryer Balls - I haven’t made these yet, but they sound awesome!

8 Natural Alternatives to Fabric Softener & Dryer Sheets

Apartment Therapy – 5 Homemade Natural Fabric Softeners

Are Soft Clothes Really Worth It?

Greener Laundry – Fabric Softener vs Dryer Sheets

 

How about you? Do you make your own fabric softener? Let me know in the comments any tips or special ingredients you use in your homemade fabric softener!

Fabric Softener

* All information is for educational purposes only. This information has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

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