Saturday, July 16, 2011

Going Green the Hard Way Part 4: Doing it My Way!

Look!  It's Mom's first Chemistry Set!
Over the last few months I have tried TONS of different all natural products from various sources and there seemed to be a continuing theme.  That the less commercial "stuff" in the product the more I liked how it worked and felt better about using it.  For instance the last month or so I've been using the all natural cleaners I got at Picnic Basket Crafts on Etsy and have loved them (the floor cleaner worked better than the commercial stuff I got with my Clorox Ready Mop...yeah I was surprised too, but in a good way :).  You know the best part about them?  Is the fact that I don't have to wash my hands for DAYS after using them to try and get the commercial chemicals off so that when I go to drag something out of my son's mouth (which I end up having to do like 15 bazillion times a day right now) where in the past if I used a Lysol wipe I'd literally gag the poor child with the taste just from the residual "stuff" on my hands.  And my kids can run across my kitchen floor right after I wash it without me having to go over it with water again and again to get enough of the commercial cleaners off the floor so that my son's feet don't sting to the point he'd cry.

The only downside to using the all natural products, bath and body and cleaner-wise, is that we're blowing through them at a rapid rate, just because my kids are small and therefore slobs (there's no way to sugar coat it I'm sorry to say).  When your children are learning to use the potty and are learning to drink from cups and working on learning how to use a spoon you can guarantee that there is going to be stuff EVERYWHERE in your house unless you wipe it down every five minutes or so.

My monetary budget just got blown to smithereens when I found that my son was supposed to go on a gluten free diet to see if it'd help his developmental delays, got all of his old eczema medications switched to new ones (which turned out to be a good thing because his skin is nearly clear for the first time...well since he was born pretty much) and that we were going to have to pay for preschool for my daughter.  So, the idea of shelling out 9.00 for a bottle of truly natural cleaner after shipping costs just about made me want to cry.

So, I did what any really frugal-to-the-point-of-obsessive-compulsive-disorder person would do.  I went and googled (and Swagbucked) the crap out of it.  I went looking for recipes for all natural cleaners with ingredient lists that were close to the ones I had.  I went and started looking into exactly how to make your own salves and lotions (even deodorant) and what it would take to make it work.  I studied carrier oils, essential oils and their properties...what made it all tick and how you could tweak things a bit to make it all happen.  I tried to settle on the best carrier oils for eczema I could find and/or any oil that existed in a product I already used that reacted well with my children's skin issues.

I ordered Calendula Petals for making Calendula oil (which is in a LOT of different healing cremes and cremes for sensitive skin) and for making Calendula Salve (which I'm planning on layering into another creme I'm making).

I found Country Soap Shack and Kessil2000 on Etsy, which I found to have the best prices for lotion making supplies and carrier oils.  I went to All About Herbs and got some oddball essential oils (clove and cinnamon) and I also picked up lemon, orange and other oils at Fred Meyer (and in some small cases off of Etsy).  I even bought Zinc Oxide off of E-bay (thanks for the tip and future recipe for deodorant, Rachel) to add to salves (think diaper rash ointment) or to deodorant (via Rachel's recipe she shared with me on Facebook :).

I found a whole bunch of recipes online for various lotions and body butters as well as all natural cleaners.  So, stick with me as I experiment making some of this stuff and see how it all works.  I find it ironic that I almost failed basic chemistry in school and yet I'm doing gluten free baking (definitely a chemistry act if ever I've seen one) and making my own cleaners and lotions and such.  Weird how life will turn things around so you have to face up to your weakest points and grow in those areas whether you like it or not huh?

Tonight I started by doing the project above:  Calendula oil.  I followed the basic recipe outlined HERE.  I doubled the 1/4 cup of calendula petals to 1/2 cup of olive oil thing just because I want a double batch of the salve.  I decided to go with the "slow steep for 3 weeks" type of method just because I for one have lotions and things that I've ordered that I can use for now and for 2 I am just totally swamped trying to wrap my head around the intricacies of all of the "all natural" lifestyle changes we're doing along with going gluten free right along with all of the other things going on (OT's, allergists, infant learning teachers, preschool, neurologists, etc).  I'm figuring by the time this stuff gets done steeping I'll have gotten more into a "groove" on things.  And if I decide I want to try some calendula salve in the meantime I can always do the quick method later (I have a freezer bag full of calendula petals, so it's not like I'm worried of running out...1/4 lb of calendula petals is a LOT by the way *laugh*).

Next up on my list is to try some of the home cleaners (and I want to give my E-cloths a run and see how they do too :).  So, I guess we shall see how that goes.


Alaska Mom said...

Here's a great site for buying herbs! They have blends that you can use for salves that we use and love. It's also fun to read. Check it out!

Alaskan Bargain Hunter said...

Huh. That's a very cool site. Thanks for sharing. Any idea what the shipping rates are like off the top of your head?

Alaska Mom said...

They charge what USPS charges to ship to Alaska.

Alaskan Bargain Hunter said...

Okay, so they don't do like the flat rate shipping boxes or anything like that. They actually do weighed type of shipping? Just curious because I don't want to order like 1/4 pound of some herb and end up paying 14.00 for shipping to stick it in a flat rate shipping box *laugh*...although sometimes that does work out pretty well for us up here :).

Alaska Mom said...

They are really good to work with. You can call them or e-mail with questions.