DIY Naked Salve Recipe

DIY Naked Salve Recipe

I wanted a creamy feeling salve for dry skin in a dry climate, but it couldn’t feel greasy or tacky on the skin for too long, and it had to have a good glide since I wanted to use it for foot zoning also.
Beginner level:
The basic ratio to make any salve is 1 part beeswax with 4 parts oil. Any butters (shea, coconut oil, cocoa butter, mango butter, lanolin, etc) can be added without changing the ratio.
Just melt the beeswax and butters on 50% power in the microwave or in a double-boiler on low heat. Add the oils, and stir occasionally as it cools to prevent separation.
Intermediate level:
If you want to add water-based liquids, you can add up to 2 parts to the above recipe.
Always melt and combine the oils first, and then add the water-based liquids. This requires more vigorous stirring. I like to use an immersion blender; with the stick blender, they combine and are ready to use in less than one minute.
So, now that you have had your science lesson ūüėČ here are the oils I used.
Cydne’s Salve

1 oz beeswax

Extras:

1 oz shea butter
1/2 oz coconut oil (virgin)
1/2 oz cocoa butter
1/4 oz lanolin

4 parts oil:
1 1/2 oz peach oil
1 1/2 oz sunflower oil
3/4 oz avocado oil
1/4 oz tamanu oil
optional – (see note above)
1/2 oz aloe vera juice or gel
1/2 oz glycerin
If you want to use this as a “naked salve,” so that you can use it to apply essential oils (or for foot zoning), then don’t add any essential oils. If you do want to scent it, add the essential oil after the oils have cooled partially or when you add the water-based ingredients. Vanilla is a great scent to blend with the slightly nutty smell.
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Note: The aloe vera and glycerine help lighten the end feel of the salve so that it doesn’t feel as heavy. They are optional though, and it is still a great salve without them. If you want to make a larger batch, I recommend leaving them out because the shelf life is shortened when you use them. I made a larger jar without them, and then remelt a smaller amount and add the liquids as I need.

To do this, it is 7 parts salve to 1/2 part each aloe gel and glycerin.

——

The beautiful thing about oils is that¬†you can substitute and use what you have on hand. They interchange really well. If you don’t like a recipe, you can always re-melt and add other ingredients until you have a mix you like. Start with a small batch (even smaller that what is above) if you are trying a new combination. I like to switch my scale to grams for smaller batches. If you don’t have a scale, 1 oz is roughly equivalent to 2 TB for most oils.
This is why I used the oils I included:
The natural beeswax, virgin coconut oil, cocoa butter and tamanu oil are what gave it the nutty scent. Hemp oil is also supposed to have a nutty scent and I will probably try including some of that with that in the future as well. Coconut oil absorbs rapidly, so it also helps with the absorption of any essential oils you want to apply at the same time.
The sunflower oil gives it a good glide so that it rubs in well and doesn’t feel sticky. The olive oil adds a little staying power, so that you stay moisturized longer, because it absorbs more slowly. I like to use the light olive oil because extra virgin olive oil stays greasy feeling for a long time. You can still use EVOO, just use less and add more of another lighter oil.
Peach oil and avocado oil are just medium viscosity oils. They don’t absorb too quickly, which is often a problem here in Utah, and they don’t absorb too slowly or clog skin.¬† Some people like sweet almond oil, but I always have to use olive oil with it because it still doesn’t provide enough moisture on its own in our climate.
Shea butter needs no explanation if you have ever tried it. It is just creamy and luxurious. I even use it on its own.

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Don’t let all the information overwhelm you. It really is hard to mess up, especially if you just start with the oil-based ingredients. It’s a bit like making jello or pudding; it is harder to describe than it is to do!

For me, making my own salves and soaps has been really fun, and a bit addictive! I love being able to make exactly what I want AND know that whatever it is, there are no harmful ingredients. About 3 years ago, I stopped using commercial soaps, lotions and hair products on myself or my youngest daughter and her eczema completely disappeared.

If you order from thesage.com, go to the Catalog, and then the Fixed oils category. They have everything except the light olive oil, which I get from Costco, and the aloe vera which I get from Wal-mart in the pharmacy department. It is in a gallon sized jug and is under $7.
Have fun!
DIY Pillow Spray

DIY Pillow Spray

A friend sent me a note recently asking¬†if I had a recipe for DIY Pillow Spray to help her fall asleep more easily. She often has¬†issues with¬†mind-chatter at night. I can relate, often¬†having the same problem when my brain just won’t shut off despite the fact that the rest of me is so tired! Usually, applying essential oils in a carrier oil or a diffuser will satisfy most needs. However, some people don’t have a diffuser, or they may not want to move their diffuser back and forth between locations. A spray of essential oil combined with another liquid (such as water or alcohol) allows the oil to be sprayed over a large but specific area. It also is less likely to stain fabric this way.

There are a few different ways to mix essential oils and¬†water. I wanted a recipe that used commonly available ingredients, and settled on using an alcohol-based mixture.¬†This doesn’t mix the oil and water for a long a period of time¬†– eventually¬†they will¬†separate – but, so long as you shake your bottle before use, they stay mixed¬†long enough to use it successfully as a pillow spray. An alcohol-based recipe also has the added benefit of not needing a preservative. I chose to use Witch Hazel because it is easy to find in the pharmacy, inexpensive, and doesn’t have a scent that overpowers the smell of the essential oils.¬†Keep in mind that most essential oil experts (I am not one) will tell you that essential oils will start to break down when mixed with other ingredients, thus lessening the therapeutic properties of the oils. Because of this, you probably don’t want to mix a year’s worth all at once. I kept the recipe small enough to fit in a 4 oz (1/2 cup) spray bottle with a little room to spare.

I looked up essential oils that are useful for sleep, for decreasing tension, and for quieting the mind. It turns out that many oils that are good at one of those things are also good at the others. I chose two different oil blends that I enjoy and created my sprays. I can alternate based on my mood, or just to prevent my body from getting too used to one smell or the other. Happy sleeping!

Orange Cream Linen Spray
1/3 cup water (distilled)
¬Ĺ tsp witch hazel or rubbing alcohol or vodka
40 drops vanilla essential oil
20 drops orange essential oil

Mix ingredients in spray bottle. Shake well before use.

Lavender Chamomille Pillow Spray
1/3 cup water (distilled or pre-boiled)
1/2 tsp witch hazel or rubbing alcohol or vodka
40 drops lavender
20 drops chamomile

Other suggested oils: Valerian, lavender, vanilla, chamomile, frankincense, orange, ylang ylang

DIY Glass & Surface Cleaner

DIY Glass & Surface Cleaner

Not too long ago I decided that there had to be a good DIY Glass & Surface Cleaner¬†recipe out there that was simple to make, worked better than the blue stuff (so many DIY recipes are better), and didn’t use ammonia. Often, I can use just water & a microfiber cloth, but when I have a sticky fingered toddler around, there are times that I just need more grease & crud-busting power.

When I first started mixing my own cleaners years ago, I came up with a recipe that worked acceptably well, but it still wasn’t as great as the stuff from the store, and it had ammonia in it. Ammonia is one example of when “natural” might not be nicer. This recipe didn’t use a large amount, but I didn’t use ammonia for anything else, I didn’t want to have to buy & store it just to make this cleaner.¬†So, I researched glass cleaner recipes on the internet. I tried recipes using baking soda, cornstarch, dish soap, rubbing alcohol, essential oils, and of course vinegar. I love vinegar. But all the recipes¬†streaked or left a film on my windows & mirrors. I found one recipe that I almost liked, but sometimes it worked and sometimes it didn’t. I don’t need cleaners that have mood swings.

Then, recently our family took a turn cleaning our church building. I noticed that there was a new eco-friendly cleaner, so I looked at the ingredients. And, I did a double take; there were only two! It was simply peroxide and orange essential oil, diluted to two different strengths for different cleaning needs. And since I had just used the combination to clean the church building, I knew that it worked. Even better than the blue stuff. I came home and mixed up my own solution of peroxide, water and dash of orange oil and gave it a shot. Ta-dah! It worked on my finger-print laden mirrors every bit as well as the blue stuff.

Bonus! – it works as an-all purpose cleaner too! Because it doesn’t have the acidity in it like vinegar cleaners, it is safer for surfaces like chrome, stone, or granite that can become etched by some cleaners over time. If you use fresh peroxide and mix it just before use, it has some great germ-fighting properties. For heavy duty use, you can make it stronger¬†to meet specific needs (double the peroxide & essential oil, keeping the water the same).

So here is my new favorite DIY Glass & Surface Cleaner, replacing two (or three) different things in my cleaning arsenal.

Super-duper Glass & Multi-purpose Cleaner
4 oz water
1 TB hydrogen peroxide (the regular pharmacy kind)
5 drops orange essential oil (optional, but it does make it smell nice and have anti-bacterial properties of its own)

Mix all in a spray bottle & go to town! Bump up your cleaning power a notch and use micro-fiber cloths or another lint-free cloth with it for the best experience. I will never go back to paper towels.

Just to be safe, keep your cleaning cloths away from other fabrics until the cloths have dried. I kept this recipe small because the germ-fighting power is stronger when it is fresh. My peroxide was so old that it didn’t fizz when I poured it on anything, but it still cleaned just fine.¬†
Heavy Duty Glass & Multi-Purpose Cleaner
4 oz water
2 TB hydrogen peroxide
10 drops orange essential oil
DIY Deodorant ?!

DIY Deodorant ?!

Raise your hand in the air if the first time you heard of homemade deodorant, your thoughts were something along the lines of:¬†That is just GROSS,¬†Those people are crazy,¬†They’ve taken DIY/all-natural way too far,¬†They must be a bunch of dirty hippies,¬†Some people have too much time on their hands.¬†If you could see me, I would have both hands waving in the air. I had heard the hype about aluminum & other nasty stuff in the commercial deodorant, but I was sure that there was aeasier way to get a nice safe deodorant without mixing it in my kitchen. Something along the lines of handing over some money for it at a store. Something that felt a little more¬†hygienic¬†or scientific or something like that.¬†I mean, I make soap, shampoo bars, and lotions, but making deodorant felt like it was only one step away from making my own tampons and hauling my own water. I’m not quite ready to go there.
Then I was browsing a blog that interested me, and saw a link to a homemade deodorant post. And I had to pause, because the author was not a dirty hippy. In fact, she was really put together and organized. So I gave it a look, and it didn’t look too bad.¬†Then, shortly after that I came across another post about making your own deodorant where the author listed¬†all the scientific reasoning behind the ingredients she had used. And it made sense.
I mean, baking soda absorbs odors. And coconut oil has all sorts of great properties, some of which are that is kind to skin and anti-bacterial. The same goes for tea-tree, rosemary and citrus oils.
And then I noticed my deodorant was running low. And I did have all the ingredients on hand for one of the recipes, so I tried it. And I really liked it. I didn’t stink at the end of the day like I did with store-bought anti-perspirant/deodorant. I didn’t feel any more moist. And in fact, when I did get all hot and sweaty (in my exercise classes), I smelled really yummy when the essential oils were released as the oils¬†warmed up. There were only a few problems.
1 – was that I wanted to keep smelling my armpits, which really isn’t proper social etiquette.
2 – the recipe I tried got hard on cold mornings and it had too much powder. The result was that it was crumbly, so if I pressed too hard (which I nearly always did), little bits would break off and fall into my clothes, or I would get a large smear of powder/wax across my armpit, which really isn’t the look I am trying to pull off. Also, nobody else in my family would use it this way. My husband just refused, and I didn’t offer it to my nearly teenage daughter because I could just picture her mashing it onto her armpits, only half paying attention, and running off to school with a trail of white pasty chunks falling out of her clothes as she moved.
So, I looked at other recipes and the ratio of powder to wax/oil ranges. I tried a few of those & felt waxy/sticky, and I was noticeably more moist. Not my favorite feeling in the world unless I am swimming in a pool on a hot day. So, I tweaked the original recipe some more, by softening it up a bit and lowering the amount of powder just a tad. The result is a creamy, non-crumbly concoction that stays soft, rubs on cleanly, and does not leave any white smears behind as evidence.
Citrus Vanilla Mint Deodorant
3 TB cornstarch
2 TB baking soda
2 TB arrowroot powder (or just use more cornstarch)
2 TB coconut oil
1/2 TB olive oil

12 drops essential oil (I used 2-3 each of Tea Tree, Orange, & Vanilla)

optional * 1 TB shea butter (to soften more)

Melt oil in microwave on 70% power. Start with 2 minutes and stir. Microwave for 30 second intervals at 70% power, stirring after each interval. Once fully melted, add olive oil and powders and mix with a fork until well blended. (If mixture firms up, return to the microwave to soften) Add essential oils, and mix again. Place in a clean container and rub a small amount on as you would a lotion.

I tried putting this in a clean roll-up container, and it was possible, but not really great. It is soft enough that unless I dabbed the deodorant on, I ended up using too much, and then I had to wipe off the extra white powder – which defeated the whole purpose of the container! So I just decided to come to grips with touching my armpit. And it really doesn’t bother me now because I know all the ingredients that are in the deodorant & I touch most of them all the time in some way or another. So go get friendly with your armpit & enjoy smelling great!

 

DIY Dry Hair Detangler

DIY Dry Hair Detangler

My children have crazy hair. It is straight in the front and on the sides. In the back, it is coarse and curly. Like many children, they wake up with a nest on the back of their head every morning. However, due to the texture of their hair in the back, which is very similar to my husband’s hair, it does not comb out without a HUGE tantrum-and-tear-inducing fight. We finally found a detangler that we liked, only to have it discontinued less than a year later. Being me, I looked up the ingredients that were in it, and compared it to other detanglers that we had tried. Eventually, I created this¬†recipe for DIY Dry Hair Detangler¬†to lessen our struggle.

The vinegar seems like a strange ingredient, however the slight acidity smooths the hair shaft, making the hair less prone to snagging. This makes for many fewer tears at our house. In fact, in a pinch, you can just add vinegar to water and use it. It will get the job done. Argan oil adds some moisture; as my older daughter has entered her teens, we have reduced the amount of oil we used in the recipe (12 drops instead of 18). For my younger daughter, who has very dry hair, we use 18 drops of oil. Castor oil adds shine. The optional ingredients mainly add a silky appearance and feel to the hair. They aren’t necessary at all, but they do make the final product feel¬†more like commercial detanglers. Most likely, you will have to order these two ingredients online. I get my argan oil, castor oil, hydrolyzed wheat protein, and liquid silk from¬†The Sage. (I don’t get anything for referring you. I’m just trying to make your life easier.)

Finally, we have found that, along with the a hair pick, Goody makes a line of Ouchless brushes that we use with our detangler to make our lives much easier.

DIY Hair Detangler

4 oz water
2 oz white vinegar
12-18 drops argan oil (or other light easily absorbed oil such as fractionated coconut, almond, canola, or light olive oil)
10 drops castor oil

Optional: 10 drops hydrolyzed wheat protein
10 drops liquid silk

Mix all together and shake well before using.

DIY Luxurious Lotion Bars

DIY Luxurious Lotion Bars

Have you heard of lotion bars? Technically they are actually a body balm not a lotion because they are in solid form, but they are shaped like a bar of soap and used in place of your regular lotion (or after use of your regular lotion if you want super duper moisturization).

They are typically made of equal amounts of beeswax, solid fats, and liquid oils; there is some room for variation though based on your desired qualities and what oils/butters are being used. There are numerous recipes floating around the web, but the recipes I had tried were either too hard or too greasy feeling. Or both. I had a store-bought lotion bar that I loved; it was just so creamy and soft without being oily feeling, but it was often hard to find, and it cost $15 a bar! So, I made my own recipe based off the ingredients label of my favorite store-bought bar and made it for 1/10 the cost!

This recipe is the smallest I can make while keeping everything easy to measure. You can make it larger as needed, I frequently make it in batches 4x this size.

Luxurious Dry Skin Body Bar
Beeswax: 4 oz – I prefer beeswax with the natural scent
Solid Fats: 4 oz shea butter (you can reduce this measurement to 2 oz for a firmer bar for elbows, feet, etc)
Liquid Oils (or brittle butters): 2 oz cocoa butter – again I like the natural scented
1 oz sweet almond oil
1 oz sunflower oil (you could use 2 oz almond, but sunflower adds glide)
Extra Additives:   1 oz lanolin Рthis is the ingredient that really helps dry skin
essential oil as desired – my favorites are almond and vanilla, with a splash of amber

Melt all ingredients except the essential oil in the microwave on 60-70% power. Using reduced power keeps the temperatures lower so that the shea butter does not fractionate or become grainy textured. It isn’t a real problem if that happens, it just doesn’t feel as nice on the skin. I start with 5 minutes and then stir. Microwave for additional minutes on reduced power, stirring every couple minutes until everything is melted. Pour into molds – I use greased lotion tins from the dollar store which can hold 1.5-2 oz each. Place in the¬†refrigerator for quick cooling – do not freeze at this point! Once they have solidified, pop them out of the mold¬†and rub away!

 

Notes: You can substitute many of the fats and oils with other fats and oils that have similar qualities. Here are just some of my observations.
Solid Fats – Some people use hydrogenated vegetable oil (crisco) in their reicpes, but I LOVE shea butter. I think it gives me a richer feeling & longer lasting moisturization. I my climate I need all the help I can get, so I use Shea.

Liquid Oils – You don’t have to use all one type, as long as your total amount is roughly 4 oz. Sweet almond is great for many skin types and is fairly inexpensive, but I have also used sunflower and light olive oil. I want to try a small amount of Argan oil next because I love how velvety it feels and how quickly it absorbs.

“Brittle” butters such as cocoa or mango butter or coconut oil quickly turn to oil on the skin, therefore I prefer to include them in the liquid oil portion of the recipe to maintain a more creamy feeling bar. Initially I tried using these in the solid fats portion of the recipe (as many other recipes do), but noticed that it made a very oily feeling bar, which I didn’t like. Also, coconut oil will make a softer bar even in small amounts, so I always use an equal portion of cocoa or mango butter to firm it up a bit (for example: 1 oz cocoa butter, 1 oz ¬†coconut oil, 2 oz sweet almond oil ¬† OR 2 oz coconut oil, 1 oz cocoa butter, 1 oz olive oil).

Firmness
Initially, I had less shea butter (as noted above). I liked this feel, and it felt nearly identical to the commercially manufactured bars I had purchased in the past. I altered this because a friend who always had noticed that the bar didn’t melt quickly enough for her because her hands were always cold. She was really having to rub to get the lotion to soften!
I tweaked the recipe a bit and noticed that the slightly softer bar was even more moisturizing on my skin as well, so this became my standard recipe!

I found a great picture tutorial at snapguide.com that covers a lot of detail as well.

One last note: I order my products from thesage.com . They have great quality and low prices. I have used them for years and never been disappointed. If this is your first time making lotion bars, you might want to get with a friend and split an order because, while there is no minimum order amount, the smallest size that many things come in is 8 or 16 oz, which can make an awfully large batch for a single person!

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Clean (almost) Everything with Vinegar

Clean (almost) Everything with Vinegar

Since I am using Vinegar so often in my cleaning now, I picked up a box at Costco the last time I was there. It had a box of uses printed on the side, some of which I had never read before.

So here they are, straight from the manufacturer, 20 ways to use Vinegar.
1. Glassware: 1/2 cup of distilled vinegar added to a gallon of rinse water will remove soap film from glasware and make it shine. (OR add it to your rinse aid dispenser in your dishwasher).
2.  Toilet Bowl: Clean & deodorize your toilet bowl by pouring undiluted white vinegar into it. Let it stand for five minutes, then flush. Stubborn stains may require scrubbing. (See my post here to see how I use vinegar in my bathroom.)
3.  Bathtub: Wipe down bathtub with vinegar and soda to remove film buildup. Rinse clean with water.
4.  Ants: Ant invasions can be deterred by washing countertops, cabinets and floors with vinegar.
5.  Grease: Filmy dirt and greasy residue can be removed from stove and refrigerator by wiping with vinegar.
6.  Grass or Weeds: Kill unwanted grass on sidewalks and driveways by pouring on vinegar.
7.  Chrome:  To polish chrome and stainless steel, moisten a cloth with white vinegar and wipe clean. (See my bathroom post link above).
8.  Shower Curtain: Rub a cloth dampened with vinegar to remove soapy, steamed-in film and mildew from your plastic shower curtain. Then rinse clean.
9.  Coffee Maker:  To remove stale coffee residue, fill the reservoir with vinegar and run it rhough a brewing cycle. When cycle is finished, run two cycles of water to rinse.
10.  Irons: Remove burn stains from your electric iron by mixing one part salt with one part vinegar in a heated small aluminum pan. Use this mix to polish the iron as you would silver.
11.  Vegetables: Liven up slightly wilted vegetables by soaking them in cold water and vinegar.
12.  Flowers: Add two TBSP of vinegar plus three TBSP of sugar to a quart of warm water to keep fresh flowers blooming longer.
13.  Cabbage: Add vinegar to the cooking water of boiling cabbage to prevent the odor from permeating the house.
14.  Meat: A marinade of 1/2 cup of your favorite vinegar and a cup of liquid boullion makes an effective meat tenderizer.
15.  Rice: A tsp of vinegar added to the water of boiling rice makes it white and fluffy.
16.  Fish: Reduce fishy odors by rubbing fish down with white distilled vinegar before scaling it.
17. Cheese: Keep cheese most and fresh by wrapping it in a cloth that has been dampened with vinegar and sealed in an air-tight wrap or container.
18.  Eggs: To produce better-formed egg whites, add a tsp of vinegar to the water.
19.  Onion Odors: Quickly remove the odor of onions from your hands by rubbing them with distilled vinegar.
20.  Pickling:  Cider, Red Wine, Balsamic and other dark vinegars are very good for pickling, but may discolor lighter pickles such as pears, onions or cauliflowers. In this case, a distilled or white vinegar may be preferred.
I know there are a gazillion other uses for vinegar out there. What about you – what are your favorite uses for it?

DIY Hard Water Laundry Detergent

DIY Hard Water Laundry Detergent

I started making my own laundry detergent about 6 months ago after seeing several recipes on Pinterest and it has been a journey. If you have made homemade detergent before, you know that it isn’t as pretty as the store-bought kind. Actually, it’s pretty ugly. It separates. It has lumps. It changes color. Some of the ingredients crystallize and never re-dissolve no matter how much you shake it.

Twenty Mule Team Natural Laundry Booster & Multi-Purpose Cleaner-76 oz.

The first recipe I tried (grated soap) didn’t smell good, was annoying to make, and didn’t clean as well as I liked. I tried another recipe (using Dawn dish soap) that cleaned a bit better, but our clothes smelled funny. Like partially washed sweaty gym clothes funny. They went in smelling okay, but came out stinky. Not good.

I tried hotter water. I tried vinegar in the wash water to kill bacteria. It didn’t make a difference. I could use Downy Unstopables to hide the smell, but sometimes it was still there. Besides, that offset any cost savings from making my own detergent. And, our clothes still weren’t as wonderfully clean as I liked. I almost gave up. Okay, I did give up for a bit, until we realized that the cheap bottle of detergent we grabbed from the store was even worse and I threw it out.

So I researched. And I learned that in areas with hard water, Dawn dish soap itself can create a funky smell. Loyal Dawn users started complaining about this a few years ago when the formula changed, probably due to some of the new environmental regulations. So I decided to try a different dish soap than Dawn. I picked up two to try that I knew worked well and that smelled good and, in my experiments, Palmolive Pure+Clean was the winner.

I also saw several recipes that used an oxygen bleach (oxy-clean) to oomph up the cleaning power. But I couldn’t add it to the liquid detergent because liquid activates the oxy-clean. And adding detergent and oxy-clean separately to each wash is a bit of a pain and I knew that hubby wouldn’t do it. So, I needed a dry recipe, but wanted to use liquid dish soap. ¬†Hmmmm…

I decided to experiment. My very first attempt worked and it was fast and simple to make! After two months I can say with certainty that our clothes smell better than they ever have. And, they look brighter than they ever did with commercial detergent thanks to the Oxygen bleach. You know those white shirts you have that have shadowy splotches on them in certain lights? All gone! I love this stuff, and while it costs a little more than some of the homemade recipes out there, it is still much less than the commercial stuff and, in hard water, it cleans better to boot! Besides it is saving the life of all my clothes that previously had to be retired due to dinginess after only a few short years!
Oxiclean Versatile Stain Remover Free, 3 Pounds
So here it is, the amazingly simple and effective solution to my laundry woes.
Hard-Water Laundry Detergent
1 cup Borax
1 cup Washing Soda
1/2 cup of Palmolive Clear+Clean
1 cup oxygen bleach – store brand is fine
Mix Borax, Washing Soda, and Palmolive together until a dry, crumbly paste forms. Once ingredients have been well-blended, add the oxygen bleach and again, mix until well-blended.
Add 1-2 TB per load of laundry (less with softer water).
The cost to buy all the ingredients is just under $14 where I live, will last us 7 months, and average cost is $0.05 a load. Compare that to Purex powder Р$0.09 a load, Cheer powder Р$0.22 or Tide liquid Р$0.31 a load!  We are saving from 2-6 times the cost of a commercial detergent!
DIY Hard Water Cleaner

DIY Hard Water Cleaner

I came across this recipe on Pinterest a month ago & gave it a try. It worked, but not quite as magically or quickly as I had hoped. Also it¬†made suds F.O.R.E.V.E.R. when rinsing.¬†It worked better than any cleaner I have used on the soap scum, the tub and the chrome, but I still had mineral deposits on the wall of the shower. We have really hard water here,¬†so the original recipe may be just fine as a cleaner in your neck of the woods. However, our water is¬†hard enough that if I didn’t clean my shower weekly we might develop stalagmites on the bottom of the tub. As it is, we get orangish goo in the toilet and around the edge of the shower after only 2-3 days. I swish my toilet with a brush daily. So I was happy with the results I did get, I just wanted MORE. Because I am an American, and we like MORE.

I tried a version that decreased the soap by half to minimize suds. I tried a version that used cornstarch as a thickener so that the solution would stay where it was sprayed and work longer. Neither seemed to make a difference, and I was worried about the starch in my drains. I tried using the liquid along with a green kitchen scrubber on the walls, but nothing was cutting through the hard deposits. You’d think I would give up at this point, but there is more to this post, so obviously, I persisted. I used the mix of 1 cup vinegar & 1/2 cup soap¬†in the meantime¬†while thinking about what I could do to oomph up the cleaning power.

Then, while I was doing laundry one day, I happened to read the side of one of the bottles sitting there.

It was leftover from a previous natural cleaning spree I had been on and had been sitting there for a few years. Among other uses, it listed that it could be dissolved in water as a cleaner to dissolve hard water deposits…
The wheels started turning, and I thought, I wonder if I dissolved this in the vinegar. Would it strengthen the cleaning ability? So, I heated 1 cup of vinegar, dissolved 2 TB Lemishine, added 1/2 cup of Dawn and sprayed it on the most mineral encrusted thing I could find: The water dispenser drip tray on our fridge.
I have tried every cleaner I can imagine on this baby. I have tried the toughest scouring pads, including steel wool on it. Nothing touched the crusty mineral layer in the grooves. I was sure that this would be the same, so I didn’t even bother taking “Before” pictures. Still, I sprayed it on before bed one night and let it work.

 

Imagine my surprise when I started cleaning the next morning and it wiped off. I didn’t say scrubbed off – it wiped off. With a towel. After wiping out four of the grooves, the shock wore off enough for me to realize that I wanted pictures of this because it was a modern miracle. Lest you think I am¬†exaggerating, take a closer look at that orange crud in the top groove. That was on the bottom and sides of every groove, even after I had cleaned it. It was hard. It was orange. It was ugly.

This is the after. White. Smooth. Shiny. Pretty.
Let’s take a look at the area where the drip tray sits.
¬†I did get a “Before” picture of this.

 

¬†And “After.”
The whole enchilada. Beautiful.
Shortly after trying this, I came across a similar solution at¬†this¬†link. I haven’t tried it because I have a whole bottle of Lemi-shine to use, but it might be worth a shot before you go buy something you don’t have.
I now keep this recipe in a spray bottle in my shower and spray it on the surfaces almost daily. The next morning, when hubby takes his shower, it rinses clean, no scrubbing at all. Weekly-ish, I wipe the tub portion and walls to get a little deeper clean.  I also spray it in my toilet to prevent the orange-ish slime layer from forming. And a quick spray and rinse of the sink keeps it just as shiny as everything else!
Now my bathroom fixtures stay permanently clean. If I could just keep my dirty cat from jumping on the counter to get his drink, things would stay so clean that I wouldn’t know what to do with myself.