Borax-Free Homemade Laundry Powder

We stopped using commercial laundry detergent for most of our laundry a while ago.  We’ve been using just liquid castile soap for everything except cloth diapers.  While we haven’t had problems with this method, we haven’t been amazed by its results.  So I decided to make up some laundry powder and see how that works for us.  There are a lot of recipes out there that use borax, but I’m not convinced on the safety of borax, so this recipe doesn’t use it.

Laundry Powder

1 bar Dr. Bronners tea tree oil soap

1 cup washing soda

1/2 cup baking soda

1/2 cup citric acid

1/4 cup pickling salt

Grate the bar of soap and mix that with all other ingredients.  To use, put 1-2 Tbsp in washing machine.  You can supplement with white vinegar.  Store in glass jar or bucket depending on how much you make.  This recipe is safe for HE and front loading washing machines.


I think it cleaned our cloth diapers even better than castile soap or Dapple laundry detergent.  It does take a bit more work to make this powder, but cleaner diapers might just be worth it.  It does clump pretty bad though.  This is due to moisture and you can make a desiccant, or moisture absorber, with a cloth bag of white clay.  Unfortunately, I don’t have any white clay.  I’ll get on that.


Ladies’ Homestead Gathering Herbal Medicines and a Loom

I went to a meeting of the Ladies’ Homestead Gathering of Statham Georgia a few days ago.  It was so much fun.  There were about 40 women there and we all made two tinctures and one salve each.  I really liked that it was hands-on and not just a lecture or even a discussion.


One tincture is a wound wash and one is for stress relief.  The salve is sort of an all-purpose skin cream for bug bites, dry skin, ect.  Beyond these great herbal medicines, I’m really excited to have found this group.  There’s so much knowledge that these women have, I’m so excited to learn as much as I can!

There was also one woman who was trying to get rid of a few looms and gave me one.


I’m going to try to figure it out (with lots of help!) and weave something on it.

Natural Remedies for Ear Infection

The minion and I had a head cold a while ago and I ended up with an ear infection.  I am very thankful that the minion didn’t get one, but it was still no fun having one myself.  I knew I didn’t want to take antibiotics for multiple reasons so I decided to treat it at home.

My first line of offense was taking raw garlic.  At least a clove a day.  Some people cut the clove up and take it like a pill, but I like to make (ok, have the hero make for me, come on, I was sick!) smoothies with the garlic blended into it.

My next step was to put 6 drop of breastmilk in my ear every 4 hours.  If you don’t have access to breastmilk, you can use olive oil.

The last thing I did was use a heated rice bag for pain relief.

The infection cleared up in just a few days with the amazing power of natural antibiotics.  Garlic as an internal antibiotic and the breastmilk as a topical antibiotic.

While I encourage you to try to use alternatives for modern pharmaceuticals, don’t be an idiot and see your doctor and get medicine if you really need it.  When trying to treat yourself with natural treatments, you have to pay attention to you body and know when and if you need to see a doctor.

Locks of Love From a Hippie With a Pixie

The minion is getting grabby.  One of her favorite things to grab on is my hair.  She grabs on, entangling her little fingers in the hair and PULLS.  Not pleasant.  I found a solution.  Get rid of it.  The hair, not the minion!

I just got my hair cut from mid back length to a short pixie cut.  Here’s the picture of Ginnifer Goodwin I used as a reference:

6th Annual GLSEN Respect Awards - Arrivals

It was a drastic change.  So far I like it, I also hope it will be much easier to take care of than long hair.  I told the stylist that I was planning on donating my hair to Locks of Love and they cut my hair for free!  Apparently a lot of salons do this, so check that out if you’re planning a big hair cut.  I got a free haircut and Locks of Love got 14 inches of hair!  Win win.

Homemade Bug Repellent

The minion and I went to a dog park the other day and almost got eaten alive.  We both walked away with so many bug bites that I was spurred on to stop procrastinating and make our own bug repellent.  Then I had to put it in a comically large spray bottle because that’s all we had.

Homemade Bug Repellent

1/3 cup witch hazel

15 drops eucalyptus essential oil

20 drops citronella oil

Mix in a spray bottle and spray on clothes and hair before going out.  It is safe to spray it on the skin, but it will last longer on your hair and clothes than your skin.  Be sure to shake it up before you use each time.

I want to plant some citronella plants near our garden because we get eaten up when we’re out there too.


Apple Cider Vinegar Homemade Mouthwash

The hero recently ran out of mouthwash and instead of buying another expensive bottle I decided to make my own.  I used apple cider vinegar, some peppermint from our garden, and water.  Simple.

Apple Cider Vinegar Mouthwash

1 Tablespoon apple cider vinegar

1 Tablespoon dried mint leaf (or amount to taste)

about 12 oz. water.


I used an empty glass soda bottle with a twist off top to keep it in so first I put the apple cider vinegar in the bottle.  Then I heated up some water and poured it over the mint in a coffee cup.  I let it steep for a few minutes then added it to the bottle.  Then I filled the rest of the bottle with water and put the top on.  It’s not water tight anymore, but it will keep the dust out.


We both tried it after brushing our teeth this morning.  It seemed to work.  I had been a little afraid it wouldn’t leave that minty fresh feeling but it did.  The hero said he was a little concerned about its effectiveness, but he’s going to keep using it and see how it works.

How to Wash Diapers of the Cloth Variety

We separate the dirty diapers from the wet diapers.


The wet diapers and diaper covers go in a cloth laundry bag that I made from the bottom of an old t-shirt.  The bag is held up by two clothespins so that it doesn’t fall into the plastic trash can that it is in.  Then we have the ‘baby bathtub’ that they gave us at the hospital when the minion was born that we put the dirty diapers in.


We have a diaper sprayer (basically a high-powered kitchen sink sprayer that attaches to our toilet) and we spray the poo off the dirty diapers daily and just throw the whole bag of wet diapers into the washing machine as is.  We also use cloth wipes and they go in with the wet diapers.  We wash them on a sanitize setting on our washing machine using unscented castile soap at full strength if there are no diaper covers and Dapple laundry detergent if we are washing diaper covers.  The castile soap will build up on the diaper covers and make them less waterproof.

Every so often (about every 6 months so far) we have to strip the detergent from the diaper covers.  If we used castile soap we would have to do it more often.  To do this, we wash the diaper covers on high heat in the washing machine with no soap or detergent.  We do this for 2 cycles and then air dry the diaper covers.

So far this method has worked great.  We also do part-time elimination communication.  Basically we offer the toilet to the minion at each diaper change and when she wakes up from a nap.

Do you have any tricks for dealing with dirty cloth diapers?

Shaving Surprise

Surprise! It’s shaving soap!  As an anniversary present for the hero, I made him some shaving soap to replace his old variety that had who knows what in it.  I had originally bought it as part of his wedding present before we knew anything about the harmful chemicals in personal care products.  So I thought it only right to replace it with a healthier version for our anniversary.

I made it with a simple recipe using olive oil, castile bar soap, and cosmetic clay.  I ended up changing it a bit as I went and here is the result.

Shaving Soap Recipe

a bar of castile soap, here I used almond scented

2 TBSP olive oil

2 TBSP green cosmetic clay

I crushed up the bar of soap using a knife, it crumbled easily.  I then heated the soap and oil over medium low heat in a non nonstick (not a typo, don’t use nonstick cookware) pot and stirred it occasionally.  If it starts to burn or gets dry, add more oil.


I heated it for about 5 minutes and then added the cosmetic clay.  I stirred it over the next couple of minutes and then took it off the heat.  It would mush together but was not liquid yet.  I ‘poured’ it into my waiting containers, a couple of pieces of pottery I had made.  You could use any type of mug or bowl.  Last I took a clean dish towel and pressed it down with my hand inside a couple of layers of the towel.  The towel was to protect my hand because the soap is hot and the ceramic container gets hot.  Now I have to leave it to cure for a few days and then we’ll see how it works!


It did make the kitchen smell a little soapy after I heated it up, so you could open a window and turn on a fan if that would bother you.

Diapers of the Cloth Variety

Cloth diapers.  That phrase may conjure up horror and disgust, but it shouldn’t.  Cloth diapers can be clean, easy, and super cute!

The minion was born a month earlier than we had expected her so we hadn’t packed the hospital bag when I went into labor.  Subsequently, we forgot to bring some of the cloth diapers we had asked for at the baby shower to use on the minion.  At the hospital we were given a package of disposable diapers and told that a lot of parents used disposables until the baby passed all the meconium (sticky black poop newborns have for the first few days).  We didn’t have much of a choice at that point so we used them until she passed the meconium.  Ever since then, we’ve used cloth diapers exclusively.

Someone new to cloth diapers may be a bit overwhelmed at all the options but I won’t go into them here because there are numerous places on the internet that explain what they all are.  I’m just going to tell you my opinion about them.

Pocket diapers or all-in-ones might be a good transition to someone who is hesitant because a diaper change is just like a disposable diaper change.  We had one and decided we didn’t like it because you can’t just replace the insert if it gets a little wet.  You have to replace the whole diaper.

That is why we like simple covers.  Our favorite brand is flip.  We use a mix of prefolds and flat inserts but we like not having to change the cover every time.  This means we can get away with only having about 6 covers total. We had one wool cover and while I really like the idea of the natural fibers instead of the plastic covers, it was too hard to pull on over the diaper (and the minion’s kicking legs).

I am also a fan of one size diapers because I don’t see the point in buying something the minion is just going to grow out of if I don’t have to. When the minion was a newborn the covers were a little comically large, but she was a little small when she was born and they still worked.  Here’s a photo of the largest and smallest sizes the same diaper can be.  Also look at the cute colors!


I’ve never tried hook and loop closures, but I don’t want to have to worry about them getting stuff stuck to them in the wash or loosing their effectiveness, or even the minion being able to pull it off.  So all of our diaper covers have snaps.

So we’re saving money, the environment, and the minion’s skin by using cloth diapers.

A Quick List of Things We Use Castile Soap For

  • body wash (diluted)
  • hand soap (diluted)
  • baby soap (diluted)
  • the hero and the minion use it as shampoo (diluted)
  • laundry detergent (full strength) but only when we’re not washing cloth diaper covers
  • dish soap (1:6 strength and in a spray bottle)
  • house cleaner (diluted)
  • bubble soap for fun! (recipe TO COME)
  • bug repellent (just using it as body wash repels bugs)
  • this fruit fly trap
  • shave soap (same dilution as body wash for legs, recipe HERE for face)
  • vegetable wash (same dilution as dish soap)
  • pet shampoo (we don’t wash the pavlovinator regularly, but when she gets into something sticky or dirty we will)