UU Natural Bug Spray

For the summer, our Unitarian Universalist church has a program after their Sunday service called second hour where they have a variety of eco-friendly projects that people can do.  This past week they had container gardens and natural bug spray.  We chose to do the bug spray project.

They had three different recipes that were basically different mixtures of essential oils.  They each start with 2 cups of water.  We used water bottles, it’s just about measured perfectly. They each also have 20 drops of citronella essential oil.   Then you add the mixture of other two essential oils you want.  The three different recipes are lemon basil, geranium lavender, and eucalyptus lemon.

All varieties: 2 cups water and 20 drops citronella essential oil

Lemon Basil: 5 drops lemon essential oil and 10 drops basil essential oil

Geranium Lavender: 5 drops geranium essential oils and 10 drops lavender essential oil

Eucalyptus Lemon: 5 drops lemon essential oil and 10 drops eucalyptus essential oil

Mix everything together in a spray bottle (or water bottle and pour into smaller spray bottles).  Don’t forget to shake the bottle up before you use it each time.

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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.

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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!

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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.

Simplifying the Shower

Before the minion was born, when I was still pregnant, the hero, the pavlovinator, and I lived in an apartment in the city.  The apartment building was built in the 1940s and it had it’s quirks.  One of them was the plumbing.

Early when we moved in, the pavlovinator started refusing to drink tap water and whining around her water bowl.  We didn’t know why, but we decided to try getting a filter for the tap and that seemed to make it all better.  She went back to drinking plenty of water and stopped whining.  So the rest of the time we lived in that apartment, we either used tap filters or bought bottled water.  I know, horrible for the environment, but we thought it was preferable to lead poisoning or something.  We bought the 2.5 gallon ones and recycled the bottles at least.

Anyways, anytime after it rained, our tub/shower water ran brown.  It was probably just mud, and we weren’t drinking it so we weren’t too worried, so we stilled used it.  I quite enjoy taking long baths to relax.  I take showers to get clean, but baths to relax.  There’s something not terribly appealing about steeping in mud brown water though.  So I would cover it up.  I had all sorts of bubble baths and bath milks, even some of those tablets that color the water for little kids.  All of this stuff, along with shampoo, conditioner, body wash, face wash, shaving gel, and scrubbers lived in a corner shelf in the shower.  This was all before we learned about harmful chemicals in personal products.

After I learned more about the harmful chemicals, endocrine disruptors, and phalates, I got rid of a lot of these products, but there were still some scrubbers and a few assorted bottles of things I didn’t use anymore in the shelf.  So when we moved to our house I decided to simplify.  Now our shower has three things in it.

  • Castile soap
  • Nature’s Gate Shampoo
  • A Safety Razor

That’s all we need now.  I know a lot of people can use castile soap as a shampoo and I tried but I have long and thick hair and it stayed greasy even after the recommended ‘adjustment period’ for my hair to get used to not being stripped of it’s natural oils.  So I buy shampoo again.  I don’t use much and don’t wash my hair everyday so I’ve had the same small bottle for almost a year.  Here’s a quick list of things we do use castile soap for.

We also switched to a safety razor, one of those old metal razors that just take a double edge razor blade.  I tried to find any information about the ‘moisturizer strips’ that are on ALL plastic razor blades.  I assume there are harmful chemicals in them, but I couldn’t find out for sure.  So I decided I wanted a metal safety razor. I absolutely love it.  I’ll go into more detail in a future post.

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So that’s it, we simplified our shower.  Now we just have to keep all the minion’s bath toys to a minimum.