Budget Cleaning

So maybe I lied about posting a recipe, but my last post has me on a roll, thinking about how to be health and eco-conscious on a budget. The truth is, these goals have to do with more than just the foods we eat, but also the beauty products we use and the way we clean our space. Doug and I have long been on the bandwagon of “natural*” cleaning and beauty products, but the cost and questionable “naturalness” of these products had me looking for other solutions.

Enter baking soda, vinegar and hydrogen peroxide.

Before moving out of our old apartment we reveled in the ability of simple peroxide and baking soda to get the grout in our kitchen and bathroom clean. Since then we’ve experimented with baking soda and vinegar in the wash to de-smellify our towels, and I’m readying spray bottles full of the good stuff to wash our floors, mirrors and counters. Desiring virtue has a great list of ways to incorporate “natural” cleaning into your routine.

I’m also embarking on some beauty experiments.

Doug giggles when I call it the “no poo” method, though he expressed real concern until I explained that it had nothing to do with bowel movements and everything to do with hair washing! It’s a simple concept – rub a tablespoon of moistened baking soda into your hair, massage and rinse, then rinse with a solution of 1 Tbsp cider vinegar in 1 cup of water. Voila, no (sham)poo!

I generally only wash my hair twice a week anyway, and found that stripping all of the oil out of my hair left it dry on the first day and oily within 2 days. There were only one or two days a week that I felt like I was having a “good” hair day, meaning it was neither too oily nor too dry. With the no poo method it’s evened out substantially! And despite my initial concern I don’t smell like vinegar all the time. This technique really seems like a win-win: no chemical shampoo, no expensive “natural” products, and no oily/dry hair issues! I guess that makes it a win-win-win…

Next on my “let’s try” list is the oil face wash method. My face goes through much the same routine as my hair: too dry right after washing (despite having tried a million kinds of  face wash and moisturizer) then oily by the afternoon. Although counter intuitive, oil does dissolve oil and I like the idea of knowing exactly which two ingredients are in my face wash/moisturizer (castor oil and olive oil, for my first try). All it requires in an appropriate combination of oils, hot water and a face cloth. I’ll let you know how it goes!

What are your favorite low-tech, low-budget cleaning methods?

*I, personally, hate the term “natural” when talking about foods/products because it doesn’t really mean anything. Perhaps I’ll write a post about terminology at some point.
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