Making your own hygiene products is an easy way to avoid supporting corporate petrochemical giants who test on animals and offer dubious, carcinogenic ingredients. It’s easy, cheaper, and helps you be more self-reliant.
ALL PURPOSE CLEANER: especially useful for toilets, sinks, countertops
Sprinkle baking powder on the surface you want to clean.
Spray the powdered surface with a mixture of vinegar and lemon juice (there will be some fizzing).
Scrub with a rag or sponge and rinse.
Water and a little white vinegar with old newspapers or rags instead of paper towels.
It’s mostly important that you brush and less critical what’s on the brush. Any nontoxic abrasive will work, commonly plain old baking soda (sodium bicarbonate). If you don’t like the powdery feeling, you can mix it with water into a paste, or add a few drops of essential oil for a little extra flavor.
HEALING SALVE/LIP BALM
Herbs for skin healing: calendula flowers, chickweed, plantain, comfrey, lavender, and yarrow
Herbs with antiseptic properties: yarrow, chaparral, usnea, teatree, and lavender
Gather herbs from a location that isn’t sprayed with pesticides (many public spaces are).
Dry herbs by hanging or in a paper bag.
Simmer herbs in olive oil over very low heat for several hours or until all water in the plants has evaporated (if your preparation uses fresh herbs).
Strain oil through a fine sieve.
Any water remaining in the salve may cause it to go rancid, so be diligent in boiling off the water!
Adding a little essential oil to the mix can really spiff up your salve. Teatree or lavender are great for skin salves. For lip balms you can experiment with peppermint, orange, or wintergreen. Make sure oils are plant derived oils and not synthetic fragrance oils. They are an investment but still affordable. A few drops per 1/4 cup is really all you need.
Add beeswax. The right proportion is about one part beeswax to five parts oil. Beeswax can be melted in a double boiler (a pot over a pot of boiling water). Add beeswax slowly, testing the consistency by dipping a chopstick or spoon into the mix and then cooling it to room temperature. More beeswax makes a firmer salve. Pour into clean containers (baby food jars or smaller) while the mixture is still warm and let cool. Seal jars for storage. Voila! Share with friends. It’s best to make a new salve every year, although they do last when stored correctly.