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make your own products

21 Jul | , ,

When starting your waste reduction journey, one of the things you will be testing is recipes for homemade products. You will be looking for ways to replace items you usually buy packaged with things that you can make from scratch.

Here are a few things to keep in mind:

  • Making your own product is the best way to control what is in them. Enjoy the perfectly tailored solution that homemade gives you.
  • Marketing has us believing we need a product for everything: that isn’t true. I have reduced my cleaning products to a multipurpose spray, a toilet cleaner, a scrubbing cream, and a simple floor detergent. And I could probably still reduce. Can you think of a few things you might be able to replace with a multipurpose product?
  • “Natural product” does not necessarily mean “good for you”: for instance arsenic is a naturally occurring compound. Test, read, and see what works for your skin, your hair, and your nose (I am susceptible to smells, maybe you are too).
  • What works for me might not work for you. I have played around with proportions until I got things just the way I like them. Do the same until you get your perfect product.
  • Homemade does not necessarily mean less waste. Be careful that by buying your ingredients, you are not in fact generating more waste. Try and find products in bulk or large quantities. Go for recipes that have few ingredients.
  • Homemade products make original and unexpected gifts, but don’t use your family as test subjects. Make sure to let them know they can ask you for a refill when that container is empty.

Here are some of the recipes I have found left and right and liked!

multi-purpose detergent (from the book Zero Waste Home, Bea Johnson)

One volume of vinegar in four volumes of water in a spray bottle. I like to add a little essential oil, but Bea recommends infusing citrus skin in the pure vinegar for a couple of weeks before mixing.

cleaning and “disinfecting” detergent (from Spirou’s Seuls: le Manuel de Survie, yes I still read Spirou)

One tablespoon baking soda in one liter of lukewarm water. Add one tablespoon of vinegar and a few drops of essential oils. I add lavender, eucalyptus, grapefruit, tea tree, and cinnamon. I got tired of the residue it left on shiny surfaces such… Click To Tweet

floor detergent (from my local drugstore)

One tablespoon of plain and simple black soap in five liters of warm water. It works wonders on wooden floors as well as tiles.

lip balm (from Bottega Zero Waste)

Three spoons beeswax for one spoon of coconut oil. Melt in a low-heat bain-marie. Remove from heat and add a few drops of essential oils (max 1%) if you want. I left it as is because I have susceptible skin. Pour into a handy container and let cool for at least an hour.

body lotion cakes (from Low Tox Life by Alexx Stuart)

Melt 30 gr of beeswax, 65 gr cocoa butter, and 125 ml of coconut oil in a bain-marie. When thoroughly melted, remove from heat, and add a maximum of 25 drops of essential oil (optional). Pour the melted mix into whatever mold you have -I used madeleine molds- and let cool for at least an hour. Rub in your hands or directly onto your skin to use.

Careful, this cake is a generous body lotion, so don’t use too much or you might be uncomfortable in your clothes all day and stick to the bed linen all night. I felt that it was too unstable at room temperature for me, so I reduced the amount of coconut oil and keep it in the fridge.

coconut scrub (from I honestly don’t remember)

Add two tablespoons of brown sugar and one tablespoon of lemon juice to 100 ml of coconut oil melted in a bain-marie. Mix well and pour into a jar. Let cool at room temperature.

To use, rub on a clean wet face and remove with a damp (reusable) cotton pad. Rinse with cold water to finalize. You can also use this as a body scrub -if you feel you need more scrubbing power, add coarse salt or coffee ground.

Bonus: I use this to remove marks left by my bike chain on my legs before I hop in the shower; it works wonderfully.

muscle relaxer (from One Good Thing)

Melt half-a-cup coconut oil and two tablespoons of beeswax pellets on a bain-marie. When thoroughly melted, remove from heat and add five drops of camphor essential oil, five drops of peppermint essential oil, and five drops of eucalyptus essential oil. Let cool completely. I felt the cream was too solid for me to use, so I melted it again to add coconut oil. I use it after my bike rides; it soothes my spent muscles and moisturizes my skin.

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    21 Jul

    make your own products

    When starting your waste reduction journey, one of the things you will be testing is recipes for homemade products. You…