Sunday, June 30, 2013

Airing our dirty laundry: Why we are chemical free(ish)

A few weeks ago I posted on IG that I was making our washing liquid, cleaning paste and ant killer and I had some requests to share the chemical-free cleaning we do.

As a sufferer of Auto Immune conditions my sensitivities to chemicals has been more and more pronounced in recent years. Not that many years ago I could wear perfume and now if I sit next to someone wearing it smells, to me, like they are wearing the entire bottle.

The same goes for cleaning products. I used them for just a few days when we moved and had strong skin and asthma reactions.

In order to limit my reactions and our kids exposure to chemicals we have implemented some changes in our home. We are not experts and I don't profess to be completely chemical free! We are more like a work in progress.

About three years ago we started making our own washing powder and then I read this book!!

Fabulous book!!  A great read and great recipes. Get it! You won't be disappointed.

We then started making the laundry liquid... the recipe for which you can find here.

We use Dr Bronner's soap (which is a castille soap & I bought it at Bin Inn, you can find it in Organic shops too). Sometimes we add some grated Sard soap if things aren't coming out as white as we like.

Start off by saving your bottles! At the moment we are using washed milk bottles, but I prefer those 3 litre orange juice bottles... but we don't drink it anymore.

We use a big stock pot to make the laundry liquid and make a double batch which probably last us (a family of 5) about 6 weeks. Even hubby makes it now!
and here it is cooling down in the buckets (on the dirty lino!)

We also use the cleaning paste recipe from the same book.

This cleaning paste ROCKS!!!
Seriously, you will never want to stop cleaning, its brilliant.

The ingredients are fairly easy to find
You can grab baking soda and cream of tartar at the supermarket and essential oils at a health/organic shop. I bought my Dr Bronner's Liquid Castille at Bin Inn.

The recipe doesn't include Tea Tree but we add it for its antibacterial properties.

I always make a double or triple batch and store it in an airtight container.

I HATE ants. Fortunately the ants in NZ are smaller, less smelly (seriously) and don't bite (unlike those pesky green ants in Aussie!)

We have been using a small borax/icing sugar mix for ant bait for quite a while now. Since I put her on to it, Mum uses it too and swears by it.
Now, bearing in mind I have school age children, who don't eat from jar lids lying around the place... I would be mindful of keeping those out of reach of inquisitive little ones.

I just grab a jar lid, about a tablespoon of borax and the same of icing sugar and mix it around a bit. The ants go nuts for it and then suddenly... they are GONE! yippee!!
Replace it when you see them coming back again.

I am yet to find a toilet cleaner that will disguise the 'boy factor'. I've tried baking soda, white vinegar etc.. but it just doesn't cut it.

We use a lot of white vinegar and baking soda around the house for cleaning drains, mopping floors etc.

We try to limit the hair and skin products we use too. After all, skin is the largest organ on your body. I read somewhere recently it takes less than 30 seconds for your skin to absorb chemicals! yikes!

We have tried the 'no poo' method with the girls hair (our son does it without asking - ewww! boys!). It is really hard to maintain no poo with long, long hair. We do however limit washing their hair to weekly or longer if possible and instead of conditioner we use Apple Cider Vinegar (Braggs Organic is our preferred choice). For my youngest who has very fine hair is the BEST detangler.

I stopped using moisturiser on my face and skin about 2 years ago and instead have a little pot of coconut oil in the bathroom. I use it on my face and skin... we use it on the kids chapped lips. You can read more about my love affair with coconut oil here.

Tomorrow I am making a rub on deodorant to try. I'll let you know how it works out!

And make sure you visit the Wendyl Nissen website. Awesome recipes, awesome ideas.

I'm no expert, but this is what we do so please don't hesitate to ask me any questions you have!!!


Sima J said...

Good on you! I used to make laundry liquid but have been slack lately! And after having to change to Eco Store shampoo/conditioner because of my hayfever, I just use it all the time now! .. but WHAT is the no-poo thing??? It sounds gross .. explain please?!?! (or maybe I'll just google it .. who knows what will come up though!!)

Sima J said...

I did google it .. no SHAMpoo ... I get it now .. sounds so gross when you don't know what it means hahahahaha!!!

remaliah said...

I've bookmarked this post because I really want to get on with it and make our own laundry liquid. Thanks!! P.S. Where do you find your Borax and Washing Soda crystals?

Egretta Wells blog said...

Very interesting post. I, too, have had bad reactions to chemicals, namely formaldehyde, which seems to be in almost everything manufactured.It is so dangerous; have you any information on it? I try to not use any product that contains it, but sometimes you just don't know.

Hootnz said...

Oh I so agree with going chemical free....I've been doing the baking soda and vinegar thing for a few years now and wouldn't go back! All those commercial sprays smell incredibly strong! Besides making your own is also healthier on the wallet too :) My favourite cleaner from wendyl would be the Oxygen soaker....its been brilliant for all the sheets that my son has nose bleeds on :)) As for the toilet boy odour!! I also have tried many combos to get rid of that smell....and the best I have found is a bought cleaner...the toilet cleaner from Eco Store. The citrus essential oils work wonders for eliminating the stink :)) Of course I haven't tried using that essential oil maybe I might have another go with that one.

Jen said...

I loved that book too! I've been afraid to try homemade laundry detergents because I've read too many experiences online about how it wrecked washing machines. I may have to try the recipe you use.

nz green buttons said...

I love Wendyl's recipes and have used them for years. I've always made the laundry powder though, not the liquid, only due to storage space! I often find myself overcome by the laundry powder smell of other people's clothes! I can barely walk down the "cleaning" aisle of the supermarket too!

nz green buttons said...

I love Wendyl's recipes and have used them for years. I've always made the laundry powder though, not the liquid, only due to storage space! I often find myself overcome by the laundry powder smell of other people's clothes! I can barely walk down the "cleaning" aisle of the supermarket too!

Cat said...

I'm a Wendyl girl too LOVE the cleaning paste

vegemitevix said...

I heard that you can successfully clean the loo with Coca Cola but I've never tried it and I'm not sure it fits the bill of 'chemical-free'? Vx

Claudia said...

You might like this Goats Milk Soap
It's made by friends of ours, and I have personally met the goats! It's also good for hair washing.

flippiesforever said...

Instead of using all the bottles, I use a plastic bucket with a lid for the washing liquid & an old measuring cup.