Thursday, April 19, 2012

DIY: Easy Peasy Household Products

Tracey Johnson is a mom blogger at Mamas & Papas, a fiber artist, a wife, and a mother to a beautiful baby girl named Olive. She sells custom knitting and crochet pieces of all varieties on her Etsy shop, rather obviously called Tracey Johnson's Shop.  

DIY: Easy Peasy Household Products 

I don't know about you guys, but I am sick of buying beauty and cleaning products with crazy ingredients I can't pronounce. Oh, and the super expensive "natural" alternatives? I'm no sucker. For just a little bit of work and a fraction of the cost, you can make your own products that are safe, effective, and very simple. Here are some tried-and-true recipes I've acquired and tweaked according to what works for me. Most of the recipes are based on a mix of Tsh Oxenreider's  Organized Simplicity, Home Comforts by Cheryl Mendelson, and plain old trial-and-error. Feel free to pass it on to your friends and family and experiment with them. It's actually pretty fun and rather addicting...

For Your Hair & Body

Shopping List for your whole family: 
Baking Soda
Vinegar (Apple Cider or White)
Coconut Oil
Stevia powder
Peppermint Extract
Witch Hazel
Shea Butter
Almond Oil
Grapefruit Seed Extract
Dr. Bronner's Pure Castille Soap
Squirt Bottles
Ground Oats
Powdered Milk

Hair Cleanser:
1 tbsp Baking Soda to 1 cup of water.

Add Baking Soda to a squirt bottle and fill with warm water. You can keep the squirt bottle in your shower...shake it and squirt it into your roots! Scrub it in, rinse it off, and follow with the vinegar rinse (see below). 

Hair Conditioning Rinse:
1 part Apple Cider Vinegar to 3 parts warm water.

Combine the vinegar and water in a squirt bottle and keep in your shower along with the cleanser. Squirt it through your hair (avoid the roots) and comb it through. Rinse it off immediately or your hair might end up greasy pretty quick. 

2 tbsp. Coconut Oil
2 tbsp. Baking Soda
1/4 tsp. Stevia powder
2-3 drops peppermint extract

Mix it all together and store in a small jar with a lid or an empty squeeze tube. Just use it like any other toothpaste and it works just as well! 

Deodorant Mist: 
1/2 cup Witch Hazel
1 tbsp. Baking Soda
splash of Dr. Bronner's Pure Castille Soap--any scent (I prefer the Tea Tree Oil kind)
1/2 cup Distilled Water 

Combine ingredients into a spray bottle, then just shake and spray! I like to use a recycled body mist bottle, as the mist is much finer and dries quicker. This mist is so much more refreshing than any deodorant you have ever experienced and it is non-irritating! 

Oh, and...
Shaving Cream! 

For more info on "No-Poo" (going shampoo-free) check out my other post.  

For Your Baby

Like most moms, I obsess over what products to use on my child. Baby's skin is so new and sensitive, you really ought to research what every ingredient is and how it can affect them. You'd be amazed by how many "baby products" on the market right now are not good for babies. Steer clear of anything containing parabens, fragrance, Propylene Glycol, SLS, or Dioxane. Even "Unscented" or "Fragrance-Free" products can contain phthalates to mask odors. Use less products. It seems pretty obvious, but babies don't need to be slathered in creams and powders. The skin they are born with is *usually* perfect and won't need much more than a bit of warm water and a washcloth to clean. As they get older, though, they get messier. So then you need to use a little soap. Here is a cheat sheet for soaps that are currently on the market, by SafeMama: Cheat Sheet PDF.

If you'd like to make your own cleanser, so you know exactly what your putting on your baby, try a nice little Bath Milk Recipe. This one comes from a DIYer at

Baby Bath Milk:
1 cup powdered milk
1/4 cornstarch
1/4 cup finely ground oats
2-3 drops lavender or chamomile essential oil
Mix them all together into a shaker style bottle. Sprinkle a little bit into warm bath water for  baby! 

Baby Bottom Cream for cloth diapering:
1 oz Coconut oil
1 oz Olive Oil
1 oz Shea Butter
1/2 oz beeswax
5 drops grapefruit seed extract
3 drops your choice of essential oil
Use a double boiler to melt down the coconut oil, shea butter, and beeswax followed by the olive oil. Mix it well, then transfer it to a mixing bowl to let it cool. Just before it reaches room temperature, add the grapefruit seed extract and essential oil and mix it with a hand mixer or a whisk until it is "whipped". If it is too runny, just add more beeswax. This is cloth diaper safe and antiviral, antifungal, anti-yeast, antibacterial, and highly moisturizing! 

For Your House

These recipes are very basic and have been around for as long as houses have been cleaned. Mix them up with care, as cleaning chemicals can have toxic reactions if mixed improperly (i.e. bleach and ammonia can create toxic fumes). 

Baking Soda 
White Vinegar
Powdered laundry detergent 
Washing Soda 
Squirt bottles

All-Purpose Disinfectant:
3/4 cup of bleach
1 gallon of warm water
1 tbsp powdered laundry detergent
Wash surface with solution and keep it wet for 5 minutes. Rinse and let dry. You can use this pretty much anywhere in your home, but avoid using it on metal fixtures). 

Mild All-Purpose Cleaner:
4 tbsp. Baking Soda
1 quart warm water 
(optional) A few drops of essential oil
Wipe surfaces with a sponge soaked in the solution. This is great for the fridge or trash cans as it cleans light soil and deodorizes. 

Mild, Gently Abrasive Cleanser:
Add enough drops of water to Baking Soda to form a paste. Can remove crayon from walls and shine your sink! 

Strong All-Purpose Cleaner:
Add 1 tbsp of ammonia and liquid laundry detergent to a pint of water. 
Add 1.2 cup Washing soda to 1 gallon warm water
Can be used in kitchens or bathrooms, but shouldn't be used on fiberglass or aluminum. 

Toilet Bowl Cleaner: 
1/4 cup Baking Soda 
1 cup White Vinegar

So, there you have it. All pretty simple recipes and all made with stuff you know is safe. Buy some ingredients and try a couple out. Come on...I've done most of the work for you!


  1. Thanks for these recipies! I'm going to be making the diaper cream for some upcoming baby showers. :)

  2. Wow! Thanks for these recipes! I'm excited to try the baby bath milk out especially!

  3. I love all these recipes! I love to make my own stuff:-)

  4. I LOVE these recipes. I was already doing a lot of these things but I love your recipe for baby rash ointment, toothpaste and the deodorant mist! I have most of the ingredients and can't wait to give them a try :)

  5. These are cool recipes! I'll have to try some out!

  6. huh, the Deodorant Mist sounds interesting, does it actually work?

  7. Love the recipe for baby milk bath. It is so hard to find things to use with my little ones that will not cause a rash. Love this post thank you.

  8. Love the recipes! Not too sure about the shampoo/conditioner one though! LOL

  9. ohhh I want to try some of these..I love making my own things..what do you use to store everything?

  10. Great post! I tried(before seeing your blog post) washing my hair with Baking soda, it didn't work out so good. My hair is pretty long and there always seemed to be yuck in the middle of my hair...think base of skull, har in the middle. Maybe I was doing something wrong.
    I think I'll try the toothpaste. What a money saver!

  11. This is awesome!! I have been looking everywhere for a good, homemade diaper ointment!!!

  12. whoa, i've never heard of homemade deodorant mist. i tried making my own powder deodorant, but it was too messy to put on every day. i'll have to try your recipe...

  13. Cool! Thanks so much for sharing!

  14. WOW.. I am definitely going to utilize these recipes.. Thank you for posting.. and I have a question.. can apple cider vinegar work.. just as well as distilled vinegar? Just wondering.. God bless you.. Judith

  15. Thanks for all the great suggestions! I'll have to give some of these a try!