So, I want to be as environmentally friendly as possible in life. Hard to do on a tight budget right now, but I am slowly transitioning things around here.
Our first step was laundry detergent. We've been making our own laundry detergent since sometime last summer. We buy Arm and Hammer Washing Soda and 20 Mule Borax locally in town, but the Fels Naptha soap bars we use I can only find on Amazon.com right now. Nothing more local. We buy a bunch at a time though, that way we are stocked for awhile...less shipping as well. We grate up one soap bar and mix with 2 cups Borax, and 2 cups Washing Soda. I store it in a big plastic coffee container that I got from Chris (since he is the only one that drinks coffee in this house). Online says you use 1 tablespoon per load. I have a small laundry detergent scooper that I use, and I put in 2 scoopfuls per load. Probably about 2-2 1/2 tablespoons. For tough stains, you can use a Fels Naptha bar and just pre-treat the stain with it. We gave up chemical laced dryer sheets as well, and use those dryer balls you can buy almost anywhere. I am thinking about making a small lavender pouch to throw in the dryer, to give the clothes a fresh smell, instead of smelling like warm clothes. Companies sell them, and say these pouches (I think about 1 oz), are good for 4 loads, and then you can refresh them with some lavender essential oil. I have lots of lavender left over from Christmas. We made sachets for everyone to put in their dresser drawers and closets, and have done the same for ourselves. (We also made rice pillows and t-shirt bags for everyone)
We also use vinegar to clean with. We mop with it, clean up spills, wash toys, anything you would clean around the kitchen, we use it for. I just use a half and half ratio of vinegar and water. You can add a few drops of essential oil to make it smell like whatever you want. Along with all this cleaning, we no longer use paper towels. We have a bin of rags in the bathroom that we use to clean up messes, and a small trashcan with a lid that snaps on to put the dirty ones in. It keeps the smell in there very well, although I am looking forward to buying zippered wet bags to use, that way I can throw everything in the wash, and not have to take the trashcan outside to rinse with the hose. We also have cloth napkins, and I stay away from paper plates and plastic utensils as much as possible. We still soft scrub the toilet and sinks occasionally, but I am looking for a better alternative to so much bleach.
I am trying to convince Luke to ditch the toilet paper next. I have a soft cotton/flannel blanket that I cut into pieces to use. I really need a wet bag to put them in before we would make a complete switch. For the number 2's, I want to get a wipes container, maybe even a wipes warmer, to keep some damp with some aloe vera juice and essential oils. I'll let you know when the switch happens, and get some pictures of the setup.
We were doing good last summer composting things. We have a brush pile in the backyard that we put all our organic waste in, but since winter hit, we kind of stopped cold turkey. I am looking at getting a small countertop compost bucket, so we don't have to run to the pile every time.
My next phase will be much bigger. I am looking at replacing shampoos, conditioners, lotions, deodorants, toothpastes, facial scrubs, body wash, hand soap, and hand sanitizer. I also want to make my own feminine products. This phase will take time. I will probably spend about $300 on everything, but the supplies will last a very long time. I'll go into details about all of that later on, with recipes and what-not.