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Posts Tagged ‘Baking soda’

Carpet freshener makes the whole room smell fresh and clean. Maybe it’s not a total necessity, but it’s nice to have. The good news is that it’s super easy to make.

Save an old parmesan cheese container, and fill it mostly with baking soda. Then, dump it back out into a bowl. This is so it’s easier to mix everything up. Shaking it all up in the same container doesn’t distribute the essential oils as well. In the bowl, shake some dried cloves, dried nutmeg, and about 20-25 drops tea tree oil. Stir well, and pour back into the shaker container.

Shake onto carpets, leave sit for about 5 min or so, and vacuum. (I’m going to assume this would work well on furniture/mattresses as well, but I haven’t tried it yet.)

There truly are a ton of tweaks of this on the internet, so play around with it to get a scent/texture you like. Some people put cinnamon in as well, or skip the spices and just use essential oils they like, or just use plain baking soda. If you’ve got light colored carpets, you may want to forgo the dark spices. I’ve got a light-ish speckled berber, and it doesn’t show, but if I had all white, I might not want to risk it.

As for the base, baking soda is good at neutralizing odors, but there’s some info out there that it doesn’t play nice with hepa filters on vacuums. I’ve got an older vacuum that uses a bag, so I don’t have to worry about that. Basically, the baking soda’s powder is too fine and clogs up the hepa filter, I think. Other sites suggest using cornmeal instead of baking soda if you’ve got a vacuum with a hepa filter, but I haven’t tried it, so I can’t vouch for whether that works. I’m not sure if cornmeal absorbs odors the way baking soda does, or if it simply acts as a way to dilute and spread out the essential oil scent.

Also, some sites recommend adding borax to the mix as well. I would suggest a bit of caution for this. While borax does occur naturally in the environment (hence it’s “all-natural” label), that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s safe to use in high quantities around pets and children. It’s not good to breathe in, and it irritates eyes in powder form. While I use it in my laundry soap and to sprinkle in the toilet to clean it, I certainly wouldn’t want to use it in my carpet powder. To me, there’s a difference between diluting it in water to use it and using it straight from the box.

Anyone else have any good carpet freshening suggestions?

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Drain unclogging products can be some of the most toxic substances in your home. But you don’t really need them. A great way to unclog just about any drain is to use the good old-fashioned stereotypical childs science fair project. Yep, make a volcano in your sink. Start with pouring anywhere from ½ C to 1 C of baking soda down the drain. Make sure it gets good and down in the pipes, don’t just put it in the sink. Then follow that with about the same amount of vinegar. Sometimes I feel like it works better if I plug the drain so all the foamy “volcanic eruption” goes further down the pipes instead of back up into the sink, but it probably doesn’t make much difference. Give it some time for the foaming to die down (maybe about an hour or so, just to be safe) and then follow it with a bit more vinegar and let it foam up again.

Works every time, at least in my house!

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For anyone anxious about making the switch to my homemade shampoo recipe, I have some personal information to add. I’ve always thought I had really oily hair. I mean really oily. I definitely needed to wash it every day, sometimes more often in the summer.

When I switched to the baking soda mix, I was really hoping I wouldn’t need to wash my hair quite so often. Or at the very least, it wouldn’t be so greasy all the time. I noticed a difference right away: my hair wasn’t nearly as oily anymore. Something about the baking soda really helped. I still needed to wash it every day, but I’ve noticed lately that my body has adjusted the amount of oils it produces. It seems to no longer be on overkill, trying to overproduce oil to compensate for it all getting washed out all the time. I think that’s what happens with overwashing. Our bodies try to overcompensate with excess oil. It took some time for my body to adjust, and now, I definitely would no longer ever consider my hair oily. After using my homemade mix for about six months, I don’t need to wash my hair every day anymore. I’m down to every other day, and it still doesn’t look greasy. I may even be able to wash it less than that. It looks better than it ever did, and I’m saving money, not washing nasty chemicals down the drain, and using a lot less water.

Anyone else have an experience like this?

Oh, and one more thing…this mixture works really well to clear out your ears when they get clogged with wax. Good to know if you have overactive allergies like I do.

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If you’ve been trying all my recipes so far, you’ve made:

You’ve graduated. You’re ready. Ready for one of my favorite recipes I’ve made so far: deodorant. Not that this recipe is particularly difficult, it really isn’t. It just took me a long time to actually jump in and make it. I don’t know why in my head it seemed like such a big deal to let go of my old deodorant, but now that I have, I absolutely love this stuff.

You will need:

  • Baking soda
  • Corn starch
  • A jar of virgin coconut oil
  • Tea tree oil
  • An empty wind-up deodorant container

In a small bowl, mix 1/4 cup baking soda and 1/4 cup corn starch. Add 2-4 Tablespoons of melted coconut oil. Mix into a paste, and stir in 10 drops tea tree oil.

The original recipe I got from I-don’t-remember-where said 2 tablespoons of coconut oil, but I find that’s just not enough to make the mixture into a paste. I suppose you could decrease the amounts of baking soda and corn starch, but I find it easier just to gradually add coconut oil a little at a time, mixing in until I get the right paste consistency that will pack back into my old deodorant container. I just made another batch of it a few days ago, and I maybe added 3 and 1/2 Tbsp coconut oil. Also, another helpful tip: I usually pop the jar of oil in the microwave until it’s liquified some. This way, it’s much easier to spoon out by the tablespoon and will mix more easily with the powdered ingredients.

The odd one out in this recipe is the coconut oil, as you’ve probably got all the others around. I had a hard time finding it, so I ordered it online. It is worth checking around though, because that will save you on shipping. The oil itself seems a bit expensive (I think mine was about $6 or so for a 12-oz jar, not including shipping) but it will last you a long time. And you’ll also use it for other recipes, so it’s good to have on hand.

Just a little info about coconut oil in case you haven’t worked with it before. Coconut oil melts at 76 degrees. So you should keep it in a cooler place in the summer if you don’t have AC. I’ve heard it keeps better in solid form. This also means that your deodorant might be a little bit of a softer paste in the summer than the winter, and as you put it on, might soften upon being rubbed on your skin. I think that’s a good thing since it stays solid, but then upon skin contact, goes on like lotion.

When I made the switch to this from my commercial deodorant, this was one of the hardest ones for me to stick with. I was really concerned it wouldn’t work and had to work hard to stick to my rules for switching. But as always, I grew to love this mixture, because it’s simply better than the commercial stuff. Here’s a few reasons why I love this recipe:

  • It has no terrible, harmful chemicals, and is free of aluminum
  • It smells absolutely divine (but not particularly masculine or feminine, husband and I both use it)
  • It doesn’t leave any residue on your skin that won’t wash off when you want it to
  • It doesn’t leave any residue or staining on clothes. Even my old “invisible solid” left residue and stains.

There are a few things to watch out for, though. I have not had problems with this, but others have said that baking soda can sometimes cause rash and irritation. I imagine you could reduce the amount of baking soda if this happens. I do notice this a bit if I put deodorant on right after I shave. If you’re a shaver, try shaving at night, applying lotion, and then using the deodorant in the morning. That’s what works for me.

As always, have fun saving money and eliminating nasty chemicals!

EDIT: I added about the equivalent of a capsule full of vitamin E oil to a batch I made, and it eliminated the post-shaving rash/irritation. It seems to go on just a bit more smoothly too. Just thought I’d add that if it helps someone out.

ANOTHER EDIT: In the winter, it came out so dry and crumbly because of the cooler temperatures in the house, that I added just a splash of olive oil to the mix, and that make it go on much more smoothly and not crumble apart in the winter.

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