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Oh, Baking Soda and Vinegar, How Do I Love Thee

December 28, 2007

I have to take a moment to laud two of my favorite cleaning agents. They are so multi-purpose. Baking soda is excellent in laundry, I use it in every diaper load; it is also a super at removing grease and crusty things, especially on stove tops. I have used it to wash my hair for the past 2 1/2 years. What other cleaning agents could boast this resume? Vinegar could. Vinegar can also be used in laundry, on windows and for general cleaning, as well as a hair rinse after a baking soda wash. Vinegar is antibacterial so it is great for kitchen counters.

If you want to decrease your use of toxic chemicals in your home (including shampoos and conditioners) consider substituting baking soda and/or vinegar for some products. A recipe that I used for a good general cleaning spray is: 2 tsp. borax, 1 tsp. washing soda, 4 tbsp. vinegar and 1 tsp. liquid castile soap, a few drops of essential oils (optional). Top off with warm water (to help dissolve the powders) in a 16 oz. spray bottle. Shake well.

I use baking soda and vinegar as follows for my hair care: In an old shampoo bottle, add about 3 or 4 tbps. of baking soda, a few drops of essential oil and top off with warm water; shake well. Use as you would use shampoo. The lack of lather is the most difficult thing to get used to. Before I started using this, I had very, very oily hair that I had to wash every day and it was still very oily by the evening or next morning before washing. Using this, I weaned down to washing my hair every other day and while I still have oily hair, it is nothing like it used to be. It also decreased the frizzies that I would get along my part line. For my rinse, I I add 2 oz of apple cider vinegar (though I bet white vinegar would also work) to a peri bottle that I got after Juliana was born and top it off with water. I just squirt it in my hair after my baking soda wash and then rinse well.

The added bonus in implementing the above is that your waste output is drastically reduced. I buy baking soda in bulk at our local grocery store, so I just waste a plastic bag, which is then recycled into a trash bag at our house. I buy vinegar by the gallon and that bottle gets tossed into the plastic bin in our recycling area. The spray bottles, one old shampoo bottle and peri bottle are all reused over and over for years.

If you are the resolution making kind of person, maybe you’d like to consider making these changes in the new year.

*Another bonus is that your children could eat your cleaning products and not die. And you can even make a salad dressing out of the vinegar!

2 Comments leave one →
  1. Evelyn permalink
    December 28, 2007 9:04 pm

    I am so glad you put this in your blog. I bought a general cleaning spray product from Whole Foods but it is pretty expensive. But now that I have the bottle I can try your idea and keep reusing the spray bottle for it. Now I just need to buy some more essential oil from you to mask the vinegar smell. I personally like the smell of vinegar, but Mike doesn’t. So if I can make us both happy that would be great. I have been using baking soda in my laundry since you told me about it and have been using vinegar in the laundry for a long time.

    I may even try the baking soda for my hair sometime. I have used vinegar for a hair rinse before. I just totally forgot about it for some reason. Beer makes a good hair rinse too and adds body to your hair.

  2. Angelina permalink
    December 30, 2007 2:04 am

    This is very useful information. I have ten gazillion Mrs. Meyer’s products on my hands right now that I will use until they are gone. Because if I get rid of what I have I will be wasting lots of money…but when it’s gone I hope to do as you do and make my own home cleaning solutions that are non-toxic and reduce container waste. Do you have a notebook where you can gather these recipes you use in one place to be easily referenced in the future?

    I feel like you should be compiling an official notebook of your household recipes.

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