Green and sustainable living

Speaking about green and sustainable living….

I never thought I will go that way, but so far I really like it, and I’m planning to do much more. Since I started making body lotions I’ve read dozens of websites and articles about how toxic are the ingredients that cosmetic companies use in their produce. Body lotions, shampoos, conditioners, body washes…, you name it… it’s everywhere. Many of those ingredients are carcinogens, and not only…  Many are not even listed on the labels.

“Most cosmetics and personal care products on store shelves today contain five major categories of toxic ingredients. These are: frank carcinogens (cancer causing); precursors of or “hidden” carcinogens; endocrine or hormonally disruptive; penetration enhancers; and allergens.” (Major Risk From Cosmetics & Personal Care Produce)

These days I make my own facial cleansers, body lotions, body scrubs and I practice the “no poo” method of washing my hair. I’m totally satisfied and I’m planning to do the same with our daughter. After I read an article that cancer-causing chemicals were discovered  in Johnson & Johnson baby shampoo I laughed (yes, I did… ups). If you look at the labels of almost any (baby or not) body lotion, body wash, shampoo, toothpaste or even deodorants you’ll see a few ingredients that are on the list of carcinogens. It doesn’t have to be J&J… and that fact is known for years. In 2009 L’Oreal was listed as one of 100 most sustainable companies and Burts Bees wasn’t. Where the first one uses chemicals in their personal care produce and they do tests on animals and the second one does not. Oh well, it doesn’t do tests on animals but I saw a few ingredients on their labels that shouldn’t be there, but still… .

It’s all about the money and we all go for it.

Many people just don’t care. I didn’t. I used to buy without using my brain… only eyes and nose, and listening to what commercials would say and show.

Today I think first, and it’s obvious to me that PAYING for something that’s toxic and putting it on my body it’s suicidal and simply stupid.

Yes, I still use commercial body wash and deodorant (without aluminum) but it’s not going to be for too much longer. I’m planning to switch to glycerin based soaps and homemade deodorants.

The same is with all kinds of household cleansers. I don’t remember when I bought them for the last time. A year ago…?! For most of the time I use vinegar (link will take you to 131 uses for Vinegar) and baking soda (40 uses for baking soda) and essential oils.

A few months ago I started making my own laundry detergent…, and this post was planned to be only about it…

There is plenty of tutorials online how to make your own “almost everything”. The most useful place to look for is Pinterest, I think. This is mine homemade beauty products board and it’s growing 🙂 Feel free to follow me or let me know about great tutorial for homemade stuff so I can add it to my boards.

Anyway, this is my recipe for homemade laundry detergent:

1/3 bar of soap, (The most typical type of soap to use is Fels Naptha.  It is an old-fashioned type of soap usually found in the laundry aisle.  The other options for soap are Ivory or another brand called, Zote.  Any of these will work)

½ cup washing soda (I’ve heard that’s easy to get at pool supplies store or in Wal-Mart. I make my own.)

½ cup borax powder (20 Mule Team)

and a small bucket, about 2 gallon size

I found my soap in Home Depot ($0.99 per soap)

Grate the soap and put it in a sauce pan.

Add 6 cups of water and heat it until the soap melts.

Add the washing soda and the borax and stir it until it is dissolved. Remove from heat.

Add 4 cups of hot water to your bucket. Now add your soap mixture. Stir it well. Add 1 gallon and 6 cups of hot water. Stir now and then until the mixture cools down. Let the soap sit for about 24 hours and it will become a gel.

Use 1/2 cup per load.

From my experience I know that this detergent won’t clean heave stains. It’s not a bleach. The way I deal with it is simple. Before I wash or even right after the stain appear (after my daughter spill something on her cloths) I treat it with apple cider vinegar and baking soda. Let it sit for 10 minutes. Give it a quick wash in hands (for bigger and more stubborn stains I use some kind of brush) and wash it as usual with the rest of the clothes. It works great so far.

For whites I use natural bleach – lemons or lemon juice. For my face cloths and kitchen towels I normally fill a pot with water and add thinly sliced fresh lemon.

Bring the water with lemons to a boil. Turn off heat, add my towels and clothes, and let it to soak for an hour or even longer.

For some it might look like it’s a pain in the ass to mess with all that stuff and I totally get it. It’s actually not that hard or time taking. If you get to a routine it’s really easy.

I know that green and sustainable living is much more, but Rome wasn’t built in a day… . We do what we can afford these days hoping that in the future we will be able to do much more in our life to make it more green and sustainable.

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37 responses to “Green and sustainable living”

  1. Excellent. I’m trying to cross over too. But first to use up what I have…So, you make your own shampoo? I was thinking about switching over to the LUSH shampoo bars since they’re made of all natural ingredients, but that’s just to save time. Is it difficult making your own or easy like the detergent? Ugh! I have so much to do!! 🙂
    How are you and that baby doing?


  2. The sun is a good stain getter outter too. I used to hang diapers in the sun to bleach out what my homemade detergent couldn’t. And be sure to let me know if you find a good homemade deoderant recipe. I haven’t found the right one yet!


    1. I’ve heard about the sun. From what I know it’s good to soak things in lemon juice and hand them to dry on the sun… . I haven’t tried it because living in an apartment we can’t hang clothes outside.
      Speaking about deodorant. Have a look at this recipe:


  3. Oh you’re very good. I’ve only just started hearing the full extent of the chemicals put in everything, I really was shocked. I was going to throw everything out but I looked at my huge shelf of cosmetics and just couldn’t do it. So I decided to turn a blind eye. But I can’t, because I think about it every single time I use anything. Even when I wash my hair. And my daughter’s hair. It’s so bad that people make products that harm their own kind. And that nothing more is being done about it, or at least nothing more is being done to educate people about it. I guess that’s what you’re here to do 🙂


    1. Alexandra, I sill keep my old cosmetics. I get rid of one or two per month. Just when I’m in a mood for that 🙂 I don’t use them I just keep them and look at them now and then. Some of them I keep for the bottles and these days I’m too lazy to get rid of the content and wash those bottles. I’ll do that when I need one.
      You’re right, it’s pretty sad that we make products that harm our own kind. I totally agree. It shouldn’t be happening but it is and in this case we should be smarter that them. People are educated these days more than they used to be. We’ve got Internet and we all can read. We should be educating ourselves. At least we can do that much.


  4. Thank you for your submission on Nourishing Treasures’ Make Your Own! Monday link-up.

    Check back later today when the new link-up is running to see if you were one of the top 3 featured posts! 🙂


  5. how neat! I should try making my own soap too, thanks for sharing this great DIY


  6. nice visit, it reinforces my self acquired theories about commercial products–the simpler–the better.. you have definitely re-awakened my sense of wholesomeness i will not be able to use the 3 bottles of body lotion that were given to me on holidays–ok–i wasn’t using any anyway, but! i will have to donate them to the charity shop as i do not like the ingredient’s list…and i did read them..
    you provide very good links for our much to learn and some to UNlearn first.. thanks new subscriber..


    1. Hi there! Great to see you here as well 🙂
      You know these days people lack an awareness in what they are consuming. It’s sad. They don’t even care and if later there is a news on tv that some body lotions or shampoos or whatever has an cancerogenic substances in them they are all outraged and they switch to a different product that, in fact, has those substances as well… but they are called different. The one thing people don’t do these days is: they don’t think, they want everybody to think for them, and they want everything to be done for them… It’s sad.


      1. well Polish Mom, that’s what we have been sent here to do, inform and perhaps effectuate some positive changes in our small way..
        for a recluse, i’m having fun…i can’t read too many blogs or i will not have any time left to write my own..i mostly want to branch out in freelancing my way to some small supplemental income..
        i have several articles ready to post on my projected green blog–but still no title . yes i did like greenerdine. but that’s a clear misrepresentation of my un-nerdiness. i’m a natural–no techie. type with 2 fingers..matt/jenn suggested greenernadine.
        i thought maybe nonameblog. but i want to convey the green without saying “green”
        signed: stuck in a titleless zone.


        1. I’ve been thinking about the name for your blog. haven’t forgotten about it. maybe “greenun-nerdify” 🙂 but you don’t want that green in the name… hm… gotta think more about it!!!


        2. what about “biodegradablenerdy” :)))


      2. “they don’t think, they want everybody to think for them, and they want everything to be done for them.” That is SO true!




    1. and thank you! it’s always great to hear such a pleasant words about something that you do. never expected that will get comments like yours and Jenn on my blog… and here I am! thank you a lot!!!


      1. I just love that you and Nadinesellers spell my name with two n’s. I know it’s a little thing, but most people never pick up on it, but both of you have and it’s like you know me. Well, that and everyone calls me Jennifer except my family, you know, or people who know me really well call me Jenn. I like that! (I’m so silly!) 😛


        1. Jennifer, I hope it’s ok to call you Jenn. I know that some people don’t like to be called their nicknames or short names if you’re not a close friend or a family. I just didn’t think about it earlier.


          1. Girl, I usually hate it. But I feel like I know you and Nadine, so it makes me happy that you call me Jenn! You can call me anything you want! 🙂


        2. MOMPHOTOG, JENN, quick-quick i made it, well <i faked's my new green blog to connect the dots on the GREEN map…not a major happening yet, i need serious coaching if you have a spare minute to steer me along to a more appealing format…i may like simple, sparse and humble–but i need a little artistic infusion there..
          green love to all who support the (near) zero waste life. ns


          1. woohoo!!! great to hear that news! give yourself sometime to get to find your own “format”. I am not very familiar with blogger but if you need any help I can help you design a banner (header) for your blog… it’s alawys fun to work on something new


          2. Nadinesellers, we’ll help you! I don’t have much artisitc anything with mine. I don’t even have my own photo in the heading. I liked the one they had up with the wet grass so much, I just kept it. I think Polish Mom Photographer is the artistic one! I’m just creative…..I guess the two do really go together though, right? Like peas and carrots.
            We’re behind ya!


            1. well jenn, if ewa and you are peas and carrots, what am i? the little white cubes of potatoes?..or the translucent pearl onions? never mind, i may just be the water which keeps the pot boiling and the nutrients traveling—i feel so bathed in enriching medium here.
              i am on the way to search for a better header, if you will bear with me awhile, in the meantime, i may post some of my old greenadine material which i had saved before they erased me from the net when i stopped the blog.
              i don’t really like the name verdigrass..but will use it to demonstrate that grass roots to green living really works despite those who doubt the small efforts worth in cleaning the environmental mess around us.


              1. I like the name of your blog!
                speaking about the peas and carrots mixture, you might be the brown sugar. It’s my husband’s favorite part in this dish. It sounded weird at first when he told me to use the brown sugar in it – I neverd did it before I met him. Now I understand… it’s really good with the sugar… much better than without.


                1. I’ve never heard of it with brown sugar before. Where is he from?


                  1. he’s from South CA. I’d never heard about it as well. He told me his mom used to make it that way and he likes it that way, so I make it that way… because any othre way he wouldn’t eat it 😉


                    1. oh Ewa, my husband is also from So San Bernadino..and his mom cooked peas with brown sugar–she originated from Arkansas..and the grandmas moved and cooked with them. Germans also add sugar to meats and veges.
                      i add one single spoon of something sweet if too bitter like cooked lettuce or chards and dandelions or especially turnip greens or beet greens.


                    2. @ Green ladies—eerie. We keep finding we have more and more in common!! 😀
                      Military husbands, husbands from Cali, husbands in general. Foreign, well-traveled, we eat food off the floor. This just keeps getting better and better!


                    3. I use a little sugar and salt in my cooking, just enough for the food to not to be bland, but it seems like that wasn’t enough for my in-laws to eat my food at the christmas dinner last year 😉


                    4. have you considered buying GIANT salt and pepper mills to display prominently on your holiday table? for guests who need these to taste anything at all.
                      antique shops and collectible stores have the wooden one from the fifties..the grinders..very subtle sculptures…
                      or else make a holiday canape buffet..all cute finger foods made weeks ahead..frozen ready to pop in oven or leave on counter if you trust your resident munchers.


                    5. I think next time there will be a trip to a restaurant or canned pre-made foods only. I won’t be wasting my time and energy. Decision made.


                    6. smart girl! you could teach me a few..


              2. Yes, Nadine. I think you are the water that keeps us boiling! I like the name. You know, I changed mine like twice before I started this! 😀


  8. so long since last visit, could be measured in inches and graduating –my husband was also from so-cal near san bernadino; and his mom came with her family from arkansas, and -yes- she did put sugar in the peas and other southern dishes–i admit to throwing a spoon worth of sweet something in the turnips– or add lots of sweet onions, honey or sorghum…hope to return on your blog later.

    Liked by 1 person

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