It was my sister who turned me onto this idea. It turns out you can use baking soda rinse to replace shampoo and ACV rinse to replace condition/detangler. I surfed the internet for some info and the recipe I’ve been using goes as follows:
Baking Soda Rinse: 1 tbsp baking soda in 1 cup water
Vinegar Rinse: 1/2 tbsp apple cider vinegar in one cup water.
As of this posting I’ve been using this recipe for six months with no problems. It really does get my hair clean and smooth, and I’m saving a ton of money by not having to buy shampoo, etc. at the store. However, here are some tips.
Keep in mind that it takes 2-6 weeks for your hair to adjust to a change in product. In most cases with store-bought stuff this means your hair responds great for the first couple of weeks, and often not so great thereafter. In the case of the baking soda switch your hair is probably going to be really greasy while it adjusts to not having all of the natural oils stripped out in every wash. I just wore my hair in a ponytail during the adjustment period, which lasted about 3 weeks in my case. I also went back to washing my hair every day during this time, and once it was over was able to resume my regular schedule of shampooing every other day.
Invest in a deep conditioner for use once every 1-2 weeks. The vinegar rinse is more of a detangler than a conditioner, and after a few weeks my hair was getting pretty frizzy and not holding on to a lot of moisture. I’ve been using an egg-based recipe (detailed in this post) once a week on my hair, which has completely fixed the problem for me.
An addendum to the previous: while baking soda rinse works great on a daily basis, it’s never been able to completely get all of the grease out of my hair when I deep condition. So, should you follow my example you are probably going to need to invest in something extra for use on the days you deep condition. In my case this means that once a week I use my boyfriends shampoo (a temporary solution until I dredge up the money to invest in a healthier shampoo for those days, as the boyfriend uses a brand I don’t like)
Buy spray bottles thinking they will work better for your scalp. I did this and I was completely wrong. You really do need to pour this stuff over your head to make it work. A spray bottle can be useful for spraying the tips of your hair, maybe, but it’s too much of a pansy to really penetrate your hair. If you DO buy a spray bottle anticipate having the unscrew the cap to pour some on your scalp regularly. If you have long hair the rinse will flow down from the top of your head get the rest of your hair on the way down. Please note that I started using this recipe when my hair was long enough to touch my ass, and I know what I’m talking about. Most people use an old shampoo bottle and pour the stuff all over your scalp. Anticipate using the equivalent of a cup of each rinse every time. Oddly, the amount of rinse I use hasn’t changed much despite the fact that I recently cut off 18″ of hair.
Be afraid of the vinegar smell. As with other uses for vinegar, the smell goes away once your hair dries. I usually can’t smell it once I rinse the vinegar out under the shower spray.
Avoid regular white vinegar if the ACV is an issue for you. Apple Cider Vinegar is the default preference for many people who do this, but white vinegar should work just as well if you’d rather try that. Use some common sense if you decide to try another vinegar. A lot of the others are a bad idea, ex: I’ve read some rather hilarious things about people who were disappointed when balsalmic vinegar didn’t work for this.
A lot of people have different reasons for switching from shampoo to this recipe, or a recipe similar to this. If this topic interests you, but you want more info, please feel free to check out the following links. Or hell, do a google search, which is where I get most of my information anyway.
It was actually not me, but Mike who found this one. He had stubbed his toe at work and his sock got to absorb the damage. We haven’t had to deal with stains often enough to keep a stainfighter around, and he had read this at-home cure in an extremely handy book given to me by a friend: Extraordinary Uses for Ordinary Things
However, Mike had to work that day, and I was already doing laundry, so I ended up trying this instead. It was pretty neat!
Make a paste out of cornstarch and water.
Apply the paste over the dry bloodstain you are trying to remove.
Wait for the paste to dry. As the paste dries it pulls the bloodstain out of the garment.
Once the paste completely dry it stops pulling out blood. Dust off the dried paste into a trashcan and throw the garment into the wash.
When the garment comes out of the wash, the bloodstain should be gone
I could not believe how well this worked. It was fascinating (and also kind of gross) to watch the cornstarch paste turn from white to red while it drew out all the blood. I threw the sock into a normal load and when it came out I couldn’t tell it apart from the other socks. All the blood was completely gone. I highly recommend this remedy to other people if they ever have need of it!
Like a lot of people, I have really dry skin during the winter. I also have a lot of skin sensitivities and allergies that have ultimately left me averse to most over-the-counter products. Baby smooth skin is still not attractive when it’s covered in a red rash and you constantly have the urge to scratch it. I use pure oils for my arms and legs, but I have some sort of weird combination skin on my face that results in oily residue even when I’ve got flakes of dry skin. I generally wash and go on, and maybe rub a wet rag over it to get rid of skin flakes. Moisturizers and expensive products just aren’t my thing.
That said, I do like to experiment with around-the-house products, as previous blog posts can attest. So when I found some recipes for cornstarch facial masks I figured I had nothing to lose. Since I have problems with flaky skin I started with a recipe I pulled up that targeted that.
Juice of half a lemon
1 beaten egg white
1 tbsp. cornstarch
To give credit where credit’s due, the page I pulled this from is here: http://www.tips4.net/2008/08/finding-inexpensive-and-natural-skin.html.
Trying out at-home alternatives has worked well for me in the past. I’m counting this as one of my disappointments. The idea behind the recipe is sound, but it just doesn’t deliver. First off, the recipe yields a watery substance that is difficult to apply. Half of my mixture ended up in the sink because it dripped right off my face. Also, while I’ve heard and read a lot of stuff about how egg can be good for skin/hair, applying it to my face still felt pretty gross.
Now, to give some credit where credit is due, after a few minutes the mixture did harden to my skin and leave the tight feeling that I’ve come to associate with facial masks. I thought, “Aha! It’s working!”. But alas. While my face did feel cleaner and nicer once I washed the “mask” off, I still had just as much dry, flaky skin once the mask was gone. I was back to rubbing my face with a damp rag.
In conclusion: there’s got to be better stuff out there. I am interested in trying the cornstarch vinegar mask. If I get around to trying it I’ll let you guys know how it goes.
After a bit of an unintentional hiatus (briefly explained in previous post), I’ve finally uploaded new pictures from my camera and, as such, have lots of new post material. Since the holidays are only getting further away I want to start with the picture of our Christmas tree this year.
Yes, that’s right, we had a Charlie Brown Christmas tree. To tell the truth, we almost didn’t put a tree up this year. Working in retail wore us out on the holidays pretty early in the season. By the time Christmas actually came around we’d been out of holiday spirit for weeks. Then Mike saw this and thought it was perfect, and managed to get it for pretty cheap too. So it all worked out.
As far as the choosing of the actual tree, from the beginning my preference for a tree was “not real”, as corpse in living area is unattractive, I don’t care what anyone else says, and “not very big”, because a large tree is more than I want to deal with. This hit those specifications perfectly. Surrounding it with Christmas cards was a spur-of-the-moment idea that made the area look more festive and not so empty. Then we just put the presents under the folding table we set the tree on. All-in-all it was a very good Christmas this year, but I’m hoping to be able to skip out on the retail work next time, if at all possible.
Here’s what’s been happening for the last few weeks:
Mike was sick.
Mike got better. Eventually.
I had finals.
I was sick.
I worked in retail through the holidays.
I got sicker.
Then last night I finally found the right meds to relieve the congestion from whatever cold/sinus thing I’ve had going on, and for most of today I’ve felt almost normal.
Hopefully things get better from here.
On a side note, to help us cope with the crappiness of the last few weeks, Mike and Big Hairy and I have taken to spending evenings ensconced in the bedroom with the humidifier on and both laptops keeping us company. I’ve spent the weekend completely obsessed with the romance Dorama Nagareboshi (Shooting Star), and highly recommend it to anyone who likes that sort of thing.
The recipe is simple: mix together equal parts lemon juice and olive oil, pour it on a rag and rub into unvarnished wood.
I had seen this recipe recommended several places but didn’t have an opportunity to try it until today, when I found mouse droppings in the cabinet under the bathroom sink. I vacuumed up the droppings (the mice themselves have been gone for a few weeks now) and decided that while I was at it I really ought to clean the wood under there. Like most under-the-sink cabinets, ours had some stains and grit that’d been there since before we’d moved in, and I had never gotten around to cleaning it in the meantime. The lemon juice and olive oil concoction worked wonders; the lemon is a natural stain fighter and degreaser while the olive oil conditions the wood while helping to lift the grit. I won’t say that the wood under my cabinet looks like new, but it is definitely clean and healthy looking and I doubt a commercial cleaner could have done any better. I only had to wait a few minutes for the wood to soak up the last of the oil before I was able to put my supplies back under the sink and go about my day. Yay homemade cleaning products!
Since I recently learned how to make scalloped potatoes (yay!) I’ve had the jones to try more potato recipes. However, like a lot of other people out there, this time of year leaves me pretty short monetarily, and I can’t afford to go out and buy a ton of new ingredients even at the best of times. This simple potatoes and balsamic vinegar recipe was easy, I hadn’t tried it before, and I already had all of the ingredients at home.
The recipe is simple, and instead of copying it I’m just going to provide a link: here. The basic gist is that you cut up some potatoes, fry them in olive oil, and then add some balsamic vinegar towards the end. Two things that you should know, since the recipe doesn’t specify, is that you definitely want to use enough potatoes to suck up all the olive oil (about 4 medium sized ones) and that you need to slice the potatoes thinly to help them come out crunchy.
Overall I’ll say that it’s a good recipe, though I wish it had some more specific instructions. I cut my potatoes too thick and they came out kinda soggy. The next time I make this I am definitely going to add another potato as well, though I guess the fault on that goes to me for guessing the number of potatoes that would equal a pound. The one on-site review for this recipe said that it came out kind of like salt and vinegar chips, and I have to concur. Mine smelled that way while they were cooking, and they still tasted okay but I will definitely be experimenting to improve my results.
After reading this on the internet I randomly tried it last night after doing the dishes. I am fairly certain our sink is made of stainless steel, and even though we try to wipe it down and dry it out regularly it had developed a brown film at the bottom.
I should note that what I originally read said that a sliced lemon sprinkled with baking soda or salt would get rid of rust if you rubbed it over your sink. In this case I actually used a lime, simply because it was what I had on hand and I knew it contained the right chemical to get the job done. I sliced it in half, poured some baking soda on it, and rubbed it over the whole sink. It really did a fantastic job and didn’t require any hard scrubbing to get the rust off. Not only did it clean out the bottom of the sink, but I was able to use it to get the rust that had settled along the rim of the faucet too. This method even enabled me to have a mad scientist moment when I looked at the bubbling going on around the drain (I also have this moment when I hear peroxide bubbling after I spray it in my shower). After I was done rubbing the lemon over the sink I wiped the baking soda residue with a wet rag and was done.
Among the various do-it-yourself, earth-friendly cleaning stuff I have tried in the last few weeks, this is my favorite so far. I am confident I will use this method again, and that I will recommend it to others.
On a side note, this morning I used the other half of my lime and more baking soda and salt to attack some tough gray scum that had settled on the bottom of my shower, just to see what it would do. It worked okay, but required some time and a lot of really hard scrubbing. I was worn out by the time I had gotten the worst of the scum off the top of my tile, and I had to detail what I was doing AND I still wasn’t able to clean the guck in between my grout. I’ve tried two other DIY yourself remedies for shower scum that were less effective, so it’s nice to know I can use the lemon/baking soda recipe for it if I have these things on hand, but I’m still going to keep my eyes open for a better DIY remedy.
Mike and I picked up this entertainment center/nightstand thingy at the local Goodwill for next to nothing. Mike had a real itch to set up a fish tank and we didn’t have any furniture to put one on. This thing showed enough previous use that we didn’t feel bad at the prospect of water spots on the wood. Add to that the fact that whoever built it knew what they were doing, because it’s firm and sturdy as hell, and it was a great deal. Taking it home wasn’t fun though, as it turned out the only way to fit it in Mike’s car was to have it in the passenger seat, partially resting on the shifter. I am glad the trip home from Goodwill is neither long nor complicated.
Before we even cleaned it off Big Hairy took the liberty of claiming the part of it that would be his. Why the cat ignores the new fish tank but is content to lounge on the shelf beneath it is a mystery to me, but at least I don’t have to worry about finding him climbing on top of the hood and falling in the tank (memorieeees…) Anyhow, Mike has deliberately stored all of the fish stuff in the bottom and left the shelf free for the cat.
I am certain there will eventually be pictures of said fish tank, but for the moment there is a bit more we want to do with it and I’m not in a hurry to take pictures at this stage.
Vanessa resides in Colorado with her partner and two cats. In her spare time she juggles many hobbies, including but not limited to reading, writing, painting, knitting, keeping plants, cooking and bitching. This blog serves to chronicle many of her exploits, though she is also prone to taking unplanned extended vacations from posting.
Finished projects from her artistic endeavors are best viewed at her portfolio blog, linked below.