I could not believe how many things I was using that were toxic to the health of my children/my family. So I began looking for alternative for personal care. I have been very happy with many items that can be purchased on vitacost.com. And they have a flat shipping rate of $4.99. I've even found Sun and earth, ecover and other eco friendly brands on there for easy one stop shopping. That also led me to re-examine things I was using to keep my home clean as well. I was pretty surprised to find out what was in my beloved Downy fabric softener: http://ezinearticles.com/?The-Toxic-Danger-of-Fabric-Softener-and-Dryer-Sheets&id=16953
For those that can't or don't wish to make their own, country save (which can be purchased for the best price on Amazon.com) or Sun and earth (which can be purchased on www.sunandearth.com) are great as well. I use Country save for my cloth diapers.
Kim M has some great recipes on her blog: http://matlockmkj.blogspot.com/search?q=cleaning+recipes
I use her cleaning wipe recipe which is great! I put them in baggies and keep some under each bathroom sink. Makes it so easy for the kids to help clean up after themselves in the bathroom.
This is the laundry detergent I use:
Homemade liquid laundry soap:
-4 cups hot tap water
-1 fels naptha or ivory soap bar
-1 cup arm and hammer washing soda
-1/2 cup borax
-Grate bar of soap and add to saucepan with water. Stir continually over medium-low heat until soap disolves and is melted.
-Fill a 5 gallon bucket half full of hot tap water. Add melted soap, washing soda and borax. Stir wel until all powder is dissolved. Fill bucket to top with more hot water. Stir, cover, let sit overnight to thicken up.
-Stir detergent mixture. Fill a used, clean laundry soap bottle half full with soap and the rest of the way with water. Shae before each use (will gel up).
-Option: add 10 – 15 drops of your choice of essential oil per 2 gallons. Add once soap has cooled.
-Yield: Liquid soap recipe makes 10 gallons.
-Top load machines: 5/8 cup per load (Approximatley 180 loads)
-Front load machines: ¼ cup per load (Approximatley 640 loads)
I got this recipe from the Duggar family but have adapted it a bit to suit my own needs as follows: ***I've found that I prefer to not add the water to it once I fill up my smaller laundry detergent bottles. For us it cleans better that way.
Homemade Fabric Softener:
-1 cup baking soda
-6 cups distilled white vinegar
-8 cups water
-10 – 15 drops essential oil (optional)
-1 gallon container
-Add baking soda to container.
-Add 1 cup of water to container.
-Slowly add the vinegar to the bottle as the vinegar and baking soda will start to fizz.
-Then add the rest of the water swirling around and cover venting the top a few times.
-Add the essential oils
-Add 1 cup in your final rinse, a downy ball or your fabric softener dispenser. (be sure to shake before using to stir up oils).
Other things we've done:
-We've switched to all cloth napkins which I like using a lot. We were already using all cloth diapers and wipes so this seemed pretty natural. I got 48 napkins from Sams club in a very cool green color. They look nice at the table.
-We use Ecover tablets in our dishwasher (I get that at vita cost). The homemade recipes were not working in the dishwasher. Though I did just try all vinegar to see how that worked out for us (that is just apple cider vinegar instead of detergent) so we'll see how that goes. I do use distilled white vinegar instead of other toxic type rinse agents.
-For cleaning rags I am using old cloth diapers that the babies have outgrown. I just put a huge pink x in permanent marker on them so I don't accidently grab one for baby use LOL.
-For cleaning my floors I make my own floor wipes out of rags using vinegar. And use those in my swiffer style mop.
-For dusting I use Seaside Naturals dusting spray from Vita cost.