One Small Change April

What a great adventure this has been!  Thank you to HipMountainMama for organizing the experience!

During April I worked on two changes.  First up, I continued my March change—reducing energy usage.  I didn’t get much accomplished with this one during April, but, really, I could work on this for the rest of the year, and still have things left on my list. 

A couple of small things I did:

  • Used as few utensils, knives, etc. when cooking—fewer utensils used = less energy & water used for washing (and less work!).
  • Wore clothes for two days (as long as they weren’t super dirty or stinky); again, = less energy & water used

Most importantly, I cleaned my oven . . .

IMG_7897[Step 1 of the process]
I had been avoiding this one like the plague, but a clean oven is supposedly more efficient, so I dove in.  If you’re looking for a earth-friendly way to clean your oven, I highly recommend this—it worked just like it said and was super easy!

The second change I worked on this month was natural cleaners & bath products.  I’ll make this as concise as possible, but I have quite a bit to share.

Laundry Detergent: We’ve been using Recipe #9 from TipNut for about 2 years now ( I originally found it via disdressed).  It is great!  We probably make 2-3 batches a year.  A couple of months ago we also started adding 1/2 cup of distilled white vinegar to each load of laundry (to cut down on odors) and like how that is working out, too.

Shampoo/Conditioner: The Angry Chicken came out with
(e)mailorder #11 just in time.  This collection of herbal and natural home remedies & beauty treatments is well worth the $8.  I’ve been using the recipes for washing your hair with baking soda and apple cider vinegar, and can’t wait to try more.    Be aware, though, that many of the ingredients required are not ones you will just have on hand at home.  There is an excellent resource list at the end of the booklet—both for additional reading and ingredient sources.

IMG_7970Natural Cleaners: Found at The Creative Mama via brightandblithe, this collection of natural cleaners is just what I was looking for.  Each concoction uses readily available, similar ingredients for cleaning different surfaces.  Five of the seven recipes require spray bottles; I labeled mine with the name of each cleaner, as well as the needed ingredients for easy mixing the next time around.  My verdict on each one:

Windows—haven’t tried it yet
Air Freshener/Countertopslove it
Toilet—it’s great, but still tweaking it: I would not recommend mixing in a glass jar, as directed, unless you have a HUGE jar (and maybe not even, then—we’re talking baking soda and vinegar, people).  Right now I just toss the ingredients into the bowl and scrub, which is working o.k., but doesn’t get up under the rim of the bowl.  I’m thinking of shaking in the baking soda, and then spraying in the vinegar.
Mold—this one’s so-so; I can never remember to go back and scrub it off when I’m supposed to—I’m sure if I did, it would work!
Floors—love it
Veggies—haven’t tried it yet
General Cleaner—works well for most things (sinks, bathtubs, etc.); however, it would not remove soap scum from my shower, so I’ll be trying a stronger recipe from my next source . . .

Which brings us to Homemade Deoderant.  Currently I’m using a recipe from Better Basics for the Home by Annie Berthold-Bond [amazon link].  I’ll be buying a copy of this book for myself, because the library won’t let me renew their copy anymore.  This book has natural recipes for every area of the home you can think of—I highly recommend it.

IMG_7969And, as if all these recipes weren’t enough, pictured above is a reusable/washable scrub pad I knitted for my Swiffer.  Pattern info can be found at Ravelry.

I hope to continue blogging about small changes for the rest of the year.  Thanks to all of you who have stopped by and read my experiences—I’ve certainly enjoyed reading yours!

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