Modern Day Pioneer Woman
Tuesday, Dec. 23rd, 2014 (2201 views)

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n the last 50 years prepackaged cleaning products have become the norm in the majority of households. Most cleaning products are infused with the scents of mountain breeze, after the rain, crisp linen and fresh. "Fresh" what? I am not sure, but Lysol has a product line dedicated to it, including the disinfectant aerosol can for the baby's room! Do you need to express yourself and discover new joys? Perhaps some fragrance boosters to "Stimulate your life and infuse your laundry with these soothing aromas." For all these wonderful and grand products we get to have toxic substances purposely added to our cleaning supplies.
   
    The overwhelming fragrances played havoc with my allergies and I dreaded going down the laundry isle at the store. I discovered over 1/3 of chemicals substances used to make cleaning and laundry products are toxic. Due to "trade secrets", companies do not need to reveal the ingredients as they can be classified as fragrance. I love breathing or using diethanolamine, triethanolamine, alkylphenol ethoxylates, and ethylene glycol monobutyl ether. Products that are known to cause cancers, respiratory issues, infertility and skin irritants. Some of these chemicals have been banned for use in other countries due to the dangerous toxicity.
   
    While growing up my grandparents didn't use "store bought cleaners", they used household staples they had in the pantry. Slowly we have incorporated good old fashioned cleaning products into our home. I have been amazed to find baking soda, salt, lemon juice and vinegar can tackle almost every cleaning task. I can breathe without my throat closing up, and it is better for the environment. We have saved a shit tonne of money and it is more convenient to whip something up in the kitchen than it is to run to the grocery store.
   
    I started using a vinegar and water solution as my all purpose cleaner. I have used the combination on everything from kitchen counters to cleaning gecko tanks. I made an apple pie and the filling exploded and baked on to a cookie sheet. I tried to clean the sheet with an SOS pad and it did not put a dent into the black burnt embedded apple filling. I resigned myself the sheet was most likely ruined, but a bit of kosher salt and baking soda had the pan good as new in under 5 minutes.
   
    My motto is, if anything in the kitchen takes more than 10-15 minutes either I am doing it wrong or there must be an easier way. We have not changed our laundry regiment in 20 years, I use a specific brand of laundry soap, borax, baking soda, and vinegar to work my magic. Since I was already using household products in my laundry, I wanted to tackle making my own laundry soap. This however, left me in a quandary, I don't have the patience nor desire to grate and melt a bar of soap as most laundry soap recipes called for. I stumbled onto a no grate recipe it took less than 5 minutes to prepare and works just as well or even better than store bought. I have been using this for 5 months and really cannot tell the difference other than the lack of brutal fake smells leaves me being able to breathe easier.
   
    My next endeavor was dishwasher tabs, in the store they are 20 dollars a box. I wanted to cut down on the cost and the impact on the environment. I found a recipe, I must confess making the tabs were uber fun and took less than 10 minutes. The inside of the dishwasher came sparkling clean but the dishes not so much. Even with vinegar added in a bowl (which takes up a lot of space) we had spotty dishes. It became that we had to scrub the dishes before they could go into the dishwasher. This is counterproductive to having a dishwasher.
   
    It really pissed me off having to wash the dishes first, I did not want to give up on the dishwasher tabs. After days of research, I tried a different concoction. The results were even worse than the first and have been relegated to a laundry booster. So I have concluded for the 20 dollars I will buy store bought dishwasher tabs, chemicals and all. Some things are just worth the money and in this household, dishwasher tabs are on the list.
   
    The next thing on my list was shaving cream, I was very hesitant about making this shaving cream. I probably drove the house nuts spending a week weighing the pros and cons of buying a three dollar bottle of shaving cream or purchasing the twenty dollar ingredients. While it would have been parsimonious to shop in larger quantities, I have no idea what I would have done with a pound of shea butter if it turned out to be a mediocre recipe.
   
    I found the shaving cream does not foam up and is really like a body butter, however, it is the BEST shaving cream I have ever used. I did not have a reaction or razor burn and the silky smooth feeling is very sensual. Shaving is no longer a chore and I shave almost on a daily basis, which is a feat in itself. After 6 months of using the shaving cream I have found the cost is very comparable to store bought shaving cream.
   
    I wanted to purchase some bath bombs for Christmas gifts, not only were they 8 dollars each, the smell was so overpowering I got a headache just from being in the vicinity. I found a recipe and whipped some up in my kitchen. The great thing was I had everything on hand to make almost two dozen of these and for a fraction of what one bath bomb would have cost in the store.
   
    I have found that most home made products are just as effective and more economical than store bought. I feel like a pioneer woman when I am creating and molding a product in my kitchen, knowing that it is better for the environment and for my family. Now if only I could raise some cows and chickens in my backyard I would be ecstatic.

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