I've shared this recipe before on the blog (back in 2015) but I never actually showed you guys how I make it so I decided to fix that this week. It's a staple in my home and I was running low plus had a request from a family friend so it seemed perfectly timed to update this post a bit. I hope you enjoy it as much as I have over the years!
I have been using this recipe for 4 years now and absolutely love it. I even have requests from family friends for batches from time to time. Let me know how you tweak the recipe to fit your needs and preferences. What other DIY household items would you like to see made next?
Until next time,
I recently discovered lotion bars and I pretty much love them. In my opinion, they aren't for everything but I love being able to use them on my hands and arms after a wash-up without the grease that typically comes with lotions. Don't get me wrong, I love (and use regularly) my body butter... just for different purposes than I use lotion bars for. A lotion bar has become the go-to for my morning routine and I don't see it going anywhere anytime soon, especially with the hot Texas summer coming up!
A couple reasons I have a few of these bars around the house:
Not sure if you would like them? The good news is that these bars are quick to and super easy to make so you can try them out without much at stake. Plus, you can customize them with various molds and additives to make pretty gifts for friends and family or as a bit of decor on the bathroom counter top... but you'll like them!
First Up, Gather Your Ingredients:
1. Melt all ingredients in a double boiler on low to medium heat.
Don't have a double-boiler? No problem! Since I am living with my parents at the moment I don't actually use a double-boiler for this... just a pot of boiling water with a metal or glass bowl inside. It works great!
2. Add in any essential oils you would like in your lotion bars.
3. This is your time to customize your bars! For the bars shown below I did the following (before pouring the mixture into the molds) to showcase the scent and add a bit of a decorative touch for gifts:
a. Chocolate: Dust a small amount of cocoa powder onto the mold.
b. Lavender: Sprinkle a few dried lavender buds into the mold.
c. Sweet Orange: Sprinkle a bit of dried orange peel into the mold.
You could also do rose petals, dried lime or lemon rind, ground cinnamon or vanilla... the possibilities are endless!
Note: Use dry ingredients so that the moisture content is correct.
4. Pour the mixture into soap molds (or cupcake tins, chocolate molds, etc.) and pop into the fridge until they harden.
5. After ensuring that the bars are fully cooled and solid remove them from the mold and package as you wish.
6. Give them away in gift baskets or as hostess presents... or use them yourself!
Non-perishables I used in this DIY (I used a different mold from Hobby Lobby but prefer the silicon ones over plastic so have added a few silicon ones here for you guys).
Laundry detergent has a ton of chemicals and fragrances in it typically that I don't want in my house... and it's much more expensive than it needs to be. I'm sure we've all seen more than a few articles and posts in the past few years that made us question if we should be using detergent at all: the scary piece in the news about brighteners, a blurb on social media saying that detergent manufacturers are telling you to use too much detergent in order to get more of your money, detergent remaining in clothes after washing and potentially causing skin irritation, detergent destroying your clothes... yikes! Were any of these pieces accurate? What was the alternative if they were? If you are like me you may have thought there was none and just kept using your detergent for a while but kept a watchful eye open. Eventually I decided I didn't want to continue using detergent on my clothes any longer so I searched for alternatives. There are tons! I found all-natural brands of detergents, homemade detergents of various types as well as laundry balls and probably more that I haven't come across yet.
I used a laundry ball for about a year and, to be honest, I really liked them. I was able to run my washer on cold water which saved me money, my laundry cost was low as I only needed to replace the ball after a large number of washings, my clothes seemed to get clean, all was right in the world but people kept asking me how I knew they were really clean if I didn't have any soap or detergent in the wash. Eventually though I decided I felt better about using some form of cleaning agent in my laundry. I continue to read information on alternates to store-bought laundry detergent regularly. It's a personal preference and I may change my mind someday but, for now, I'm back to using a detergent. The difference this time is that I make it myself so I know what is in it. As a plus: it saves me money and is soooo simple to make. Score!
I had a bit of trouble finding Washing Soda and Borox in my store after I moved as few people apparently request them there... so here are the boxes of the brands I am using in case you run in to a similar issue.
1. You will need to start by flaking/grating your soap. There are at least two options to do this: grate it with a cheese grater or toss it in the food processor. Zote does come in a flaked form but I had read some reviews about using it in detergent that I wasn't very happy about so I'm back to Ivory now. One cool thing about Ivory is that you have a third option: microwave! I don't know if this works with other forms of soap as I haven't attempted it. (If you do, let me know! I'd love to find out!) If you are using Ivory and want to use a microwave here's how:
1. Chop your soap bad into smaller pieces and arrange them on a microwave safe dish.
2. Then place the dish in the microwave and microwave it for about 1-2 minutes... you'll know you've reached the right time when it looks like this.
3. Let the 'soap cloud' cool. It may smell a bit at first so if you leave it in the microwave for about 45 minutes or so it will be cool to the touch and won't really smell anymore.
4. Place the soap cloud into your food processor and it will turn into powder! Ok, this step isn't 100% necessary, you can use your hands to turn it into powder as it will crumble very easily. I just prefer doing it this way and I already had the processor out for another project so I blitzed it quickly and moved on with making my soap.
I've found that the most efficient way to make detergent regularly has been to grate up enough soap for 3-4 batches all at once so that I can quickly measure out the ingredients and get on with my day when it comes time to making detergent again every month or so. Again, a personal preference.
5. Mix your borox, washing soda and soap together in a 2:2:1 ratio (so 2C borox, 2C soda, 1C soap or 1C borox, 1C soda, 1/2C soap, etc.).
6. If you want to add some baking soda or OxiClean (both are optional) you would make this at the same amount as your soap.
7. Done! You will typically need between 1/8-1/4C of this detergent per load depending on size. I keep mine in an airtight container with a scoop in it so that I just pop it open and put 1-2 scoops in and am on my merry way come laundry day. :)
What alternatives to store bought laundry detergent have you used? Which worked best?
This is another favorite recipe for a super moisturizer. It is a bit more greasy than the lotion recipe I posted the other day but it a great night moisturizer for dry feet and hands especially. I only mention that it is a little more greasy because I do not use this as a hand cream personally. I know some who have skin that is more dry than mine and use it all day long. They rave about how it has helped their dry skin so it all depends on your skin/body. Another good thing about this recipe is that there are fewer ingredients... the beeswax and aloe vera are left out of this version, making it a more simple and cheaper option to start out making. The procedure for this body butter is almost identical to the lotion so if you thought that was a piece of cake then this one will be too. I typically make a batch of both the lotion and a batch of the body butter and keep them both around the house as I use them for different things... experiment a little and see what works best for you and your family.
NOTE: A single pound of these 'butters' will likely last you nearly a year's worth of lotion or body butter for one person or several months for a family so there is no need to over purchase.
1. Measure out your ingredients. You will likely need a knife to cut the cocoa butter.
2. Place the shea butter, cocoa butter, coconut oil, and sweet almond oil in a small saucepan on LOW heat. You do not want the mixture to boil or smoke... it needs to be kept very low. The ingredients will melt fairly quickly even on low heat.
3. Once everything has melted, mix in the vitamin e oil and any essential oils you may want for added scent or aromatherapy needs then remove from heat immediately. I prefer peppermint as it smells delightful with the cocoa butter but sweet orange (think one of those chocolate oranges in scent), lavender (for calming, evening use especially), or citus work very well also.
4. Allow the mixture to cool until it has just begun to set up. You can just leave it on the counter for a few hours and go about your day or be like me and toss it into the freezer for 10-15 minutes to speed up the process.
5. Once it has begun to set up you will use the electric mixer to beat the mixture into the creamy consistency we are looking for. This adds air to the mixture so that it isn't quite as dense.
NOTE: If you let the mixture get to hard/cool then it is easy to apply a little heat and mix with a spoon for a minute or two to get back to the correct consistency.
6. Add it to a jar and allow to finish setting up for half an hour or so.
Curious where I get my ingredients? I get my ingredients all over the metroplex, on Amazon and through Young Living as a distributor. Don't want to search out stores to pick them up? I'll make it easy! You can place an order through me for any oils you may need and there are quick links for the non-perishable ingredients and tools on Amazon should you wish to order online on this page... just click on the ingredient.
I am allergic to aluminum... this means traditional, store bought, deodorants are pretty much off the table for me. Now-a-days this doesn't bother me as I've seen quite a bit of research to show that our traditional deodorants with antiperspirant properties are bad for you anyways but for years it was the bane of my monthly shopping expedition. Until you have tried more store-bought options than you can remember you just don't understand the struggle to find a good aluminum free deodorant. Ones I remember off the top of my head:
The ingredients were pretty much things I already had on hand in my house (except corn starch but that was a quick fix at the grocery store and now I have more than enough for my suburban homesteading/diy adventures to come for quite a while): cornstarch, baking soda, coconut oil, beeswax, and essential oils (lemon, frankincense, and lavender).
I simply followed the step by step directions to combine all the ingredients with low heat then add in the essential oils once well combined. It was a quick recipe to follow and ended up giving me two beautiful sticks of deodorant.
One note: it is a little difficult to get them to turn properly with my containers at first but I just used a towel to get a firm grip and kept turning until it began to move and now there are no issues.
I've been using the deodorant for about two weeks now and have had no problems with smelling sweaty and gross in the day to day activities, even in a Texas summer!
Now for the problems...
UPDATE: I have tried about a million combinations at this point it feels like. I ended up halving the recipe but upping the beeswax and using Purification oil and Sweet Orange Oil plus a little bit of Lemon Oil to create the deodorant I am using now. I will post an official update post with the measurements in September.
Give it a try... it's easy, healthier than store bought options for your body, and quite inexpensive to boot!
I will be sharing my lotion/body butter recipe soon (wonderfully rich and silky... and only slightly more complicated than this recipe) so look for that in a few weeks! What would you guys like for me to try and make next? Comment below!
Curious where I get my ingredients? I get my ingredients all over the metroplex, on Amazon and through Young Living as a distributor. Don't want to search out stores to pick them up? I'll make it easy! You can place an order through me for any oils you may need and here are some quick links for the non-perishable ingredients and tools on Amazon should you wish to order online: