Expanding the Selection of Handmade Goods...Getting Practicall

I've been thinking a lot lately about trying to expand the selection of home made goods around here into the realm of more household cleaning products and body care products.

In the past I've made some salves and I've dried a bunch of herbs to use for tea and infusions for baths or foot soaks and whatnot, but I honestly don't use them that much.  I would like to but it's not really a habit.  I'm hoping that if I start another fresh round of body care products it will inspire me to take care of myself and my family more in ways that will help us enjoy the benefits of herbs.  Right now I mostly make teas, but I would like to stop buying soaps and cleaning products and make them instead.

I've been thinking about going shampoo free completely.  I currently wash my hair infrequently as it is, with very gentle shampoo and conditioner (according to the Environmental Working Group's Cosmetic Safety Database <------This is so awesome if you've never seen it before!).  But it would be nice to just use some herbal rinses, vinegar and some oil like coconut or jojoba oil for my hair.  I already use jojoba oil for skin moisturizing.  I do like fancy lotions and maybe some day I will get around to making some.  So I'm going to be doing some more research into herbs for hair.  My preliminary findings have been bleak, without much detailed information about the phytochemicals active in the herbs and what different things they may do for hair.  I would really like some good information to get me started, but I guess it's gonna be trial and error on this one.  Perhaps I'll be reporting back on the results as soon as the experiment gets underway.

In the home cleaning products department I like to try to keep it pretty simple as it is.  I already use baking soda to scrub sinks and the tub, and vinegar for disinfectant as needed.  I have an all purpose cleaner, glass cleaner, and laundry detergent that I would like to replace with more homemade natural alternatives (mostly hoping I can find things that are as effective but less expensive and less mysterious than the purchased "green" products I currently use).  I also use an enzyme cleaner that I do not image I will be able to replace with a home recipe.

So I found this website with some good homemade natural cleaning products.  I'm going to try the all purpose and glass cleaner from this site.  I don't actually use things like furniture polish...so I won't use all of these recipes.

I've been thinking about making homemade soap for a few years now, but I'm pretty intimidated by the prospect of using lye.  I got this link for making handmade soap in a crockpot from a friend's blog that seems far less intimidating than the other methods I've heard of...

Those are the major projects I want to do.  I would also like to put together some blends of herbs for doing bath infusions, and foot soaks.  I'm planning to make a batch of healing salve before the birth, as well as some straight calendula salve.  And if I have time and continue to feel inspired I'll make some sea salt body scrubs.


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