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A mother, wife, and teacher aims to make life simple

Archive for the category “Hygiene”

Making your own apple cider vinegar

I’m pretty exicted about this, because it marks a new page in my quest for self-sufficiency (that sounds pretty awesome, doesn’t it?).

When I stumbled upon this blog post about how to make your own apple cider vinegar I *might* have giggled with glee. I’m not sure what it is about this that makes me so happy- it’s probably finding a use for something that I would normally throw in the garbage. Finding ways to take something that is normally expendable and common, and make it into something that I would normally buy anyway excites me a little bit too much.

Essentially all that is required is peels and cores from some apples that you’ve set aside after cooking something (we made apple sauce). You put these scraps in a bowl, fill it with water enough to cover the peels by about an inch, mix in 1/4 C of sugar, then weight the apple-stuff down with a plate. Cover up the bowl in order to keep bugs away, and let it sit for a week. Mold will form quickly (mine already has), but all you have to do is spoon it off. After a week strain out the apple stuff and put it in a jar, seperating the lid from the jar with a piece of cheese cloth (to stop the lid from corroding from the acidity). Leave it alone for 6 weeks (labeling it might be a good idea), and then you should have apple cider vinegar. I plan to pasteurize the vinegar by boiling it before canning.

This is not only awesome because you’re getting something for nothing (essentially), but it’s also great if you think about all the amazing uses for apple cider vinegar. In no particular order here’s what we have used it for in the past, or what friends use it for:

1) Removing stains from your teeth (dilute a bit and dip your toothbrush in it as you brush)

2)  To clean your hair (diluted)

3) To clean your face (very diluted- I’ve never tried this one because of my aforementioned sensitive skin).

4) To clean your house (kitchen, bathrooms, etc)

5) Add it to your bath (about 1/2 C) if you have a sunburn

Those are just a couple I can think of off the top of my head- pretty good for something that would have wound up in the garbage!


Update: How I started cleaning my face with the help of olive oil

About 6 weeks ago I posted about how I started using olive oil, castor oil, and tea tree oil to clean my face instead of harsh chemical cleansers. I wanted to give everyone a quick update about how it’s been going.

  • I am still using this method exclusively to clean my face.
  • I have found that the dryness has subsided quite a bit
  • I have only had one zit on my face the entire time… not that I usually get many, but it’s usually more than that.
  • My skin feels softer. I don’t feel like I’m “glowing” like I’ve heard some people say about using this method, but I still feel great
  • I have not used much of the mix that I made at all, I figure that by the time I finish the bottle that I made (330 ml) it will have lasted me about 3 months.

All this got me thinking about cleaning my hair without shampoo, which has been on my mind because my scalp seems unusally dry and itchy lately. I am eager to see whether it would solve that problem. However, my current problem is that I can’t stand the idea of having greasy hair while I’m still working. I might take the opportunity to try it out over the summer, but that seems so long away.

In the meantime, I’ll be trying it with my son’s hair as soon as his “baby shampoo” runs out. I know that it contains all kinds of chemicals that I would rather keep away from him.


How I started cleaning my face with the help of olive oil

So I’ve recently become a pinterest addict, and if you haven’t experienced this social networking phenomenon you need to give it a try. I’ve discovered so many interesting websites about gardening, homesteading, and natural lifestyles.

An amazing idea that I came across is called the oil cleansing method as described on this blog. I won’t go into a huge amout of detail about the method (you should check out the original blog post for that), but I wanted to describe my experience. The general idea is that the facial cleansers that so many of us use strips natural and healthy oils from your face… oils that are there for a reason. In our modern world, with pollutants in the air, busy lifestyles, and cosmetics like make up, I feel that it’s necessary to wash my face daily, but I’ve come to realize that doing it with soap is possibly not the best thing I can be doing for my (extremely sensitive) skin. The oil cleansing method is essentially using oil to wash your face, and then steaming your face with hot water and a face cloth.

I should probably tell you right about now that my skin is very very sensitive, though not prone to acne.. just a few zits extremely rarely. However, my skin is often fairly dry, and it’s very hard to find a facial cleanser that won’t make it super dry and flakey and gross. This method appealed to me because it seemed like a gentle way to clean my face, and there’s always the possibility that it might help my dryness problem (and thus the necessity of using moisturizer every day).

I made my cleanser with mostly extra virgin olive oil, a little bit of castor oil, and a few drops of tea tree oil. I use it once a day, and have found that it’s much more gentle than my old facial cleanser. That being said, my face does still feel a bit dry sometimes, but I don’t use my moisturizer as much. I’m sure most of the dryness is because it’s the middle of winter, and everything feels dry right now.

All in all I think I made a good choice switching to this method, and I’m going to keep at it in hopes that it continues to help with my skin issues. The blog also recommends a method of cleaning your hair without shampoo, but I think I’m going to wait to try that one until school’s out for the summer.

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