Monday, October 7, 2013

Vegan Cruelty Free Laundry Detergent

I certainly apologize for my lack of posting. It's been a bit crazy around the house lately. This week I am preparing for my in laws first visit to our home. I keep a pretty clean house anyway, but this week the house will be cleaner than normal. Anyway, my last post stated I would be posting my washing detergent. I had to do a lot of research on this topic before I actually made my own. As a vegan, I was a little wary of some of the ingredients my washing detergent contained. Many recipes contained non animal friendly products so, I had to find a way to make my own version of these products. I have figured it out and it takes a few extra steps and longer, but it is animal friendly and less expensive.  You will need a few ingredients for this: Cruelty free baking soda, borax, kosher salt,  VEGAN Bar Soap.
I love this detergent. It's great for spot cleaning my Husband's filthy uniforms. It's great for spot treating. I've seen it get out motor oil, ink, mud and dog vomit (Ew, Lola ate her weight in flour and potatoes one day!) . It just took a little bit of ore treatment by scrubbing with a tooth bush!

My version requires more work and time, but my version is cheaper and you get more. The borax can get a little pricey, but it's something I only purchase once or twice a year.  I don't have any sponsors (yet) so I won't be hyping up anyone's products.

You will needed:
Large Air Tight container
micro grater (a regular grater works just fine, however the smaller you can get your soap the better)
2 bars of  soap
2.5 cups of borax (search for cruelty brands, many of them offer coupons)
2.5 cups of cruelty free baking soda (most store brands don't test on animals)
1 cup of kosher salt (optional)

8 cups total: 112 Large Loads

After doing the math, my detergent comes to about 5.20 for 112 loads. or .05 cents a load .
If you have a particularly dirty family member, add the salt for scrubbing purposes when or if you spot treat stains.

1. Preheat oven 400 degrees  Fahrenheit. Spread cruelty free baking soda on baking sheet. Set timer for  ten mins, every ten minutes "rake" your baking soda around so that it heats evenly. Repeat this process six times.  This process turns your baking soda into washing soda for about half the price. It might get in your nose a little bit so prepare to sneeze. After this process, wait for your washing soda to cool.

2. While your baking soda is heating, grate your soap, the smaller you can get it, the better. Watch TV or listen to a podcast during this time. It takes me about 10 mins.

3. Mix in borax and salt with soap. Stir very evenly.  Mix in COOLED washing soda. Cover in air tight container.

1 tablespoon for Regular load
2 tablespoons for Extra Dirty Loads

Add 1/2-1 Cup of White Vinegar as a gentle fabric softener.

Alas, Readers I need a camera and a husband with out a million xbox controllers, please forgive my pictures. Make sure you label your air tight container and put instructions for washing clothes on the front. The last thing you want to do is come home to someone dumping 2 cups vs 2 tablespoons of laundry detergent in the washing machine.  I'll be posting again in a few days. Anything you would like to see? Thank you for reading.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Unwanted Guests and Cocktails

J and I have a running joke about my tree hugging tendencies. The joke stems from a visit we made to his recruiter and a question I had about trees. Now, it seems as if care of the environment is a new part of his everyday life. We haven't been married long, but since we've been married, I have seen him really grow into environmentalism.

I firmly believe that insects are a major part of our ecosystem. I do my darnest to not kill them, unless they are causing me immediate harm. J and I have a system of removing insects from our home. We either sweep them out, catch them in a cup with a piece of paper and release them or if they are close to the door we allow them to fly or crawl out.

I'm actually proud of J. He's gone from stomping everything in our house to being pretty good about releasing our little visitors. When I tell people we don't kill bugs in our home, they're often taken aback. Why not just smash them? My question  is similar. Why smash someone looking to get a meal, cool off, warm up or trying to get back home? Most insects have a pretty good reason for being in a human habitat. Either it's food (crumbs or other insects), comfort from the elements or sometimes they are just plain lost. I honestly don't see a reason to kill the bugs. I keep most of them out to prevent seeing them all together.

I don't have to release many bugs because I prevent them from coming our habitat in the first place. Cleanliness is a must if you don't want those unwanted critters. I dust, mop and sweep often. Also, I make sure I prevent bugs from wanting to enter my home by making my home unappealing to them.
Certain plants, such as rosemary, basil, cilantro, parsley, and mint are major insect and rodent deterrents. These plants all have pungent smells and have done a surprisingly great job keeping those's guests away. Have I mentioned the savings on herbs when we go shopping? Mint mojitos are a real treat!

Again, I spray this to deter the critters from getting in, I'm not trying to kill them.

As a second, barrier in my home, I spray a wonderful spray. It's not raid or anything crazy like that. It's a mixture of herbs that all pests hate. It's pretty human and animal friendly. Just don't lick it.

1 cup of water
2 cayenne peepers chopped
2 cloves of garlic minced
1 lemon peal

Bring everything to a boil. Take off the heat and let it steep for a few hours to a few days. Strain. Pour into spray bottle. This recipe doesn't make much, because I don't need it.  However, one taste of it and unwanted visitors get out of your home. I'm not so sure about humans. lol  They walk in, get a taste and leave soon after. Most of the time the smell is enough. Don't worry, humans can't really smell the spray.  I also sprinkle the dried cayenne pepper from the store at my front door.  A little bit should go a long away. Spray where you need it. I spray around entry ways. Avoid light colored fabrics. Keep pets away from this! It's really quiet harmless to larger animals, but it tastes horrible.

Basically, I prevent unwanted guests by deterring them. I'm not going to spray something that kills on instant contact. That just sounds a bit overzealous. Lola,  our dog, is a little to curious for her own good. She tends to smell then lick whatever catches her attention. No way in heck am I letting her lick up a commercial product. She's had a few licks of this and was sent straight to her water bowl for sweet relief. Poor Baby. :(

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Quitting Store Bought Chemicals

I grew up in America like most folks. My home was filled with dish washing soap named after a time of day, the classic blue window cleaner,  bleach, washing powders, and everything else you need to clean the house.  We cleaned every Friday night with the chemicals that the cleaning industry has advertised to us over the years. Cleaner, brighter, faster, grease cutting, lemon scented, bubbling, chemicals with unknown ingredients have filled our homes and our lives for many years. They wouldn't advertise if it wasn't safe, right?  Like everyone, my family growing up meant no real harm to ourselves our our planet.

Recently, I had a few questions. Do you ever stop to think about what makes some glass cleaners blue? Or the long term effects of strongly lemon scented wood polish? Who makes it in the factory? What are the affects on our health? And what about all of these aerosol cans?  Is it good for the environment?  If some people are allergic to certain scents, how do they clean their homes in a world were everything seems to be fruit scented? 

 I asked my self these questions when I first embarked on my vegan journey in hopes of finding cleaning products that were not tested on animals. Finding products not tested on animals was a difficult task in itself, but finding products with ingredients I trusted seemed to be impossible. 

What do I mean? 
The American Lung Association, says that many chemicals we use around the house give off dangerous chemicals volatile organic compounds (VOCs). These chemicals are known to adversely affect people with respiratory problems. In some cases, these products may actually cause problems long term! You can do the research yourself, there is a lot out there.  It was even more surprising to me that most "green" products didn't really have set standards. So goodness knows what to do with that. I guess the makers of the products figure a "green" label will attract consumers.

I will admit, I was only buying green cleaning products for a while. After seeing a documentary called Chemerical.  I started researching. Boy, did I research. The more I thought about it, the more I had questions. What are the long term affects of working with these chemicals like for the folks working in the factories? If I can barely tolerate bleach, what on earth is making it a factory like? Are the workers given premium insurance? I run by the policy of having as few store bought chemicals in my home as possible. With a husband who is exposed to the chemicals in MREs, the pollution in Afghanistan, and all the shoots the military loads him up with, I want to keep him free of harmful chemicals as much as possible.

Finally, I asked the right question. How can I stop using the chemicals?  That question came with a little bit of remembering my chemistry class and a lot of reading from other green bloggers. It took a lot of experimentation, tweaking,  patience, and baking soda. All of my recipes are my are my own after a lot of tweaking and giving them my own signature style on each one of them..I'm not promising my recipes will work for you or that they are the best you will find. My DIY cleaners are the products of reading a lot of green blogs, readying biology and chemistry articles on cleaning and just plain old experiencing.   I feel safe using these ingredients in a house with J and Lola (our  dog, AKA: Puppy Girl): Lemon juice, baking soda, castile soap, vinegar, olive oil,  essential oils, borax, corn starch, salt, water, and rubbing alcohol. These are all of the ingredients in every home cleaner in our house.

Yes,  it takes work and time to make, but I know what I'm putting in my home. I'm not the perfect environmentalist yet, but I'm always working to improve. In the following weeks, I will show you how I make these chemicals and the results I get. Listed below are the cleaners I use around my house. If you see one you want to know more about, just comment below.

Dish Washing Liquid
Dishwasher powder
Furniture/Faux leather cleaner
Fabric freshener (works great on J's PT's, gym clothes and ACU's) <---Works great on stinky man suff lol
Carpet Freshener
Kitchen disinfectant
Bathroom Scrub (toilet, tub, shower)
Bathroom Disinfectant
All purpose cleaner
Lola Be Gone (removes Puppy Girl's smells from a stinky and her kennel)
Doggie Shampoo
Window Cleaner
Foaming Hand Soap

Okay, second blog down....I wonder what will happen from here...

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

The first of many

       I'm starting this blog to publicly blog about my experiences as a newlywed, vegan, a tree hugger, an army wife, a miscarriage survivor and as a woman of color. I will be as frank as possible, while protecting the identities of those I love. My husband, will be known as J. I'll let you know flat out about J: J is an omnivore; who is transitioning to vegetarianism on his OWN time. It's his choice and his choice alone. I will not tolerate disrespect to my husband. Nor will I tolerate disrespect to my Angels. I'm not sure who else I will mention, but I will protect each person's identity.
You'll be able to find my thoughts on womanism, veganism, recipes, love, life and everything. Please,connect with me on this journey.