Non Toxic Laundry Ideas

Over the years we have used many different types of laundry detergent for our large family of “mostly” boys. We started off making homemade laundry detergent, and were quite happy, until we seemed to have dull and drab looking clothes. I tweaked the recipe a few times, but was never fully happy. I also needed something that worked really well for our cloth diapers. I started using Rockin’ Green, but quickly switched over to Charlie’s Soap and fell madly in love. I’ve used Charlie’s Soap for all of our laundry for many years now and have been very happy with it. The laundry is left clean, bright and crisp smelling, and the diapers get clean, too.

But I wanted something even more natural and sustainable. Enter the soap nut. For those of you who might not be familiar with these, they are a berry that grows on the Soap Nut Tree (Sapindus mukorossi). The trees produces small black berries, approximately one inch (2-2.5 cm) in diameter. They are deseeded and the shell is dried prior to use. The shells contain something called saponin, which is a natural surfactant. Most commercial detergents contain chemical surfactants, such as 1,2-Dioxane, which have been shown to be carcinogenic and volatile. Soap nuts, on the other hand, are all-natural and have been used for centuries around the world.

The Benefits of Soap Nuts
  • Sustainable: It’s a renewable resource, easily grown organically.
  • All Natural: No harmful ingredients.
  • Eco-Friendly: Less processing, less energy and less packaging.
  • Reusable: Each berry can be used up to 6 times before it’s spent.
  • Hypoallergenic: No skin or respiratory irritation and non-toxic.
  • Not Actually Nuts: They’re totally safe for those with nut allergies.
  • Simple: Throw them in your wash or make a simple liquid detergent.
  • Odorless: But you can always add your own pure essential oils.
  • Gentle: Their mild nature won’t damage delicate clothing or surfaces.
  • Front-loading Friendly: No suds are perfect for HE machines.
  • Works in Any Temperature: Use them in cold, warm or hot water.
  • Non-polluting: 100% biodegradable and safe for graywater systems.
  • Compostable: Used shells can be thrown in your compost.
  • Self-sufficient: You can even grow a soap nut tree yourself if you live in a warm climate!

How to Use Soap Nuts

Put a few soap nuts inside a muslin bag and toss it into washing machine! Simple, non toxic, and effective. I also like to add a few drops of essential oils to the water for a little scent, such as Cedarwood or Cypress or any oil that strikes my fancy.

Where to buy Soap Nuts

I buy mine on Amazon from a USDA Organic certified company and I’m very happy with them. They even come with a little muslin bag to put the soap nuts in.

Non Toxic Dryer Sheets

Instead of using toxic, chemical laden dryer sheets, use some organic, chemical free wool dryer balls. Toss a couple balls into the dryer with a few drops of essential oils, and no more hormone disrupting laundry scents!

Natural Stain Remover

Lemon essential oil straight to the stain!

Natural Fabric Softener

Combine ingredients in a large container and add 1/4- 1/2 cup per load. Enjoy soft and chemical free laundry!

Non Toxic Bleach Alternative

Combine ingredients and pour into the bleach compartment of your washing machine or straight into the water. Natural whitener and brightener for your whites!

Make The Change

So as you can see, there are many natural options to replace the chemical laden products that litter the store shelves. We have an epidemic in our country, and many health problems are stemming from all the chemicals that people are surrounded by in all aspects of their lives. Take a stand, and make healthier choices for your household! The laundry room is a good place to start.

*Some of the above links are affiliate links, and if you purchase through them, my family will receive a small kick back at no extra cost to you. Thanks for your support!*

How to Make Homemade Vanilla Extract

Vanilla extract tastes and smells amazing. It can be used in many recipes, such as, homemade yogurt and bulletproof coffee. Unfortunately, store bought “pure” vanilla extract can contain GMO corn syrup, sugar, and other unhealthy additives. There is also a big difference between “pure” vanilla extract and “imitation” vanilla which usually contains:

“Water, Alcohol (26%), Natural Flavorings (Including Extractives Of Cocoa And Extractives Of Tea), Vanillin And Other Artificial Flavorings, Corn Syrup, And Caramel Color”

Non of these ingredients are ones that we should be putting in our bodies. By making homemade vanilla extract, you can have a healthy, tasty alternative. And it’s super easy, you just need to plan ahead because it takes a long time to fully extract the flavor from the beans.

Ingredients

  • 8 oz. Non-GMO vodka, brandy, bourbon, or rum
  • 8 Vanilla Beans
  • Tall glass jar

Instructions

  • Slice vanilla beans in half lengthwise to reveal inside of beans.
  • Place them in a tall glass jar. Cut shorter if needed to fit in jar.
  • Pour the alcohol over the beans.
  • Cover tightly and gently shake.
  • Store in a cool, dark place for 6-8 weeks, shaking occasionally. Leave 2-3 months for best flavor.

Notes

You can use the vanilla extract straight from the jar and replenish the alcohol as needed. Continue using the same vanilla beans until they start losing their flavor. 

So there you have it. Your own homemade vanilla extract that you know exactly what went into it.

How to Make Raw Milk Yogurt

There are two ways to make yogurt with raw milk. You can either keep the milk raw, or heat it to kill some of the good bacteria before adding the yogurt starter. Why would you want to heat your raw milk, you ask? Well, raw milk has many beneficial bacteria that are important to your gut, but so does yogurt. When you combine the two, the bacteria compete with each other and you end up with a runnier yogurt. Now, that’s not a bad thing if you don’t mind runnier yogurt, but if you prefer thicker yogurt, then go ahead and heat the milk a bit to kill some of the competing bacteria. It’s important to get nutrition and probiotics from both raw milk, and yogurt.

Now let’s dive in and get to the yogurt making process. This is what you will need:

To Make Plain Raw Milk Yogurt

  • 1 Gallon Raw Milk (from grass fed A2A2 cows)
  • 1 Cup Yogurt Starter (plain yogurt from store with live bacteria or saved from previous batch)
  • Large Stainless Steel Pot
  • Thermometer (I like this one)
  • Glass Jars (These are the ones I have)

Pour milk into stainless steel pot and warm on stove. If keeping the milk raw, then heat only to 91 degrees, otherwise heat to 185 degrees and then cool right back down to 91 degrees. (to cool faster, place whole pot in sink of ice cold water and stir milk slowly) Remove about 2 cups milk and stir 1 cup yogurt starter into it until smooth. Add milk and starter back into pot of milk and stir gently until combined. Pour milk into 2 half gallon mason jars(or jars of your choice), cover tightly, place in oven with light on, and let incubate for 8-12 hours or overnight. Remove from oven and put into refrigerator to chill. That’s it! Now you can enjoy the benefits of healthy yogurt without any disease causing additives.

To Make Vanilla Yogurt

  • Dissolve 1/2-1 Cup Cane Sugar in milk when heating

Other Flavoring Ideas

Top with maple syrup, homemade jellies or jams, fruit, cinnamon, homemade granola, coconut flakes, raw honey, hemp hearts, essential oils (from a CPTG company that are safe for internal use), and anything else you might want to try. The ideas are endless…

Now go try your hand at making your own homemade yogurt, and let me know how it goes!

How to Brew Kombucha at Home

What is kombucha? Kombucha is a fermented, slightly effervescent, sweetened black or green tea that boasts many health benefits such as improving digestion, promoting weight loss, boosting heart health, stabilizing blood sugar, aiding detoxification, and protecting the liver. It is made by fermenting tea with the use of a SCOBY, which is a symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast otherwise known as a mother or mushroom. The finished beverage is high in beneficial enzymes, B vitamins, minerals, and healthy acids such as gluconic and lactic acid.

How do you make kombucha? First you need a SCOBY. This can be acquired from a friend who has extras (since each batch grows another baby SCOBY people usually have extras to share), ordering a dehydrated SCOBY online from a company such as Cultures For Health (and rehydrating it before brewing your first batch), or growing your own from a purchased bottle of kombucha (which is a process that can easily be found online). Second, a large glass container (I like to use half gallon mason jars found here) to brew the kombucha in. (It’s important to use glass and not ceramic, plastic, or metal because it will leach toxins from those.) Third, organic black or green tea bags, cane sugar, distilled white vinegar, and filtered water.

Half Gallon Kombucha

  • 1/2 Cup Organic Cane Sugar
  • 4 Organic Black or Green Tea Bags
  • 1 Cup Distilled White Vinegar or 1 Cup Kombucha (from previous batch)
  • Scoby
  • Filtered Water

Pour cane sugar into half gallon glass jar. Boil 1 quart of water and pour into jar. Stir sugar with wooden spoon until dissolved. Add tea bags to water, cover jar loosely with a towel and steep 10-15 minutes. Remove tea bags, add vinegar or kombucha from previous batch, fill jar the rest of the way with cool water leaving enough headspace to add SCOBY. When tea is warm to touch (which shouldn’t take long when adding cool water) gently drop in the SCOBY. Cover loosely with a towel or coffee filter held in place by a rubber band or metal ring, and place jar in warm area in kitchen out of direct sunlight. Let sit for 7-30 days depending on how fermented you want the finished product. The longer it sits, the more sugar is used up by the culture, and the more vinegary it will taste. Remove the SCOBY and 1 Cup liquid for your next batch, strain remaining kombucha and store in refrigerator. Repeat the process for your next batch of kombucha, and pat yourself on the back. Congratulations! You have now joined the thousands of home brewing kombucha drinkers, and will reap the benefits of this effervescent beverage. Enjoy!

The Journey Continues..

Thanks for joining me! I am a homesteading, homemaking, homeschooling, horse-loving mom of 9 and I hope to take you along on some of our adventures here in our little corner of the world. We have a 6 acre homestead in the beautiful state of Wisconsin, and dream of someday living off grid way out west “where the deer and the antelope roam.” 🙂

Good company in a journey makes the way seem shorter. — Izaak Walton

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