I Got Green: CafeMoms Make Green Household Products

Sheri Reed
laundry pile

Photo by marthasnail

More conversations with CafeMoms about their green efforts in 2008 and green aspirations for 2009.

Today I'm chatting with CafeMom TimeforKids who makes her own "green" alternatives to household products like cleaners, bleach, soap, lotion, and more and CafeMom momof30379 who eliminated bleach from her household.

Cafe Sheri: TimeforKids, you clean your home with vinegar, tea tree oil, and baking soda. Do homemade cleaners do as good a job around the house?

TimeforKids: Vinegar and baking soda do a wonderful job. In my opinion, they do a BETTER job then store bought cleaners, and you don't get light headed when using them.

Cafe Sheri: momof30379, you don't use bleach at all anymore. What's your recipe for a good bleach alternative?

momof30379: For disinfecting anything, I bought a bottle for both the bathroom and also one for the kitchen. I filled with 1 cup vinegar and 1 cup water, and approximately 8-10 drops of tea tree oil. Shake it to mix.

Cafe Sheri: What about for laundry? How do you keep your whites white?

momof30379: For my laundry, I use Melaleuca's MelaPower, but any other "green" soap works well too...Seventh Generation and Method, just to name a few I've used in the past. I also use Borax as a booster for those extra tough stains. For my fabric softener, nothing but straight vinegar.

Cafe Sheri: So TimeforKids, you make your own soap, lotion, laundry soap, sunblock, bug spray, and more. What made you decide to make this change?

TimeforKids: I started researching the ingredients in the products I was using, and the information I found scared me. So many ingredients considered "toxic" and linked to cancer were in everyday products.

Cafe Sheri: momof30379, you don't use bleach at all anymore. What made you decide to make this change?

momof30379: I also did some research and found that bleach can seep into our bodies, not only the vapors but also through the skin or through indirect contact. This made me feel worried and concerned.

Cafe Sheri: In the past, did you use bleach to clean around the house?

momof30379: My oldest son (17) was born with asthma and had to use a nebulizer until he was three. Little did I know back then that what I was doing to sanitize his toys and make our home "clean and safe" for him may have worsened his attacks. 

Cafe Sheri: TimeforKids, how about you? In the past, did you use store-bought cleaners?

TimeforKids: I purchased bleach and other cleaners for years. I used to be the poster child for bleach!

Cafe Sheri: Do you save a lot of money making your own household products and cleaners?

TimeforKids: I save so much money it is just amazing. I spend about $3 a month for cleaning supplies. You can't buy a bottle of most cleaners for that. I spend less than 25 cents for each bar of soap I make. This amount can go up or down, depending on how pricey I want to make it. I can get by with cheap soap most of the time, but every now and then I make a pricey bar as a treat.

Cafe Sheri: It's winter and dry skin season. What's your recipe for a good body lotion?

TimeforKids: I make lotion bars for winter. They are a combo of beeswax, cocoa butter, coconut oil, and either avocado oil or sweet almond oil. I have scented them with orange, peppermint, and lavender.

Cafe Sheri: What greener living effort do you both want to take on in 2009?

momof30379: My goal for the next green effort in '09 would be to ALWAYS bring cloth bags whenever I go out to any store. With the busy lives we all have with kids/families, it's easy to get distracted as I'm walking out that door. My New Years resolution is "No More Plastic!"

TimeforKids: In 2009, I want to make sure all our clothes are organic cotton or purchased second hand.

Thanks so much, TimeforKids and momof30379.Thanks for all the easy tips for using green alternatives in our homes. Who knew it could be so simple?

+++ What you got? What's your favorite homemade recipe for a household product?

More in the "I Got Green" series:

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