Saturday, September 17, 2011

CLEANING TIP: DIY Recipes for Natural Cleaning Products (and Cool Uses for Vinegar)

A few days ago I washed my hair with vinegar. On purpose.

The inspiration came while reading my friend Whitney's DIY blog. Whitney is one of those crafty super-moms -- like, "Oh, yesterday I photographed a water birth, knitted eleventy baby hats, and redecorated my son's nursery." Most of the projects on her blog are so out of my league that I get to line two and I'm like, "Fat quarter whaaaaa...?"

But I was psyched when she recently posted recipes for natural cleaning products, for two reasons:
1) I hate the smell of cleaning products, which is one of the key reasons I almost never clean, and
2) They all seemed easy to do.

Click the pic to check out her post:

One catch -- so far I've come up dry in my quest to find castille soap. Well, I found it at Whole Foods, but it was $16, which is way more expensive than my current strategy of not cleaning at all. I found some on but just need to figure out how to fill out the order minimum to get free shipping, because I haaaaaaate paying shipping :)

But her post did inspire me to figure out other ways to use natural products I have lying around the kitchen. I read several places that vinegar made a great hair rinse for breaking down soapy residue, which my hair desperately needed. So I diluted a tablespoon of cider vinegar in a cup of water, brought it in the shower, and tried it.

Two things happened.
1) My scalp immediately froze and I thought, "OMG! This shit is like menthol! It's reacting with my scalp!" Then I remembered that I'd diluted the vinegar in cold tap water. Duh.
2) It smelled like Easter egg dye. My first instinct was to mask it with conditioner, but I figured that would defeat the purpose. So I rinsed and hoped for the best. The good news: When I got into bed, my husband didn't say "Why do you smell like salad dressing?!" or anything like that.

Best of all, it actually made my uncooperative hair look shiny. And it bought me an extra day or two between shampoos. Woohoo!

A few other cool uses for vinegar:
  • spray it on weeds in your driveway
  • spray it around your door to prevent ants
  • pour some down the kitchen drain to deodorize
  • clean your hairbrush (same basic principle as the hair rinse)
  • soothe itchy bug bites (I live in mosquito heaven -- this TOTALLY worked!)
  • leave a bowl out to neutralize a nasty odor (smoke, puke, etc)

Happy vinegar-ing :)


  1. Haha, love it! I got my castille soap (Dr Bronners) at Lowe's foods for about $11. Don't be intimidated, it lasts FOREVER. A little goes a long way with that stuff. Also, I started "no-poo"ing my hair a few months ago and it is freaking awesome. Especially since I have thin, lifeless hair. Wash with baking soda and rather than conditioner use vinegar (vinegar is alkaline so it works to soften your hair and remove static). I only have to wash my hair every 4-5 days now, which has NEVER happened.

  2. Aside from baking soda, vinegar is also another natural alternative cleaning product. I know how effective vinegar is, especially as a disinfectant spray, but it has a not-so-good smell that I’m sure you might also dislike. So, I always find a way to remove its unpleasant smell. I use orange peels and I let it sit for a week in the vinegar to release their juicy sweet smell. It really works! Try it! +Skylar Cox