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Why bother?

This site is all about crafting homemade products – cleaning, skincare and food.  Nowadays all of these things are easily accessible at any old supermarket and given this great convenience, why should anyone take the time or effort to make products of their own?

I totally understand the appeal of commercial products – we’re busy and stressed and besides, who knows how to make that stuff anyway?  I used commercial products exclusively for many years and still use some of them regularly.  I’m not asking you to eliminate all modern conveniences or revert back to colonial times.  The changes you make should fit easily into your lifestyle and they should feel good, otherwise you won’t keep doing them!  I hope to show the benefits that come from making your own products and alert you to hidden costs and controversies behind commercial alternatives.  You can then use this information to decide what’s right for your own life.

The recipes on this site are simple, cost effective and they work (or taste) great.  Browse the index: for items that interest you.  And just take it one at a time.  It’s not necessary to overhaul your household to have a positive effect on your family and the environment.  Once you see how easy it is to make quality products of your own, you might just catch the bug:)

In the meantime, here are a few things to ponder…

Skin Care: 

People intuitively understand that if you eat an apple that was sprayed with pesticides, those chemicals will enter your body. Now people are beginning to realize that this logic also applies to products we put ON our bodies.  Our skin is like a sponge and it absorbs approximately 60% of the products we apply.  When we wash or moisturize with chemical laden products, more than half of these nasties enter our bloodstream – Yuck!  What makes skincare products even scarier is the sheer quantity of chemicals used in the industry.  According to the FDA, the beauty industry uses over 10,000 chemicals in their products.  And almost 90% of these have not been tested for human safety!  In fact the FDA has virtually no power over the skincare industry.  With the exception of color additives, they don’t even have the authority to require pre-market assessments to make sure a product is safe (like they do in the drug industry).  Instead the industry is allowed to regulate itself which means the folks deciding what is safe have a direct financial stake in selling products – can you say conflict of interest?  It’s not surprising then that their loyalty is to the bottom line, not their consumers’ health.  In fact since forming in 1976, the Cosmetics Ingredient Review has banned a measly 9 chemicals from use in our products.  To put this in perspective, Europe has banned over 1,000 chemicals due to links to cancer, mutation and reproductive damage.

Chemicals such as Diethanolamine (DEA), phthalates, parabens, synthetic colors and fragrances and many more are found in many of our most basic skin care products (see here for a more detailed list:  These chemicals have been linked to debilitating diseases such as cancer, hormonal disruption infertility and migraines among other things.  When we apply a product day after day, we expose ourselves to the accumulative effects of long term chemical exposure.  To be fair, most of these dangers are suspected and not definitively proven (largely because no one is required to do any safety testing).  However, the ingredients are unnatural and controversial enough that I simply don’t want them in my body.  Especially when I have the skill to craft a better quality product for half the price.  With a few exceptions (ex. still looking for a great shampoo recipe), I have switched to homemade skin care products and I have never looked or felt better!

Cleaning Products:

The cleaning industry has also exploded with products designed to clean and sanitize every inch of our life.  Each year millions (billions?) of advertising dollars are spent scaring us into utter sterilization.  It’s as if every germ, bacteria or other microscopic invader is an urgent threat to our very lives.  How on earth did we survive without travel size hand sanitizer and a small army of modern cleaning supplies?  Considering our love affair with cleanliness, you’d think our homes would be safer than ever.   But our assault on germs has gone to extremes and left a host of chemicals in its wake.

At last count,  the EPA had approved over 70,000 chemicals for use in cleaning products.   Many of which have not been adequately tested or understood, some of which are known toxins.  It’s ironic that the products we use to clean our homes are exposing our families and our earth to toxic chemicals on a daily basis.  Harsh chemicals such as ammonia, formaldehyde, hydrochloric acid, paradichlorobenzenes, hydrocarbons, etc. can be found in numerous common household cleaners.  These chemicals can wreak havoc on our skin, our lungs, our immune system and our earth.  Additionally tens of thousands of children (most under the age of 5) are accidentally poisoned each year by cleaning products in their own home.

All of this is completely unnecessary and totally preventable.  We don’t need 70,000 chemicals to effectively clean our homes, we don’t even need 100.  With just a handful of common ingredients you can clean your home easily and effectively.  You can condense that heap of cleaning products lurking under your sink to just a handful of safe, versatile products.  These products take less time to make than a quick trip to the grocery store.  Plus in addition to cleaning your home, they can improve your indoor air quality, reduce your family’s chemical exposure, reduce your impact on the earth and inflate your wallet.