This is something I've had in the works for a little while now and after having a few comments and questions these past couple weeks decided it was time to finish and publish.
When people express their longing desire to me about changing to natural or organic living, I usually ask why they haven't yet taken the step. Do you know what the most common answer I get is? "It's too expensive" or "It's too hard"
My personal reply is "no, it's not". As someone who has taken steps to make the change myself I have to admit it's not about money or ease... It's about knowledge.
If you know how, you can do it.
So here are my tips on how I do things, both pricey and cheap.
First off let me start by stating that the change doesn't have to be made in huge leaps and bounds. One or two things each shopping trip can have you living chemical free within a year.
Secondly, when I say pricey I must admit that these options for us have still worked out to be the same price or less in the long run than their chemical counterparts. Mostly due to the fact that you don't need to use as much product for a better outcome.
General Household Cleaning
I cannot say enough about soapnuts, this is a change that we are personally going to make in ALL areas of our home. Soapnuts can cost between $4.70 for 50gms and $113 for 3kgs. The more you buy, the less it costs. You can get family members or friends to split the cost and share the nuts if it's hard to save up the cash needed for a bulk purchase. Have a look for yourself here.
After first publishing this it was brought to my attention that cheap vinegar is most likely made with petroleum byproducts. I was quick to google this and found the given information to be true. So this is now edited and republished.
I suggest you purchase bulk amounts of apple cider vinegar or ensure you are purchasing vinegar distilled from grain derived spirits. These of course will be a litle more expensive than the cheap toxic brands, but still a cheaper option than pricey organic products.
In true cheap style I also found a page with instructions to make your own vinegar here
There truly is no need for bleach and other toxins in the home. Coupled with a microfibre cleaning cloth there is nothing vinegar cannot do.
Did you know that vinegar is an antibacterial and antifungal cleaner? This is because it is fermented alcohol.
Boost it with pure essential oils such as lavender, lime, mandarin eucalyptus, tea tree or tangerine for an antiseptic, antibiotic, antifungal and antibacterial cleaner. The added bonus is less vinegar smell and an aromatherapuetic cleaning session.
What more could you want?
Essential oils suitable for cleaning usually hit below the $10 mark per bottle for PURE essential oil. I personally prefer a West Australian brand called Tinderbox which you can find at any good health shop or here.
Just pop some water, vinegar and chosen oils into a spray bottle for a spray and wipe solution to use anywhere in your home. Do be careful not to get citrus oils on your skin if you plan to spend time in the sun afterwards because they increase photosensitivity.
For mopping floors, add a half cup of vinegar to a bucket of hot water and mop away.
We cannot afford to buy organic food. We grow what we can and supplement with food grown as close to home as possible. This means less chemical sprayed food due to less state borders being crossed.
We buy very little processd food. The most processed is bread, pasta, brown rice and the likes. All of which we buy wholemeal.
We are striving to achieve food sufficiency at home. Making sauces, jams and preserves at home with our own grown foods as well as bought food.
We started out by buying dish and laundrey liquid off the supermarket shelves, only to find that these choices are not really chemical free despite their "earth friendly" name and label.
Pricey choice: Organic options can usually be found online at not too bad a price. We pay $10/litre for Pure Earth dishwashing liquid. This lasts us up to 6 months, making our total at around $20 a year.
Cheap choice: Soapnuts!!
For a grimy oven you can use a paste made with bicarb soda to scrub and clean after with a vinegar solution adding eucalyptus and orange oils which cut through grease and grime.
Pricey choice: We've been purchasing Pure Earth laundry liquid for $45 for 10 litres of laundry liquid. This lasts us around 6 months. The equivalent ammount of supermarket "earth friendly" choice costs us over $6 for 750ml. You do the math!
Cheap choice: Once again, Soapnuts!! These are brilliant and held up to dirty nappies, kids clothes and even Earth Angel Daddy's grubby and greasy work clothes.
For a laundry booster, whitener or soaking agent Bicarb Soda is cheap and simple. We buy ours at the stockfeeds for $24 for 20kgs. It is animal grade, but still works the same in laundry, cleaning and cooking.
Pricey choice: We use Pure Earth personal products for ourselves and our children in the way of toiletries.
Cheap choice: You guessed it... Soapnuts!!! gee, these guys are wonderous little buggers.
An even cheaper option is oats, that's righ folks... OATS.
Tie up some oats in a piece of muslin or cheesecloth, add some chamomile, peppermint or green tea if you like and you have a natural cleansweer to replace soap with. Change oats every couple days.
We use a body crystal for deodorant.
Soon we'll be changing to our own homemade soapnut products and homemade goat soap aswell as homemade skincare products (blog post of the future I think). I suggest you have a look at Feeding Your Skin by Carla Oates for kitchen recipes for your skin
Now I'll keep this brief and simple because this is a whole other blog post and debate.
You cannot get any cheaper than cloth nappies, breastfeeding and homemade meals.
Instead of using baby powder, which mind you is 98% genetically the same as asbestos and linked to cancer and cysts on the ovary, you can use cornflour or a wonderful thing called nappy free time.
If there is need for a nappy rash cream you can buy or make calendula ointment or even better, Aloe Vera gel straight from the leaf. I like to gift new mums with an Aloe Vera plant from my own garden.
We opt for herbal, homeopathic and aromatherpy solutions in our household. A healthy natural diet, good hygiene and a stress free home leads to less illness and less need for healing.
Now, there's so much more I can cover but I think this may be enough to get you started for now. Maybe I can cover each area more extensively over time.
If you have any specific queries or feel I forgot to mention something feel free to ask in the comment section below.