Keeping clean

Here are the toiletries I still use:

Bicarbonate of soda (NOT sodium carbonate ie laundry soda.  We use sodium bicarbonate).  I use this to clean my hair and my teeth.  We all do.  So we don't even have sodium carbonate in the house as the packets are very similar, and if someone mistakenly tried to wash her hair in sodium carbonate, she'd get skin burns.  The sodium bicarbonate comes in more than one grade.  We get it in a cardboard box from the hardware store house cleaning products section for washing our hair (and general cleaning round the house) - that's relatively coarse.  We get it in plastic tubs from the cooking section at the supermarket for cleaning our teeth.  That's much finer.  But either grade will do for any purpose really. 


Essential oils (whatever I have around), to deodorise armpits.  I want to try this recipe at some point too.  Thanks Asta (I think it was you!  If not thanks to whoever!) for drawing my attention to it!  Here's another version - looks interesting. Or, on the K.I.S.S principle, I may just go for the straight oil.

Aquaeous cream, which I occasionally apply to my ankles and shins, to guard against dryness.  I used to use it on my face and neck a lot, and do my feet and lower legs every day but since I stopped using shampoo my skin no longer dries out.

Germolene – on any bites or scratches. Or lavender oil.

Concealer for any blemishes on days when I have to do public speaking.

Nothing else seems to be necessary, though once my hair grows long again I may add in a cider vinegar hair rinse.

Things for cleaning the house:

Lemon juice

Bicarbonate of soda – a paste of this and a squirt of lemon beats bleach for cleaning round taps and banishing stains.


Borax.  Not borax any more.  Donna says it’s not Earth-friendly or people friendly, see the link here.  So we won’t be having any more of that.

For blocked or smelly drains, I put equal amounts of borax not any more and bicarb in a heap on the plughole.  Add some vinegar.  It will fizz.  Some of it will go down the drain, some sit on top.  After a while, add some more vinegar.  Let it sit a bit more, then it can be washed away in the course of using the sink.

I do keep a bottle of thin bleach for zapping any black mould before it gets a hold, and for occasionally cleaning toilets.

For laundry
I use Ecover delicates liquid and fabric conditioner.  We wash in a washing machine on the shortest, coolest cycle.  This doesn’t get things like teatowels and hankies properly clean, so I boil them with bicarb, borax and a small squirt of Ecover Delicates.

If I handwash, I use soap – not proper laundry soap, I just give the clothes a rub with our regular hand soap.

A sprinkle of Borax makes soap and detergent go further. Not any more.

For washing my hair, what I do is pour a tablespoon (roughly) of bicarbonate of soda into a little dish.  I get in the shower.  First of all the water from the shower is cold.  As the cold water runs through the plumbing pipes I catch it in a pitcher and save it for other purposes – eg watering houseplants, loo system etc.  Once the water’s hot I get wet all over, then turn off the shower.  I sprinkle the bicarb evenly all over my scalp, and rub rub rub it in well.  I keep a wee bit to do my armpits – bicarb deodorises and gently scours.  Rubbing the bicarb into my hair it gets on my hands, neck and face.  I rub it around my neck, face, throat and shoulders – it’s a brilliant exfoliating scrub, leaves skin really soft.  Some has usually dropped onto my feet.  I do my toes and the backs of my heels with it – the places dead skin tends to linger.  I give my hair a final rub.  Then I turn the shower back on and rinse it all out.

I haven’t used shampoo on my hair since January.  Without a hat on my hair looks like this now (me in my PJs).

Hair cleaned like this feels entirely different from shampooed hair.  It never has that ultra-clean-without-product-fine-each-hair-separate-bouncy feel.  But it never feels dirty either.  It smells like hair not shampoo - but not like dirty hair.  And my skin needs almost no moisturiser any more, where I used to have to moisturise my face and whole body every day or my skin went itchy mad.  I guess my scalp must have been frantically sucking up all the oil from my whole cloak of skin.  I used to wash my hair every other day.  Now I wash it twice a week.  Once a week is okay.  But I am a clean hair fan.