Living Green

Living is an art. And living green is becoming an important sub-genre of this art form.

Kits Eco-Arts often encourages, supports, hosts or offers workshops and meetups for people who want to be greener.

Recently Jaquie Rolston led a well-received workshop on making your own green cleaning products.

If you’d like to invite a few friends over to make some products and share the bounty, join our meetup group and suggest a time and place.

We had over a dozen at the initial workshop, but for actually cooking up products, it might be best for a group of 4-6 to get together and make one or two products.

Besides the ingredients for whatever product(s) you’re making, you’ll want to have:

– lots of containers so people can take home samples of the product

– a big funnel for pouring into containers

– a large pot (if you’re literally cooking something – like soap nuts or an herbal infusion)

– a big pail if you’re just mixing

People will appreciate having a printed copy of the recipes and a list of places to purchase supplies.

Some common ingredients are:

baking soda

vinegar – white and/or apple cider

castile soap/ Dr.  Bronner’s soap

washing soda


salt – large grained like for salting roads is good

Less common

Hydrogen peroxide

oil (olive, coconut)

Many recipes also suggest optional addition of scent which can be

– water infused with herbs and flower petals

– essential oils

Some tips I learned at or after the workshop that might make it easier for me personally to convert:

If you have commercial shampoo that you don’t consider dangerous, mix up some diy stuff and mix it half-and-half. One of the challenges for me, is giving up the idea of suds.

I read that most products are thicker than we need and we use more than we need. So, cook up a pot of herbs (rosemary,lavender, etc.) and flower petals (rose, calendula, etc.). Simmer for an hour, strain and mix it half-and-half with your current product.

For me, using herbs gives me “feedback” (scent instead of suds) that cleaning is happening.

– many recipes call for both vinegar and baking soda. Jacquie’s mom (a micro-biologist) says that misses the point, as one is acid and one is alkaline, so using together just cancels each other out. That makes sense to me. Using sequentially (like one tip to first put a cup of baking soda in toilet, and then to add vinegar and watch foam, might work.)

I adapted a recipe for shampoo, deciding that although just making baking soda with warm water probably works, it might not work for me. A vinegar rinse didn’t appeal to me either.

Mary’s adapted shampoo recipe:

2 c. Dr. Bronner’s castile soap

2 c. liquid from cooking 12 soap nuts for an hour

4 c. water infused with herbs simmered for at least an hour

Add 1 tbsp tamanu oil

and 1/4 cup tea tree oil.

(I eliminated the rosemary and lavender essential oils, as I did quite a hearty brew of herbs and flower petals.)

Made lots and I put some in small containers and shared with friends to try it out.


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