I thought this post might be a little fun. I've written a lot about various frugal and healthy alternatives to various household goods. However, the thing is- in practicality, I don't always do them all, or if I actually start off doing them, I often chance what I do but don't necessarily write an update on the blog.
So I figured- why not do a "real life" post, and share what I actually use for various household needs. Since this list is pretty extensive, I'm going to start off with health and hygiene products, and get to cleaning products, etc... in another post.
So, in no particular order, here's what my family and I do for health and hygiene products:
I have a big stash of cloth diapers. I don't always cloth diaper. If the weather is good, and my energy levels are up, and I'm not behind on laundry, and I'm not leaving the house every day, I probably cloth diaper 90-95% of the time. In my cloth diaper stash, I have a mix of mostly prefolds and covers, though I have some pockets and all in one diapers as well. Mainly mine are Econobum brand.
When I am more busy, or have less energy, or the weather is bad and I'm not caught up on laundry, I use disposable diapers 90-100% of the time. The disposables I buy are some of the cheaper brand name stuff sold in my country- they work well, and I generally find them on sale.
I've written about this extensively, in many many posts, but I absolutely 100% don't use disposable menstrual products. After birth I use my cloth pads, and all other times alternating between my sea sponge tampon and my Moon Cup menstrual cup. You couldn't pay me to use disposable menstrual products...
I made my own nursing pads, but honestly, I found them unnecessary now that I found out a trick- I found I leaked most when I had let down, which I could tell was about to happen because of pressure. When I know let down is about to happen, I press on my chest for a few seconds, or until the feeling subsides, and that works so well for me that I haven't had any leaks (that I can remember) since I learned that trick- and that was without nursing pads. So I don't use disposable ones for sure, but I rarely use the cloth ones as well.
I am a big, big, big fan of what is known as family cloth, which, essentially, is cloth toilet paper. Now before you get totally and thoroughly grossed out, I suggest you read this blog post of mine that elaborates on the topic. However, as much as I like family cloth, little cloths end up getting everywhere when they come out of the wash, and not always making it back to the bathroom, and my husband ends up tossing ones that get everywhere... so my supply slowly slowly is dwindling, so I don't use it all the time now. We use toilet paper...
We also use a bidet and disposable baby wipes, depending on the family members and their preferences. (I was never able to convince Mike to try family cloth...)
Soap (hand soap and body soap)-
I make my own bar soap, which I use for my hands and my body. This is also cheaper than even the cheap body wash and hand soap, it is also better for you than the store bought stuff, since it is hypoallergenic and without synthetic irritants and other things like parabens, etc... that can cause long term health effects.
However, as much as soap making is great, it also takes some time and requires no kids to be around, so I can only do it when Mike is home and ready and willing to watch the kids for me to make soap. I'm currently all out of homemade soap and waiting for the right time to be able to make more soap.
Mike tends to buy homemade cheap body wash and hand soap, so he and the kids tend to use this (he bathes them most of the time), and until I make more soap this is what I'm using as well.
Though I've written before about "going no poo", meaning using baking soda and vinegar to clean your hair instead of shampoo... it didn't work for me. I started off with my hair feeling greasy, eventually my hair "adjusted" and wasn't so greasy anymore, etc... but by a certain point my hair just felt "wrong" and unclean and that it wasn't being like it should be. Greasy wouldn't be the right word- it felt waxy almost.
So then I started using Doctor Bronner's castille soap for my hair, and it dried it out too much and then got very greasy to compensate for the dryness. I started using my homemade soap bars... and it worked the same as the castille soap. I am still trying to figure out a good recipe for shampoo bars, still trying to figure out what will work for my hair, especially since most of the shampoo bar recipes boast "works well, moisturizing dry hair!" when my issue is my hair gets greasy, not that it's too dry.
Therefore, at the moment, I'm back to using regular shampoo. I tend to just use whatever cheap stuff Mike buys on sale, but only usually wash my hair once a week and it stays good and non greasy between those washes.
I would like to start buying healthier shampoos from the health food store or iherb... One day.
I've written about homemade deodorant before- two types- one made with baking soda and potato starch, and one made with the addition of coconut oil to that mixture. It works well, but to be honest... I'm just lazy. I don't feel like making more...
I've read that the more toxins you have in your system, the more toxins you release via sweat, and hence, your sweat ends up smellier. Since going on a healthier diet, I've noticed it myself- my sweat doesn't stink nearly as much as it used to, so many days I just go without deodorant, and if I notice that I'm starting to stink, I'll just wash out my pits or use a baby wipe to clean up and remove smell. Here and there when I decide to wear deodorant I just use store bought stuff...
I happen to really dislike hand cream. I don't enjoy putting on lotion or the feel of it, so this is a moot point. On the rare occasion that I do want to put on cream... well, I've gotten so many bottles as gifts that I just use that.
If anyone in my family has a skin irritation, like a baby with a diaper rash, I usually just leave it be, and air it out as much as possible, and if that doesn't work, I use some coconut oil that I infused with plantain and lavender for their healing properties.
So- there you have it. The honest truth, what I really use, not just what my posts would lead you to think that I use...
What do you use for health and hygiene products in your home? Are there any cheap or natural stuff you would like to be using, ideally, but in actuality, you don't? What things are those?