The Lighthouse

the lighthouse

29 April 2014


Argh!  I cannot believe it, but I find myself resorting to the cutesy spelling cheats that drive me bonkers.  I am unable to pass a Kwik Kopy sign without losing my mind.  But x is a difficult word, so I beg for clemency. Or extenuating circumstances.

Today's story is about dabbling in green/organic/natural... err, "natural"... household products and cosmetics. (In quotes because I am from Sceptos and don't believe anything sold in stores is completely au naturel.)

For years I've been feeling guilty because I use cleaning wipes - those premoistened rolls of paper cloth that come in a tube-like container. I often debate with myself (debating with myself is one of my hobbies) as to whether it is more environmentally friendly to go with the wipes, or buy a jug of cleanser and separate paper towels. I could use a cleanser and reusable cloths, washing them between uses, but I don't feel good about my clothes being in the same water as the Mr. Clean or Pine Sol or whatever-soaked cloths. (I don't make any claims to logic.)  Seems to me there is environmental fallout either way.

I got to thinking about how my mom used to clean - as she was taught by German housewives. I seem to remember a lot of vinegar. And bleach. Sometimes baking soda, a little salt, good old soap, and a whole lot of elbow grease. Things were thoroughly scrubbed, top to bottom. So as I started spring cleaning  a week or so ago, I decided I'd take the Days of Yore approach. It all worked really well. I have no complaints at all, and in fact, was very pleased with the results. The house smelled not only clean but friendly, too, like you didn't have to run for a hazmat suit in order to enter. 
So that was a successful experiment.

Not as resoundingly successful has been the foray into green/natural/organic health products. The alternative deodorant caused red itchiness - as well as not being deodorizing; the paraben-free shampoo that promised to smell of wild meadows required a follow-up washing with regular shampoo which defeats the purpose, and by the end of the second day I was ready to tear my hair out because it felt heavy and dirty.  I'm reluctant to try the no poo method (no shampoo) because I'm afraid the baking soda will get caked up in my hair, so that is out.  At least until I'm a little braver. The earth-friendly toothpaste has a delightful anise flavour but doesn't feel like it's actually cleaning my teeth - or freshening my breath.  Because it's so runny it slides off my toothbrush, I hunch under the brush and ever so cautiously lower it into my mouth.

I haven't found any natural products yet that I'm happy with, but I have been using some household items that work wonderfully: sugar as a gentle face scrub, oats as a cleanser (and mild exfoliant with good moisturizing properties), oil as a cleanser (extra virgin olive oil, or a hazelnut oil I had in the cupboard).  And a nifty trick I found online is to do without shaving cream or soap or anything.  Shower as usual, dry off, then shave.  No burn, no dryness or itching, no bumps.  Amazing!  Each of these I am happy with.

It's early days yet. I'm sure there is lots to learn about chemical-free options. I'd love to hear from you if you know of any, especially if you use them and know they work.


  1. I'm thinking of Xperimenting with the X post too. Not Xcited about it, but X rays thrill me even less..

    I've tried all sorts of natural things. It was when I tried red vinegar as deodorant (upon the advice of a friend) that I thought I'd go back to a few more modern products (ones that didn't drive other people away). You are much braver than I... I will admit to a extreme fondness for fragranced soaps and lotions and shampoos. I even thinking sometimes, when watching something like Downton Abbey, if the 'upstairs' elegance of that time was purely in the eye of the beholder and never in the nose....

  2. Oh no!! Red vinegar deodorant? Haha! I can't even imagine the results of that.

    I think I'm as fascinated with Yore as I am because smell isn't involved when reading books. I've learned that women (men too, probably) putted scented wax in their hair. The heat of candles and people while at balls etc., would melt the wax, causing the scent to mask their own interesting state of smelliness.
    I've often wondered, watching Lady Mary in her beautiful gowns, what she does about the underarm area. They must have had tricks, right?
    Looking forward to your X-post, Nancy.