There are lots of reasons to make your own eco-toiletries. It’s much less expensive than buying pre-made toiletries, regardless of whether or not you buy the low-rent off-brands or go all out for natural. It’s also more environmentally sound, from the low impact of production to winning the battle with chemical sludge spiraling down the drain. It’s healthier because you have even more control of what is being put on and into your body, avoiding loads of toxins in common bathroom products.

Oddly enough, the key to nearly all of your hygienic woes lies in the little box we often hide in the back of the fridge: baking soda. From toothpaste to deodorant, shampoo to exfoliate, baking soda —less than a dollar a box — can make big difference. And, truth be told, it works better than anything I’ve ever tried, so there’s no need to worry about tartar control or dandruff or armpit pH balance. Check out all the other things you can make with baking soda:

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Toothpaste

It started at a hostel, brushing my teeth in front of a poster about all the horrors of fluoride. As an avid boycotter, I’d been avoiding big brands — they tend to test on animals — for years, surviving without triple action formulas or whitening additives. As a traveler, in a world of Colgate, this was sometimes quite the challenge. But, for some reason, I’d never opted for the easiest solution. It was right there as a bonus ingredient in lots of brand-name toothpastes: baking soda.

Now, I’ll be honest. Brushing your teeth with straight up baking soda is not the most pleasant of scrubs, and it’s not a taste sensation and too much of it can actually be a little too abrasive for your teeth anyway. However, it’s not difficult to make yourself a nice, natural toothpaste. Plus, there are some great things to kick it up a little — essential oils for the classic peppermint flavor (or get creative) and add coconut oil for a smooth, anti-bacterial effect. It whitens. It cleans. It’s really good stuff.

Deodorant

I work a lot outside, lathering up a good, grimy sweat in the garden, so after our good fortune with toothpaste, when my wife started experimenting with homemade deodorants, I had my doubts. She works just as a hard but isn’t quite the stink hog I am. A little swipe of baking soda — just the straight powder — was working for her just fine, but it took me a while to convert. Then, I found out how toxic deodorants and, especially, antiperspirants are, and there was no turning back. I tried it.

Using baking soda as deodorant works an absolute charm. When you think about it, it makes perfect sense: the whole reason for putting baking soda in the fridge is to neutralize odors. That’s one little box in a massive fridge. Think of the neutralizing from a little direct application. We’ve become more inventive as time has moved on, trying different essential oils — citronella, eucalyptus, mint — for a little added freshness to boot. Making deodorant is a cinch.

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Shampoo

Since I was a teenager, I’ve battled my scalp, which has the tendencies to dry out and embarrass me. I’ve always spent extra money on medicated shampoos or, at the very least, Head and Shoulders. So, though the powers of baking soda had impressed me in the dental and armpit arenas, I didn’t think it was a viable option for hair care. I was wrong again. And, once again, there were a lot of troublesome concerns about shampoo.

Because of its mild abrasiveness, baking soda is truly effective, actually doing a lot of good in the flak-age department. It’s also great for removing styling products if that happens to be something at play. And, it’s important to note that apple cider vinegar is like the wonder product for the shower, great for the scalp and the best conditioner ever. With this combination, I’ve had no problems.

We’ve actually only tipped the box on what baking soda can do. It’s a great exfoliate agent, made by mixing a little water and baking soda for a facial or body scrub. It can be mixed with cornstarch and used for dry shampoo. It’s dynamite for scrapping away grit and grease from dirty, soiled (quite literally from the garden in my case) hands. It’s cheap, natural, and so much more than a mysterious box pushed to the back of the fridge. No lie, no exaggeration — discovering the hygienic powers of baking soda has changed my life.

How do you use baking soda in your personal hygiene regime?

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 Image Source: katerha/Wikimedia Commons

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