DIY Deodorant: Pros and Cons

Last September, I reblogged The Zero-Waste Chef’s post about how to make your own deodorant and hoped that having it on my own site would motivate me to try this handy do-it-yourself option.  I actually did get around to it within a few weeks…creating deodorant that then became unusable for me for months.  It wasn’t until this spring that I was able to give it a fair trial.  Now I can tell you what’s good about it and what isn’t.

DIY Deodorant ingredients

The ingredients: coconut oil, baking soda, corn starch, and essential oil. Image from The Zero Waste Chef.

The Good Things:

  • It works!!!
  • It truly was easy to make and took me just a few minutes.  Combining the ingredients was soothing and satisfying.
  • It hasn’t made grease stains or white marks on any of my clothing.
  • It’s less expensive than buying natural deodorant, which is $5-$7 in my area.  The ingredients for a baby-food jar full of DIY Deodorant, which gives approximately the same number of applications as a stick of solid deodorant, cost less than $1.  It’s hard to find even a nasty-chemical-filled deodorant for $1 these days.
  • It does not have a plastic package that will never biodegrade and is made from irreplaceable natural resources.

The Bad Things:

  • It really needs to be stored at a room temperature of approximately 70-85 degrees Fahrenheit.  Within two days after the time when I happened to make my DIY Deodorant, my house settled down to its winter temperature, which maxes out at 70 degrees on the thermostat but is a bit colder (66? 67?) up in my bedroom where I keep and use my deodorant.  The coconut oil hardened so that I had a jar of solid stuff impenetrable to my fingertips.  I considered using some kind of tool to scrape out each dose, but that would be really annoying–and given that I apply deodorant while I’m half-conscious and often stepping over a crawling baby, there was a high risk of flipping bits of this oily stuff all over the room!  I ended up deciding to leave it alone until the weather got warmer.  I live in Pennsylvania.  This deodorant was unusable for seven months.  And within a few weeks after it finally became scoopable, we had a 90-degree day when we left the drapes open so that the bedroom heated up, causing the coconut oil to become liquid so that the DIY Deodorant was unscoopable in a different way: too drippy!  (It was fine again the next day, though, and didn’t even need re-mixing.)  The Zero Waste Chef lives in central California, where the weather is more consistent, and I think that’s a big reason why this stuff works so well for her.
  • You need to wash your hands after applying it, or at least wipe them hard on something that you don’t mind grease-staining.  I’m not thrilled with adding this extra step to my morning routine.
  • If you drop a bit of the deodorant–which is easy to do because it’s crumbly–it will leave an oil spot.  Annoying.  Especially on paper items, a tiny bit of coconut oil can make a big, obvious grease stain.

Overall, I think I will keep using this stuff until it’s gone and consider making more for late-spring-through-early-fall-except-on-very-hot-days use, but for most of the year I’m going to stick with Tom’s of Maine long-lasting natural deodorant.  It works well for me, it’s easy to use, the fragrances are pleasant and not too strong, the price is acceptable with coupons and sales frequently available, and it’s sold in many stores that are convenient for me.  Daniel and I both have been using Tom’s deodorant for about ten years now.  We do not recommend Tom’s antiperspirant, and we have not liked any other brand of store-bought natural deodorant that we’ve tried.  Tom’s deodorant is available from ePantry for only $5.89; click here to learn more about ePantry and get a special deal!

If you live in a consistently warmish climate, though, DIY Deodorant may be all you need!  Give it a try!

UPDATE: Readers inform me that blending beeswax into your DIY Deodorant makes it more stable in changing temperatures, and you can even refill a twist-up deodorant container with it!  See the comments below for information and links.

Visit Works-for-Me Wednesday and Waste Not Want Not Wednesday for more great tips.  Visit Real Food Friday for more things (mostly edibles!) that you can make from food ingredients.

If you’d like to join ePantry…

…then click here to get $10 off your first order and a free organic soy candle!  This link will also show ePantry that I referred you so that I’ll get a credit with them–this week (May 24-31) I get double credit.  ePantry is a company that sells plant-based and recycled cleaning and hygiene products in a “subscription” format designed to deliver things just when you need them.  Consider whether a subscription service for buying environmentally friendly products is right for you, and learn more about ePantry and selected products from my review. I got one of those soy candles as a bonus in my last order.  It’s nice: smells good, not too smoky, and it’s in a glass jar so it doesn’t drip and doesn’t burn off too fast.  It’s made in USA of organic soybeans.  If you like candles but have been using the petroleum kind, try a soy candle!  They last a long time: This one says its 8 ounces of wax will burn for 70 hours, and the two smaller soy candles (different brand) that I got as baby shower gifts more than a year ago, and have used extensively, still have some wax left.

If you read my earlier articles when they were first published, you missed this update: ePantry responded to my concern about their office dogs:

I couldn’t help but notice your concern over the dogs in our office.
I want to let you know that there is no need to worry about dogs being near
your shipments 🙂 Though we do have dogs in the office, 100% of our order
fulfillment is done in our warehouse, 20 minutes away from the office.

This is good news for me because my dog allergy is sometimes severe enough to be triggered by something that spent time near a dog a few days ago.  I hadn’t had any problem with my ePantry items, but it’s good to be reassured that this will not be an issue.

Visit the Hearth & Soul Blog Hop and Works-for-Me Wednesday and Waste Not Want Not Wednesday for more great household tips!

Our resilient ozone: When science spoke and we listened

The healing of our ozone layer is a great example of what Earthlings can do when we admit our mistakes and change course!

I'm not a hippie but...

In the 1980’s scientists discovered the devastating effect we were having on our ozone layer. By using various chemicals in manufacturing, and particularly in aerosols, we were inadvertently chipping away at our precious shield from the worst of the sun’s damaging radiation. Wasting no time, these savvy scientists educated us as to the importance of the ozone layer and warned us that its existence was threatened if we did not act.

Put aside for a minute the hilarious image of an 80’s scientist; yes, they existed. It wasn’t all crimped hair and leg warmers, some people were off being intelligent and learning things! Thank God for these serious souls too, because without them we likely would have happily continued to spray away our entire protective coating by now.

Fortunately, we didn’t continue living in ignorance. We were alerted to our unwittingly destructive behaviour and could therefore make the necessary changes in order to save our skins (literally).

And…

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Eco-Friendly Building Materials for Your Home

This is a guest post from the staff of Modernize.com, a site for home ideas and inspiration.  The Earthling’s Handbook is not affiliated with any of the businesses whose products are linked here, and the editors of The Earthling’s Handbook have not used any of these products in our own home–but we strongly encourage recycling and thinking green when you improve your home! By Jane Blanchard

new home construction

Image via Flickr

When you’re passionate about improving the environment, everything you do should be sustainable. If you’re in the market to build a new home or make improvements on an existing one, there are lots of different materials that you can use that are eco-friendly. Whether you plan on adding a new recycled rubber roof to an existing home or using recycled steel within your new construction, these materials are great places to begin when looking for eco-friendly building material options.

Recycled Steel

Using recycled steel in the construction of your home is one of the simplest ways to be eco-friendly. Steel is one of the most recycled materials in the world, and in 2008, 97% of it was recycled, according to Wikipedia. Chances are, the steel you plan on using for your home already contains some recycled material. Read more of this post

Ginger Black Bean Soup (slow cooker)

Meatless MondayWe got a slow cooker a little over a year ago, and we like it a lot!  It’s a great way to make a lot of food without having to stand over it stirring, which is a relief in hot weather and convenient anytime.  So far, we’ve only made other people’s recipes, as we develop our sense of what ingredients in what proportions will become food (rather than a watery mess or a blackened sludge).

This recipe is merely a change of seasoning for the Vegan Black Bean Soup recipe from Stuffed Veggies.  We made that soup three times and liked it, but the Mexican flavor was too similar to the Bean Burritos and Mexican Pizza that are staples in our diet.  This variation turned out to be just what we wanted!

To make a big pot of soup (8-10 bowls) you will need: Read more of this post

ePantry and Earth-friendly Cleaning Product Reviews

UPDATE: If you decide to join ePantry, click here to save $10 on your first order and get a free soy candle! This is an affiliate link that will give me a discount, too–at no cost to you.  As noted below, this was NOT a sponsored post; ePantry encouraged me to sign up as an affiliate after they read this post.

Last week, I explained some things to consider before subscribing to household product deliveries.  Now I’m going to tell you about my experience with one particular subscription service and the specific products I bought from them.  This is not a sponsored post.  Aside from the special offer of $10 discount plus a free bottle of dish detergent, I received no special consideration from ePantry or any of the product manufacturers, and I did not tell them I was going to write a review.  After evaluating each product, I’ll tell you what else I recommend in this category–not all products are available through ePantry. I have been using Earth-friendly cleaning products since 1997, so I’ve tried a lot of them.  If you’re just starting to switch from conventional cleaning products to plant-based ones, I hope to help you choose cleaners you’ll like!

P1010948

This is my second ePantry order. Left to right: Method foaming hand wash, Yes To hand soap, Seventh Generation dishwasher detergent, Seventh Generation toilet bowl cleaner, Method antibacterial cleaner, Mrs. Meyer’s Clean Day multi-surface cleaner. In the jar in front is a soy candle that was my free bonus item.

I first heard of ePantry from a blog that was raving about it and offering a special introductory offer.  My first thought was that I don’t need to subscribe to green products because I’m able to buy them by the case to save money or to buy them in my local stores when I’m there buying groceries anyway.  Still, I spent some time looking around ePantry’s site.  Most of the products they carry are just a few brands–Seventh Generation, Mrs. Meyer’s Clean Day, and Method–all of which I can buy at Target, for gosh sakes; they didn’t have the more interesting brands that my local crunchy hippie store sells, let alone anything I’d have to buy by mail.  Prices were okay but not all that exciting.  Oh well.  I decided it wasn’t for me, but I was glad that other households who don’t shop in crunchy hippie stores would be using green products for more of their cleaning because they could get them so conveniently (which seemed to be the gist of the comments on that blog).

Four months later, I saw the same special offer on Jaimie Ramsey’s blog, and this time I took it.  Why?  Well, our springtime calendar was beginning to fill up with special events, and when that happens, I have to scale back the grocery shopping, planning menus based on what we have in the pantry supplemented with strategic forays to stores when Daniel or I have time to get there–it’s not possible to time our shopping as well as we normally do, and that can mean running out of something.  Also, I realized that although we can buy Mrs. Meyer’s Clean Day and Method products at Target, we hadn’t actually gotten around to trying any of those products except Method foaming hand soap.  (Seventh Generation, on the other hand, is a brand we’ve bought frequently since 1997; we’ve tried most of their products.)  I decided to use ePantry’s special offer as an affordable way to motivate myself to write some product reviews!

First, here are the pros and cons of the ePantry service, in my opinion. Read more of this post

A Robot’s Cookbook, Chapter 2

See Chapter 1 for explanation of this unusual recipe collection.

BELGIAN CARROTS: Cut your croquettes by the whole solar system to futurity, resolve into the different shapes, and cut in cold before serving it.  Mix till it simmers in the breadcrumbs, grated cheese, sliced carrots, and chocolate for five minutes, while a few Brussels sprouts boil some parsley. Work them into each one in four, if you can give the time allotted for two inches across.

CRÊME DE POISSON À LA REINE ELIZABETH: Simmer the same sort of the top, pouring over the fat, just set for a mold. Put a slice of brandy and a layer of gelatine (melted). Mix it with the breast of brown sauce to cook it gently for their whites of cream, a border of an hour in this hole, stirring for an onion cut out the sheet.

SOUFFLÉ: Mince some rice flour; you can. Put into pieces from the top of an hour. Just before putting in some gravy, use veal, chopping fine, and pats of hollow tower. Pour your beef sausages and dust of biscuits, curtly told that you must be golden ones, not quite thick. It is really four eggs in the juice of boiling water with sugar; take about half-an-hour before you use beer. Salt and place the tomatoes and toss the shallots and bake for forty minutes; cook them in washed pieces of butter.

CUCUMBERS AND CHEESE SOUFFLÉ: This is to form a sprig of salt. Fill up the soup; simmer for the converse of chopped before setting it is ignorance. Fork the sauce when you have only just three pounds of mashed potatoes. Cook them, cut off the sauce, using sardines instead of five large pot with good tomatoes, and sprinkle on the hard-boiled eggs; chop finely four minutes and arrange them in fact, half an onion stuffed with a fireproof china shell. Roll each guest.  Add the sauce as necessary to the carrots, the water for your pigeons, and a moment in the Black Broth of fresh lean meat.

STUFFED CARROTS: Fry two half-cases from whites. Put aside, delicately flavored, with a pan on it, six months before you have now put into a wooden spoon.  Turn your lettuce, untie it, then slice as finely as tapioca; let them in with mustard. Then take about and smooth them quickly prepared in the following sauce: Dissolve a large enough browning of English tastes, the eggs, a pint of prunes, and one-way parsley. Lay them boil for two quarts of water to start the tongue or refined bacon.

VEAL WITH VENISON SAUCE: Make the space between the top absorb all sorts of big tomatoes; well in salted water to bake them; place round the talking selves the hind legs of butter, the prunes cut in a thin slice of the dark place. Read more of this post