October 25, 2009

Adventures in DIY

So I'm minorly obsessed with doing things myself. I just find it enormously satisfying if I can make or do something myself instead of paying someone or buying something to do it for me.

Oh, and I'm really cheap. Did I mention that?

A few weeks ago, my husband and I were talking about something he'd read re: all the harmful chemicals in toothpaste. This isn't exactly breaking news; it does say right on the tube to call Poison Control if you ingest more than a pea-sized amount (ever notice they squirt on, like, five times that amount in toothpaste commercials? Eek.).

But it made me start thinking: Surely someone's figured out a way to make something at home that will do the job just as well. Maybe it won't taste the same as Crest, or have those fun Aquafresh stripes, but at least work just as well? Yes?

So I hopped on Ye Olde Inter-web, and...wow. Not only are people doing this, a LOT of people are doing this. And there are gajillions of different "recipes" out there.

So, about a week ago, I tried it.

Per one of the recipes I found, I combined equal parts baking soda and hydrogen peroxide with a little water, and mixed it up into a paste. Easy.

Then the recipes said to mix in a flavoring of your choice. I scoured my cupboards and decided to try vanilla and peppermint extract (I wisely left the balsamic vinegar alone), and mixed up separate batches of each.

Then, I sample-brushed.

OK, vanilla? NOT good. The only way I can describe it is the evil, nasty cousin of a cookie. It was terrible. NOT recommended.

The mint? Not bad! It certainly wasn't as minty as, say, Colgate or Crest. And, somewhat disappointingly, there wasn't the fun toothpaste foam you typically get while you're brushing your teeth. But? My teeth felt REALLY clean. And making toothpaste like this vs. buying it at $3-4 a pop SPEAKS to the inner cheapie in me.

The only problems for my maiden voyage:
  1. The hydrogen peroxide left sort of a chemical-y aftertaste.
  2. Storage. I mixed up this batch in a tiny bowl, and it dried out overnight. If I was going to make it this way, I'd have to mix up a tiny single serving every time I brushed.

So, lessons learned:

  1. I'm bagging the hydrogen peroxide next time and just going with baking soda and some sort of minty extract (peppermint worked great, and I'm thinking of trying wintergreen, too).
  2. I bought a couple of tiny Gladware-type containers in which to store the next batch; they should keep the paste from drying up.
  3. I'm definitely going to do this again! It's super cheap and better for me, too.

(I also make my own exfoliant, but I'll write about that some other time.)

As a tie-in, my friend and family member 65 Roses for Marcia recently had a GREAT post, talking about all kinds of great home cleaning products you can make yourself, including homemade laundry detergent (which I've always wanted, but have been too chicken, to try). If you're interested in this type of thing, check it out.

Any ideas for my next project? Anything you make at home that most people usually buy from a store? Please share. :)

2 backtalk:

Iris Took said...

Wow! I might try that. I get really annoyed that products that you NEED (ahem, the feminine sort) and toothpaste are so expensive. Have you seen the cost of contact solution? Try $15 a bottle. Not cool.

Written Permission said...

Ugh -- and contact solution is, essentially, salt water. How'd they manage to put such a premium on THAT? Yeah, yeah, sterilization, blah, blah -- it still shouldn't cost $15.

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