DIY or Store Bought? What Natural Products Should You Make, and Which Should You Buy?

store boughtThe more I learn about the ingredients in store bought products, the less I want to use them. There are some great natural and organic products available, but they can be on the pricey side. When finances are tight, it’s hard to make room in the budget for expensive cleaning products and toiletries. What can you do? DIY! I make several of our home products myself. There are a few that I still buy, though. Which products do I buy, which do I make, and why? Keep reading!

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Toiletries

  • Toothpaste: Make. Even natural toothpastes have glycerin, which prevents teeth from remineralizing.
  • Mouthwash: Make. There are some nasty ingredients in store bought mouthwash. No thanks. (You can find my homemade mouthwash and toothpaste here.)store bought
  • Shampoo and conditioner: Buy. I tried DIY and my hair looked horrible. My hair gets oily if I don’t wash it every day anyway. After trying homemade for 4 months, I couldn’t get past that stage where your hair is super oily. It looked like I washed my hair in cooking oil and I was afraid to put my head on my pillow at night. I finally tried this tea tree shampoo and conditioner and love it! My hair is healthier and thicker than it’s ever been, and it keeps my husband’s dandruff away. Even special dandruff shampoos couldn’t keep it under control.
  • Hand soap. Make. Fill a 16 ounce pump bottle mostly with water and then add about 2 teaspoons of castile soap. Then add 5-10 drops of grapefruit seed extract to keep bacteria from forming and then add essential oils. I like to change it up. Sometimes I go for a citrus scent, other times I might add cinnamon or patchouli. My husband likes a more masculine scent now and then.
  • Hand sanitizer. Make. I can’t tolerate the scent of store bought hand sanitizers. My homemade version can be found in this post.
  • Soap/body wash. Buy. I’m still a little nervous to try making soap. I’m probably intimidated by nothing, but still. I like this tea tree soap because it disinfects. Tea tree is highly recommended for controlling MRSA. (You can read all about my battle with MRSA in this 3 part series. Part 1; Part 2; Part 3.) store bought
  • Lotion: Mixed. I’ve been buying this one, but am now trying DIY lotion bars. (Find them here.) I’ll let you know in a future post which I prefer.
  • Deodorant: Buy. I tried homemade and it caused me to break out. I like a couple of different store bought options, but this one is my favorite right now.
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Cleaning Supplies

  • All-purpose cleaner: Make. This is super easy and can be made for pennies. I mix equal store boughtparts vinegar and water, then add tea tree oil and peppermint oil. Easy-peasy and is great for counter tops, sinks, bathtubs, even the toilet. The essential oils add disinfecting power and make this cleaner smell great.
  • Disinfectant: Make. This is also super easy. I use equal parts hydrogen peroxide and water. You can also add essential oils for scent if you like. The all-purpose cleaner above will also disinfect, though, if you don’t want to make two cleaners.
  • Powder cleanser: Not sure whether to say I buy this one or make it. I use straight up baking soda. It whitens and scrubs. I use it in my bathtub to get rid of the orange discoloration from our hard water. It’s also great for cleaning stubborn dishes and whitening coffee mugs. A word of caution: Baking soda will scratch certain surfaces.store bought
  • Dish soap: Buy. I tried a couple of homemade versions that didn’t get my dishes clean. I also tried a couple of natural ones from the store that didn’t work so great, either. For a while I used Dawn but still wasn’t happy with the ingredients. I finally tried Seventh Generation and it worked! It works as well as Dawn but with better ingredients. It comes in 3 varieties-Free and Clear, Clementine and Lemongrass, and Lavender. This one is my favorite.
  • Laundry soap: Buy. I have not tried homemade laundry soap, but I have read mixed reviews and am a bit leery. I like Ecos laundry detergent. (Find it here.) It’s a plant-based cleaner that works even better than All Free and Clear, which is what I had been using. I like the free and clear version of Ecos, but they do have a few other options available.
  • Fabric softener: I simply add vinegar to the rinse cycle of my washing machine.
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In tomorrow’s post, I will break down the cost of homemade versus store bought products. What homemade items do you like? Let me know in the comments below! Then read more on natural living:

9 Natural DIY Essentials

DIY Disinfecting Spray

10 Ways to Use Beeswax

12 thoughts on “DIY or Store Bought?

  1. Great guide! I’ve been trying to do more natural DIY stuff, so this is really helpful for someone like me who’s starting out! I made my own deodorant but I think I had a reaction to it so I had to stop. Can’t wait to explore some of the others!

    1. I had a problem with my homemade deodorant because the baking soda was throwing off my ph balance. I have to make sure any I buy aren’t made with baking soda.

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