Tag Archives: baking soda

Reducing the Cleaning Bottles – Carpet Splotches

4 Jul

I spot cleaned my lounge carpet this morning. Squished raisins and bits of jam had taken their toll. For my own peace and sanity, we are not a family where the children eat at the dining table for every meal. Occasionally* they are not perfect, and spillage occurs.

To clean the mucky bits, I used:

  • A little water poured onto the spot.
  • A lemon duster to gently rub the spot.
  • Extra white vinegar from the spray bottle for the tricky spots.
  • A towel to soak up any excess moisture after cleaning.
  • Coffee to (carefully) drink afterwards while nodding appreciatively at the clear carpet.

It worked extremely well – although the proof will be in a couple of weeks, whether the mucky patches come back (this happens if you don’t clean the carpet right through the fibres to the base). There will be future stains like red wine and chicken poo that may not come out so easily. Always interesting to have new challenges.

‘Carpet Spot Cleaner’ is now another cleaner I don’t have to fork out for. Gradually I’m reducing my cleaning cupboard supplies. I hope to just end up with lemon dusters, baking soda, vinegar and bleach. It’s remarkable how much money we spend on cleaning products which are unnecessary.

*quite often


Making the Most of a Warm Autumn Day

26 May


We’ve had a cracker weekend of sunshine. So the garlic went into a horse-poo prepared bed. This was horse poo we bought for .50c from the side of the road on the outskirts of Christchurch. Apparently the moon is not in the best place for planting garlic, but I’m not prepared to wait for the next sunny spell at this time of year. I also sowed silverbeet seeds (for the fickle chickens who have decided they like it for now), parsnips, and bok choy. They’re all sitting snug in my homemade propagation box.

Over the past few years, as I’ve eased my way into vege gardening, I’ve realised just how regularly you need to sow seeds to keep the pantry full. It’s not a matter of sowing over a few weeks in Spring and leaving the garden to do the rest. If I haven’t sown any seeds for a few weeks, I start getting worried, even in the winter.

Other eco-friendly ways we took advantage of the sunny weather were:

  • Raking up the leaves from the cherry tree, loading them onto the compost.
  • Doing as much clothes washing as possible and drying it outside. We have no dryer, so this is important.
  • Cutting back the AkeAke so it lets more sunlight in the window (on sunny days we rely on the sun warming up the house in the afternoons, delaying switching on the heatpump).

While I was on the green roll, I also sprinkled baking soda over all the carpets, had a coffee, then vacuumed it all up. The baking soda acts as a natural deodoriser. Much cheaper and easier than buying some of that carpet shakey-powder stuff that smells like toilet spray. No stupid packaging either.

Obviously it’s now time for a wine and a block of Whittakers chocolate.

The Worst Chore Made Easy

22 May

I was stuck at home with a tired, asthmatic child today, so was not in a particularly Creative Save The Planet frame of mind. Squishing some cleaning between Takahe work and hangin’ with the six-year-old was the order of the day.

I’ve been thinking about how grubby parts* of the shower are for the past week. Sadly, thinking about it did not make it clean. This morning I sprinkled baking soda liberally in the shower, then went away, had coffee, did work, played with Lego etc. A bit later I sprayed it with white vinegar. I used lots of vinegar, mainly because it makes an excellent and satisfying fizzy sound as it lifts all the grime off. I gave it a bit of a scrub, and was very pleased indeed when I hardly had to use any elbow grease at all. Less than when I use conventional bath/shower cleaners with stupid packaging.

My good friend/business partner/bridesmaid-to-be uses this method regularly and swears by it. She also recommends a spray (1/3 bleach, 2/3 water) to disinfect loos and sinks after cleaning. Quite amazing how much faster you can walk down the cleaning product aisle of the supermarket (or bypass it altogether) when you have these little tricks up your sleeve.

No photo today because showers are boring.

*because my family uses baking soda to shampoo and apple cider vinegar as a conditioner,  the bottom part of the shower is actually very white and clean – just round the edges that is grimy.  Though if your shower is grimy all the way through, I do not judge. You probably have a life to live which is more exciting than shower-cleaning.

Loo-Cleaning Magic

14 May

And now . . . to the unglamorous subject of toilet cleaning. Buying detergents for toilets is crazy – (weak pun alert) – it’s like throwing money down the toilet. Plus a ridiculous waste of packaging.

Shake a bit of the ol’ baking soda (the very stuff I wash my hair with) into the toilet. Have a coffee, or wine, then give it a bit of a scrub around with a toilet brush and flush. Sparkly white toilet hurrah! Not rocket science. If you want it to smell nice, open a window. Plant lavender or daphne underneath the window if you’re that worried about what your guests think. These two Kiwi women have great ideas about baking soda and DIY cleaning stuff:



Obviously no photo today. It’s not a pretty subject.

In other news, I sold the last of my hellebore clumps to a fancy hotel in town today. Warm fuzzies!

Sustainability Wenchy-Updates

9 May

I’ve had some great feedback and ideas since starting this blog, and also have updates on some of my experiments, so I thought I’d share them with you.

Porridge Saves the Day

Porridge and Peaches

I had some tasty and simple (in style of Sustainability Wench) ideas via my Facebook page on the topic of porridge.

My friend Joanna recommended this to me:

“Before serving porridge mash banana into the bottom of each bowl then pour porridge over the top. Continue to serve as per usual. As you eat the top of the porridge the banana underneath cooks, until eventually you eat down far enough to strike the caramelised treasure- yummo!!!”

Cindy suggested this:

“I have porridge every morning made with milk (made just for me, kids have cereal at the mo) and add ground linseed and when cook pour over frozen blueberries – yummmmmo. Sometimes I get it ready at night and let the oats soften and soak in the milk”.

And my favourite comes from Belinda who recommends:

“Sometimes I make chocolate porridge (although not for breakfast) by adding chunks of rich, dark chocolate…finished off with cream of course”.

Selling The Goods

Plant Sale

We’ve had the plant stall out by the street for five days. Yesterday an Aloe and coriander seeds got nicked. Boo to them. Will now only put it out when I’m home. One woman I met who bought some hellebores, is keen to exchange bottled pears for native seedlings. Warm Fuzzies all round.

Aloe Aloe Aloe

Aloe Face

Am still LOVING this pampering once a week, with no freaky reactions. It’s not for everyone, but it suits my skin type and is super-easy.

Crazy Chemical Free Shampoo

Baking soda

This was perhaps the weirdest experiment I’ve ever undertaken, but I’m very much still enjoying the results. Last week I had to use the dregs of the shampoo as we’d run out of baking soda. After the first wash, my hair felt all nice and shiny, but all subsequent washes resulted in limp static icky hair. Back to the baking soda.

Aphids Suck

Aphid juice

Much to my delight, this actually worked. I used the treatment three times (every few days). I kept the mixture in easy reach in the kitchen so I could Grab and Spray. Once I forgot to rinse the plants. The plants survived. No sign of aphids for the past couple of weeks at all.

Compost Love


Now the rain has been falling, my compost is a thriving hub of worms. They have used no contraceptives at all, based on the huge increase in numbers. I’ve been able to dig right to the bottom (access from the side), and use the delicious compost at the bottom to feed my broad beans. Winning with the compost.

A Day of Hippiness

2013-04-11 09.19.53

My home-brewed rosehip and almond oil has been lovely to use. Still a bit weird-smelling, but it feels great on my skin. I think it’s lifespan is fairly short though, so I’ll need to stop using it in a week or so. Next year I’ll make less, and give more away so that it doesn’t go to waste.




Crazy Chemical-Free Shampoo

19 Apr

Last week I mentioned that I’d started trying baking soda as a shampoo replacement. This is one of the weirdest things I’d heard of recently, but in the name of sustainability, I thought I should give it a go. There are probably many ways of applying baking soda that are documented on the internet, but if it involves mixing, it’s cutting into Coffee-Time. My technique was:

  • Wet hair.
  • Shake baking powder onto hand.
  • Quickly chuck it onto hair and massage.
  • Repeat for longer hair.

It’s a very odd feeling rubbing a powder onto your hair, and it doesn’t create that artificial silkiness that chemicals can provide.  As soon as I used it however, I could feel all the cheap icky supermarket shampoo build-up washing out. My hair was soft and bouncy. After a few days, the ends starting drying out quite a bit (I’ve got medium-length hair), so I’ve been experimenting with the occasional spritz of apple cider vinegar (then rinsing) on the ends. I’ve also been careful about the parts of my scalp I apply the baking soda to, trying to concentrate on just the oilier bits.

I definitely recommend trying it, perhaps for a few days when you have no important events happening.  Also make sure you clean the baking soda out of your ears.  My sister has very short hair and is now a baking soda convert. I’ll keep trying it for another few weeks, but if the ends still crisp up, I’ll stick to using it once a week to clear the supermarket shampoo out.

Baking soda

A Day of Hippiness

11 Apr

Last weekend I snaffled a bag of plumpy squishy rosehips from a friend’s garden. I thought about rosehip jelly, but the price of fancy rosehip oil and the discovery of a slow-cooker recipe, compelled me to make my own almond rosehip oil for my face. By doing this, I hoped to:

  • Save loads of dosh by making my own.
  • Know what exactly goes into what goes on my face.
  • Look supermodel-ish.
  • Feel all warm and fuzzy about making something from what would have been chucked out.

The recipe involved chopping the ends off a cup of rosehips, stewing them in a crockpot with a cup of almond oil for about four hours, then straining and decanting into dark bottles. Disturbingly, it smelled a bit like roast lamb. But it looked beautiful once strained. I’ll be testing it in the morning, maybe with some roast potatoes and mint sauce.

In other news, I washed my hair with baking soda this morning. The weirdest thing, it actually worked, and stripped all the supermarket shampoo build-up. Check out Lyn here http://pigtitsandparsleysauce.co.nz/. She is my new hero, and is a guru of baking soda tips.