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DIY personal care products

Antibacterial green tea mouthwash, anyone? How about herbal lip balm, eco-friendly detergent or reusable toilet paper?

By Donna_Freedman Sep 2, 2011 9:21AM
An estimated 45 million Americans don't have dental insurance. I don't have it myself. What I do have is a dental hygienist sister whose boss who lets her clean and X-ray my teeth for free.

Coupons and in-store rebates cover the costs of toothpaste and floss. But suppose you prefer an all-natural approach?

Heather Levin can help. Her guest post at Money Crashers, "Natural homemade toothpaste and mouthwash on a budget," offers recipes for products such as coconut toothpaste, antibacterial green tea mouthwash and a "toothache-zapping rinse."

(Note: Since the toothpaste does not contain fluoride, Levin suggests using it only some of the time.)

You needn't stop at oral hygiene, though. The blogosphere is full of DIY home and health products.

Tipnut offers not one but 10 different ways to make your own laundry soap. The unsigned author said these homemade suds really work. At one point the writer was regularly laundering work clothes worn by a mechanic.

"Making your own laundry detergent is a discipline and it's not for everyone, but it definitely saves money -- sometimes just costing pennies a load," the writer said.

We dedicated couponers and deal-watchers can obtain laundry detergent for pennies a load, too. Yet some people might choose to make their own for environmental reasons: They aren't using colors, dyes or chemicals, and reuse large containers for a long time vs. buying and tossing detergent bottles. Post continues after video.

No more tangles
Most of those detergent recipes call for washing soda. If you can't find it locally, check out a post called "Homemade washing soda" over at Penniless Parenting.

The process is pretty simple: Put baking soda into a dish and bake it in the oven until it becomes washing soda. (Don't worry: Penny explains how you'll know when that alchemy occurs.)

Penny's site also offers tips on things such as making stick deodorant (not the salt-crystal kind) and mixing your own homemade hair detangler. She even tells you how to make reusable toilet paper, which she calls "family cloths" -- this, too, is not for everyone but is certainly a money-saver.

Blogger Miranda Rommel of An Austin Homestead reveals "how to make natural lotion at home." It looks complex but Rommel says the process takes about half an hour. (Hint: You use a blender.)

Since she does not include preservatives, the lotion needs to be used within two to three months, "which won't be a problem because it's so darned nice!" (Sign me up for the lemongrass scented variety, please.) I'd look for a second blender for this, preferably at a yard sale or thrift store.

What kinds of things do you concoct at home that other people tend to buy ready-made?

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