Castile Soap All-Purpose Cleaner



Castile Soap All Purpose Cleaner: While I LOVE my vinegar cleaner (Jess’s recipe) my husband does not like the smell and complains constantly about it. So I decided to mess around with two favorite ingredients: Dr. Bronner’s Unscented Baby Mild Liquid Castile Soap (whew that’s long!) and Essential Oils! In fact this is an adaptation of the foaming hand soap that I posted awhile back…I have tried… this for a week on EVERYTHING from kitchen counters to toilets and WOW it cleans SO well and smells great too…thought I would share!!
***20oz hot water (I feel things mix better when initially warm to hot)
***1/3 c. liquid castile soap
***2 caps full (approx 15-20 drops) tea tree oil
***Mix it up!
Note: I prefer the baby mild because it is unscented and I can buy one large thing of it and use it from hair, face, kids, etc etc and it still cleans well. You can cheat and use the Tea Tree Dr. B’s…that would work as well…or you can use unscented and flavor with a citrus one as those tend to cut grease and sanitize well too!
2nd note: this can get a bit soapy if you use too much, a little goes a long way. After I clean I always go over with a hot damp cloth and dry with a microfiber cloth.
I’m telling you my counters are sparkling, I would let my kids eat off this counter, the smell is pleasant and I am officially in love



Printable Non-GMO shopping guide



Who Owns Organic?


Finally– the updated version of “Who owns Organic” is out, the previous version was from way back in 2009. ALWAYS eye-opening! “The latest update now includes the top 100 food processors in North America.” What does this mean?  I compare it to the fact that Tom’s of Maine is owned by Colgate, and Burt’s Bees by  Clorox. Many feel different about those products when they find that out. I used to buy Back to Nature organic Mac-N-Cheese, until I found out they were owned by Kraft. Big companies buy up smaller organic companies because as we all know organic is big business. I’ve gone back to buying Annie’s organic Mac-n-Cheese, even though it is $.50 more/box. Some of these big companies oppose GMO-labeling (not positive which ones, but I’m sure some did). It goes back to voting with our dollars, and many choose to support independently owned companies vs all our money going back to Haines, Kraft, etc….

Link to chart:

Link to Private Label Organic brands:

Link to Independent Organic brands:


For the Record

I thought I’d share the following with you:
A. I turned down an offer to buy this page.
B. I turned down an offer for commission to help sell eco-products.
C. I turned down an offer for base salary & commission to sell eco-products.
We never got as far as discussing numbers. While  making money is tempting, I just felt it wasn’t the direction I wanted to go. Especially with babe #2 joining us soon,… I’m not looking for extra work right now. We’re able to pay our bills & put healthy, organic food on the table, so I have no worries! While I may pitch Vitacost & my homemade deodorant for sale occasionally, I feel getting paid to promote products waters down my mission. Thought y’all may be interested in knowing that 🙂
Fb thread with comments:

Deodorant Crystals- are they safe?


I’ve had several questions recently about the deodorant crystals, sprays, roll-on’s. I think Naturally Fresh is the most well-known, and I used to use it myself before making my own as I felt it was a safe alternative to Tom’s, Nature’s Gate, etc. It’s readily available at Wal-Mart & other big box stores. BUT, is it safe? Many of the labels list “mineral salts” as a main ingredients. What are these mineral salts? As I’ve stated many times, I’m not a chemist, and always appreciate feedback from those of you who are. I’ve read many conflicting articles on this topic. I always advocate for erring on the side of caution, and since there is a shred of doubt in my mind about these, I can’t recommend them without concern. Here’s some of the issues regarding them, gathered from differing sources:

Naturally Fresh Deodorant Crystal Roll-on: “Aqua (Purified Water), Natural Mineral Salts (Potassium Alum), Zinc Ricinoleate, Xanthan Gum, Chamomile Extract (Anthemis Nobilis Flower), Phenoxyethanol (4 rating via EWG).

Naturally Fresh Spray Mist:  Aqua (Purified Water), Natural Mineral Salts (Potassium Alum).

Naturally Fresh Deodorant Crystal: Natural Mineral Salts (Ammonium Alum), Aloe Vera (Aloe Barbadensis Extract).

From Dr. Mercola’s site: “Some of the most popular natural deodorants are the “crystal” deodorant stones and sprays. But most people don’t know that these crystal deodorant products contain aluminum. The crystal deodorant stones are made from alum. The most widely used form of alum used in the personal care industry is potassium alum. The full chemical name of potassium alum is potassium aluminum sulfate. Let’s get this straight. Even though aluminum is widely distributed in the earth’s crust, it is NOT needed in ANY amounts in your body. All evidence to date points to aluminum as a poison that serves no beneficial role in your body and should be avoided. Aluminum is widely recognized as a neurotoxin, which has been found in increased concentrations in the brains of people with Alzheimer’s disease.Unfortunately, if you use antiperspirants or some deodorants, you are most likely exposing yourself to aluminum. Aluminum salts can account for 25 percent of the volume of some antiperspirants. A review of the common sources of aluminum exposure for humans found that antiperspirant use can significantly increase the amount of aluminum absorbed by your body. According to the review, after a single underarm application of antiperspirant, about .012 percent of the aluminum may be absorbed. Multiply this by one or more times a day for a lifetime and you can have a massive exposure to aluminum — a poison that is not meant to be in your body. Antiperspirants work by clogging, closing, or blocking the pores that release sweat under your arms — with the active ingredient being aluminum. Not only does this block one of your body’s routes for detoxification (releasing toxins via your underarm sweat), but it raises concerns about where these metals are going once you roll them (or spray them) on.”

EWG rates it at a 1, but with limited data:

Concerns listed: Organ system toxicity: Classified as expected to be toxic or harmful by Environment Canada Domestic Substance List.

Ecotoxicology: Suspected to be an environmental toxin and be persistent or bioaccumulative.

From The People’s Pharmacy, a radio program I catch weekly on NPR: “It will probably take many more years to resolve the controversy about any relationship between aluminum and breast cancer. In the meantime, people who seek to avoid aluminum in their armpits will probably want to look beyond crystal-type natural deodorants. Many people find that milk of magnesia applied to the underarm helps against odor, so that may be an attractive alternative:”

From Naturally Fresh’s Website: Do your products contain aluminum? No, Naturally Fresh Deodorant Crystals contain the naturally occurring compound Alum (Potassium or Ammonium), not to be confused with harmful processed aluminum (Aluminum Zirconium or Aluminum Chlorohydrate). Technically speaking, aluminum is a metal while Alum is a compound.  Many of these processed aluminum molecules can be absorbed into the skin and bloodstream. Alum molecules create a barrier against odor causing bacteria and contain a large molecule which does not penetrate the surface of the skin.

Another online article: “Potassium alum is a naturally occurring form of aluminum salt. The difference between potassium alum and aluminum chlorohydrate is that potassium alum is a much larger molecule, not thought to be absorbable through human skin.”

***I AM NOT posting this to sell my own deodorant, I want to share my concerns regarding this product. As one mama put it, she’s eliminated aluminum from her kitchen & everywhere else in her house, why would she roll it on her skin daily? I want you to know that I do make deodorant, which is safe enough to eat, yet the most effective natural deodorant I’ve ever used. It is available to purchase, and I’ll always share the recipe for those that want to make your own!

–Recipe with tons of Q & A:

–Info on purchasing mine:

MamaSuds Review


Original review of castile & laundry soap published May 14, 2013. Updated 8/10/2016 to include automatic dish powder review & current prices.

Review of Castile & liquid laundry soap handmade & bottled by MamaSuds, located in Goodrich, MI. As all of us have different water types & expectations, of course results will vary. These are my experiences with these products, and I don’t expect any product to satisfy 100% of the people who try it…

Laundry Soap- 1 gal= $26, cloth diaper safe. Also a borate-free option for $27. Ingredients: Castile soap, water, sodium bicarbonate, sodium tetraborate. If you’ve been on my page for very long, you’ll know I’m a huge fan of soap nuts. If you’re new to the page, well, I’m a huge fan of soap nuts   However, not everyone who has tried them loves them as much as I do, so I was happy to try out the laundry soap from MamaSuds to have an alternate recommendation for a liquid laundry soap. Normally I don’t use products containing Borax (sodium tetraborate) in my home. Many are fine using it for laundry & even dishes, but the research I’ve done on it has led me to look for alternatives that don’t contain it (many with very sensitive skin have issues with it). However, this recipe uses 1/3 cup per 5 gallon batch, so one gallon has very, very little, and each load has a miniscule amount (many homemade recipes call for equal parts Borax & Washing Soda, so it’s being used in high amounts). So, what’s the purpose of such a tiny amount? Michelle, the mama behind MamaSuds, who was great at answering any questions I had, said this: “it allows clothes to absorb the soap to get out stains and rinse clean (no residue), chemically it raises the Ph of the water. I used a lot trial an error and this was the least amount I could use to get the formula to a 9.5 Ph.”


I put my soap nuts aside for a few weeks & put this liquid laundry soap to the test on our daily laundry, and cloth diapers. It did a great job! Our daily laundry consists mainly of normal daily wear & tear, and dirt/mud stains this time of year, as Spring finally arrived and we spend a great portion of our day outside. I have no complaints whatsoever about it not getting my clothes as clean as I’d like. It did great on the diapers too. I also was impressed with how soft everything felt when transferring it to the dryer or line, and even after it was done drying (I use dryer balls, not fabric softener). It does not produce bubbles, something I was used to as soap nuts don’t either (bubbles require additional ingredients, I’m fine going without- the fewer ingredients the better is my motto). I used ¼ cup for diapers (2 oz.) and 3/8 cup (3 oz.) for a large load of laundry.  I have a top-loading regular (not HE) machine.

Info about the liquid laundry soap from MamaSuds website: Enjoy a chemical free, all natural laundry soap product made by hand and bottled by hand. We first developed this product to clean our cloth diapers and use it for all of our household laundry. Using our all natural castile soap developed by MamaSuds, we now offer a low cost high quality alternative laundry soap for cleaning cloth diapers and everyday laundry.

For normal loads of laundry – use two ounces of our MamaSuds Laundry Soap per load. For cleaning cloth diapers use two to four ounces of MamaSuds Laundry Soap per load. Do you have a High Efficiency laundry machine? Then MamaSuds laundry soap is a must have – only ONE OUNCE PER LOAD!

Castile Soap- $10.50/ 16 oz. bottle, can add essential oils for an extra $.50. Ingredients: olive oil, saponified lye, distilled water. “MamaSuds Castile Soap is perfect for cleaning ANYTHING around the house… From babies to toilets! 100% vegan, not tested on animals and made of pure olive oil. All natural, chemical free, bottled by hand.”


I am (and I know many of you are) a huge fan of castile soap. Dr. Bronner’s is the most well-known brand, and what I normally recommend for an all-purpose soap. Several of you have commented in the past that you feel Dr. Bronner’s is harsh on your skin (although many making such comments weren’t aware of the need/ability to dilute it). Dr. Bronner’s does contain Citric Acid (EWG rates it a 2), an ingredient I was happy to see this castile soap doesn’t!  The same size bottle of Dr. Bronner’s (16 oz.) costs a little over $10 on their website, compared to $7 for a bottle from MamaSuds. Dr. Bronner’s does use a combination of 4 organic oils vs. just the olive oil in MamaSuds, but again, less ingredients isn’t a bad thing, especially considering MamaSuds doesn’t use Citric Acid. How does it work? I feel it works just as good as Dr. Bronner’s. I diluted some 50/50 with water in my foaming hand soap dispenser, and was very impressed with the lather it produced. I used it for a few other things I would normally use Dr. Bronner’s for, like shaving my legs, and as a body wash, and it honestly worked just as well. I have no hesitation recommending MamaSuds castile soap, or laundry soap (which has their castile soap as a primary ingredient). I know many of you are looking to support fellow mamas vs. large companies, and this is a chance for you to do so.

Here is a list of uses for the castile soap, from MamaSuds website (not all-inclusive): Can Be Used To Clean Everything! From Babies to Toilets!

•Body Wash

•Shaving “cream”

•Baby Wash – This also works great as a head to toe baby wash. You do have to be a little careful with it around their eyes because it’s not tear-free, but especially if you dilute it, it shouldn’t be too much of a problem. •Hand Soap

•Baby Wipes Solution– I use castile soap mixed with water as a homemade solution for my baby wipes. These wipes are great for changing diapers, but also great just to use for wiping hands and faces after eating, for cleaning spots of spit-up or other stains off of clothing, just about anything you would use a disposable baby wipe for.

•Homemade Multipurpose Cleaner





$16/ 30 ounces net weight / 60-90 loads. Ingredients: non-GMO citric acid, sodium bicarbonate, sodium percarbonate, sodium carbonate.

The dish powder works amazingly well for me, and I have very hard well water & no water softener. I use vinegar in the rinse compartment as instructed. I’ve not had great luck with natural auto dish detergents, but am very, very pleased with this. As with all products, results will vary from household to household. The outcome greatly depends on your machine, water type, and expectations. I HIGHLY recommend starting with a sample as they are available for only $5 & you can try several loads out! One other thing that really helps is I clean my filter after every other use, it really makes a difference in how sparkly my dishes come out!

Michelle has greatly expanded her line since I 1st did my review 3 years ago. Other popular items are her toilet bombs and lotions. She also has a pet shampoo, body wash, deodorant, bug spray, sun cream & several other items that are all made with minimal, safe, yet effective ingredients.

From their website: A little bit about us MamaSuds was the vision of a mother of two who was always seeking for an affordable yet safe way to clean her home and family. Michelle (mama) wanted to find an affordable cloth diaper detergent that rinsed, cleaned, and actually got the soil and stink out of the diapers! Michelle started searching detergents and wondered, why is everything that is natural, safe, and chemical-free come with a hefty price tag? After several recipes, she started giving it to friends and family to try. Shortly after Michelle started making all the soap in the house, and her husband Jim thought if their family benefited from the soap, why wouldn’t other families? MamaSuds was born!

How MamaSuds got started. From Michelle: ” I just finished watching the documentary Food, inc., and while it really enraged me at the core, it really reminded me of how I started this journey that I am on. I have struggled a little bit along the way because I didn’t know where my path was leading me, and my Type A mentality was having trouble understanding how to go down a path without having a plan or a backup plan. The journey started when I began learning about essential oils and their natural healing ability. Then I decided to make my own baby food which led me looking into cloth diapers. While I was informing myself about cloth diapers and convincing my husband of all the benefits we had purchased new nursery furniture for our second baby that was on the way. I had left a bottle of Name-brand baby soap on the nursery dresser and it had fallen over and leaked a tiny amount onto the furniture. After I noticed it, I wiped it off to see it had eaten the varnish off of the new furniture. I remember thinking, huh- if it does that to furniture what’s it doing to the skin of a baby. This of course sent me straight to the Internet to research baby soap and I opened a whole world that I was not prepared for! I bought Castile soap off the Internet and was pretty happy with it except for the fact that it was expensive and I thought, hey let’s look to see if I can make it myself (I don’t have enough to do as it is, haha) Turns out, you can make it yourself but it’s daunting (potassium hydroxide is not easy to find or fun to work with) and it takes hours to make. Nonetheless, I made a few batches and was extremely satisfied. At the same time I was trying out recipes for laundry soap that would clean my cloth diapers.

My point is, sometimes you just have to let the path lead you, even when you can’t see around the corner. I just kept “making it myself” because it felt gratifying and it was for the good of my family. So after watching that riveting documentary it made me realize my Journey is really a path of Getting Back to Basics. Our Earth is an amazing place that really can provide us with everything that we need to be healthy! If I can make it and feel gratified and proud to use it on my family, I feel like it is good enough for yours!”

Please check out her website & Facebook pages:


FB page:




One of the most awesome things about this page has been connecting with all you mamas out there who are trying your hardest to do what’s best for your families. It’s one thing we ALL have in common, no matter where we’re from, what our back…grounds are, regardless of politics, religion, etc. It warms my heart every day. We all have rough days, it isn’t always easy, but I think most of us would all agree that being a mama is the most amazing, rewarding part of our lives. HAPPY MAMAS DAY ♥♥♥

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