[Food Stamp Food] DIY Cleaning & Personal Care Products,Made With Food Stamps Purchased Ingredients

SNAP allowances can only be used to purchase items that are for human consumption (with the exception of alcohol,of course).  You can’t  buy shampoo,deodorant, toothpaste, toilet bowl cleaner or laundry detergent with food stamps. Basically, if you can’t put it in your belly, you can’t use food stamps to buy it.

You know what you CAN buy with food stamps,though? Vinegar & baking soda. These 2 items can be used to make a gazillion things to clean your house, your things and parts of your self with and they’re both inexpensive.  I’ve been asked countless times for tips on how to score great deals on cleaning and personal care items or how to find the best coupons for such things and my answer is always ,”Don’t buy -DIY.”

You can also use food stamps to buy corn starch,lemon juice,oranges …and a few other ingredients you can use to make all-natural, frugal cleansers that actually work. One thing I have learned about being dirt poor is that the things that are most economically advantageous are also the most environmentally friendly, while also being non-toxic . It’s a nice incidental bonus.

In this post, I’ll cover all the things you can make yourself with vinegar, baking soda and a few other items purchased with food stamps.

Kitchen & Bathroom Cleansers

Vinegar alone will clean and disinfect all your surfaces, including cutting boards. It naturally kills bacteria,molds and mildews. Also, wiping your counter tops with vinegar on a cloth deters ants, so that’s an added bonus. To remove stains (especially tea and coffee) from dishes and counters, add a  tsp of salt to the vinegar.

On linoleum floors, 1/2 of vinegar in a gallon of warm water is a great floor shine,too

Both vinegar and baking soda, together or separately, removes odors from pretty much everything. Use them together as a drain cleaner.

You can also make a Citrus Scented Cleanser by places orange peels in a quart jar of vinegar. Let it sit for 2 weeks, then fill a spray bottle with half water and half the vinegar-orange solution. It works to clean every surface, with  that fresh, lemony scent.

My vinegar-orange peel mixture,brewing

You can use baking soda to make a Soft Scrub -like cleanser. Just put baking soda in a dish and add water to make a paste. you can also add a bit of liquid dish soap to it. It works great on stovetops, ovens, scouring countertops and cleaning the sink.You can also use the same pasty mixture to clean your cast iron pans and enamelware.

To clean toilets, just baking soda let to soak is supposed to do a good job.  I never get to find out exactly how well any toilet bowl cleaner works . The minute I put any sort of cleanser in the toilet, someone has to go pee, even if I just made the announcement, “I’m getting ready to clean the toilet! If you have to go, go NOW!” Those kids need to learn how to put a cork or tie a not in it,seriously.

Now, I have also heard that Tang and Coke both work well as a toilet bowl cleansers but I’ve never tried it. You can buy both of those with food stamps. I don’t suggest drinking either one of them, especially if it does such a great job at cleaning toilets. It does amuse me to think of buying soda to use for cleaning with all the talk lately of  not allowing food stamp recipient to use SNAP to buy soda . “But…but…I need it to clean my toilet!”.  If anyone has tried either Tang or soda to clean their toilet, tell me if it really does work.

Laundry

Like I said, baking soda and vinegar removes odors really well. When I have stinky towels or rags (we’re a paper-free household so especially the rags because you know…they sop up milk and crap like that) ,I let them soak in the washer with about 1/2 cup of baking soda. Then add some of my homemade laundry detergent to run the rest of the wash cycle. During the rinse cycle, I’ll add about 1/2 cup of vinegar to the rinse cycle. Vinegar is a great rinse and softens clothes,too. A lot of people are skeptical of this and are worried their clothes will smell like vinegar but trust me…no vinegar smell is left at all.

The same technique also works for cloth diapers,too.

You can also make smelly fabric softener:

6 Cups Water

2 Cups Hair Conditioner (You can use any kind, I did have the Suave Rosemary Mint on hand so I used that.)

3 Cups White Vinegar

Although you can’t buy hair conditioner with food stamps, you can buy the really super cheap Suave conditioner for less than a dollar.  The scent left behind is just a whiff…not overpowering like many of the store bought fabric softeners are. You don’t have to add it to the rinse cycle – you can instead soak a washcloth in it and throw it in the dryer , like a dryer sheet.

Deodorant

This recipe from Sustainable Utopia can be made entirely will ingredients you can purchase on food stamps. It’s simply:


  • Coconut Oil, any brand
  • Baking Soda
  • Cornstarch
Follow the pictorial here for complete instructions.
If coconut oil doesn’t seem like it would be the greatest way to spend limited food stamp dollars, check out all the things you can do with coconut oil. And if that’s not enough, there are 25 Magical Things to Make with Coconut Oil.
My Grandma used to use just corn starch as a deodorant. She used a powder puff to apply it. I don’t remember her ever being smelly so it must have worked ok.
Shampoo
I rarely use shampoo. Instead, I’ll use baking soda to clean, apple cider vinegar to rinse.  The times I’ll use a tiny dab of shampoo is when I’ve been doing something sweaty and dirty like gardening and feel the need to have a little something extra. Otherwise, baking soda and vinegar is all you really need.
The practice of not using shampoo has become known as No Poo , which kind of weirds me out. It’s also a little inconvenient to have to exlain that you’re referring to shampoo and not poo poo. Whatever you’d like to call it, it’s exactly what it sounds like :  Not using  shampoo to wash your hair.
I haven’t been able to convince anyone else in my household to be shampoo-free but it works for me.  The first week of shampoo detox is AWFUL. Just plain and simple ew. When you use shampoo, it strips all the essential oils   your hair has naturally. Quit using shampoo and your body makes more oil to compensate. I promise, after the first week when things are more balanced out, it’s all good. Make it through the first week and you’re golden.  You still clean your hair, you’re just not using shampoo anymore.
Here’s more on how to go Shampoo Free , including how to get it right for frizz-free curly hair:
Or if you’re no so into the No Poo scene, consider some Hair Smoothies for conditioning:
 More on Hair Smoothies…
Toothpaste
A simple baking soda & water paste is completely effective as a tooth paste but if you’re not that crazy about the sound of that (it doesn’t taste that great), this is a great recipe from One Good Thing by Jillee. Remember that coconut oil i mentioned back when I was talking about deodorant?  You can use that for this.

3 Tbsp coconut oil
3 Tbsp baking soda
25 drops peppermint essential oil
1 packet stevia
2 tsp vegetable glycerin (optional)

Put the coconut oil and baking soda in a bowl and mash up with a fork until blended. Add the peppermint essential oil, stevia and optional vegetable glycerin and continue to mash and stir until you’ve reached toothpaste consistency.

*EDIT* I’ll be updating this page with a lot of things I missed including. I’m finding that toddlers and older kids home on summer vacation aren’t exactly conducive to blogging ;-)

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As of  August 2013, I will be blogging about food scarcity,poverty and frugality at a new blog here: Poor as Folk

13 thoughts on “[Food Stamp Food] DIY Cleaning & Personal Care Products,Made With Food Stamps Purchased Ingredients

  1. I did a chemical free beauty challenge for a blog carnival back in January, so I started using a deodorant stone, I went no ‘poo (and I haven’t looked back. I went from having crap hair to having awesome hair) and started using baking soda toothpaste. All three were great changes that I’ve kept as a part of my regular routine.

    • I have recently tried the deodorant stone also, with good results. Before that I used fresh squeezed Lemon or Lime juice, air dried, and then powdered with corn starch to get rid of the little stickiness. Only had a problem where my skin was a little sensitive in the beginning and of course if I nicked with shaving, but otherwise it worked really well and smelled so fresh. One lemon or lime cut into wedges lasts 6-8 days refrigerated. in air tight container. Toss the used wedge into the bathroom trash can and you also have a natural room deodorizer. The deodorant stone will be more convenient than lemons or limes, when traveling.

    • I have recently tried the deodorant stone also, with good results. Before that I used fresh squeezed Lemon or Lime juice, air dried, and then powdered with corn starch to get rid of the little stickiness. Only had a problem where my skin was a little sensitive in the beginning and of course if I nicked with shaving, but otherwise it worked really well and smelled so fresh. One lemon or lime cut into wedges lasts 6-8 days refrigerated. in air tight container. Toss the used wedge into the bathroom trash can and you also have a natural room deodorizer. The deodorant stone will be more convenient than lemons or limes, when traveling.

  2. You can make your own vinegar as well. 1 cup of live cider(bragg’s) , 5 gallons of water(not sink water, it calls for distilled but I get the refillable 5 gallon jugs and fill them at the machines you find around town for.20 a gallon) and any fruit you have leftover(i used apple cores and peels). Put it all in a non reactive container with a lid. stir it everyday for month and then strain. 5 gallons of live vinegar for 1.00 and the cider you start with. The next batches you just use a cup of your vinegar for starter. Love it!!

    • YES! After I posted this ,I realized quite a bit that I left out. Keep meaning to edit to include the left-outs but haven’t had a chance to yet.
      One blogger I follow made a batch of peach vinegar recently :-)

    • I don’t have Bragg’s but I do have another brand of organic raw apple cider vinegar with the mother. Does it have to be Bragg’s?

      Once this is finished, is it edible, or is it just good for cleaning, rinse in the laundry, rinsing hair, etc.

      Can you mix different types of fruit peels? I may not have enough of one kind all at once. What approximate quantity of fruit peels do you need?

      Can you add fruit peels as you go along during the month, if you don’t have enough right at the start?

      Can the finished product be stored safely at room temperature?

      What kinds of things do you use your homemade vinegar for?

      I know this is a lot of questions. Thanks for your help. I am really excited to try this.
      Sue
      sueo_@hotmail.com (underscore between o_@)

  3. I LOVE the fabric softener idea. Does it keep them from getting all static-clingy? I’ve started using a half and half mix of castille soap for shampoo and the AC vinegar for rinse. and guess what? My itchy scalp of 20 years’ duration is GONE!!! Also, thanks to Funky Little Earthchild’s ideas, I’ve been using raw honey on my face, and the weird bumps I have on my forehead are going away!! I am absolutely LOVING this natural stuff. :)

  4. “On linoleum floors, 1/2 of vinegar in a gallon of warm water is a great floor shine,too”

    Is that 1/2 cup of vinegar? Does it matter what kind?

    Regarding cleaning toilets, I found that distilled vinegar works the best – it has a lower ph than the other vinegars.

  5. Pingback: [Food Stamp Food] DIY Cleaning & Personal Care Products,Made With Food Stamps Purchased Ingredients | Go Khloe

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