DIY Toiletries

Sponges that grow on trees, toothpaste, and deodorant—all made by you. Here are a few recipes for making your own, all-natural cleaning and refreshing products.
Loofa Sponge
Did you know a loofa sponge actually grows on a viny plant like a squash? How amazing. Here's how you can grow your own shower sponge in your backyard.

This annual requires a long growing season of frost free weather. But for those of you in colder climates it is possible to start seedlings indoors and then transplant them outside allowing you to grow your own sponges. The vine can grow to great lengths producing beautiful, yellow flowers all summer. Once the frost kills the vine (or the plant is fully mature), you can pick the fruit and peel the outer skin.
Then comes the process of “milking” the sponge- squeezing it repeatedly from the middle towards the ends in an attempt to remove the fleshy substance inside. Plenty of seeds will come out as well.


From The Old School
Making toothpaste at home with baking soda seems like a no brainer, until you actually do it and the result is gag-worthy at best. To navigate this battle of ease versus taste, we road-tested the top toothpaste recipes out there, and discovered a perfect potion that’s head and shoulders above the rest. Pepperminty goodness awaits.

  • 6 tsp baking soda (sodium bicarbonate)
  • 1 tsp stevia powder
  • 4 tsp vegetable glycerin or 2 tbsp organic coconut oil
  • 10 to 20 drops peppermint essential oil
  • measuring spoons
  • mixing bowl
  • airtight opaque container
Measure out and place ingredients into a small jar. Stir until it looks like toothpaste. Add a dime-size amount to your toothbrush and scrub away.

Here's a great deodorant recipe from Oh Dear Drea: 
The whole process takes all of two minutes. Feel free to use this recipe and this recipe as reference points. 

1/4 cup baking soda
1/4 cup Arrowroot Powder, 1 lb. or Bob's Red Mill makes some too.
6 tablespoons coconut oil
15 drops Eucalyptus Oil (or any essential oil)

Mix baking soda and arrowroot powder in a bowl. Add coconut and eucalyptus oil. Mix well. Scoop into jar. Keep in a cool-dry place or in fridge. The texture of the deodorant varies on the temperature of its environment.

Nicole Caldwell

Nicole Caldwell is a self-taught environmentalist, green-living savant and sustainability educator with more than a decade of professional writing experience. She is also the co-founder of Better Farm and president of betterArts. Nicole’s work has been featured in Mother Earth News, Reader’s Digest, Time Out New York, and many other publications. Her first book, Better: The Everyday Art of Sustainable Living, is due out this July through New Society Publishers.