If you want to make your home as eco-friendly as possible, there’s a lot more you can do than just recycle or remember to turn off the lights. From making your own laundry soap to finally finding a purpose for that old stump out in the backyard, there are plenty of green DIY projects to give as gifts too. Living a green and healthy lifestyle has many benefits not only to your health but to the earth.
Four simple ideas:
1. Easy-to-Make Laundry Soap
In an infographic by Bright Nest, it’s listed that the average American household has around 25 gallons of nasty, toxic chemicals just hanging around in closets and on shelves. These chemicals include cleaning solutions, store-bought laundry detergent and more. To learn more about the health hazard of laundry detergents check out – “How Toxic Is Your Laundry Detergent?
Fortunately, it is super easy to make your own laundry detergent.
All you need is:
- One bar of laundry soap—(which you can find at a hardware store, local health food store, or on-line)
- One cup of washing soda
- One cup of borax
Use a grater to grate the soap and put it into a large bowl. Then, add the other two ingredients and mix together. Transfer the detergent to a jar and label. All you need is one tablespoon per load.
Or if you prefer not to use Borax another favorite of mine:
DIY Basic Liquid Laundry Soap:
- 2 1/4 cup liquid Castile Soap
- 1/4 cup white distilled Vinegar
- 1 tablespoon Glycerin
- 3/4 cup water
- 10-15 drops of essential of your choice (optional)
Directions: Combine all ingredients into a plastic container or squirt bottle. Shake once or twice before adding to the wash. Add 1/4 cup to average load; 1/2 to extra-large or heavily soiled loads.
You could even make these non-toxic laundry detergents for gifts — just use a Mason jar and decorate with some pretty ribbon — give a gift that shows you care!
2. Transform an Old Stump Into Mulch
Do you have a tree stump on your property that is driving you nuts? Instead of calling a professional tree guy or gal to get rid of it, consider renting a stump grinder and turning it into usable mulch for your garden. Most standard stump grinders are built for homeowner use, so you don’t need to be a certified operator. Use the grinder to transform the tree stump into a pile of mulch, which you can then use in other areas of your garden to help keep weeds at bay.
3. Make Your Own Oven Cleaner
If you’ve ever used a commercial cleaning product to de-gunk your oven, you know firsthand how toxic they are; so toxic that if it makes contact with your skin and you don’t wash it off right away, it can leave a painful chemical burn. Like laundry soap, homemade eco-friendly oven cleaner is a snap to make—and it’s a lot cheaper too.
All you need is:
- ¾ cup of baking soda
- ¼ cup of salt
- ¼ cup of water
Wet down the inside of your cold oven with a sponge, and then mix the three ingredients together until they form a paste. Spread the mix on the inside of your oven, avoiding the vent openings and heating element. Let it sit overnight and then scrape off the hardened mix the next morning. Sponge clean the rest.
Do your part to help keep plastic out our of the landfills and the environment. A lot of grocery stores are selling cloth or plastic lined bags that people can use for their food and beverage purchases. It is also super easy to create your own, and you can choose which fabrics and colors you want. On the website, Mors Bags offers a simple pattern and instructions for anyone to make a super cute bag or five.
Basically, just take one piece of sturdy fabric —
- Heavy cotton or linen are great options—that is 18″ x 40″
- Then two more that are 18″ x 4″
Fold the larger piece in half along its shortest side to form the bottom of the bag. Then use the other two pieces to create the handles, and sew the two sides of the fabric together and sew the handles on top and, within a few minutes, you will have the perfect bag for using over and over. You can even toss it in the wash when it gets grungy
These multi-purpose bags are great to give as gift and/or to use instead of wrapping paper – just add a pretty bow or ribbon on if you want to dress it up. It is a gift that will keep on giving all year-long and every time they use it they will think of your thoughtfulness.
Check out more great DIY projects that you can make for gifts or for yourself!