Fresh as a Daisy - Part Three



No-one would deny that, when it comes to washing dishes, detergents make the job both easier & quicker. However, cutting out the use of soapless detergents is absolutely necessary if we are serious about cleaning up our polluted planet.

We need to start right at the beginning. Grease is the biggest problem when washing dishes. If you reduce the amount of fat in your diet, you will improve your health well as making dishwashing pleasanter. Cut down, too, on the number of cooking utensils & serving dishes you use. One-pot meals, with a side salad & fresh fruit for dessert, are not only a tasty & healthy way of eating, but save time & fuel.
After the meal, mop up your plate with bread & eat that too.
Or use stale bread to wipe the plates clean before stacking them. Or keep a bag or large receptacle of bran handy. Plunge each article into the bran, using handsful to thoroughly clean it before stacking. (It's a good idea to have some paper underneath to catch any mess.) Keep the bran in a refrigerator & change it before it becomes unpleasant. The bread or bran can be composted or used as animal food.

Believe it or not, you can wash up very satisfactorily with no soap, in cold rainwater! If the plates are properly wiped and therefore not greasy, cold water and a clean dishcloth or scourer works fine. Bacteria don't easily breed in cold water - it's warm water you need to beware of! So if you use hot water, make sure it's really hot.
This is the one advantage of a dishwasher, which if you have a large family or community may be more hygenic than careless hand dishwashing. But why not try using it without any detergent? After, of course, going through the same steps as for hand dishwashing.
I like to leave my dishes to drain & air-dry rather than using a tea-towel. Whenever I can, I sterilise cups by drying them in the sun.
For a more conventional wash up, pour boiling water over soap scraps & leave to dissolve. Use 2 bowls of HOT water, adding sufficient soap to one to make the water feel slippery, & 3/4 cup of vinegar or strained lemon juice to the rinsing water. If you want a perfect shine (previously achieved by having a microscopic film of detergent on all your dishes!) polish with a clean tea-towel.
Make it a family affair - or a meditation!

Shampoos, conditioners, mousses, setting lotions, & chemical colours are totally unnecessary & their constant use over-stimulates the oil glands, attracting dirt.
Choose a simple, easy-to-manage cut. Long hair is often easier to manage & allows more flexibility in styling, than short cuts. Gently but thoroughly scratch your scalp each morning, to loosen the scales of dead skin which have accumulated during the last 24 hours, before thoroughly combing. Then brush your hair, leaning forward to bring the blood to the scalp. When your hair reaches the 'sticky' stage, DONíT wash it - keep right on brushing, 3 or 4 times a day if you can. With time and commitment the greasiness should disappear. Brush your hair well whenever it has been exposed to dirt, dust, & smells, first running your fingers through it, to lift it away from the scalp & let air in. If you have been sweating badly, rinse the hair & scalp with warm rainwater. Allow to dry naturally. You may never need to use shampoo on your hair again!

I've gone as long as a year without washing my waistlength hair, but found it best in the end to wash it 3 or 4 times a year, mainly because I have very fine light-coloured hair.
If after a period of experimenting you do need to shampoo, use a teaspoon of bicarb.soda dissolved in warm water, or plain soap, or a very little simple shampoo, & add lemon juice or vinegar to the final rinse instead of using conditioner. For dry hair, use a beaten egg instead of soap, using warm, not hot water for rinsing.(You donít want to end up with scrambled hair!)
I have used bicarb.soda successfully too, a very little dry powder can be rubbed onto the scalp, then moistened slightly & rubbed through the hair before thoroughly rinsing, finishing with lemon juice solution. Or you can dissolve a scant teaspoonful of bicarb. in a cup of warm water, using like a shampoo. Bicarb. soda is also a mild fungicide, and especially good for greasy hair. (Alkali + grease = soap!)
For really out-of-condition hair hot oil treatments can be helpful. Natural colourless henna is another excellent conditioning treatment, as is traditional mayonnaise made with eggs, oil & lemon juice. For any of these three, you will need to apply the substance thickly enough to cover all your unwashed hair, then wrap the head in hot towels & leave for 30 minutes to an hour. You can cover the towels in plastic sheeting to keep in the heat & moisture, or change the outer one when it cools. Finish with a good rinse in warm water, & a light shampoo if necessary.
Healthy, shiny hair needs no colouring, but if you insist, try rinsing with strong teas made from chamomile, calendula petals, or black tea, or use a henna preparation. Grey hair has a beauty all it's own, but if you are dark-haired and want to blend in some grey, try walnut juice. This is a strong permanent dye, traditionally used by gypsies. Take care not to stain the scalp, and wear rubber gloves. If you are fair, the silver will blend in anyway, until the transition is complete.

Brushing with salt water will keep your teeth clean & your mouth fresh. It will also make your toothbrush last longer. Try a little bicarb soda on stains. Salt water is the best possible mouthwash.
The dried flower stalks of fennel or dill make excellent between-tooth cleaners. Unlike wooden toothpicks, they never splinter, yet they are as flexible as floss, & taste pleasant. Chewing a few fennel, dill, or cumin seeds, or some parsley, will freshen the breath.
More healthy alternatives for tooth and mouth care


Note:In researching & answering questions about earthwise living, Margaret offers information, opinion, & personal experience, but no quick fixes! Readers should evaluate these offerings in the context of their own situations; they are suggestions, *not* recommendations. Any responsibility for their implementation rests *solely* with the reader.

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