Writer and vegan crafter Becky Striepe has a long history of loving Ma Earth. As a middle schooler in Ft. Lauderdale, a copy of the book “50 Simple Things You Can Do To Save the Earth” led her to start an environmental club at her school and convince her family to start recycling and put aerators on their faucets. She’s had sustainability on the brain ever since.
Striepe blogs about all sorts of yummy things and beauty projects on Glue and Glitter, Eat Drink Better, and the Care2 network. A longtime DIYer, she’s been making her own cleaning products for years, and she’s speaking at the 17th Annual Georgia Organics Conference, Green Acres, Saving the Planet One Bite at a Time, which will be held on Feb. 21-22 at the Jekyll Island Convention Center.
Why did you start making your own cleaning and beauty products? I’ve always been sort of crafty. My mom teaches preschool so I grew up crafting. I started to get more entrenched in the DIY community and and that mindset of doing things yourself. Plus [green cleaning products are] expensive! But you can make them for much less money. As I started reading craft blogs I saw people who were making stuff like this and thought “I can do that!” And you can! It’s easy.
Why make this stuff yourself? First of all, it’s much cheaper than buying green cleaning supplies at the store. You save so much money. It’s really very easy, but also you know exactly what’s in it, because even green cleaning brands use some questionable ingredients. That’s the most important things—you don’t need crazy lathering agents and carcinogens to clean your countertops. You can make stuff yourself, and it really only takes two or three ingredients. It’s quicker to make than it is go to to the store to get more of it.
What are some of these questionable ingredients? There’s one that I wrote about that I kind of re-learned about. My pediatrician told me about it a long time ago—the abbreviation is MI or MIT on packaging, but it’s methylisothiazolinone. It’s a chemical that’s in a ton of things, it’s a preservative and it’s in baby wipes and it causes rashes and eczema. My kid had the worst diaper rash I’d ever seen. I couldn’t even put a diaper on him for a whole day because it was so red and awful. I mentioned it kind of in passing at our next doctor visit, and she asked what kind of wipes we used and I told her, and I will name names, it was Huggies Naturals. They have this chemical in them. And she said to use a brand that doesn’t. Seventh Generation doesn’t have it, and neither do the Whole Foods 365 brand of wipes. Or you can make your own wet wipes that don’t have it. And his rash went away.
You’ll also cover packaging for the products that you make, which isn’t something I would have considered. When you’re making an all-purpose cleaner you’re probably going to want to go out and get a plastic squirt bottle, but you can use that plastic squirt bottle a million times. You don’t have to get a new one every time like you do if you buy it at the store. You could even save a plastic squirt bottle from the last cleaner that you bought and use it for the one you make yourself.