Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Spring Clean

A few weeks ago I undertook the task to unclog our bathroom tub drain in lieu of calling a plumber.  I didn't have any snaking tools do dig out nasty hair/grease balls so I took to the internet.  I found some great instructions for using baking soda and vinegar combinations and after 4 flushes of this wonderful stuff my bathtub drain was running free and clear.  I felt like Superwoman!!!  At my friend's house the next day I told her about my success and while we talked she ran 2 rounds of the miracle unclogger and it worked like magic.  She said they'd spent a bunch of money buying bottle after bottle of drain cleaner that never worked and we had it running free in just 15 minutes using stuff they already had in the cupboard.  (By the way, if you want to know how we did it there are instructions here: Homemade 'drain-o'...the only thing we did differently was to heat the vinegar in the microwave for about 45 seconds first.)

Something I read while figuring out how to clear that clog said that baking soda emulsifies grease and that's how it breaks down the clogs as it sits on them, eating it away.  I thought about that for a week or so, wondering what that would do on just the regular hair on my head.  With great faith in the power of baking soda after my triumphs I took to the internet again and found a surprising trend: a great number of people who clean their hair with baking soda instead of shampoo.  (They call it "no-poo" which I think is pretty gross so I'm going to think of something else for this post.)  I figured it had worked so well on my tub I would at least give it the benefit of the doubt and give it a test-run.  After a few days of this regimen my hair is still soft, not greasy and I haven't used a drop of shampoo.  I had a couple of people ask about how it works, what are the proportions, etc. so I'm writing this up for anyone who is interested.

I found this blog post very informative about the differences of hair care between shampoo and baking soda but here is the simple breakdown.

1-2 Tbsp. baking soda
Squeezy bottle for the shower, at least 8 oz.
Another bottle, at least 8 oz.
1 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar

Using a funnel dump 1-2 Tablespoons of baking soda in an 8 ounce bottle and fill the rest up with water.  The baking soda settles quickly so you will need to keep shaking it as you're applying.  Also take with you a cup or bottle with a solution of 1 Tbsp. of apple cider vinegar to 1 cup water.

After wetting your head in the shower start squeezing the soda solution on your scalp.  I start at the crown and work my way around the rest of the hair, focusing mostly on the scalp.  The scalp is where all the oil is produced so the  rest of the hair needs a little less.  It feels really weird because it's not sudsing up with bubbles and you realize you're just rubbing water around in your hair.  But keep scrubbing away, it's working!  Most of the sites I read said to just rinse it right off but I figure if it's working on the grease I'd like to let it do more work, so I leave it on while I do the rest of my cleaning up.  After everything else is done you can do 2 things: either rinse first with water and then rinse with the vinegar solution or slowly dump the vinegar solution all around your hair first (if you have longer hair you may need more, but mine is really short so I use a cup...just remember the proportions of 1 Tbsp. to 1 c.)  It's not a strong mix of baking soda and vinegar but I can still feel it bubbling on my scalp and I love it.

Finally, rinse well with water and you're done!

A couple of notes:  If you're worried about the vinegar smell, it still smells really strong when you dump it on your head but after you've rinsed it off you cannot smell a thing!  I even had Michael do a smell test and he couldn't detect any trace of it.  Also a lot of the sites I read about this hair-washing regimen suggested that it can take up to 2 weeks before the oil production in your hair will even out and get used to it, so you may have a while dealing with gross greasy hair.  If you really want to do it, don't give up!  Give it at least 2 weeks before you go back.  My hair is really short and I also think leaving it in longer helps, so I haven't had a single greasy day, but your experience may be different.  I'd love to know if anyone else has tried this, or if this post inspires you to try.  Please link back to your own blog and share your experiences!