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Expert QA

How to: Make your own toothpaste

You’ll never have to buy toothpaste or body wash again if you make up a batch of these eco-friendly alternatives.

By Wendyl Nissen
Reader letter of the week
Dear Wendyl,
I’ve had enough of commercial toothpastes! It doesn’t matter what brand I try, they’re always so harsh and the hideous aftertaste lasts forever. Well, straight away, I thought of you – I’d bet my bottom dollar you have a recipe I can use!
Jean
Hi Jean,
Nice to know you’d bet on me! I do indeed have a toothpaste alternative – it’s not actually a toothpaste but a powder and it gives you nice fresh breath for hours afterwards. You can also play around with the flavours until you find your favourite one.
All you do is dip your damp (not dripping wet) toothbrush into it and scrub away.
You will need to source stevia, which is a natural herb used to sweeten food. It can be expensive, but just a pinch of this powder is equivalent to a teaspoon of sugar, except it won’t rot your teeth!
Cinnamon Flavour
Mix 2 tbsp baking soda with ½ tsp cinnamon and 2 pinches of stevia leaf powder. Put in a jar with a lid and shake well.
Peppermint Flavour
Mix 2 tbsp baking soda with 3 drops peppermint essential oil and 2 pinches of stevia leaf powder. Put in a jar with a lid and shake up.
Lemon Flavour
As above, but use 3 drops of lemon essential oil.
Strawberry flavour
This is apparently a great teeth whitener. I used it for a few days and noticed a slight difference, but anyone who is brave enough to do it for longer and gets results, let me know! Mash together 2 ripe strawberries and add 2 tbsp baking soda. Scrub away and store in the fridge.
I’ve mentioned before that leftover brewed tea makes a great addition to compost, but here are some other uses:
1 Antioxidant bath: I love my unorthodox bath treatments and thanks to the antioxidants in tea leaves, adding pre-brewed tea bags does wonders for your skin. You can drop them straight in or hang the bags over the tap so that the water runs through them while you fill up the bath. If you want to really step up your game, opt for jasmine tea bags for some aromatherapy while you’re at it or some chamomile tea for added relaxation.
2 Foot soak: Pamper your feet by adding used tea bags to warm water for a relaxing soak. The tea also neutralises foot odours, nourishes your skin and softens calluses.
3 Garden wonder: Tea is particularly beneficial for plants and soil, especially when it comes to staving off fungal infections. The easiest way to do this is to pop used tea bags into a watering can and let them steep. Another option is to open the bags up and sprinkle them around the base of your plants to fertilise the soil.
4 Soothe your spots: If you or someone you know gets cystic acne, then you know how painful pimples can be, especially while the blemish is building up under the surface of the skin. When you feel a spot coming up, pop a cold tea bag on it for instant relief. It will help to reduce the inflammation.
Top tip
I love cooking but I always get distracted and burn the bottoms of my pots and pans! If you’re the same, don’t reach for the scouring pad. Just pour in enough water to cover the burnt muck, then place your pot back on the element. Bring it to the boil and watch as it all scrapes off easily using a wooden spoon.
Make your own body wash
One thing you need on a daily basis is a good body wash. I love this recipe because it does the job and it leaves you smelling divine.
Be sure to use a good bar of rose vegetable oil soap – I use a lovely one from a Trade Aid store.
  • 200ml water (rain water, if possible)
  • 8 green cardamom pods
  • 100ml rosewater
  • 2 tbsp grated rose soap
  • 1 tbsp glycerine
1 Heat the water in a pot with the cardamom pods and bring to the boil. Put the lid on and steep by turning the heat off and leaving to sit for 10 minutes. Strain the water into a jug and add the rest of the ingredients. Pour into a squeezy bottle.
2 This can get a bit gluggy, so be prepared to give it a good shake before you pour it onto your shower puff.

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