Mouthwash & Tooth Whitener

A peroxide mouth wash can help whiten the teeth. But only do this occasionally as there are lots of conflicting reports on the healthiness of such activities. This is a useful read 

Mouthwash Mix: 1 part hydrogen peroxide mixed with 1 part water. Rinse mouth, then spit out. Discard and left over solution or use it as extra solution.

For another great mouthwash recipe try this blog
or this one for lots more
And don’t stop at the mouthwash, there are lots of wonderful sounding things in there.

Read more about peroxide HERE


This is an interesting read. DIY tooth whitening from Colgate

See a full range of homemade #plasticfree personal care products here 
And find out how to make lots more stuff HERE
Find all plastic free personal care products here…


An introduction to some of the stuff you need to make the above

Be aware of the risks of listening to someone who
a) doesn’t have any training in this field,
b) most of what they know comes from Google,
That’s me I mean.

I am telling you of my own experiences for your information only. You should do a lot more research before proceeding.


Sun Block Homemade

The following information is for guidance only. None of the following recipes or tips have not been tested on anyone other than me. I strongly advise you do your own research and proceed very carefully. Sunburn is painful, ages the skin and potentially very dangerous.

Be aware of the risks of listening to someone who
a) doesn’t have any training in this field,
b) most of what they know comes from Google,
That’s me I mean.

If you want a better informed opinion I suggest you head on over to the Aromantics website. They will sell you everything you need to make sun tan lotion including recipes you can download as a PDF. They have been in this game for years and are far more qualified then I am.
The following is an account of my own experiences which may help you in your own research.

A Tannning History

I realised that I needed sun tan / block lotion and lots of it. And it needs to be applied regularly. Even in cloudy weather. I came to this conclusion just as I was giving up plastic. So not only did I have to learn to use sunblock and had to learn how to make it. I have been using zinc based, home-made sun block lotion for about 5 years now. I know it stops me from burning because I burn when I don’t use it. Obviously it has not been tested in a lab and I cannot guarantee results. I still try to limit my exposure to the sun but I feel this cream definitely helps me. I offer this personal account for discussion only. If you do decide to make your own lotion please do more research.

There is lots more information about sun protection here. Do read up before you decide to make your own.

Why Sunscreen
Sunscreens help prevent the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) radiation from reaching the skin.
There are two types of ultraviolet radiation, UVA and UVB
UVB is the chief cause of sunburn and linked to sun cancer. UVA rays, penetrate the skin more deeply, and contribute to photoaging.
You need a cream that protects from both.

Sun protective factor provided by cream is measured in SPF
SPF factors only measure protection against UVB. You will need a cream that also protect from other kinds of rays.

SPF4 filters out 75% of UVB
SPF10 filters out 90% –
SPF15 filters out 93%
SPF25 filters out 96%
SPF30 filters out 97%
SPF50 filters out 98%
SPF100 99%

Zinc Oxide
I have settled on zinc oxide as the active ingredient in my sun block.
This is a fine white powder easily available on line.
It coats the skins and so reflects the damaging and burning rays of the sun.
It protects the skin from UVA, UVB and UVC. According to website (where you can buy zinc and get advice on how to use it), It is one the oldest and most effective sunblock and
It can be easily added to base lotions and oils.

No to Nano Zinc

So zinc is great BUT it is a white powder and stronger mixes can sit on the skin like a pasty mask. Make your lotion too strong and you look like Marcel Marceau. You don’t burn but you look freaky. To counter this some suggest using nano zinc.
Nano or micronized zinc oxide is zinc oxide that  has been ground to a very fine powder to reduce the size of its particles. Anything with a particle size smaller than 100nm is considered a nano particle. This means it spreads more easily and does not leave a white sheen on the skin.The worry is that particles this size may be able to enter the body.
Because of that I use normal zinc. In stronger concentrations it does leave a slight white sheen. It can also leave white marks on dark clothes. Wear white linen is the obvious answer to this. Or work on your locked in a glass box mime.

Using Zinc In Homemade Sun Block

There are claims that certain oils like coconut oil have a natural SPF. This may well be true but I strongly advise not to rely on this.
None of the below have been tested in lab and you have no accurate way of knowing  what SPF your lotion has. Proceed sensibly!
If in doubt Make your lotion stronger then dilute as you tan.
Too much zinc and you end up with white clown makeup. In this case you may have been overcautious.


You can add zinc to
home made creams and lotions (if you want to make a lotion there are some recipes here)
ready bought lotions
a base oil such as coconut oil.

20% zinc oxide  will give an approximate SPF of 30. That is by weight. So you weigh your base say 100g of cream then you add 20% or 1/5th of zinc. Which is 20g of zinc.You can see from the ratios below that SPF 15 is not half of SPF 30 so you cannot use that scale to work out your SPF factors.
For SPF 2-5: Use 5% zinc oxide
For SPF 6-11: Use 10% zinc oxide
For SPF 12-19: Use 15% zinc oxide
For SPF >20: Use 20% zinc oxide

These ratios were taken from DIY Natural. They have not been tested in a lab proceed with caution


Masking Creams
Thicker cream
Very strong and thick. To be used on vulnerable areas that burn easily.

First I make my own rather thick cream and then add the zinc at 20% ratio. This makes a super thick cream which is difficult to rub on large areas but great for masking specified areas. I use it to protect my great big nose and around my eyes.
For general application it is too tough and sticky.
Find out how to make cream here

Oily Cream
You can thin the above thick cream down by adding oil. N.B. You cant use water for this. Add water and your cream starts to separate when you try to rub it on.
Oily cream goes on way more easily but obviously the more you dilute is lower the SPF factor.
The advantage of this cream is that it is thicker than oil so easier to apply – less dribbling.
It does not separate.

Sun Block Oils
Oil – I have used both coconut and rice bran oil

More recently I have cut out the middle man or rather the cream and started adding zinc directly to oil. It would seem that my mother was half right!
Which Oil?
I guess you could do this with any oil but I prefer a lighter oil less gloopy than say olive oil.
I have usually used coconut oil as a base because it is light and easily obtained in glass jars. Some claim that coconut oils has an ability to deflect burning rays but the claims made for coconut oil are prodigious. Do not rely on coconut oil alone.
The problem with coconut oil in the UK at least, it solidifies below a certain temperature. This sun tan lotion needs to be liquid and well shaken before use because the ingredients separate. So if you use coconut oil, warm and shake it before applying.
More recently I used rice bran oil which is much cheaper and easily available. At least that is the case in Thailand. It is a light oil and does not solidify.
The ingredients separate so the lotion must be well shaken before use. If you are using an oil that solidifies like coconut you need to be sure it is liquid and well mixed before use.


Advantages Of Oil
Oily creams and oils are great for the beach because I feel they don’t wash off so easily in the sea as home made lotions do. And the oil itself seems to act as an added protection against the general drying effect of salt water and heat. My skin doesn’t feel as itchy. But then I am only using two ingredients no fragrances, no preservatives.
They give your skin a rather nice sheen.
And it is As Cheap As Chips
Adding zinc to rice bran oil is super cheap which means you can liberally apply this lotion. Very good if you are on a budget. Plus I get to use the oil for other things.
The disadvantages? – well it is rather… oily…

Sun Block Lotion
Thin Lotion
Add zinc to a lotion.
Find out how to make Lotion here

Non OIly Sun Block
This is a work in progress

But oily sun block is, well, oily. Anywhere near the hairline and it has the disastrous effect of making my locks all greasy. Not a problem on the beach where my hair is normally wet and again the coconut oil help protect it from going madly dry. But in town not such a good look.
Until now I have been adding zinc to a very thin, homemade lotion. It makes the lotion much thicker and I find it rather heavy to wear.

Since the oil zinc success I have tried adding zinc to neat vegetable glycerine. It seems to work fine but this is a work in progress.
The resulting lotion feels a bit sticky when you are applying it but that soon wears off.
It is much lighter than zinc creams.
The ingredients tend to separate so it needs shaking.
It is very very easy to make.

Store Bought Creams
Apparently you can add zinc to a store bought cream to make a suntan lotion. I have never tried this as I gave up shop bought years ago. But considering the success off adding it to oil I can see no reason why this wouldn’t work. Do remember that zinc makes your lotion thicker and much whiter. It might be a good idea to use a thin lotion as a base.
Apparently it helps if you warm them first.
Let me know how you get on!

Applying Cream
Sunscreens are unlikely to be fully effective after 2 hours
According to the skin cancer organisation  “you need to apply 1 oz – about a shot glass full. Studies show that most people apply only half to a quarter of that amount, which means the actual SPF they have on their body is lower than advertised. During a long day at the beach, one person should use around one half to one quarter of an 8 oz. bottle. Sunscreens should be applied 30 minutes before sun exposure to allow the ingredients to fully bind to the skin. Reapplication of sunscreen is just as important as putting it on in the first place, so reapply the same amount every two hours. Sunscreens should also be reapplied immediately after swimming, toweling off, or sweating a great deal.


There is lots more information about sun protection here. Do read up before you decide to make your own.

Travelling Plastic Free For Months
This discovery massively reduces your plastic when travelling. I carry all my own home made plastic free toiletries with me to avoid creating plastic waste which can present something of a problem. A years supply of sunblock is a lot to carry. So now I compromise. I take my own zinc and buy coconut oil (or rice bran oil) while travelling. I mix the zinc into the coconut oil to make a sun tan lotion great for the beach.

Microfine Titanium Dioxide

This is another product you can use to make your own sun block.

“Microfine Titanium Dioxide is accepted as a safe Sun Barrier all around the world. This is because it is inorganic and has a record of having no adverse reactions to it. This makes it ideal for products used on a daily basis.
It can be used in Sun Screens, Moisturisers, Powdered Make-up, Lip and Baby products and virtually any Skin Treatment product.
Adding 5% Microfine Titanium Dioxide to a product gives it a Sun Protection Factor (SPF) of approximately 10 and protects against 90% UVA/UVB and UVC radiation. Adding 10% gives it a SPF of 15-20.
Add during the heating of the Vegetable Oil in the Fat Stage of making your product.”
The following information is from the website.

< span style=”color: #ff0000;”>Fragrance
Many recipes on line suggest adding essentials oils. In my opinion there is no real benefit to be derived from this as
they may make your skin more sensitive to light;
essential oils are resource hungry, have a large environmental footprint and should only be used on special occasions.
You can read more here


You can buy zinc on line.
It will come in a plastic bag- booo.
The best you can do is ensure the bags are polythene and so can be more easily recycled.
As I get huge amounts cream out of one small bag of ingredients, I consider it a worthwhile compromise.


Creams & Lotions – Recipes

It is so easy to make your own creams and lotion that once you start you will never look back. The advantages are huge; you get to control what goes on your skin, be way more eco-friendly and save a whole load of cash. You can make almost anything the cosmetic companies sell but without the palm oil, dodgy chemicals and weird colours. Though you can have all those too if you want.

Lotion and cream is basically a mix of oills,waxes or butters with water combined using an emulsifier. Lotions are thinner, cream more solid.

Do you really need to make a cream? Many times you can use an oil or butter neat. But sometimes they are just too oily.

Many commercial creams including E45 use mineral oil. That’s derived from the same gloopy black oil we use to make petrol.


To make cream or lotion you will need

Oil, butters & waxes.
There are hundreds of vegetable oils. Different skins like different oils and you will have to experiment to find what is best for you. Generally speaking the richer the oil the heavier the cream, the more water you put in the lighter the lotion. There are hundreds of vegetable oils. Different skins like different oils and you will have to experiment to find what is best for you.  See my guide to oils here.

There is much talk of using distilled water but I use tap.

Cooking thermometer
VERY useful .

Water and fat do not naturally mix, you need to use an emulsifier.You have to add other ingredients to turn what is basically salad dressing into lovely thick cream. So in addition to oils and water you will need an emulsifier.

Optional. Oil on its own does not go off – there is no water for bacterial to feed on. Once you have added water to oil then it can. Now your creams are vulnerable to bacteria. Preservatives will help “keep” you r cream. I don’t use it as it can cause skin irritations. And I find cream without I less itchy on my skin. I have had a few pots of cream go mouldy but we are talking maybe 5 in the years I have been making my own creams. You can read up and buy preservatives here Aromantics

to put your cream in.

Notes On Emulsifiers

The most complex ingredient in cream is the emulsifier. The water and oils are simple enough but this is what makes them bind together.

There are a few completely natural emulsifiers  but they  do not give consistent results.
Most commercially used emulsifiers are manufactured. They are most often derived from coconut oil and palm oil. More recently, rapeseed has been used.
But some are produced from pig fats. Check what you buy.
I have tried a few with varied success BUT
A combination of VE Emulsifier, MF Emulsifier and Cetearyl Alcohol works every time and can be used to make a wide range of products from thick creams to thin lotions.

VE Emulsifier or Glyceryl Stearate is a vegetable-based emulsifier
Cetearyl Alcohol is a vegetable based emulsifying wax
MF Emulsifier or Sodium Stearoyl Lactylate  can be fermented from lactose (milk sugar)but more commonly comes  from nondairy sources such as cornstarch, potatoes and molasses.

Palm Oil
Please note that all the above also may be derived from or include palm oil. Be sure to buy from a good practice supplier. For example there should be something this note on Aromantics VE emulsifier “The Palm oil that is used in both in MF/VE emulsifiers comes from suppliers that are either members of the Round Table of Sustainable Palm Oil or a subsidiary company or who are members of FEDIOL which supports sustainability. FEDIOL is a European industry federation based in Brussels”.
You can read more about palm oil here.



Heat the Fat Stage ingredients in a double boiler (or a metal pot on hot water) until above 75°C. Use a thermometer to check.

Boil the water add the MF emulsifier and other Water Stage ingredients to 75°C.

Take off heat. Now pour the Fat Stage into the Water Stage in a slow steady stream before they drop below 75°C.

Mix well – I use a hand blender.

Allow to cool. Whisk occasionally to achieve a nice creamy consistency. As the mixture cools it becomes thicker and more creamy. It will reach its thickest consistency when it has cooled down to room temperature.

When the temperature is below 40°C you can add active ingredients
perfumes or essential oils and other magical things to make you look years younger.

You can also add specialist ingredients to make for example sun tan lotion or self tan.

Put the Cream into jars and label.

Take Care

That everything you use is clean, very clean.
Make sure you have enough pots to store your cream in.
That you label it – and date it. Believe me you will forget!

Recipes & Kits

Here are some sample recipes.

Supermarket Cream (My recipe)

You can buy all these ingredient from the supermarket.  I cut the olive oil with the lighter almond oil because I find it rather heavy.
Makes One liter of cream – have a big pot ready!

Fat Stage


  • 20g Cetyl Alcohol
  • 70ml Almond Oil Tesco’s or Asian Shop
  • 30ml Olive Oil
  • 20g coconut oil Tescos or Asian Shop
  • Water Stage
  • 800ml water
  • 40g MF emulsifier
  • Fancy Aromatics RecipeTo be honest I think this recipe has way to many ingredients but I like this company, I have used their products many times and think that this will probably make a nice cream. It is also useful to have a recipe that lists by percentages.You can experiment and use different oils, or even less oils. Just make sure the percentages stay the same. For example you can cut the thistle oil and use 10% Apricot Kernal Oil.

    By percentage
    Fat Stage (above 75°C)
    2% Cocoa Butter
    3% Macadamia Nut Oil
    7% Apricot Kernel Oil
    3% Thistle Oil
    2.5% VE Emulsifier
    2% Cetearyl Alcohol

    Water Stage (above 75°C)
    4.5% MF Emulsifier
    69% Boiling Spring Water
    2% Glycerine

    Third Stage (below 40°C)
    1% Preservative 12 or Eco
    1% Vitamin E Simulated Natural
    2% NFF Complex
    1% Essential Oils of your choice

    From Aromantics

    Rich Tropical Delights Cream (My recipe)

    Much easier far fewer ingredients. I cut the olive oil with Almond because I find it rather heavy.
    Makes One liter of cream – have a big pot ready!

    Fat Stage

  • 25 g VE Emulsifier
  • 20g Cetyl Alcohol
  • 70ml Almond Oil
  • 30ml Coconut Oil
  • 20g Shea butter
  • 10g Cocoa butter
  • Water Stage
  • 800ml water
  • 40g MF emulsifier
  • Design Your Own
    You can adapt the mix of oils for the above recipes based on your personal preference.
    If you want to design you own cream from scratch, follow these guidelines…
    style=”font-size: medium;”>Emulsifiers 5-8%
  • Oils 12-20%
  • Water, Additives, and Botanicals to 100 %.


Trouble Shoot
Cream too thick? You cannot add more water once the mixture has cooled. This ruins the cream – it will not rub in. You will need to make a thinner lotion and mix your creams to achieve the desired consistency. You can add more oil and mix well. This of course makes your cream more oily.


If you want a thinner cream add more water at the water stage.


If this is your first time making lotions I can also recommend the Aromantics cream making starter pack from  It comes with everything you need including, sadly, 30 little plastic pots to put it in. All the ingredients were wrapped in plastic bags as well. Hmmm. On the plus side, the cream is really easy to make and they send you several different recipes.

Anti Aging, Sun Tan Lotion & Fake Bake
You can add  specialist ingredients to your base to make for example sun tan lotion or self tan.


Aromantics is a good and ethical supplier of ingredients but expensive. I buy a lot of stuff in bulk from other suppliers. Ebay is a good source. Prices vary so do shop around.

I store my creams in old jars but for display  I have bought some glass jars with metal lids.

Plastic Spoiler

Most plastic base ingredients come in plastic bags but I get huge amounts cream out of one small bag of ingredients so I consider it a worthwhile compromise.

Making Personal Care Products 

Its quicker then  trying to choose between a hundred different shampoos and it’s really simple, fun to do, so much cheaper  and  I get to control what goes on my  body, where it comes from and what environmental impact it has.

Lots more info here on  toothpaste and other products  
and making other stuff – here.

Making creams while travelling

You cannot carry a years supply of home made cream in your rucksack so here are some ideas about making your own home made creams in hotel bedrooms.

If this is your first time making lotions I can also recommend the Aromantics cream making starter pack from  It comes with everything you need including, sadly, 30 little plastic pots to put it in. All the ingredients were wrapped in plastic bags as well. Hmmm. On the plus side, the cream is really easy to make and they send you several different recipes.


Menstrual Pants

Menstrual pants are knickers you wear during your period. They come with inbuilt protection. Some can be worn instead of a pad or tampon. All provide additional security against leaks.

Already popular in Asian countries they can now be bought in the US. You can read some reviews here.
But as far as I know there is no UK based provider. Until now.

Hi, my name is ruby, co-founder of WUKA Wear.
In the last 50 years there has been little innovation in menstrual products and we have been stuck with the same which contain huge about if plastic and silica gels that gets end up in landfill of down to our rivers and seas.
Every-year, in the UK 200,000 tonnes of pads and tampons ends up in landfill and 2 Billion sanitary items are flushed down the toilet leading to polluted rivers and seas. This is also major reason of death of millions of birds and sea creature.

A person can use up to 16,000 tampons or pads in a lifetime. We are reusable, one set of 3 underwear replaces two years worth of disposables. We are the only reusable period underwear which completely replaces disposable tampons and pads, helping us to be kinder to the planet for us and future generations. We are made up of eco-fabric called Tencel made from sustainable Eucalyptus tree.

We are reusable and allow free-flowing, the benefits of which are huge and eliminates any potential health risks.
We are designed and manufactured in Nepal so our product is made to the highest standards and supports small communities through sustainable employment.

WUKA wear is being created so anyone menstruating can have an ultra-luxurious, hygienic, comfortable and an eco-friendly period – because we care about our bodies and the planet.

we are currently not at the market but coming soon via Kickstarter.
If you like what we do and looking for alternative menstrual product that is good for you and your planet, then please get in touch with us @
Follow us Twitter, Facebook and Instagram @wukawear


Find out about plasticfree and reusable menstrual products here


Inhalers Homemade

Seems you can buy refillable inhalers. You soak the cotton wick in essential oils of your choice, put in the inhaler and sniff away.

If you live in the States you can buy these rather nice ones in glass and aluminium from  3.5 inches x .75 inches, outer shell is aluminum.

If you live in the U.K. you have to make do with these ugly plastic ones from Ebay. Yes, I know, plastic – but reusable rather than disposable.


To clear stuffed noses try Eucalyptus oil

Find more #plasticfree personal care products here



Eucaplyptus Oil

Replace plastic inhalers with a bottle of eucalyptus oil – but be careful, very careful how you sniff!

Using Essential OIls
Essential oils are concentrated and so should be used with some care.
Do not apply neat to the skin.
It is good practice to do an allergy test
Do some further research into the oil you plan to use

Be aware of the risks of listening to someone who
a) doesn’t have any training in this field,
b) most of what they know comes from Google,
That’s me I mean.

Essential oils are resource hungry, have a large environmental footprint and should only be used on special occasions.

You can read more about essentials oils, what they are and how they are obtained here

I am telling you of my own experiences for your information only. You should do a lot more research before proceeding. None of the following have been tested on anyone other than me. All I can say Is that I have used essential oils for a long time with no ill effects…..

Welcome aboard but please, proceed with caution….

So thanks to the beastly cold I was waking every hour of the night unable to breath and feeling like an anvil had been rammed up my nose with a sledge hammer. The day was spent choking on my own thick, green, glue-like secretions and panting heavily through my mouth. Thankfully being in Thailand meant being close to chemists that sold medicines I could work with. By which I mean stuff I knew what to do with and recognized as medical aids not bats in a cage or some kind of incomprehensible mushroom. I love China but it can be hard to find a normal looking medicine.

The Big C supermarket has a chemist shop called Pure. It sells Eucalyptus oil which is made (extracted?) from the leaves and twigs of eucalyptus trees. It comes in a cute little glass bottle with a metal screw top lid. I have never tried it before but I had vague memories of it being used to clear noses. And, whoa, it sure does. It has a powerful strong smell  and after only a few whiffs  I could feel the mucas retreating and my nasal passages drying out. It was wonderful.

In no time at all I had developed a  full blown dependency and was acting like a badly-stressed, over-laced Victorian with her smelling salts. Every few minutes I would rummage desperately in by bag,  pull out the small, decorative bottle and sniff away.

While extremely effective, this method of application is not without its disadvantages. First the hotel staff looked a more than little startled as I snuffled past, pasty-faced and watery-eyed, a bottle jammed firmly up one nostril. Secondly I would occasionally miscalculate and get oil on my sensitive nose red and tender from days of vigorous blowing. It stings. a lot! Do not apply this oil neat to the skin.

So at night rather than rub it one my chest (winces at the thought), I liberally spattered my jim jams with dollops of the stuff. Phwoar!  I slept peacefully enfolded in a nostril-clearing, buzzing haze of fumes. Sure I smelt like an old folks home and woke up with a dry and scratchy throat but it was a small price to pay for an almost undisturbed night.

Google claims Eucalyptus oil is good for pain and swelling (inflammation) of respiratory tract mucous membranes, coughs, bronchitis, sinus pain and inflammation, asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), and respiratory infections. It works as an expectorant to loosen coughs, antiseptic, fever reducer, and in vaporizer fluids. Other uses include treatment of wounds, burns, ulcers, cancer, genital herpes, and nasal stuffiness, as an insect repellent, a fragrance in perfumes and cosmetics, a mouthwash, antiseptic, liniment and ointment, and in toothpaste, cough drops, and lozenges.

Web MD states that “Though eucalyptus is used medicinally for many purposes, there isn’t enough scientific evidence so far to rate it as effective for any of them.” It also states quite firmly that “eucalyptus oil should not be taken by mouth or applied to the skin full-strength. (!)

I don’t advise you use it for treating serious medical conditions. If I had cancer or gential herpes I would be looking  for something with a better proven medical track record. But I can certainly suggest Big C Eucalyptus oil as a plastic free way to alleviate nasal stuffiness.

You can buy refillable inhalers which would be a more discrete and safer way to self medicate.

Cold gone and  I still have almost all a full bottle of oil left so  I will be looking for other uses.


Dental Floss

I have just found a new dental floss as sold by Anything But Plastic
Dental Lace
What you didn’t know you’ve been waiting for, plastic free dental floss! For those of you whose dental hygiene has been suffering because you realised that dental floss is plastic wrapped in plastic, this is one for you.

Not only will your friends thank you for removing that little bit of lettuce you’ve had stuck in your teeth for months, but you will look stylish doing so with the delightfully designed container. You even get a refill spool of floss thrown in as well. Sweet.

If for some reason that is not available you could try this.
I think that the floss dispenser itself might be plastic though the floss is biodegradable silk. Any one know?
1 x Radius Floss, handspun Silk Floss Waxed with Candelilla Wax 30 meters

1 x Radius Floss, handspun Silk Floss Waxed…

Online from Amazon as above or Big Green Smile

This is the blurb from the website…

  • “Radius Biodegradable Silk Floss is made from all natural, pure silk coated in candelilla wax.
  • This is not a vegan product.
  • Radius Silk Floss is the only certified organic fully bio-degradable floss. It is made from 100% pure silk farmed by a Columbian Fair Trade Co-op.
  • Radius Silk Floss is completely compostable.

I have never used it so I don’t know how plastic free the whole product actually is – is the box plastic wrapped? I would assume so. What is the silk wrapped around? But the floss itself is plastic free. Two steps forward, one back I would guess.

Any input gratefully received.


See all our posts on plasticfree dental care, HERE


Make up

It is a long time since I have worn make up. My excuse would be the most of it comes in plastic but the reality is that I’m simply too lazy. I can’t be bothered painting on some eyes, lips and cheeks every time I leave the house. Never have. My experience with makeup is limited to some exuberant punk escapades that featured a lot of smudgy black and hanging around in bus shelters. It was grim up north I can tell you.

Since then my face has seen little more than a sweep of mascara on high days and holidays. And often not even then.

However the purpose of this blog is to source alternatives for plastic packed products and this year I am going to be making up for lost time. Time to tackle cosmetics and as I always like to lead by example I need to learn how to primp and paint.

So I have bought some make-up. I’ve got a pencil, some liquid eyeliner, lipstick (greasy stuff) and blush. I will branch out into foundation and eyeshadow later. Quite frankly I am already exhausted and overwhelmed.

When I have regained my strength I will practise applying it. What could possibly go wrong?

Once I know what is what I will leap into the world so plastic free make up.

In the meantime here is a bit of info to whet your appetite.

“where I get my makeup from, their packaging is all compostable and they sell things like kjer Weiss refillable makeup. Lots of plastic bottles on there too but overall they are a good co.”

From the website
We want to be part of the solution so we practise responsible sourcing and make eco-friendly decisions. We stock products that avoid excess packaging and that provide packaging that can be recycled. Our own delivery boxes are 100% recyclable and FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) approved which helps prevent the use of illegally harvested timber. Our tissue paper is provided by a sustainable company and printed with eco-friendly soy ink, not petroleum-based ink, and it’s 100% recyclable. We use 100% natural starch-based packing peanuts to secure your products inside they box; they are a far more environmentally friendly solution compared to petroleum-based polystyrene packing material. We favour 100% recyclable packaging, fair-trade, locally produced and biodegradable products, all of which help reduce waste and pollution.

I haven’t had time to research this site but it looks interesting and they do consider their packaging. So while not plastic free I have included them as make up is very tricky to find. See for your self HERE

There are more plastic free cosmetics featured on our Pinterest page.

Why This Post Is ….

A little bit rubbish. You are reading a work in progress. Here’s how the blog is written and why we post half cocked.


Mosquito Repellent

It’s that time of night when sitting on the balcony becomes a feat of endurance rather than a pleasure and it’s down to those vile biting mosquitos. Time to take action… but what kind. I could of course slather myself in DEET…

DEET Was developed by the American Army and remains the most effective form of bug repellent known to man. It is a great weapon in the fight against malaria. But it can irritate my skin and has had other negative press. Plus it comes in plastic.

So what of the alternativee? Needless to say the internet offer everything from wristbands to essential oils. Lots of testing has been done which conclude that these range from considerably less effective to completely useless. “Two devices in particular came under harsh criticism from the scientists: bracelets containing herbal extracts and sonic mosquito repellers, which claim to use high-frequency sound to drive away mosquitoes.” And dont bother with citronella candles. You can read the rest here.
That said there is some evidence that certain essential oils (including citronella) might  work.SO let’s discuss the options.

Just to reiterate N-diethyl-3-methylbenzamide (deet) DEET is the most effective insect repellent ever.
Then (2-(2-hydroxyethyl)-piperidinecarboxylic acid 1-methyl ester (icaridin), p-methane 3, 8-diol (PMD), and ethyl butylacetylaminopropionate (IR3535)-based repellents also provide protection against biting arthropods,
Malaria & Other Nasty Deseases
Malaria is extremely dangerous and kills masses of people each year. DEET Will protect you from mosquitoes and many other disease bearing blood suckers. If you are in a malarial prone area then it is an essential means of protection and I advise you consider it. Medical plastic is exempt from the boycott. To quote DEET must be the “first choice for those visiting areas where malaria or other arthropod-borne diseases are endemic remains formulations with higher concentrations (20–50%) of deet.
Higher concentration icaridin and PMD preparations are the most useful alternatives to deet where they are available”
Read more here

How Strong?
What do these concentrations mean? A higher concentration of DEET means it will last longer. 20% DEET offers up to 6 hours of protection. 50% DEET which offers 12 hours of protection. If you sweat heavily you’ll need to re-apply it more often, obvs.
According to the British Medical Journal anything with over a concentration of 50% DEET will not be any more effective. Read this very good write up that discusses all the issues and gives clear advice on how DEET should be used. Access it here.

But if you are not at risk from malaria you might want to limit your exposure to DEET. While DEET is generally thought to be safe there are reports of possible reactions. On a personal level I find it irritates my skin but then again so do most perfumes and some soaps. However it is not just me. Reactions to DEET have been documented. And they can include Hives or mild skin redness and irritation. The more you use the worse it gets. People using products containing a large amount of DEET over a long period of time may have more severe skin reactions that include blistering, burning, and permanent scars of the skin.
Wikipedia are even more worrying and report that
In the DEET Reregistration Eligibility Decision (RED) in 1998, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) reported 14 to 46 cases of potential DEET-associated seizures, including 4 deaths. The EPA states: “… it does appear that some cases are likely related to DEET toxicity,” which may underreport the risk as physicians may fail to check for history of DEET use or fail to report cases of seizure subsequent to DEET use.[21]
The Pesticide Information Project of Cooperative Extension Offices of Cornell University states that “Everglades National Park employees having extensive DEET exposure were more likely to have insomnia, mood disturbances and impaired cognitive function than were lesser exposed co-workers”.[22].
Read it here

Which Alternatives Work
So for those munchy twilight hours when the biting, but non-malarial carrying beasts are out DEET seems rather a chemical sledge hammer. In these cases I have been using Cintronella essential oil mixed with Rice Bran oil as a mosquito repellent. Based on nothing more than a quick skim of alternative bug sprays on the internet and the fact I have some Citronella oil. The internets claims all kinds of wonderful qualities for Citronella but I tend not to believe them. So consequently I didnt know if my homemade repellent really worked i.e.if it actually repels Mosquitos. But I felt it did and it certainly seems to soothe bites and reduce irritation. So I decided it was time to do some research.

Citronella is  obtained from the leaves and stems of different species of Cymbopogon grasses. And it might just work. This is a quote from some research that seems reputable.  “From the available literature and information, we can conclude that the complete protection time for citronella-based repellents is less than 2 hours”
Read more here

But 2 hours is all I need. I can live with the occasional bite at other times it’s the twilight feeding frenzy I object to.

Using Essential OIls
Essential oils are concentrated and so should be used with some care.
Do not apply neat to the skin.
It is good practice to do an allergy test
Do some further research into the oil you plan to use

Be aware of the risks of listening to someone who
a) doesn’t have any training in this field,
b) most of what they know comes from Google,
That’s me I mean.

Making Mosquito Repellent
You should never use essential oils neat so the Citronella has to be blended with a base oil. And there is very little data avaialable on what kind of percentages to use for the oil to be effective against biting beasts.

Generally Most essential oil/ aromatherapy sites say that mixes of essential oil to base oil should not exceed 5%.
A good rule of thumb when seeking to make a 2% dilution is to add 12 drops of essential oil to each fl. ounce (30 ml) of cold pressed carrier oil, lotion, vegetable butter or other natural lipid/moisturizer.
There is a useful dilutions chart here

And then there is this:
For adults:
Sensitive skin: .5 to 1 percent dilution = 3 to 6 drops per ounce
Normal, healthy skin: 1 to 2.5 percent dilution = 6 to 15 drops per ounce
There is lots of useful information here

My Mosquito Oil
So I added Citronella to a base oil at a 5% ration. I have used coconut oil, rice bran oil and rapeseed oil as bases. All work well.
I spread this on all exposed flesh when the sun begins to set. I only apply it once.

Obviously we are not talking about huge percentage of active ingredient here. Certainly not the 30% of DEET creams. How effective this oil is I have no way of knowing. I can only say it seems to work for a limited period of time.
These blends have not been tested for skin reactions or allergies. It is worth remembering that DEET lotions have been used for years and have been well tested.
I am telling you of my own experiences for your information only. You should do a lot more research before proceeding. And proceed with caution.
None of the above have been tested on anyone other than me. All I can say Is that I have used essential oils for a long time with no ill effects…..
Essential oils are resource hungry, have a large environmental footprint and should only be used on special occasions. You can read more about essentials oils, what they are and how they are obtained here.


Plastic Alert
Vegetatable oil will nearly always have a plastic element unless you are lucky enough to find a refill service. Even if you buy in glass the lid will be plastic lined. But even so this represents a huge reduction in you plastic consumption. Read more and links on where to buy, here.

Same goes for essential oils.


There is an interesting breakdown of mosquito myths here. Plus some useful advice on how to avoid them.
And this is an interesting article on using plants to deter insects
And I am looking into this.
“PMD: Lemon Eucalyptus (Corymbia citriodora) Extract
The principal repellent component of lemon eucalyptus extract is PMD, which is the main by-product of lemon eucalyptus hydrodistillation.
The active component is prepared through acid modified extraction of leaves or a synthetic version of PMD is used in the majority of commercially available preparations.”
Read about it here.


Condoms & Lubricants

If all goes well on Valentines day you may well be planning some intimate moments. Time to check out condoms.

Condoms come in the following materials….

Latex: made of latex rubber from rubber trees a natural and therefore biodegradable. Which has led to claims that that latex condoms are biodegradable. Which is hotly debated! Latex condoms contain addatives to make them (amongst other things) stronger. Many people say that even if they do eventually decompose, (not proven),  it takes such a long time as to make any claims of biodegradability  misleading. Certainly the anti-balloon camp do not consider latex balloons to be biodegradable despite what the balloon industry say. So, for the time being, lets leave latex on the shelf for further study.

Synthetic materials: polyisoprene, polyurethane and silicone. All of these are non- biodegradable materials.

Lambskin: sheeps intestines – no good for you vegans out there but definitely biodegradable.

Lets find out more

Here is some blurb from the British Condom shop about Trojan NaturaLambs, the make of lambskin condoms they sell

“These condoms are made from a natural membrane and while that may sound strange at first, they are one of the most comfortable, intimate, and largest condoms on the market. Most notable is their ability to transfer heat.

NaturaLamb condoms also have the exclusive Kling-Tite draw string at the base for added safety.

NOTE: These condoms do NOT protect against STDs, only unwanted pregnancy!”

Some more….

I am sure the packaging will contain plastic elements but then so will all the others. This appears to be the best option for condoms you can compost. The next question is would you want to?


Lambskin condoms can be used with both water-based and oil-based lubricants. However most commercially produced lubricants come in plastic bottles and many contain paragons, a preservative that causes some people concern. If you want something completely natural, go for for coconut oil. If you like this blog you know we love coconut oil – but don’t take our word for it, read this is a great write up about coconut oil in the bedroom.

NB If you find the smell overwhelming you might like to buy an odourless coconut oil. In Yorkshire? – you can buy coconut oil here

If you want to go for a traditional product here’s a good write up on what is available in the world of lubricants.

Buy From Amazon

Trojan Naturalamb Luxury Non Latex Condoms (10 Pack) Biona Org Odourless Coconut Oil 610 ML x 1
Trojan Naturalamb Luxury Non Latex Condoms …
Made from sheeps intestines
Biona Org Odourless Coconut Oil 610 ML x 1


Amazon Products

Being committed to local shopping, I prefer to buy that way whenever possible. I would encourage you to do the same. One of the joys of living plastic free is mooching round the local shops seeing what you can source. But sometimes you can’t buy local so I have put together an Amazon catalogue.

Yes we do get an affiliation fee for this, and no we are not entirely happy with Amazons recent history. However, we have always found their service to be good and their packaging usually compostable.




I know a lot of people like a liquid hand wash. Personally I prefer soap but whatever. So this hand wash comes in soluble pods that you drop in water and refill the (plastic) bottle provided. When done you buy more via. The website. It is posted to you in plastic free packaging,  (NB according to some reviews they come with some plastic).

Now I think you are meant to buy the bottle as part of the starter kit but I see no reason why you couldn’t just buy the refills and use your own plastic free soap dispenser?

It comes from a company called


This is an online refill service. A new way to buy your home cleaning, laundry and health & beauty essentials.
You buy the starter pack which includes a range of bottles and concentrate product. You water down the product and fill the bottles. Thereafter you buy more concentrate on line and refill your bottles as needed.

Some products come in soluble pods which you drop into water; others in plastic pouches which can be sent back to be refilled or recycled. While the refillable plastic pouches obviously are plastic (duh) the soluble pods sound useful.

They supply a wide range of products. But  “currently the surface cleaners and hand washes come in water soluble sachets and the rest come in pouches.”

Splosh also claim that the postal packaging for the starter kit and refills is also plastic free. Though according to some reviews they come with some plastic.

Here’s their mission statement. “Plastic waste is an environmental disaster and we’re committed to reducing it to zero. For each product we’ve designed a refilling system that takes plastic out of the waste stream. For example our pouches can be sent back for refilling and, at the end of their life, we manage their reprocessing into other products”

You can read more about how it works and order products here HERE
If anyone out there has used this product please let me know.


Want to know what soap is? How it works? Is there animal fat in there?
Read all our soap posts HERE

Why This Post Is ….

A little bit rubbish. You are reading a work in progress. Here’s how the blog is written and why we post half cocked.


Toothbrushes – bamboo

I have tried natural toothbrushes and I am not that keen. They quickly go kind of pulpy and I didn’t feel  they are up to the job. So have gone back to my electric toothbrush consoling myself with the thought that
a) the heads are half the size of a normal plastic toothbrush
b) I make my own toothpaste and
c) these are my TEETH.

Here are the compostable options

Bamboo Brush
Ther are a number of all-natural, bamboo toothbrushes on the market some of which I have reviewed below.

Bamboo Brush With Nylon Bristles
In my opinion, these work better than all bamboo toothbrushes. Some claim the nylon bristles are biodegradable others dispute this claim. Best to treat this a reduced plastic option. Read more here.

Biodegradable Cornstarch Bristles
This is an interesting new project that might lead to better things.

A Biodegradable Cornstarch Toothbrush?

More Info
Bamboo Brushes
When I first started my boycott you could only buy bamboo brushes on line. Now you can get them from many health food shops and even Waitrose.  I haven’t tried them for the above reasons but here are two makes I have used.


After months of vigorous scrubbing my plastic tooth-brush  had come to the end of its working life. Greatly excited I got out my wooden and natural bristle, completely biodegradable toothbrush .
These brushes are made by Cebra and they say in the blurb…

  • wooden toothbrushes – made from sustainable wood (beech)
  • with natural (as opposed to acrylic) bristles
  • can be disposed off easily and in an eco friendly way
  • superb cleaning power and very gentle on teeth and gum
  • lasts as long if not longer than a plastic toothbrush

Sad to say it didn’t work for me. There was not enough in the way of friction. The bristles quickly got soft and pulpy then started to disintegrate.
But maybe they will be good for you. If you fancy trying them you can get them here.

Save Some Green

James of Save Some Green Uk sent me some bamboo brushes to try I was hesitant. Eager to give the natural toothbrush another chance, worried in case I didn’t like them and so upset James. But James will be happy to hear the interim feed back on the all natural brush. This has a bamboo handle and natural fibre bristles described on the website as follows
“These toothbrushes are made from bamboo which will rot down to nothing, causing little impact to the environment plus they are BPA free.
I have been using it in conjunction with my electric toothbrush for the above reasons. Now I tend to be an enthusiastic scrubber. I use the electric brush to scour my mouth so vigorously it hurts. So it is nice to have a softer option. This partial use also gives the bamboo brush time to dry out which I thinks helps keep it firm.
I have been following this regime for over 3 months now and the brush is holding up well.
I am assuming that packaging is all biodegradable but the white internal wrap has me baffled. I have asked James for some more info.
You can get them on-line from . This online shop is aware of problematic plastic misuse and have a great packaging policy. Tell them you want no plastic packaging and you will be heard.

Biodegradable Brushes

Sounds interesting – check out this Kickstarter campaign

My name is Alan Chen, and I’m the inventor of Smiti, an eco-friendly toothbrush with a stylish, minimalistic design that helps to reduce waste and save the environment.

I invented Smiti after researching how much our daily habits contribute to harming our planet. As the father of a little baby, I really want to contribute to a sustainable future for generations to come. We can all do little changes in order to help.

Smiti is a stylish, gentle and efficient toothbrush that does the job while helping to reduce waste. The interchangeable head of Smiti is made of 100% biodegradable PLA from naturals renewable sources such as corn starch, cassava root and sugarcane. The aluminum alloy handle can be used for years, and at the end of its long life, be recycled.

Using Smiti as a part of your daily dental hygiene routine can greatly help reduce the plastic waste caused by traditional toothbrushes.

I’ve launched a Kickstarter campaign, where until March 27, 2017, Smiti is available to pre-at a great discount. Smiti comes in Black, White, and the exclusive Kickstarter color Rose Gold.

Learn more by checking out the Smiti campaign page:
Find pictures and more information in the Smiti Press Kit:


Find other plastic free personal care products here…

Making Other Personal Care Products 

Its quicker then  trying to choose between a hundred different shampoos and it’s really simple, fun to do, so much cheaper  and  I get to control what goes on my  body, where it comes from and what environmental impact it has.

Lots more info here on making your own personal care products