The 'Green Goddess' hour - chemical-free living tips

Long Lunch 29/06/2017

Here are the recipes Wendyl talked about on The Long Lunch on Tuesday, 27th June 2017, in her 'Green Goddess' hour. Don’t forget to listen next Tuesday at 1pm for more chemical free living tips.

Toilet Bowl Cleaner

Throw 1 cup of baking soda and 1 cup white vinegar into the bowl and watch it explode. Leave for 10 minutes, then clean with a brush and flush. To finish, make a solution of 1 cup water to 30 drops tea-tree oil and spray all over the toilet, leaving it to sit there. Also spray on the outside of the toilet and give it a wipe with a damp cloth as bacteria lurk around there.

Mould Magic

Fill a spray bottle with 2 cups of water then add 20 drops each of lemon, lavender and tea-tree oil. Shake and spray where mould and mildew are likely to grow and leave it there. Don’t wipe or rinse off, just let it dry and help it by opening windows and doors.

Make Your Own Soap from Scratch

I have never used a castile soap as lovely as the first batch I made. Creamy, soft and long lasting, it is a great thing to be able to create, but making it for the first time was a bit scary. Mainly because I made a mistake with the temperature and heated it all up to 100°C instead of 100°F.

My first batch used very basic ingredients. Rough old coconut oil I had bought from an Indian shop, cheap olive oil from the large tin which I cook with and Kremelta off the supermarket shelves. For my next batch I bought refined coconut oil and vegetable shortening, and it wasn’t nearly as nice. It just goes to show, that sometimes the best stuff comes off your kitchen shelves.

Please don’t be concerned about the fact that you are using a very corrosive ingredient such as caustic soda, which after all is commonly used to clear drains. The chemical reaction that takes place during the saponification of the oil releases any caustic or damaging elements in it.

You can have a lot of fun with soap making. You can play around with different oils, throwing in almond or avocado oil for a really special soap, and you can add colouring and different essential oils to make them smell gorgeous. Some people also add very fine clay, or seeds to get a scouring effect when the soap is used. I prefer just the good old white soap, slightly scented with lavender oil.

Castile Soap

470ml water
170g lye (100% caustic soda or drain cleaner)
470ml olive oil
400g solid coconut oil
675g vegetable shortening (Kremelta)

Make sure you are wearing protective goggles and gloves in case anything in this first process splashes.

In a large stainless steel or glass container mix the water and lye together. It will fizz and get quite hot.

Meanwhile heat the oils together over a low heat in a large enamel or stainless steel cooking pot. You want it to heat up to 37°C.

Watch the lye mixture and wait for it to come down to the same temperature (37°C). When they are both at the same temperature remove the oil from the heat and mix with the lye, stirring constantly.

Eventually it will start to drag when pulling the spoon through. This means saponification has taken place. You will know you are there when the mixture is thick and the spoon leaves a channel that lasts a few seconds before filling up. This usually takes about 10 minutes but sometimes it takes longer. You can then add any essential oils, seeds or clay and pour into soap moulds. I just use plastic moulds you would store food in. Ice-cube trays work well for small soaps.

Cover with a blanket or towels and leave for 24 hours. The soap should be hard and pop out of the moulds easily. If not, leave it for a few more days. You must then dry the soap out completely before use. I leave it for three to four weeks on wire baking racks to set completely and harden.