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A Recipe for Success: How to Wash Your Hair with Baking Soda

Please note: This post was written in August of 2010. I’m no longer washing my hair with baking soda.


Do you know what’s in your shampoo?

According to Colin Beavan, “Commercial shampoos, soaps, and cleaning products have about umpteen million chemicals in them that are bad for the environmentβ€”bad for the drinking water and bad for aquatic life.”

Chemicals are not only bad for the environment, but also bad for humans. Annie Leonard points out that many of the chemicals found in shampoo and other personal care products are suspected to cause health problems including cancer and damage to nerve and respiratory systems.

So what kind of shampoo can you use?

Baking soda.

It sounds crazy, but it’s a fantastic alternative to traditional shampoo and conditioner. I’ve been washing my hair with baking soda for the last year and absolutely love it. Washing your hair with baking soda is like getting your teeth cleaned at the dentist. It’s simple, easy, and good for you.

The Baking Soda Recipe

  • A half cup of baking soda.
  • 2 to 3 cups of warm water.

All you have to do is add the baking soda and water to a container. I add the ingredients to an old shampoo bottle and shake it up. The baking soda becomes diluted and is thick enough so that I can wash my hair.

How to Use the Recipe

Make sure your container is in the shower, so it’s ready to go. And follow your standard washing routine. Wet down your hair, pour the baking soda wash over your head, and then massage it into your scalp. Finally, rinse it out. You don’t want to leave any powdery residue in your hair.

I wash my hair with baking soda about three times a week. Depending on how oily your hair gets you might want to wash it more often or less.

The mixture doesn’t get sudsy like traditional shampoo. It feels kind of like sand. But don’t fret. Baking soda will get your hair squeaky clean.

With gratitude,

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Alejandro Reyes December 22, 2009, 7:05 am

    I’m still in the middle of making those kind of changes in my life. Sometimes I think I should slow down a bit and make certain changes first. minimalism is still my top priority. But this one seems rather easy to make.

    And let’s be honest girls take better care of their hair than guys, so if you say it’s ok I definitely believe you. I hope it doesn’t feel too weird. How much should I use? Just the small portion that my fingers can grab?

    • Tammy December 22, 2009, 7:28 am

      LOL – well give it a try and see if you like it. You’ll want the mixture to feel like a paste. It’s easy to add to much water.

      Let me know how it goes…

      Good luck! πŸ™‚

      • Keira December 22, 2009, 10:37 am

        I am going to try baking soda shampooing when I run out of shampoo the next time. Do you really need three big teaspoons? How long is your hair?

        • Tammy December 22, 2009, 10:43 am

          @Keira – I’m still trying to figure out the correct amount. I’ve been making more than necessary. So I use the extra for cleaning. πŸ™‚

      • Alejandro Reyes December 23, 2009, 6:34 am

        Ok so I tried, and true, it’s ultra easy to add to much water and create a small mess within seconds. The texture is weird to say the least, but my hair feels nice and clean. I guess a bit of practice may solve it!

        On the other hand now I need extra baking soda, but that is no big deal.

        • Tammy December 23, 2009, 7:32 am

          @Alejandro Right on! I’m glad you tried it out. The texture is weird and hard to get used too. I miss the suds of “normal shampoo.” I’ve made a few small messes too. Practice makes perfect, right? πŸ™‚

      • cali September 7, 2010, 10:25 pm

        i tried for a month… no such luck. my hair was tangly and i didn’t like it. is the reason you do not use shampoo because of the chemicals? or because of the waste from the bottle? the local food co-op in my town sells “natural” shampoo and conditioner in bulk- eliminating the waste from purchasing new bottles every time. good solution? i think yes. πŸ™‚
        let me know what you think.
        thank you.

        • Canela November 12, 2010, 7:45 am

          Initially, my hair was very tangly and felt gritty. I found that I was using too much BS and too little water. After trying several combinations, I found that using 1 teaspoon of BS to 16 oz. of water works best for me; that amount lasts for about 6-8 washes. I squirt it a few times all over my head and massage, rinse and follow-up with ACV. Works everytime and NOT messy or gritty.

        • Aisling May 7, 2011, 11:34 am

          A rinse of vinegar and water will take care of that tangle problem. Mix about 4 ounces of vinegar (white or apple cider) with about 6 ounces of water in a squeeze bottle. Pour it over your head little by little until you can run your fingers through your hair, then pour on the rest if there’s any left. My hair is nearly waist-length and super-fine, and I have virtually no more problems with tangles since I’ve been using this.

        • Renee October 9, 2011, 6:34 pm

          If you’re having trouble with tangles, try using 1/2 – 1 cup of apple cider vinegar (or you can use a 1/2 cup + 1/2 cup water mix) and pour over your hair. Massage in and rinse thoroughly. I have used it on my hair at hip-length and it combed out easier than with conditioner – and it doesn’t weigh it down like conditioners.

      • Canela November 12, 2010, 7:35 am

        I went no-poo 3 years ago and love it! Before I use to have to wash my oily hair daily, since switching to BS wash and AC vinegar I wash twice a week. After much trial and error I use 1 teaspoon (yes, teaspoon) of BS to 16 oz of water, and that is enough for 6-8 washes. I use a a squirt bottle which allows me to better control the amount used.

        • jessica November 12, 2010, 12:46 pm

          How long is your hair? I’ve been doing no-poo for several years, but after this last pregnancy my hair is all wacky and i’m still trying to figure out the new best routine.

        • Canela November 12, 2010, 2:15 pm

          @ Jessica
          My hair has been long, short and in between since going no-poo; length has not made a difference. I have found my hair goes out of whack when I resort to using conventional shampoos, if only for a couple of washes. It will feel waxy, flat and unmanageable for a few days even after going back to BS/ACV ~ I call that my detoxing period. I sometimes use a tiny drop of jojoba oil (rubbed bwt my hands before applying) on my hair to make it more manageable and shiny.

    • Nat August 9, 2010, 4:12 pm

      Thanks! I’ve just started washing my face with baking soda a few times a week and it has cleared up my skin so well! Will definitely try this tip!

      • Crystal August 29, 2010, 11:38 pm

        Ok, I thought it was just me. Seems that baking soda is the cure for my adult acne.

        After washing my hair with baking soda this week not only have I noticed that my hair seems bouncier and healthier but my skin too has cleared up! After moving to Korea my skin became really oily and prone to acne but suddenly I feel like I have new skin!!!!!

  • Lisa December 22, 2009, 9:00 am

    Tammy- I’ve been following the “No Poo” method for probably a year now or close to it. Occasionally I use baking soda but often just use plain water. My hair started out dry, curly, and damaged. Now it’s in the best condition ever! It’s still curly but no longer so dry, damaged, or unmanageable. For people with normal to oily hair, the baking soda would probably be the best bet. I’m thrilled to have discovered this method.

    • Tammy December 22, 2009, 10:52 am

      @Lisa! Cool. I hadn’t heard of the “No Poo” method before. Using plain baking soda is working really well for me. My hair feels so much better! It’s really amazing. πŸ™‚

    • Hillary @ This Tiny House August 9, 2010, 8:49 am

      I use the “No Poo” Method as well (water only). Works great for the non-oily set, especially the girls with curls!

  • lellewynn December 22, 2009, 9:32 am

    I love the article you posted once on your monday roundup called the great unwashed about the lady who doesn’t shampoop her hair. As soon as mine is grown out enough to ponytail and hide under a bandana until it stops being greasy (according to that article, about 3 weeks), I’m going to try it. If I don’t have to spend money on shampoop, I’m not going to! I know it sounds grody but I think it would be neat to have soft controllable hair and not have to put chemicals on it!
    I also heard that some people do the baking soda and apple cider vinegar thing on their hair… mmm vinegar! πŸ˜›

    • Tammy December 22, 2009, 10:47 am

      @Lelly – I don’t think it’s “grody.” If you can save extra money that’s fantastic!

      Adding a bunch of chemicals to my hair freaks me out.

    • Kelly July 28, 2011, 2:24 pm

      I just switched over about a month ago to bking soda / vinegar for shampoo / conditioner, and as someone with VERY fine, somewhat oily shoulder length hair, the acclimation period was much closer to 1 week for me…

  • Piper December 22, 2009, 12:50 pm

    I want to try this. I’ve been using baking soda for deodorant and it really works. I make a paste with a little cornstarch (3:1 soda to starch) so it’s not so gritty and I add a little essential oil so it smells good. It works better than the deodorant I used to buy.

    • Keira December 22, 2009, 1:24 pm

      Piper: How do you apply the deodorant? Fingers? Do you wait to put on your shirt until it dries?

      • Chana August 10, 2010, 4:48 pm

        We’ve been using baking soda deodorant for years. You just take a pinch dry and sort of sprinkle/spread it under you arms. It works extremely well.

  • Laura December 22, 2009, 6:37 pm

    I’ve been doing baking soda (about every other day) followed by diluted apple cider vinegar for about 2 months now. The key is using only as much apple cider vinegar as you need, as it has a conditioning effect and can make your hair look greasy. Experiment to find what works!

    • Canela November 12, 2010, 7:41 am

      Yes, ACV can leave your hair looking and feeling greasy if you use too much. Again, after much trial and error, I use 4 oz. of ACV and dilute with 12 oz. of water. I keep it in a spray bottle and spritz it about 4-5 times all over my hair, let it sit for a bit before rinsing. I also finish it off with a cold water rinse for extra shine.

  • Chuck December 23, 2009, 5:31 pm

    Hi Tammy, just trippin through from a link on Everrets blog, (far beyond the Stars) and saw this.
    My 2 cents.
    I have heard that this BS, er baking soda can be used for dry washing your hair when no water is available.
    Rub a good amount into the hair and brush it out.
    Never been there yet, but good to know.

    • Tammy December 23, 2009, 7:29 pm

      Chuck – sweet! Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment about “BS.” Good to know. Hopefully, I won’t find myself without access to water anytime soon.

  • Anki December 27, 2009, 11:01 am

    I tried the noo-poo and it worked fine for some time but after I while my scalp was really dry so I’ve gone back to regular schampoo. My hairdresser was appalled when I told her what I had been doing… πŸ˜‰
    I also tried using it as “dry schampoo” but it was quite hard to get out so it didn’t save me any time and I ended up washing my hair the regular way instead. But I might give it another try πŸ™‚

    • Tammy December 28, 2009, 3:31 pm

      Ohhh bummer! Well you have to do what’s best for your hair do. πŸ™‚ Good luck!

  • alice August 9, 2010, 7:39 am

    i’ve used baking soda to wash my hair while camping for many, many years. it protects the pristine environment i’m in by not dumping soap onto the ground, and it is very refreshing.

    i don’t think i would like using a paste to wash with. it’s very gritty. here’s my method:

    in a small bucket of water dump a handful of baking soda and stir briskly to dissolve. dunk head in the water and comb hair with fingers and massage scalp. rinse if desired (i usually don’t).

    i also wash my whole body with water with baking soda dissolved in it. you can dump the rest of the bucket over yourself, or you can use a washcloth to take a sponge bath with it.

    at home, i simply use it in the bathtub. fill the tub with warm water, dissolve a cup (or less) of baking soda, and submerge yourself to wash everything all at once. leaves skin and hair feeling silky smooth.

    tammy, can you come up with a good conditioner for those of us with very dry hair? i am still very dependent on nexxus humectress. if i didn’t use it, i’d have straw for hair, even after shampooing with bs.

    • Tina Smith August 9, 2010, 12:09 pm


      I’ve done the baking soda thing with vinegar for a conditioner, but also if you have really dry hair try getting some Jojoba oil to massage a small amount (maybe a tablespoon…but I have long hair so shorter hair might need less) into your scalp anywhere from an hour or as little as 10 min. before showering to help “pre-condition” your hair. I have extremely dry skin, so I totally feel for ya! The Jojoba oil has worked really well for me as well as dry patches on my skin.


    • Jessica August 10, 2010, 5:38 pm

      The vinegar helps condition, so make sure you’re using that. Also, coconut oil helps tame the static during the dry winter, Apply mostly to the ends of the hair.

    • Amanda August 11, 2010, 5:28 am

      Try the Giovanni organics smooth as silk conditioner. I have super dry hair too and swear by this product. Its amazing and for an organic product it works better than my old nexxus standby!
      Also mixing up honey and avocado or honey and mayonnaise you can make super hydrating hair masks.

  • Kathryn August 9, 2010, 7:44 am

    Baking soda works great as a facial exfoliant too! It is fine-grained enough to be perfect for removing dead skin cells while not being too hard on the sensitive skin on your face. I’ve been using it as an exfoliant in the shower for years, had no idea that I could be washing my hair with it too!

  • Diane August 9, 2010, 7:54 am

    My daughter says don’t do the baking soda long term becuase it is very drying and harsh on the hair. She did this last year and was NOT happy – We need a more acidic PH to maintain a healthy scalp.

    • Jessica August 10, 2010, 5:39 pm

      I’ve been using this over a year. You have to balance the baking soda with a vinegar rinse.

  • Lynn Fang August 9, 2010, 8:09 am

    Hey Tammy, I’ve been using an eco-friendly shampoo bar for the last year or so. I will soon be transitioning to a no ‘poo regime of baking soda and apple cidar vinegar. Glad to hear you enjoy it!

  • matthew mientka August 9, 2010, 8:33 am

    LOLZ. I’m sure I don’t spend hundreds of dollars per year on shampoo but interesting concept… — Matthew Mientka

  • Tami August 9, 2010, 9:02 am

    I am going to try this tomorrow morning. I have long used baking soda as a facial scrub…just put whatever cleanser you wash your face with on a wash cloth, sprinkle a little baking soda on top, and poof! instant facial scrub. Your face is as smooth as silk afterwards too!

  • Callie August 9, 2010, 11:41 am

    If you have dyed/bleached hair, would this baking soda affect your dye/color job? (I realize the irony of this question.) This sounds so amazing and would save me a butt-ton of money every year. I use an organic shampoo right now, but I’d love to try this!

    • Maggie August 12, 2010, 2:53 am

      Callie: I have heard that baking soda can mess with your hair color, but the apple cider vinegar rinse actually helps your color stay in. Since my last dye job I’ve been using an egg as my weekly deep wash, and vinegar rinse a few times during the week as a touch-up, and my hair feels great. I’m almost 2 months ‘poo-free now and won’t go back. I also use the vinegar rinse for my face and lady bits. πŸ™‚ Baking soda rinse is good for feet and pits.

  • Lisa Brown August 9, 2010, 11:50 am

    Hi! I’m a new follower – I found your site from the article on Yahoo Finance. It truly is a breath of fresh air to see people realize that money doesn’t buy happiness. And, with an (almost) 2-year old son at home, my husband and I are finding our house gradually becoming smaller – just to make room for everything we don’t need. (We’re currently trying to sell our home to upgrade into something twice the size.) I think I have renewed my interest in living off less! Thank you for being a great source of motivation!

    • Lisa Brown August 9, 2010, 12:10 pm

      Oh, I almost forgot – I use regular shampoo twice a week, and sprinkle corn starch on my scalp as a homemade “dry shampoo” – and LOVE it! (OK, technically, I have a little container of corn starch in my bedroom & dip and old makeup brush in it, and dab it on my roots/scalp/oily parts that way). It helps my red color stay longer, because I’m not washing it out. And, because my hair is “dirty” it styles MUCH better, and I also save the damage from blow-drying and straightening or curling it every day. Because of the nature of corn starch, it just absorbs the oil right up.

  • John August 9, 2010, 12:06 pm

    Natural dishwashing liquid is what I have been using for years as shampoo. Can remember the last time I bought “shampoo.” You have to be careful what brand though because many so called natural dishwashing liquids conatin sodium lauryl sulfate. Seventh Generation and Ecover both do. Earth Friendly Products Dishmate is the one I use and, as far as I can tell, it is all natural. Also makes a great body wash. I use the baking soda after showering as deoderant. Mix one cup of baking soda with 2 tablespoons of corn starch. Don’t dry under your arms when you get out of the shower so the baking soda will stick. Works better than any deoderant I ever bought when I bought them years ago.

  • nicholas August 9, 2010, 12:21 pm

    How much shampoo would one need to use to save “hundreds” of dollars a year?? I may go through the stuff a lot more slowly than others, but I can’t picture it.

    • Tammy August 9, 2010, 1:33 pm

      @nicholas – I should have clarified that line. I used to buy very expense shampoo and conditioner at salons. The bottles ran anywhere from $20-$50 each. So yes, you can save hundreds of dollars a year on shampoo.

      • anne August 11, 2010, 11:59 pm

        Interesting point on the shampoo—-if you want to keep using it, buy good quality and don’t use so much. I use 1 bottle of shampoo and 1 bottle of conditioner per year. Yes, it’s about $50 both, but that’s an entire year.

        Also, a very messy but phenomenal scrub: coffee & honey.

      • Claire May 18, 2011, 12:35 pm

        I spend $60 a month on high quality shampoos and conditioners… Do the math, a few hundred is not hard to spend and I know so many people that spend the same amount if not more than me.

      • Meg September 9, 2011, 6:45 am

        I am a cosmetologist and have washed my hair only once – maybe twice- per week for years… even when I used chemical products. Even if you’re spending $50 per bottle of shampoo (and I can think of a few) that shampoo should last you a year washing 3-4 times per week. If you’re not getting that much use out of it you’re using WAAAY too much.

        • Joyce September 12, 2011, 12:34 pm

          How long is your hair, Meg? Mine is quite thick, and past my knees. I don’t see how I could go one year on only one bottle of shampoo, even at one wash per week. πŸ™‚

  • Danak August 9, 2010, 12:25 pm

    We use apple cider vinegar as shampoo and body wash because it gets rid of the bf’s eczema and eczema related dandruff too! And it makes your hair so pretty. It’s easier than Baking Soda too.

    • SuJo August 9, 2010, 2:01 pm

      My older sisters and my mother used vinegar (without garlic) for a rinse after using egg , baking soda, and a little mayonnaise (beat together) for shampoo. I know it sound crazy but they always had shiny manageable thick hair.

    • Jennifer August 9, 2010, 2:03 pm

      How do you use apple cider vinegar? What proportions? My daughter has bad eczema on her scalp. I’m willing to try anything.

    • Paperdahlia August 10, 2010, 10:28 am

      Yes! I agree… vinegar is a wonderful miracle product too πŸ™‚ I usually use a similar baking soda method as stated above, once a week… and do a a vinegar rinse once a week..about 1 cup. either white or apple cider…just pour it on, making sure to saturate all my hair.. and let it sit for a a minute or two before rinsing with cool water… my hair was never as bouncy/shiny/brilliant when I was just using simply earth friendly commercial hair cleaning products.It really gets rid of all the build up of environmental ‘dirt’, oil, and product build up …..and as someone who has seasonal eczema..I can attest it works wonders for that too πŸ™‚

    • Gilroygal August 13, 2011, 7:52 pm

      I agree about baking soda helping with eczema. I also use it for my acne as a gentle scrub and it seems to be helping. I currently use it as a shampoo, if you want to call it that. I am a Black female with kinky hair and I currently don’t use any oils or anything on my hair. I DO have some expensive shampoo on order from Canada, and it will be interesting to see if my hair feels better after using the shampoo and conditioner combo than it does with just the baking soda.

  • Amanda Lynn August 9, 2010, 12:53 pm

    I dont wear perfume or scented lotions anymore so the one item I splurged on with a little scent was shampoo, but after reading this I decided to give it a whirl and to still get my scent fix I added some orange and lemon zest to the bottle. Gave it a nice citrusy scent but not very strong.

  • Danielle August 9, 2010, 12:57 pm

    Just read about this Blog in the NY Times article. In my pursuit of something more I came across the book RADICAL HOMEMAKING and after reading, I decided to leave my finance job in Boston for a more meaingful life in the country…. Gotta say I’m a GEN-Yer and hoping I am part of a new trend that’s here to stay.

    Will try the baking soda thing… need to learn to can too… oooh so many things to discover! Home-made home-grown simple living is empowering… why did our moms want to burn their bras again?

    • Leilani August 15, 2010, 11:00 am

      …why our moms burnt their bras? They were like airless, rubber straight-jackets, Danielle. As were the “housewife” stereotypes. As I remember, there was a huge amount of pressure, a sense that a woman was being a drag on her man, a parasitical disgrace to society and a bad example to her children if she wasn’t out there “having it all” (and being too exhausted to enjoy her man, be nice to her kids, or give a toot about the rest of the world). “Homemaking” became a nasty word, or had to be professionalized by that blonde felon who shills for Kmart and Sears. My mother actually had a degree in “Home Ec,” but the subject was being phased out before she progressed beyond student teaching, and I remember her concern that she “had to be out there doing something” (earning $) or be despised by her peers. So sad! You can read Elizabeth Warren’s The Two-Income Trap and see how out-sourcing the homemaker’s function put us deeper down a rabbit hole of consumerism and corporate serfdom. Since this is the 90th anniversary month of Women’s Right to Vote, we should all rejoice, but keep hammering away at living life on our own terms, not being swayed by advertising, the neighbors’ opinions, or those dumb Lifestyle publications and shows.

      • Jomama August 21, 2010, 7:51 am

        Oh, this is a whole ‘nother topic, isn’t it!? As a feminist, career-oriented gal who appreciates the opportunities the bra-burners opened up for us. I agree that we lost something when homemaking was so denigrated. I have a great job, and am the primary breadwinner in my family. Still, there are times where I wish that either I had the time to devote more energy to my children, home, family, friends, and self, or at least that hubs would embrace his role as househusband and turn into a domestic guru.

        Haven’t read the book you mentioned (will look for it), but do agree that double-income can be a rat-hole for families. 1.5 incomes seems to work better for us. 1 was not enough cash, and 2 was not enough time. Double income may be OK for those without kids, though it still means that weekends are chore-a-thons instead of time to relax and recuperate.

        • Claire May 18, 2011, 12:42 pm

          Bra-burning is a myth, it never actually happened. A journalist coined the term bra-burning to validate the feminist movement by using imagery of the burning of the draft card in protest of the Vietnam war. There were weren’t actually bras burnt, but it’s interesting nonetheless.

  • Staci August 9, 2010, 12:57 pm

    I’m going to try this. I have a really dry scalp….so I use a shampoo to help with it. Since I can’t use my lotion I use on my body in my hair! LOL. Anyone else that has started using this have a dry scalp issue? If so, did it help at all?
    I make all my own cleaners for the bathroom and kitchen, so we have baking soda!!!!

  • The Hausfrau August 9, 2010, 1:03 pm

    Thanks–this is something I’ve been thinking of trying! I’m happy to find your blog. I read the feature on Yahoo just now, about you and your husband; it reminded me of when my husband, baby daughter, and I were featured in a newspaper article about simple living in the late-90s. I must say, we’ve moved away from some of our frugality-related thoughts on simple living as our financial circumstances have changed for the better, but I’m still a big fan of the basic concepts, and I’m looking forward to reading more of your blog!

  • Cecilia August 9, 2010, 1:09 pm

    wow, I’ve been so looking for something to replace shampoo!! And finally I’ve found it here!! I’ve only tried till now the ‘only water’ and it works for few times, then I feel the need to shampoo the hair.

    But now I feel I can leave shampoo for good. I want to do this for the environment first, and secondly for myself.

    One big THANK YOU from Romania.


  • Idara August 9, 2010, 1:12 pm

    I had a strong intuitive hit earlier on this year about phasing out “regular” toothpaste. I now make a paste of baking soda and salt to which I add aloe vera juice to it. The baking soda and salt are sufficiently abrasive to get at plaque, the aloe vera is healing to your gums and also adds the foaming agent that you might miss from regular toothpaste and it tames bacteria in your mouth. I had my first dental appointment recently since trying this regimen and it went really well and my dentist said my gums were in great shape!

    I wear locs so I don’t think I can swing the baking soda option for my hair, but it sure has been great for my teeth!

  • Candace August 9, 2010, 1:21 pm

    Recently in my ESL class made up of women all around the world, I discovered yet another wonderful use for aloe vera. I had begun the lesson with nutrition for women, various foods etc. Although some foods are not readily available, aloe vera is used the world over for beautiful hair, Columbia, Vietnam, Pakistan, El Salvador….you get the picture. A piece of aloe vera without skin in the blender, whirrrr, apply, leave on for 10 minutes – a healty mane of hair. We spent two hours discussing more ‘secrets’ to health and beauty. Baking soda was not discussed. I can’t wait to share this!! I hope to put together some suggestions.

    • Jen August 10, 2010, 11:20 pm

      Aloe vera is also a great alternative to hair gel. It has great hold and is good for your hair. Just dont use too much or it will make your hair look dull but if you do you can always wash it out with vinegar water and try again till you get the right amount for your hair.

  • Angie August 9, 2010, 1:25 pm

    This is interesting to know. I had never heard of this. Do you know how it works on colored hair? I have to use a special shampoo so my color won’t get dull and stripped.

    • Joyce September 12, 2011, 12:47 pm

      I just read somewhere that a girl with bright red hair experienced quite a bit of fade from this regimen. This makes me wonder how much fade is happening to our uncolored hair by this great bleaching agent… It would be interesting to take photos of ‘before’, and ‘after fifty uses’, or so. πŸ™‚

  • Phoebe August 9, 2010, 1:36 pm

    I don’t know if this is “eco” enough for you, but for years I have washed my hair in the shower with the same bar of soap (Dove sensitive skin bar soap) that I use on the rest of my body. It is convenient, requires very little soap to work up a lather (once is sufficient), and results in clean hair that looks better than it did with shampoo. (As an aside, rinsing your head with cold water just before you leave the shower will give your hair a smooth, shiny finish). I started using soap (note, men have done this for eons, and their hair also got clean) because my husband hated the perfumes that are found in commercial shampoos, but discovered that I liked the results better too, not to mention the price.

  • Layla August 9, 2010, 1:36 pm

    I may try this… whenever I go camping flies seem to love me.
    But if I start having to fight with my hair to rinse most of it out, then I’ll stop.
    Good tip though.

  • Lynn August 9, 2010, 1:43 pm

    Well. . .this seems to be a recipe for those with caucasian hair. This would never work on ethnic hair! I rely on Aveda products: no animal testing, hypoallergenic, green, sustainable company which uses organic ingredients.

    • Anne August 9, 2010, 5:44 pm

      Hi Lynn, Don’t assume Aveda is all that natural. It’s not. In fact, I know several women who have allergic reactions to Aveda products, including scalp and skin irritation. One of the alternatives you could try is only using a conditioner on your hair. Most women I know with curly or coarse textured hair don’t use any shampoo. They use conditioner as they would shampoo. Their hair looks amazing and they had less dryness overall and better scalp health. You may want to try the vinegar option. I haven’t tried it personally, but it can’t hurt to try it once and see if it works for you.

      • Heidi August 10, 2010, 12:36 pm

        My husband has amazing curly hair. Think ringlets…sproing! (Unless he brushes it, and then he’s got the biggest ‘fro ever seen on an white guy with freckles.) He swears by no shampoo, a small dab of conditioner, cold water rinse, a simple gel and no comb.

      • Dianne August 12, 2010, 10:42 pm

        Anne, I’m not sure if I understand your message correctly, but it seems like you might be saying that the fact that some people have allergic reactions to Aveda products means that those products are not “all-natural.” If that’s the case, I think it’s important to clarify that a person can be allergic to just about anything in the world–whether it’s a naturally occurring substance/thing, or something that’s synthetically made. (Just think of how many people are allergic to grass and cats!) Keep this in mind in case you have a reaction to something in the future. Good luck!

  • Deborah August 9, 2010, 1:54 pm

    I make my own soap and one recipe in particular is called shampoo bar. It is fantastic! A great book that was written in 1972 by Ann Sela Brown is “Soap. Making it, Using it, Enjoying it.” This book has brought a lot of pleasure to my life. It will teach you to make soap. Real soap. I did find it was a bit easy to become addicted to making soap, after all how much soap do we need? Giving it away really wonderful, too.
    Sometimes you can find the book in used bookstores, but otherwise, there are lots of soapmakers online who love to help other people make soap.

  • tizzielish August 9, 2010, 2:04 pm

    Gosh, you say that using baking soda will save hundreds of dollars a year. I am wondering how you ever managed to spend hundreds of dollars a year on shampoo. Even if I imagine that you used to buy shampoo for two adults, it is hard for me to grok spending hundreds of dollars a year on shampoo. Plus, your recipe would quickly work through a box of baking soda. 1.5 cups of baking soda weekly (at your recipe rate, shampooing three times a week). . . wouldn’t the cost of baking soda come to about a buck a week, or, $52? Let’s be really frugal and suggest that the baking soda costs $26 a year . . . and keep in mind that this is only for one person.

    I have used the same Aveda shampoo for at least twenty years. I buy a 32 ounce container of shampoo. I shampoo almost daily, after my almost daily lap swims (gotten keep the chlorine in check). And my one bottle lasts me at least 1.5 years. The 32 ounce bottle costs, these days, about thirty bucks. Aveda also sells shampoo by the gallon and I used to buy the gallons when my kid still lived at home and we went through shampoo faster but now I live in a very small space and the ‘big’ gallon seems a little unsettling. Plus there is lugging it home on the bus.

    I think quite a lot of people use quite a lot of shampoo. I don’t think I stint when I use my shampoo.

    I have not examined the chemical content of this product. I realize that your baking soda shampoo post offers a more environmentally considerate way to perform the necessary task of shampooing one’s hair. I know that cost is not the only focus of your comment. And this post will help me think about what’s in my shampoo but I really love my shampoo — that’s why I have used it for decades.

    But I just don’t see how one person can save money using your baking soda shampoo recipe, unless the baking soda is free?

    I think I spend less than fifty cents a week on shampoo.

    Now . . I run through cream rinse much more quickly. I probably spend a hundred bucks a year on cream rinse, a luxury I am not willing to give up. I live on $10,500 a year. I don’t think many live more frugally than I do. My big luxuries are shampoo & cream rinse that makes me happy to use, a machine to make sparkling water (the carbon containers run me about thirty bucks a month and that seems very expensive but I don’t drink, do drugs, eat sweets, I don’t even drink fruit juice (because I have diabetes and it’s all about counting the carbs to keep my glucose managed). I also spend $120 years for a locker at my pool: this is a totally unnecessary expense that gives me great, great satisfaction and happiness. And I go to a movie once in awhile and I pay for the internet. No tv. I pay electricity, internet, phone, rent, bus pass, food, toothpaste, shampoo, carbon for sparkling water, swim locker. I never spend a cent unconsciously. If I want something, like replacing my sweet Cannondale that someone just ripped off, I save for it. I’m always saving for something, which gives me incentive to spend very consciously. I had saved over a year for that bike. Then, after I bought the bike, I saved another year for a new computer.
    My only income is a disability income, which is why my income is so restrictive. When I first became disabled, unable to work, it was very hard but now I have adapted and there really isn’t anything that I need that I can’t acquire. And free stuff comes to me. I found my sofa next to the dumpster of my old studio apartment. I was about to move into a one bedroom and had no furniture beyond one bed and one chair and there was a perfectly good, lightly stained sofa in the trash. And it was an IKEA sofa and IKEA sells covers for twenty bucks (the plain muslim one!). And then, just before I moved to this one bedroom, which came with a table built into the kitchen, I found two brand-new-looking dining chairs next to the same dumpter. Every piece of furniture I own came to me free except for my bed and I could easily get free beds but I wanted a really good futon. I saved up for the mattress. Well, I could go on. I am glad to have found your blog . . . read about you in the nytimes.

  • Sylvana August 9, 2010, 2:28 pm

    I found your website via an article about your simple living that my husband sent me. I have to say first that I am impressed with the changes that you made for your life. I bow before your greatness πŸ™‚
    Now on to baking soda…
    I just recently started using baking soda for my laundry (because of No Impact Man coincidentally). It does a very good job and everything smells fresh. I have thought about expanding that to my toothpaste, but the taste is awful — still working out a doable recipe.
    But washing your hair? I hadn’t really thought of that! What a great idea. I am definitely going to try that the next time I wash my hair.

    And then Danak says that apple cider vinegar will treat eczema? We currently buy very expensive shampoo for our son to treat this, while I have a whole gallon of very inexpensive apple cider vinegar sitting in the pantry waiting for canning season. Must try that!

  • Rita August 9, 2010, 2:30 pm

    I have used Baking Soda as a soap for years now. I have no issues with dry skin nor body odor.
    Have to give the Shampoo thing a try. I live in Alaska, so we have a lot of dry air in the wintertime here and the baking soda wash in the shower on a daily basis has made a huge difference.

  • Ellen August 9, 2010, 2:38 pm

    As an advocate of the wonders of baking soda, i’d like to thank you for posting another use for it. I brush my teeth, drink for acid indigestion, use it as a face and body scrub,etc …there are just so many uses for baking soda. The article on yahoo was timely, i have be purging “things” from my home for the past couple months and and excited to see your site and books. There is a certain relief and freedom from releasing “the stuff”. Thank you for sharing some of your story, it is inspirational.

  • Dawn August 9, 2010, 2:52 pm

    Personally, baking soda horribly dries out my hair no matter how little I use of it. So I simply wash my hair with grapeseed oil once a week or so and do a water wash by rubbing my scalp under the water for about five minutes everyday. Doing this has made my hair very soft and manageable (I have curly hair that is prone to tangling) but never oily. If it gets oily with natural oils then I do the grapeseed wash! For once I can wake up and run my hands through my hair without tangles or oiliness! For those of you with curly hair let me give you an idea of the type of curl I have for your own reference. I have 3a-3b hair that is normal porosity and normal texture (not fine or coarse). That said people think I have baby fine hair because of it’s new-found smoothness!

    • Dawn August 9, 2010, 2:58 pm

      P.S. I have dyed hair that I only recently have decided to grow out and the baking soda lightened and dulled it. So for those of you curious about that, that is my personal experience.

  • Randi August 9, 2010, 3:03 pm

    Hi Tammy,

    When I was 12 I came down with pneumonia and was ill for a very long time. My gramma couldn’t carry me to the bathtub to bathe me so she would sponge wash me and cleaned my hair with… you guessed it… baking soda. I remember growing up thinking how weird it was that that actually worked. But yet I still bought commercial shampoos my whole life. It just goes to show you that the old world methods are often better than any new things people come up with

  • Veronica Suarez August 9, 2010, 3:22 pm

    What about conditioning? I have dry hair, not oily.

    • Joyce September 12, 2011, 1:06 pm

      Conditioning; Dry hair; Oily hair – I keep hearing folks saying that a conditioning rinse of one to two tablespoons of apple cider vinegar to a cup of water is a great balance to the baking soda wash. However, be aware that one must adjust the amount according to one’s own needs. Some say that too much apple cider vinegar in the solution causes oiliness in their hair. As your hair is on the drier side, Veronica, you may find you want a little more vinegar in the mix. Another thing, folks need to adjust the amount of baking soda in their solution, AND some people with more oily hair need to actually do TWO washes with baking soda, each wash, before the conditioning rinse. Happy washing!

  • heidi August 9, 2010, 3:42 pm

    Just read the NYT article about you! Very impressive. We live just outside of Portland but will eventually be giving up our ‘big’ house and downsizing (looking to rent and move into a studio apartment or tiny house in Portland proper). If you can suggest a part of town that has affordable studio apartments, that would be great! πŸ˜‰

  • Heather M August 9, 2010, 3:45 pm

    I was a slave to over priced shampoountil my head started getting sores and being really dry. I was just told by my doctor that it was dermatitis and would have never thought about it being the shampoo until I used a name brand shampoo on my 5 year old twins and their heads got all dry and itchy!! Yuck. so I went to Jason organics for kids only and I use it as well. I use Argan oil for all of us instead of conditioner and it is the best a little goes a long way. I’m going to try the baking soda wash as well inbetween maybe even with a few drops of tea tree oil.

  • Benjamin Bankruptcy August 9, 2010, 3:51 pm

    I use a soap… Just a plain old bar of soap. It’s cheap as chips and my hair feels great. Shampoo and conditioner are such a scam!

  • Megan August 9, 2010, 3:55 pm

    Going no ‘poo can work..but beware if you have hard water. I finally found that if you boil 4 C of water first, turn off the heat then add 1/2 C baking soda. it’ll fizz up so step back.

    Then you will have a no poo recipe that will work. Once it cools the mixture will feel almost slick in your fingers.

    Good luck! Going no poo is so easy and your hair will be so much more manageable.

    • Jessica August 10, 2010, 5:50 pm

      Adding a little salt to the baking soda mix can help with the hard water too. Just like your water softner uses salt.

    • Tara January 8, 2011, 11:52 am

      I’ve been trying to find a solution for my very hard well water and this sounds plausible. Only, I’m lazy. Can I bottle this or do I need to make it every time?
      Thanks πŸ™‚

      • Megan January 8, 2011, 4:29 pm

        You can certainly bottle it. You won’t be using 4 C of water per washing. πŸ™‚

  • Deb Weaver August 9, 2010, 4:06 pm

    Will this shampoo idea wear out coloring more quickly? I’m just thinking about how great a cleanser baking soda is…

    • Joyce September 12, 2011, 1:09 pm

      I have read that it does…

  • I’ve been lurking here forever, and was preparing to inform you that next Friday I’m going to be featuring you as my site of the day at http://www.LetsGetFitToFocus.com However, now I have an even bigger reason to write you – I just saw you on Yahoo! Way to go, couldn’t have happened to a more awesome blogger.

    On another note, I’ve been washing my hair with baking soda for about 8 months now, with great results. My hair is pretty long, at that. It also makes a great deodorant, and if mixed with a few drops of tea tree oil, a great anti-perspirant. I just pour some into a small container, add a few drops of tea tree oil, and add a powder puff. Best deodorant/anti-perspirant I’ve ever used! Make sure it is baking soda, though, and not baking powder, which can contain unhealthy aluminum.

    Thanks again for such a wonderful blog, and congrats again!

    Create an amazing night for yourself,

  • Mary August 9, 2010, 4:55 pm

    I just bought a new bottle of shampoo and it lasts me forever–but I will try this before I purchase again. I have been making my own laundry soap for the past 6 months or so. I got the receipe off of the Duggars website–yes from ” 19 Kids and Counting”! It costs almost nothing to make–once you purchase the ingredients they last forever. I just made 5 gallons last weekend and it will probably last me (I’m single, but my mom and stepdad also us from what I make up) about 6 months. Low suddsing–but does the job and saves so much money! The receipe is for 10 gallons but I cut it in half as it’s hard to find enough containers and I don’t like adding water as you go. Check it out! I’m a new reader and love your site!

  • Teresa August 9, 2010, 5:05 pm

    I’m not so sure about using baking soda on my hair…I use it to wash our deck and it does a great job! I try to wash the deck on a rainy day so I don’t need to use an excess of water. I just sprinkle away with the BS and then attack it with a brush or shop broom. It removes mold like nobody’s business. BUT…it does kill plants and browns out the grass growing below the deck. That is why I hesitate to use it on my hair.

    • Joyce September 12, 2011, 1:42 pm

      The vinegar rinse, adding acidity to the alkaline, is said to be a good balance. I don’t happen to have grass, would be very interested to know what would happen if equal amounts of baking soda and vinegar were poured onto some healthy, green grass. There are three ways this could be done: 1.) Mix equal parts of both, half vinegar, half baking soda; 2.) Mix equal parts of them into an equal amount of water; 3.) Mix well, say, a tablespoon of baking soda into a cup of water, pour on grass. Saturate the very same grass with a solution of 1 tablespoon of vinegar mixed into one cup of water. I think the results should calm your fears – but that’s just a guess. πŸ™‚

  • catherine August 9, 2010, 5:30 pm

    Hi Tammy
    wow baking soda ….. i will give it a try. i know baking soda is some good stuff. butta…. never heard it to go on one’s hair and skull. but you posted it… it must be very workable for you.
    i am impressed with your 3 pair of shoes and 4 plates simple living. dunno if i can ever do that. butta debt free ! i’ll take that any day. : )

  • Christie August 9, 2010, 5:54 pm

    I have been going through things and giving away things for a while now. Just this week I have been eyeballing around my house and getting ready to give more/ Less is better. My mother thinks more is better and will buy anything just because it was a steal…or it reminds her of her childhood. (i think this is why i dont like clutter) Anyway, as for the baking soda, and the water washing only, I have heard about them both for years but have always been skeptical because I have such thick color treated hair….maybe I will try it.

  • Sandra Lee August 9, 2010, 5:59 pm

    I just use my fragrance free soap! πŸ™‚ I’m a big fan of baking soda, though.

  • Penny August 9, 2010, 6:10 pm

    I tried the baking soda method, but I never could get used to it. Still, I didn’t like the sulfates and other ingredients in shampoos. So I switched to plain castile soap. A huge bottle is very economical, and it works great. As a soap, it doesn’t put detergents and chemicals into the environment (or on my head!). I used to shampoo my hair every day (and sometimes be wanting to shampoo again by the end of the day). Now I use the castile soap every 4-5 days. I’ll never go back to shampoo!

    • Joyce September 12, 2011, 2:08 pm

      Penny, for how long have you been using the castile, and do you find that it leaves a residue in the bath or shower, or sink? I cleaned, monthly, for a fellow who used a bottle of castile soap, and his tub was always a dreadful mess – I do NOT want to put up with that! We have very hard water, and have quit using bar soaps, substituting liquid soap, only. The difference it makes in the tub and shower is amazing! The tub and shower always look like they are never used – there is no residue, whatsoever, even with our hard water! I guess the calcium only sticks to residue. I would like to get away from soaps, shampoos, and conditioners, too, but have yet to find recipes which seem good for us. My daughter and I have very long hair, (past the knees, for myself), and do not want to experience dry or tangled hair from the baking soda – (maybe the vinegar will alleviate that – but I am verry wary of making the plunge!), and most other recipes call for castile soap… Thanks for any input! πŸ™‚

      • Penny September 12, 2011, 5:49 pm

        Joyce, I’ve been using castile soap for over a year. Never had any trouble with residue in sink or tub with the brand I use (Dr. Bronner’s). I can’t tell you about tangles, because my hair is quite short. Periodically I do rinse with diluted apple cider vinegar, when it seems like my hair isn’t as “squeaky clean” as I like it.

  • meow August 9, 2010, 6:12 pm

    most personal care products are scary – check out yours at http://www.cosmeticdatabase.com. Way to go – you’re an awesome inspiration. And great kitty mom from the looks of it.

  • susanna eve August 9, 2010, 6:13 pm

    I just cut my hair quite short again. I rarely bother with shampoo. I only wash my hair once every week or 2 and I use Dr. Bronner’s liquid peppermint soap, I only need a tiny little bit. It works as well, IMO, as the “green” shampoo we have. Even when my hair was almost shoulder length I tried not to wash it more often than once every 1 to 2 weeks.

  • kabra August 9, 2010, 6:16 pm

    http://www.ewg.org/ – This is a great site in guiding consumers in purchasing cosmetics. The FDA has never approved sunscreen and a majority of shampoos contain cancer causing ingredients. I can not imagine baking soda being good for you on a long term basis. In pinch, camping, post hurricanes…but I agree with whoever it was that said we need a PH balance to keep our scalp healthy.

  • Coffeee/Sue August 9, 2010, 6:25 pm

    Guess what? I’ve ungraduated from Baking Soda and ACV to using a bar of my cold-pressed soap…simpler still and wonderful…I lather up the soap in my hands, rub it in and rinse and repeat…no need to “condition”…..why did it take me so long to try this…was I that brainwashed by advertising?

    PS I cut my own short hair now too…10months since my last hairdressers appt πŸ˜€

  • Bend Oregon Real Estate August 9, 2010, 6:32 pm

    If you want something that is home made but is a bit more exotic that is similar to the kinds of shampoo Aveda makes (without chemicals) here is a recipe I found that uses Castile soap (a natural soap derived from vegatable oil or olive oil)

    This Herbal Shampoo Recipe is for Every Hair Type

    * 1 cup distilled water
    * 3 tbsp rosemary
    * 1 tbsp lemongrass
    * 2 tsp tea tree oil
    * 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
    * 1/4 cup Castile liquid soap

    Heat the water in a pot and bring to a boil. If you have a strainer, place the rosemary and lemongrass in it. Place the herbs in a container that can hold boiling water. Pour the water over the herbs, cover the pot with the herbs inside, and let the mixture seep for 20 to 30 minutes.

    When the time has elapsed, take the cover from container, and mix the herbs around a little more. Then remove the herbs from the container. If needed, strain the water to remove any floating bits. Mix the tea tree oil and vanilla into the water.

    Mix the soap into the infused water, and make sure the soap dissolves completely. Because you’re mixing oil, water and soap it’s important that you mix very well.

    Pour the mixture into your container. Let the shampoo cool, and pour into your shampoo container. There you have an fancy herbal shampoo that is all natural, smells good, and feels great on your hair. This recipe makes about 12 ounces of shampoo. Keep in mind that you don’t want to make too much at one time because it doesn’t have the toxic chemicals that unnaturally prolong shelf life.

  • Candace August 9, 2010, 7:26 pm

    I LOVE this idea!! I’ve been using baking soda for brushing teeth (not every day because it’s so harsh on enamel, I use water every day), cleaning and deodorant for years, but I used Planet dishwashing liquid for my hair and laundry. I became chemically sensitive about 10 years ago and had to totally change my lifestyle. It definitely has saved me a LOT of money not buying chemically-based products that are totally unnecessary for our health, well-being and existence. So many of those products make me sick even when others use them. The Sauve shampoo my neighbor’s children use on their heads make my sinuses bleed if I get too close to them! Besides the scented products that affect my breathing and give me all kinds of illness grief (I could list pages of horrid symptoms you probably don’t want to read through!) Thank you for being an advocate of clean and simple living. For some of us, it’s mandatory and it gives me hope others are seeing the light. Too many toxic chemicals in our environment! Wouldn’t it be great if we put the chemical companies out of business!!!!

    • Anonymous August 12, 2010, 1:57 pm

      I can totally sympathize! But in another way, being sensitive can make you more aware of the chemicals in our everyday products and thereby make healthier choices for both you and the environment πŸ™‚

  • Kyra August 9, 2010, 7:49 pm

    I’m a massive fan of bicarb soda and vinegar to do many things around the house. For my hair, however, I was never able to get the balance completely right – and I persisted for many many months of wearing hats and headscarves! Then I read somewhere about egg yolk…

    It sounds pretty unpleasant but egg yolk is brilliant at stripping grease and dirt out of your hair and leaving it super-soft. I eventually found the best combination for my oily hair to be a fortnightly cycle of 3 bicarb washes followed by an egg yolk wash. I’m currently using a soap bar shampoo (convenient for travel) but once its finished I will return to the egg / bicarb routine. Egg especially appeals to me because you can easily find unpackaged, locally produced eggs just about anywhere in the world.

    If anyone out there is thinking of trying egg yolk:
    1. It’s easier to apply it consistently if you mix it with a little yoghurt. Or even milk will do.
    2. Make sure you rinse it out really well with cold water (hot water may lead to fried egg?!)
    3. Be aware that it may leave a slight smell but its not too unpleasant and it wears off within a day. I was really self-conscious about this at first but I asked people and nobody else seemed to notice it! I sometimes used a natural scented rinse (eg. rosewater) to mask it.
    4. If you have a freezer and like to cook, save your egg whites for cakes or pavlova. Or if you ever use a bunch of egg whites in baking then drop the individual yolks into ice cube trays – they freeze really well and it has no impact on their shampooing properties.

    • Angie September 15, 2011, 8:19 pm

      Kyra, I’m on Day 12 of ‘no poo’ and still trying to find the right mix of BS/Vinegar. My hair is super oily so I’m very interested in this egg yolk idea. Questions would be, do you mean you wait 2 weeks than do 3 days in a row of BS and then a day of egg yolk? Do you use vinegar rinses in between or after the egg yolk wash? Thanks for your help!

  • Jane August 9, 2010, 10:00 pm

    When you say you wash your hair 3 times a week, do you mean that you shower 3 times a week or that you shower every day but only shampoo your hair 3 times out of the week? I’ve always been confused about this…

    • Tammy August 10, 2010, 7:22 am

      @Jane, I shower everyday and rinse my hair everyday but I only shampoo about 3 times a week. πŸ™‚

      • Jane August 10, 2010, 8:45 am

        Okay, thanks for the info! I’ve heard it’s actually better to not wash your hair all the time anyway, but I was just a little confused at to what that meant πŸ™‚

  • Matt August 9, 2010, 10:56 pm


    Where is the post highlighting the fact that you are now a big star in the NYT? Congrats! Keep up the good work.


  • KEN LODONO August 10, 2010, 12:24 am


  • Del August 10, 2010, 12:44 am

    Hi Tammy. Great post. I alternate between Cider Vinegar and Dr. Bronner’s Baby Mild Soap. I found that the baking soda was getting stuck in my frizzy hair. Oh, and congrats about your NYT article!

  • Jen August 10, 2010, 2:47 am

    Since everyone else is weighing in, I figured I would too. My personal experience with BS for fair was not very good–it left my scalp feeling extremely irritated and dry/flaky. I tried using less BS (very dilute mix in water), but it wasn’t any better.

    I’m intrigued by the idea some others have suggested of diluting and using an eco-friendly dish detergent on my hair. I’ll give it a try! Thanks, guys.

  • Signa August 10, 2010, 4:13 am

    I have used the baking soda, when my hair turned green from the pool water. It works great, but I also heard that it is a little harsh on your hair so you should not use it that often. I am going to start using it more thou and see how it works out for me. I only wash my hair about 2-3x’s a week right now.

  • Victoria August 10, 2010, 5:19 am

    Try mixing the baking soda with tomato puree. I cut up a fresh organic tomato and put it in the food processor until it is puree–then mix in baking soda until it is like a thick milk shake. The nice thing is you can use this head to toe! It is a great body wash….the natural acid nature of the tomatoes works like a mini peel. I usually saturate my hair with it in the shower and let it sit for a few minutes while I scrub down my body….then rinse! Head to toe will feel like silk and your hair will be super shiny!!

  • Kim August 10, 2010, 5:38 am

    I LOVE THIS!!!
    My family is in the process of downsizing. We want to live more simply and though we are still in a cluttered house the process has started and it feels SO good!!
    I have been making my own soaps for years because I know there was a better healthier way. I clean with baking soda but never thought of using it in my hair! I am going to try it today!!
    Thanks so much for all you have done I am anticipating reading over your blog!
    Have a wonderful day!!!

  • annemarie scott August 10, 2010, 5:47 am

    Thanks for the great shampoo idea, can’t wait to try. We have been living simply for 5 years after a lapse of reason in which we bought and then later sold a mcmansion. But with our kids getting older and their expenses beginning to slowly rise, we are trying to figure ways to maintain and grow more connections that are positive instead of getting swept up again in the things that truly are not important. I think your website will help.

  • Pamela August 10, 2010, 5:51 am

    I have tried the baking soda on my hair and couldn’t get it quite right. However, I do like it as a facial scrub. I pour a little in my hand (maybe a Tbsp) and add a drop or two of Dr. Bronner’s Peppermint liquid castille soap — just rub it together and massage it on my face. It’s awesome!

  • Jennifer August 10, 2010, 5:56 am

    I quit using shampoo in January. I washed with baking soda and a vinegar rinse for months, and although my hair was clean, sometimes it wouldn’t rinse out properly and I’d have to re-wash before I left the house. Now I use Burt’s Bees Pomegranate shampoo once a week and do a ‘deep clean’ with baking soda about once a month, and condition with apple cider vinegar or coffee every other month or so. In between I rinse with water every other day.

    I used to have an extremely dry (cracking, bleeding) scalp and now that has all cleared up. My hairdresser says my hair has never looked so good, and is very supportive. My hair is shiny and silky and totally manageable. I would encourage anyone trying the no-poo/low-poo method to experiment until they find what works best for them.

  • Y August 10, 2010, 6:00 am

    I enjoyed the article about you & minimalism in the NY Times.

  • Sara August 10, 2010, 6:10 am

    I’ve been using pure Castile Soap as shampoo…it’s the base on most homemade shampoo recipes. Turns out you don’t need all the extra scents and oils, the base works just fine.

  • Mimm Patterson August 10, 2010, 6:11 am

    Your article reminded me of using baking soda to brush teeth. But one of your reader’s comments really brought back some very nostalgic memories. I grew up in Pennsylvania and after a day of running around I’d arrive back home hot, sweaty, sticky and sunburnt. Mom filled the claw foot tub with lukewarm water and a handful of baking soda. It cooled me down and took the sting away.

    But here’s a more practical question. I live a fairly spartan lifestyle but my one indulgence is a trip to have my hair cut (and sometimes colored) about once every eight weeks. Don’t ask me why, but it makes me feel pretty and pampered. It’s more of a psychological boost than anything. Other than that, I keep things pretty simple. Can I give myself this one indulgence – guilt free?

    • Joyce September 12, 2011, 2:55 pm

      Hee hee – of course, Mimm! πŸ™‚ We ALL need some special indulgence – it helps to balance us. πŸ™‚

  • berrybasket August 10, 2010, 6:22 am


    After reading all these posts about baking soda I began to wonder where it comes from and how it is mined, etc. I found an answer at the link above. Considering the mining processes involved and the salt pools left over (from which birds may drink and die), I’m not sure I’d consider this a no-impact solution to hair care. Can’t argue with it as a money saver. But if we all started using it for all the things it can be used for….that’s a big whole in the ground and a lot of salt ponds in Wyoming.

    Anyone know what the “secret” of all the new WEN shampoo-less hair cleaners is? Just wondering.

  • shanna August 10, 2010, 6:47 am

    great post, tammy! i have done this in the past, but got out of the habit, i guess. i think i’ll pick up the habit again, though, thanks to you. i add a few drops of lavender and bergamot essential oils to the mix–yum!

  • OwnStream August 10, 2010, 6:54 am

    Wow – love this. Am nearly out of my Aloe based shampoo now, and will try this next time for sure. Also, recently started shaving with just a bar of Jasmine soap. It works just as well as shaving cream.

    ~ Stephen

  • Andrew Boer August 10, 2010, 7:19 am

    I LOVE the design of your blog. I checked out THESIS but it seems a little expensive to me.

    • Tammy August 10, 2010, 7:33 am

      Thanks Andrew. Yes, thesis is expensive. With that being said, I’ve found it to be an invaluable resource.

      You might want to look into some of the free wordpress themes. There is a lot of cool stuff out there.

  • lara serbin August 10, 2010, 7:49 am

    i like your style. i just finished reading ‘will you be happy after you buy it?’ refreshing article. i am going to donate a car full of stuff. i make my own clothes and handbags that i sell. i am an architect who works from my house and loves it.

  • Frugal Babe August 10, 2010, 8:15 am

    Before we moved to a new town last year, I had been using baking soda instead of shampoo and vinegar as conditioner for about two years. I loved it, and my hair always felt great. But the water here is much harder, and I found that my hair no longer felt good at all with my baking soda and vinegar routine. I reluctantly switched to an expensive, organic, plant based shampoo, although I only wash my hair once or twice a week, so it lasts a long time. Right now, we’re thinking about installing a water softener. If we do, one of the first things I’ll do is switch back to my baking soda and vinegar hair routine! I also keep a little container of baking soda in a bathroom drawer, and that’s how I brush my teeth. I wet my toothbrush and then dip it in the container of baking soda, and it works really well. My mouth always feels clean, and I love knowing that there’s only one ingredient in my tooth paste!

  • Slawebb August 10, 2010, 8:19 am

    I wash my hair with baking soda too and love it. I try it last year and it did not work for me. My hair stayed very oily! I was reading a blog that mentioned that if you have hard water you need to boil the water first and add the baking soda to the hot water. It foams a bunch. Then I let it cool and pour it into my container I keep in my shower. I’ve been washing my hair like this for months now and my hair doesn’t get oily anymore. Just wanted to note that for other with oily hair.

  • Green Go August 10, 2010, 8:35 am

    Here’s my secret: I stopped using soap on my skin (except for 3 areas where hair grows πŸ˜‰ about 20 years ago. My skin has been great since, never too dry or too oily and I don’t break out anymore. The soap & lotion cycle is really un-natural. Most people should keep the natural oils and not remove them with soap just to replace them with artificial substances… And thank you all for all the good advice. Go Green and simple!

  • Heather August 10, 2010, 8:38 am

    Hi! I just read about you on the Yahoo site. The article said you found a blog (?) about simple living that started you off? Is that correct? What was the website that started you going?


    • Logan August 10, 2010, 8:52 am

      Our primary inspiration was watching Dee Williams discuss her downsizing and voluntary simplicity choices on youtube. However once we got turned on to this way of thinking one of the first blogs we read on the subject was Zen Habits.

  • Gina August 10, 2010, 8:46 am

    Thanks for the great post. I haven’t used shampoo or soap on my hair for months now, and it sounds silly, but it’s one of the best things I’ve ever done! There’s something so freeing about making this decision to do what works for me, despite most everyone thinking it’s crazy. I have a dry scalp, so this method might not work for everyone. I used to wash my hair with moisturizing shampoo and use all kinds of goo to keep it from being frizzy, now I just rinse it with water when I’m in the shower and whenever my hair feels a little greasy I just brush it out and it’s fine. Plus it has lots of body.

  • Penny August 10, 2010, 8:49 am

    I came across an article a couple of years ago about using Ivory soap, so I gave it a try. I just lather with the soap and rinse with a little apple cider vinegar mixed with warm water. It gets my hair really clean and saves me a lot of money! I keep a plastic bottle of the vinegar in the shower with an old plastic cup. I mix about a tablespoon full of vinegar and the rest of the cup is water. That gets the last of the soap out and makes my scalp feel great.

  • M August 10, 2010, 8:51 am

    i always enjoy washing my hair with tomato soup. it doesn’t function…at all…as a shampoo. but it does leave my hair smelling exactly like my favorite soup. so that’s a happy thing.

    the fact that i also wash my car with tomato soup…that one i can’t explain. i run out of meds sometimes. things happen.

  • sharon at farm and fru fru August 10, 2010, 9:15 am

    if you haven’t already, check out cosmeticsdatabase.com where you can enter any cosmetic product you use and see where in ranks in chemical composition. love the baking soda idea and will try tonight!

  • Susan August 10, 2010, 9:20 am

    Haven’t tried this yet–I just drastically cut back on shampooing a couple years ago and it made a tremendous difference for the good. You don’t need to wash your hair every single day, like we’ve been trained–like sheep–to do. One tip I’d add: a natural-hair bristle brush. It was tough for me to buy one (as a vegetarian), but it makes a real difference. It distributes the oils in your hair much better than any other kind. (Think of the women characters in old tv shows and movies giving their hair “100 brushes” before bedtime.) Will definitely try the baking soda, though. Thanks for the tip!

  • Chandra August 10, 2010, 10:12 am

    Okay, I was trying to figure out how to contact you but I don’t use Twitter, so I thought why not just leave a comment (was a bit shocked at all the responses here!) Anyway, I just read the NYT article you were in and was really inspired (again; you’ve inspired me MANY times, lol) and was going back through your blog and I had a couple questions I hope you don’t mind answering.

    1. You have less than 100 items, but what about household items? I know you don’t include those for personal, but have you ever done a count? Something I really struggle with is how much of that stuff is too much. Like do you have holiday decor (ornaments or a tree)? Or regular decor? Do you have night stands? (I hate them but haven’t convinced my hubby how unusefull they are.) Okay, so that was more than one question πŸ™‚ but I am trying to see how someone else can happily have a household without ALL the stuff associated with a ‘normal’ household.

    2. I loved that pic of you and your hubby on the one chair with the cat that was in the NYT article! It brought another question to mind though. HOW do you live in 400 sq ft? (Would LOVE πŸ˜€ to see the rest of your place, btw, and I really loved how open your living room looked!) We live in about 940 sq ft right now and I think there’s too much extra room now yet haven’t envisioned how to make due with less.

    I know its just up to everyone’s specific needs; however, I think many of us are caught in the what’s ‘normal’ trap and it prevents many of us (ME!!!) from completing the full purge cycle, so I hope you don’t mind helping a girl out πŸ˜‰ and, maybe, you could even make it a post! πŸ˜€

    THANK YOU πŸ™‚

  • Val August 10, 2010, 11:43 am

    Great! I am going to try this! I always try to find natural solutions instead of buying items with tons of ingredients in it. It’s always a challenge when trying to buy products for your hair/body. thanks for the tip!

  • dj August 10, 2010, 3:26 pm

    Great suggestion! I use baking soda and vinegar for a lot of things, and if it works, great. But I found it is too drying for my hair. I now have a short hair cut, and I often just rinse really well with water, and wash it maybe once a week; sometimes I just use conditioner. For my hair, the less the better. I read about the later in the book, “Curly Girl”. I highly recommend that book to anyone that has curly hair. I bought a gallon of the healthiest (and affordable) shampoo I could find from vitacost. I referred to cosmeticsdatabase to find the best ingredients. This will last my family at least a year, especially if we don’t shampoo everyday. Not only are we using less product, but less plastic. I get so sad when I think of that plastic soup in our oceans. I have several containers, either glass or “safe” plastic that I reuse/refill. Just like food portions are too big, probably so is our usage of products. They say you only need a dab of shampoo the size of a quarter to wash your hair, and the “rinse and repeat” is only marketing. When making a change, I think it takes several weeks to see if it works or not, because we have such a buildup of products on and in our bodies/hair. I wish more people would think about the impact of the products they buy, not just on themselves but the planet. Sometimes I think where we spend our monies is more important than our vote. HHHmm, maybe not πŸ™‚

  • Meme August 10, 2010, 4:35 pm

    Thanks for the tip! I’ve never tried using baking soda before. I went seven years with just hot water, and that was great! Now, I occasionally do a apple cider vinegar rinse, which is wonderful! It’s nice for the strange mess I manage to get in my hair from raising a small child. πŸ™‚
    A great documentary, that just came out, with lots of information and alternatives, is Chemerical. It is a wonderfully inspiring story of a family that goes off chemical cleaners and body care products.

  • julie kirtlan August 10, 2010, 6:21 pm

    i was curious about your “shampoo” and “rinse” so i mixed them up and tried them tonight. i must say that i am soo glad that i did! i first used it on my 3 children, their hair smelt clean and my daughters tangles came out so easily. i used it later and my hair feels clean, fresh and light! i too had no troubles fighting tangles…. thanks!
    i plan on trying the deoderant next!
    and do you have homemade soap?
    Thanks again,

  • Peg August 11, 2010, 1:14 am

    Heads up to anyone with eczema. Many people with eczema are allergic to or severely irritated by any kind of contact with baking soda. I used to brush my teeth with baking soda and the corners of my mouth were always cracked and raw. Another eczema sufferer mentioned that the two things she avoids like the plague are Ivory Soap and …. baking soda! I stopped brushing my teeth with baking soda and within 3 or 4 days the rash around my mouth disappeared and has never come back.

    I wish there was a substitute for baking soda in all of these natural recipes because any time baking soda contacts my skin causes a severe eczema flare-up.

    • chesapeake August 11, 2010, 7:59 am

      Hey, Peg, I suffer from many skin allergies (not the same as eczema, I know, but I still get a lot of rashes) and stopped using shampoo six weeks ago. I don’t use baking soda (did terrible things to my hair) – I go the “water only” method, and it has worked FANTASTICALLY for my hair. This is what I do: I scrub my scalp *really* thoroughly with the pads of my fingers and rinse rinse rinse, scrub scrub scrub, then rinse some more at every angle with warm water. At the end of my shower, I flip my hair over, and rinse just my hair with cold water at every angle (this way the water doesn’t get onto my body and make me cold). Then I just let it air dry. My hair is not naturally oily, but it is very fine and shows “dirtiness” easily. I thought I could never do the no shampoo thing. It took about 30 days (and some patience) for my hair to “detox,” and now my hair looks better than ever. And my skin rashes are gone! On every other Sunday, I dilute about a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar in a large plastic cup of water and pour that onto my hair in the shower, leave it on for twenty seconds, then rinse it out. It works great! I hope this helps. πŸ™‚

  • Mary August 11, 2010, 5:06 am

    I’m really happy to have found your blog! I’ve been getting rid of stuff all summer. Books to nursing homes and hospitals, CDs to the libraries (after I put the music into iTunes), clothing to the Salvation Army. I live out the country, where there’s no city water. The water from my well is extremely hard, and leaves my hair dull and coated with some kind of unpleasant residue. (The toilet and sinks get stained with rust, and I hate to think that the same stuff was coating my hair.) I could never find a shampoo that did anything to help this problem. I did some research online and found a recipe for washing my hair with borax. I’m here to tell ya, it’s wonderful! I think it does something to soften the water, and also cleans my hair and scalp. 20 Mule Team Borax. I looked all over creation for it, in hardware stores, Home Depot, Wal Mart, etc., finally found it in my regular grocery store, on the bottom shelf. Now I keep a canister of it in the bathroom, make a dilute solution of it in an old shampoo bottle as needed. It took some getting used to, after a lifetime (I’m 64) of daily shampooing. You have to follow with a rinse of dilute vinegar to restore the proper pH. I haven’t yet tossed my many half-empty bottles of shampoo-that-didn’t-help. Paring down, little by little!

  • Reka August 11, 2010, 6:12 am

    Hi all,
    Thanks for this tip, Tammy. Another non-shampoo method I’ve tried is washing my hair with an egg yolk, a tip my mom passed on from my grandma. I’ve been transitioning from shampooing every day to shampooing less often, and washing with an egg yolk really helps to de-grease my hair on those days when I don’t use shampoo. It leaves my hair soft and silky – this makes sense, eggs yolks contain a lot of nutrients.
    For those who want to try – just seperate out the yolk (into a cup) from the egg white, break the yolk so that it’s runny, pour over wet hair and let sit for a few minutes.

  • NG August 11, 2010, 7:39 am

    These are really amazing suggestions! As a curly-headed girl, I’m seriously considering switching over to this method of hair care…

    Also wanted to mention that a great resource for natural, DIY home and body care is my friend Raleigh Briggs’s book “Make Your Place.” Check it out for more awesome recipes!

  • Jamie August 11, 2010, 9:50 am

    I don’t know if it is mentioned here as there were so many comments to read. . .For those that have oily hair (as I do) rosemary is awesome at removing excess oil without over drying. I simply take fresh rosemary leaves and steep it in the water for 5 min. before I add it to the baking soda. It turns it a brown color, but I have yet to find a better solution for my oily hair.

  • Rachel August 11, 2010, 11:13 am

    Hi Tammy!

    Just found your blog through the NYT article and I’m really enjoying it!

    Love your tip for washing your hair with baking soda–though I still use conditioner, I have found baking soda to be a great cleanser that doesn’t dry my hair out. I

    I have a frugal face washing tip that I wanted to share. I just started this about 3 months ago and it has improved my skin a great deal. Having been someone that used to drop some serious money on face washes and lotions, this has definitely saved me money and simplified my life as I am able to use basic kitchen items. I usually do this in the evening, not in the morning, but there is no reason why one couldn’t follow this routine in the morning–I just hate to having to get up earlier than absolutely necessary.

    Always start with clean hands so you are not transferring bacteria from your hands to your face. The first step is to take a piece of cotton ball (you could also use a clean cotton cloth and then wash it if you’re not into throwing cotton balls away) and put a dime size or smaller amount of olive oil on it. Then rub the olive oil all over your face. You may find that the oil picks up dirt and oil from your face (it always happens to me!). Then take take some honey, I usually use a quarter-size amount, and rub it all over your face. Leave the honey on your face for anywhere from 5-20 minutes and then rinse with warm water. For an exfoliating extravaganza, you can add some finely ground (not coarse) salt or sugar and rub lightly in a circular motion as you rinse. After doing this I also pat a small amount of witch hazel all over my face to tone (it takes me about a year and a half to use up one bottle of this stuff!). Since the summer in NYC has been, hot, nasty, and muggy, I have been skipping the olive oil step most days and just do the honey and witch hazel steps. As someone who always had what I considered to be “combination skin”, the olive oil moisturizes my skin to the point that it stops overproducing oil on my forehead, nose and chin. And the honey’s anti-bacterial properties prevent new zits from forming.

    Anyway, I hope you find this tip for face “washing” helpful and fun!

  • mwipperman August 11, 2010, 1:21 pm

    Does this baking soda method get out all the ‘gunk’ like hairspray out? I know that probably seems like a lame question, but I have to use some product to tame the frizz!!

  • Nancy Parker August 11, 2010, 2:34 pm

    Been doing “no poo” for over a year now! Works great.

    Now to tackle that 100 things thing!

  • Lynne August 11, 2010, 2:39 pm

    I have gone even further – since I read about it in a minimalist blog, I have been washing my hair with nothing but water.
    It has been about 6 weeks now, and my hair is shiny, clean and soft: my scalp is healthy (I used to have terrible problems with itching and flaking). I do find that I need to wash it daily, rather than once every few days like when I used shampoo, but that’s easy to do, since I shower daily!
    The minimalist vibe is increasing in my house!!

  • Mrs. Money August 11, 2010, 3:58 pm

    I No poo too but make my hubby’s shampoo:


    It works well!

  • Kim August 12, 2010, 1:50 am

    Thanks so much for sharing this shampoo recipe! I’ve been trying to figure out a simpler, more environmentally friendly shampoo alternative for a while now, and this is perfect. You can’t get much simpler than baking soda and water!

    I just heard about your blog from a NYTimes article, and I look forward to reading more.

    All the best and happy living!

  • Jane August 12, 2010, 3:12 am

    Great comments & suggestions here and great blog btw.

    I have a couple of questions if someone could tune in, please:
    1) what’s the ratio of baking soda & vinegar to make a cleansing agent?

    2) what’s the ratio of making tooth paste? Did someone use hydrogen peroxide to make tooth paste? Should it be more liquid or more paste like? Or does it depend on personal taste?

    3) @ Tammy: I also would be very interested to know what kind of household stuff you still have. Maybe you could do a post sometime soon about this? That would be awesome. I downsized a lot, but am not quite sure what to keep in terms of household, like kitchen towels, bedlinen, crockery, cutlery, tools, pans, pots, office supplies, paperwork, invoices.

    Thanks folks

  • Maria August 12, 2010, 8:19 pm

    Hi Tammy,
    What a great post! Sounds like you are changing your life around just as I am trying to do. Baking soda can be used to brush your teeth and also, to clean the toilet. Try it. It works! Haven’t we been sold so many lies by the drug and chemical companies all these years.
    I actually only wash my hair about twice a week. I wet it of course every day (wouldn’t feel clean otherwise) but shampooing only every three to four days. I will now use bakinng soda!
    As you can see by my very virgin blog (nothing finished) health is my passion. I have two members of my family with health problems and so, we have adopted a 75% raw diet. To that end I do green smoothies every day and make salads, salads and more salads as well as all sorts of delicious, made up, comfort food at night. It’s winter here in Canberra so raw at night is not very appealing!
    But getting back to the smoothies, all the reading I did suggested I needed a highly-expensive water ioniser. (This is when it’s good to live with a scientist!). My husband told me that baking soda would do the same job. I researched this on the internet, and sure enough, some scientists were saying exactly that. So, now in the morning I add about a quarter teaspoon of baking soda to the water, and my testing strips tell me that the water has alkalised.
    Just as an aside, the other day I went to the blood bank to donate plasma and, being a universal donor, was asked if I would donate platelets as well. Of course I agreed (another couple of hours out of my very busy llife, but it’s great reading time!!). In the course of the donation a few nurses gathered around to admire the healthy colour of my platelets (just looked the same as everyone else’s as far as I was concerned) so something good must be happening.
    So looking forward to reading more of your posts on getting back to basics. well done!

  • Maria August 12, 2010, 8:22 pm

    Woops!!! That should have read: http://www.yourhealthjournalist! Shame one can’t quickly fix up errors. On the other hand, perhaps I need to learn to be more careful!!

    Jane just mix baking soda twith water to make a smooth, creamy paste – for teeth and cleaning!

  • Michelle August 13, 2010, 8:38 am

    I read your piece on using baking soda instead of shampoo and I have to say that it has worked so well for me. I keep trying to get my husband to try it, but he is afraid he will come out of the shower with a powdery grey on his head. We usually spend $4 per bottle, so this savings is going into our “Paris Trip” fund. I am still using a quarter-size portion of my regular conditioner as a leave-in when I’m out of the shower because I have naturally curley hair. So this helps to keep the ringlets all in order, but that is even saving money because I usually use like a half-cup of conditioner when I’m in the shower. Thanks again for posting this!

  • beth simpson August 14, 2010, 6:16 am

    Wonderful advice and it’s really nice to meet someone who is sharing some practical solutions to what should be simple problems. THANKS! … I’m buying a box of baking soda…..

  • Lisa August 17, 2010, 2:57 pm

    A dear friend sent me the link to your site and this particular article…..I just stared a year long project on living lightly on the planet called The Insanity Project (http://theinsanityproject2010.blogspot.com) and am trying to find the “common ground” with the world of green living (compared to the NON green world!) and just love your site…. I will be reading more as the night goes on…..and trying the baking soda and apple cider vinegar tomorrow! Thanks for all the info!

  • Lisa August 18, 2010, 7:43 am

    I learned a long time ago as a housekeeper to always mix the more expensive ingredient into the less expensive ingredient. Sounds nuts, but if you’ll put your water into the container first, you may find it easier to gain the desired consistency with your baking soda. Just keep gradually adding more as you mix it up.

  • AnnE August 20, 2010, 8:26 am

    The baking soda shampoo substitute is great. It is not the same feel as a ‘shampoo clean’ by any means. But it is a true clean! There should be no junk left on your head – just hair and clean.

    If you try this you may immediately think “This is not for me.” Because it does feel very different from your usual shampoo routine. Here’s how it works for me : you scrub your scalp with your fingertips and the little particles of baking soda give you a nice scalp massage. So you are mechanically scrubbing away any nasties on your scalp and hair. When you rinse the baking soda out your hair feels different, though. It feels slightly rough, and it feels a little tacky or sticky. If you have ever run out of shampoo and been forced to use bar soap instead, you know what this is like. Shampooed hair feels smooth and sleek, which provides that squeaky clean feeling.

    Well, I’m here to tell you — put up with this rough or tacky feeling! (If that is how it feels to you. Everyone’s perception is different and hair and water is different too – so your experience will be different.) As long as you have rinsed the baking soda out thoroughly, your hair IS clean. Dry it as you usually do, and I think you will see that your hair IS clean.

    Some baking soda scrub users swear by additional rinses. I use an apple cider vinegar rinse. I dilute the apple cider vinegar one part vinegar, two parts water, and store it in a plastic squeeze top battle. Give a generous pour of the vinegar ‘conditioner’ after you rinse out the baking soda. Rinse the vinegar out well or you will smell gently of vinegar! This reduces the ‘roughed up, slightly sticky feeling’ that your hair may get after the baking soda scrub. It still isn’t the same as shampoo and conditioner’s sleek feeling, but the feel of my hair after the vinegar rinse is preferable to baking soda alone. Either way, once your hair is dry and styled, you will see that your hair is clean. You will probably be able to skip one or two days between washes without your hair looking oily at the roots.

    Other alternatives to petroleum-product based shampoos exist. A shampoo bar made by the soap lady at my local farmers market is very nice – makes a nice creamy lather. When rinsed out, it gives a slightly sticky feeling, similar to the baking soda scrub. But, once dry and styled, my hair is also just as clean as can be!

    Going ‘baking soda’ is cheap, easy and freeing. Go for it!

  • Fara August 22, 2010, 5:54 pm

    Tried it last weekend and will continue doing so ..slowly but surely. Thanks for the push!

  • Michelle August 23, 2010, 5:35 am

    What do you use as a conditioner?? My long hair gets too tangly to not use one.

  • CMegs August 25, 2010, 9:47 am

    Hi there,
    I love this site (Thanks Tammy!) and have been reading, well, as much as I can absorb in a sitting. I was wondering if anyone has mixed the water/baking soda/vinegar concotion and put it into an empty shampoo bottle so its always ready to use. I have a super tiny bathroom upstairs, and having something ready to use to clean with would be much easier than making a batch each time. Is “ready to use” not an option because there are no “preservatives” in it?

    • Joyce September 12, 2011, 4:26 pm

      CMegs, both the baking soda solution and the vinegar solution are made ahead, in large or small batches, left in the shower, and ready to use. πŸ™‚

  • Donna August 26, 2010, 8:22 am

    I was using baking soda for shampoo for about a month – followed by a tbsp of cider vinegar as a rinse. My hair looked and felt great! Until I realized my color was fading. Okay, maybe I’m the last person who still colors her hair… I know, all those horrible chemicals. But when I went back to my hair stylist, she was shocked at how faded my color had become. We figured out it was the baking soda.

    When I’m ready to give up my vanity and let my hair go gray, I’ll go back to the baking soda. Sadly, that may not be for a while!

    • Maggie August 26, 2010, 10:22 am

      Donna, I figured out the same thing too. So instead, I deep-clean my hair with a raw egg (whole egg, whisked for a second and mixed with water) once a week, and then use the ACV in between. Works like a charm!

      • Cmegs August 26, 2010, 10:47 am

        Do you pre-batch the apple cider vinegar to use as a conditioner?
        Donna, I know what you mean…I’m a store-bought bottle red-head. Not sure what my natural color is anymore, but I’m thinking something in the brown range. Thanks for the heads up on the bleaching properties of baking powder…I’ll be skipping that and trying Maggie’s egg mix (since I also still use hairspray at times for those pesky flyaways).
        Just curious, does the smell come out (either vinegar or the raw egg) when you’re done cleaning/rinsing? Has anyone tried using scented oils with their au natural products?

        • Maggie August 26, 2010, 11:06 am

          The smell always comes out for me – no problem!

  • Meg August 31, 2010, 5:03 am

    My trial of baking soda instead of shampoo didn’t go very well. My hair is long and my scalp is very oily. The baking soda never removed enough of the oil. After two weeks, my hair was oily for several inches from my scalp, and it was flat, heavy, stiff, rough, and dull. After the first few washings, I used a final vinegar (diluted) rinse. It helped a little bit, but not nearly enough. The other downside was that each washing with baking soda took lots of time, and I had to wash more often than usual. Thank goodness one washing with my usual eco dish detergent got my hair completely back to normal.

  • Samantha September 6, 2010, 6:18 am

    Baking soda works great for my hair – I only wash it half as often as before because it’s way less greasy. I use 3 teaspoons of baking soda, and mix it with boiling water in a mug (my tap water is very hard). Then I pour it into a squeezy bottle using a funnel (a small Dr. Bronner’s bottle). Then I can squeeze it onto my hair in the shower, rub it in a bit, and rinse. I follow with 2 teaspoons of diluted apple cider vinegar.

  • Linda Simovic October 19, 2010, 11:47 am

    I have been washing my hair with baking soda for a month since I read this post and it actually works. I dig it. I think I’ll stick with it!

  • Mila July 16, 2011, 1:11 pm

    So you don’t use the entire recipe for just one shower do you? You can make a bottle of it and just shake it up each time you use it? The reason i ask is because you say to use warm water, but obviously once a bottle of the stuff is sitting in the shower for a while it’s not going to be warm. Do i have to make a new batch every time i shower or can i just keep a bottle of it in the shower at all times?

    • Samantha July 17, 2011, 8:20 pm

      Mila, the warm/hot water is just to dissolve the baking soda. So as you say, just shake it up when you use it.

  • Mary August 8, 2011, 7:41 am

    I’ve been trying out a lot of natural stuff because right now I can’t afford a hair cut (my hair is super thick so if i don’t wash it then it gets really flat at the top and dry and thick on the bottom.) I wish i could get essential oils and real herbs but I’m making due with some vanilla/chamomile tea. I have it mixed in with my “shampoo” and my ACV “conditioner” I haven’t read your blog, just kind of stumbled upon this in my search for a less chemical filled shampoo. I also tried to go back to regular shampoo and boy did my head feel yucky and my hair was even more flat on top and thick on the bottom.

  • Kat October 4, 2011, 1:41 pm

    I have been using baking soda as shampoo and vinegar as conditioner for about 6 months. I had 2 old about 20oz or so powerade bottles that i rinsed out and use now. I put about 1-2 tbspns of baking soda in one and vinegar in the other then fill with water and put the lids on and shake to mix. Then to shampoo my hair I get it wet and put about half of the baking soda mix on and scrub a bit then do the other half and scrub some more. My hair gets a bit of a slick feeling to it but it dissipates when I rinse. Then I rinse my entire head with the bottle of vinegar water, then rinse that as well. After doing this the only thing I can say is it works just as good as regular shampoo in the cleanliness area. It is a heck of a lot LESS itchy than when I use commercial shampoo, however there was a 2 week adjustment period for me where my scalp was itchy after not using the shampoo anymore. The only thing I can say is sometimes I will put a tiny dab of regular conditioner at the ends of my hair to keep the BIG HAIR effect to a minimum. I really enjoy using this method to clean my hair and feel it does as good if not better than the commercial stuff.

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