15 things to start making instead of buying

There are so many reasons why you might want to start making your own products.

  • It’s cost-effective.
  • You get to control the ingredients.
  • It’s more sustainable.

All of these things give a pretty compelling argument for making your own products.

Store-bought cleaners, personal care products and everything in between usually come in disposable packaging meaning when it’s done being used it goes straight to the trash.

They’re also packed full of harmful chemicals that harm the planet and can actually harm you. There are so many side effects store-bought products can give you from headaches to sinus problems to more serious problems like fertility issues and even cancer.

Related: The 10 most toxic things in your house

Related: DIY Makeup products to make instead of buy

Related: The ultimate list of zero waste cleaning recipes

If it sounds scary, it’s because it is. But creating your own products solves all of these problems and can give you peace of mind all while saving you money and creating less waste.

So being the crafty person that I am, I went spiraling down the rabbit hole of things I could be making instead of buying.

I’ve rounded up some of my absolute favorite things that I now make instead of buy! (Although I will occasionally buy these things from amazing brands I love supporting.)

I just love knowing all of the ingredients that go into these products and also how simple and cost-effective they can be, and I know these are going to seriously change your life!

*This post contains affiliate links meaning I may earn a commission, at no extra cost to you, if you make a purchase using these links. I only recommend products I love and trust. To see our full disclosure, click here.

15 Things to start making instead of buying:

1. All-purpose cleaner – I don’t like traditional cleaners and all their loaded chemicals. I find that household items make just as good cleaners and don’t contain any nasties.

This all-purpose cleaner recipe is a favorite of mine and works on countertops, windows, mirrors and more!

  • A mason jar (or any upcycled jar)
  • Enough orange peels to fill the jar
  • Enough vinegar to fill the jar
  • A spray bottle 

I didn’t give any exact measurements because it all depends on the size of jar you’re using and how big your orange peels are (i.e if you’re using navel or mandarin).

Fill the jar with the orange peels and then add the vinegar until it covers the orange peels. Leave to soak for about two weeks and then pour the liquid into a spray bottle to use on pretty much any surface!

things to start making instead of buying

2. Deodorant – A lot of terrible side effects come with traditional deodorant, some as severe as breast cancer. And while I love and support a lot of amazing clean deodorant brands, some times I just like making my own. It’s simple, clean, and plastic-free.

Spray deodorant: Love this recipe via jenniraincloud.com

Mix all ingredients and add to a spray bottle.

3. Bug spray – ah, bugs. Unfortunately, they come in summer. No way of avoiding them. But there is a way to avoid the toxic chemicals that come in traditional bug sprays: Make your own! It’s so simple and so effective!

Mix all ingredients together and keep in a spray bottle!

15 things to start making instead of buying

4. Reusable dryer sheets – Single-use dryer sheets are full of artificial fragrances and are overall wasteful. Creating your own will not only reduce waste but is overall much more cost-effective.

You can make these dryer sheets using any fabric you want including cut up towels, t-shirts, sweaters, rags, you name it!

Tutorial found on clearandwell.com

Cut them into nice, even squares. (but don’t worry about being perfect!)

Place your fabric squares into an airtight container or jar. Mix 1 cup of vinegar and 30+ drops of your favorite essential oil and pour it over the fabric.

After each use, set used square aside and repeat the process!

5. Soap – If you haven’t gotten into soap making yet, you are missing out! It’s so fun to get creative and try new recipes! Here’s my favorite, basic recipe for bar soap:

Simply melt the soap base in the microwave or on the stove and then add the remaining ingredients and pour into your molds!

15 things to start making instead of buying

6. Mouthwash – This is one of my favorite things to make over and over again. It’s easy, effective and oh so wonderful! The best part is you can find all the ingredients in your kitchen!

This combination works to kill bacteria. Make sure to use food-grade essential oils but always be careful not to swallow it. Just swish and spit!

15 things to start making instead of buying

7. Sunblock – Sunblock is another thing that I like to purchase from amazing brands. However, I’ve recently delved into trying to make some of my own and this is the recipe I’ve found to work the best! And be the easiest.

Originally recipe via wellnessmama.com

8. Toilet bowl cleaner tabs – You know how you have to lock up cleaning supplies from children and pets? And that scary erosion warning label on the side of most of these bottles? Yeah, I don’t know about you but I don’t feel comfortable cleaning the things I use every day with these items.

These easy toilet bowl tabs are completely chemical and toxic free so you don’t have to lock them away!

All you need is:

Combine the dry ingredients and essential oils and slowly spray in the water until you get a crumbly texture. When packed together tightly the mixture should stick together.

Then pack them firmly into small molds and let set. When it’s time to clean your toilet, pop one in, let it sit a bit and scrub away!

9. Facial toner – I absolutely love concocting my own skincare products and this toner is no different. It’s so simple, smells great and leaves skin refreshed and softer.

I love reapplying this throughout the day, especially in the summertime.

15 things to start making instead of buying

10. Weedkiller – I have a lot of stray animals running around my place. Not to mention a cat that loves munching on weeds/tall grass. So when my mom insisted that the weeds needed to go we knew we had to find a non-toxic option to get rid of them.

My mom got this recipe from a friend and it worked so well! Killed the weeds perfectly.

Spritz and watch em die!

Note that Castille soap is the best option (Dr. Bronner’s to be exact) because not only is it certified fair trade but it’s also biodegradable meaning no soap residue is left behind if you use it on your weeds!

11. Body lotion – Another fun item to DIY and customize to your liking! I have really dry skin and pretty bad eczema (especially in the winter) and this stuff is the bomb.com!

Original trusty recipe from delia-in-a-nutshell.com

  • 2 tbsp beeswax
  • 1/2 cup almond oil 
  • 2 tbsp Shea butter 
  • 5 drops of essential oil of choice
  • 3/4 cup distilled water
  • 2 tbs olive or coconut oil 

Put the beeswax and the oils in a double boiler and stir until melted and then add essential oils. Put in the fridge for 5-10 minutes until the color starts to look creamy. Then whip it up and slowly add the water until incorporated.

Then transfer to a jar or container with a lid and store in the fridge!

12. Dry shampoo – This might be the simplest product on the list to DIY because you really only need 2-3 ingredients! Traditional dry shampoos contain chemicals and not only that but they come in aerosol cans which are super damaging to the ozone layer.

For the recipe, you can put your dry shampoo in an empty spice bottle that has a shaker on top or use a makeup brush to gently dust onto your hair.

Original recipe via grassfedgirl.com

For Brunettes:

  • 4 tablespoons arrowroot powder or cornstarch
  • 4 tbsp cocoa powder
  • Few drops of essential oil of choice

For Blondes:

  • 4 tablespoons arrowroot powder or cornstarch
  • 3/4 tsp turmeric
  • Few drops of essential oil of choice

For Redheads:

  • 4 tablespoons arrowroot powder or cornstarch
  • 2 1/4 tsp paprika
  • Few drops of essential oil of choice

I know you might be thinking it’s weird to put spices in your hair but trust me. They absorb grease so well and leave your hair smelling amazing.

15 things to start making instead of buying

13. Produce wash – You might be thinking that produce wash isn’t something you usually buy but it’s definitely something you should start making. I won’t get into all the chemicals and pesticides used on our products and which ones are more polluted than others but I will say that you should always wash your fruits and veggies before consuming.

15 things to start making instead of buying

14. Lip balm – I love making my own lip balm. It’s really cost-effective and fun to play around with different scents!

Here’s my favorite, most basic recipe! Modified from original recipe via onecrazymom.com

Combine and melt all ingredients in a double boiler and pour it into containers to cool! Easy peasy!

15. Bubble bath – If you’re going to be putting your entire body in something, make it a good something. I found this recipe via simplemadepretty.com and I haven’t looked at a single traditional, store-bought bubble bath since.

Combine and add to your bath!

15 things to start making instead of buying

And there you have it! 15 things to start making instead of buying! I adore making my own products and being in charge of the ingredients I use.

As always, don’t forget to share this post and follow me on Instagram for daily low waste living and ethical fashion inspo!

Other posts you might like:

29 things I stopped buying

Why the zero waste movement isn’t sustainable

Affordable ethical clothing brands

15 thing to start making instead of buying


15 things to start making instead of buying


  1. Tara
    September 20, 2019 / 11:35 am

    I love this! I’m feeling inspired to try so many of these myself, they seem so simple. Thank you for sharing!

    • Caity Rose
      September 20, 2019 / 11:46 am

      Thank you for reading! These are really simple and they all work! Hope you try them out! 🙂

  2. Sandi
    September 27, 2019 / 2:15 pm

    These all sound really great! Where did you get the amber glass bottles that you store these in?

    • Caity Rose
      September 27, 2019 / 2:55 pm

      Thank you! They’re linked at the very bottom of the post! Just use the arrows to navigate until you find them 🙂

  3. Melanie
    December 13, 2019 / 4:24 pm

    I noticed that you have a lot of baking soda and vinegar mixtures. I have heard that you shouldn’t mix them. What are your thoughts?

    • Caity Rose
      December 14, 2019 / 2:20 pm

      That’s interesting! I’ve never actually heard that before. I’ve been using these reci[es for over a year now and I’ve never had any trouble with them. They’re all really effective. The only thing is to mix them initially in a wide mouth bowl as it does foam up but after that, they never react with each other again.

    • February 5, 2020 / 2:57 pm

      I also use baking soda and vinegar for so many cleaning recipes! I think it’s very effective and is fine to mix them.

  4. January 15, 2020 / 5:31 am

    Thanks. I’m on a journey to a simpler life and we are semi self sustainable on a bio cycle septic and water tank. These are great!!!
    I’m also about to expand my product line for my candle business into soaps and organic beauty products. So these ideas will help.

    • Caity Rose
      January 15, 2020 / 10:20 pm

      That’s so awesome! I’m so happy you found the post helpful! 🙂

  5. January 25, 2020 / 9:58 am

    Love these tips…I’ve been switching over to home made products slowly through the years…. love the weed killer and dry shampoo idea! LeeAnne @ gingermamarn

    • Caity Rose
      January 26, 2020 / 11:42 am

      Thank you! Making my own products has definitely been one of my favorite switches!I’m glad you liked them, hope they work out! 🙂

  6. Denise
    February 26, 2020 / 6:44 pm

    I noticed you use lavender oil in several of these mixtures, I need to avoid it due to allergies is there a suitable replacement for it?

    • Caity Rose
      February 27, 2020 / 12:43 pm

      The lavender is used mainly for scent! I tend to use it a lot because of it’s relaxing properties and because it’s just one of my favorites! You can use any essential oil that you prefer and it should work just as well! 🙂

  7. April 17, 2020 / 10:34 pm

    I could not pin this fast enough! I already make my own all-purpose cleaner, laundry detergent, etc, but I can’t wait to try out my own deodorant and soap. Thank you for all of your hard work on this! Looking forward to reading more. 🙂

    • Caity Rose
      April 18, 2020 / 8:39 pm

      Thank you for reading! I’m so happy you like it, I hope the DIYs work out for you! 🙂

  8. Kris
    May 15, 2020 / 9:49 pm

    For the facial toner, are you to put one or all of the essential oils in the mix?

    • Caity Rose
      May 16, 2020 / 12:59 pm

      I recommend just adding one. Those are just my favorite options!

  9. August 10, 2020 / 2:45 am

    Wow these are amazing Caity!! We’ve started making our own face serum and yoga mat cleaner but will definitely try some of these🤩 saving it for later! Thanks for sharing this x

    • Caity Rose
      August 10, 2020 / 11:50 pm

      Thanks for reading! I hope you love the DIYs!

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