15 things to start making instead of buying

As I dive more and more into sustainable living, I’m realizing that I’m just not a huge fan of traditional, store-bought items anymore. Most of them anyway, some things I can’t live without. And I know there are things I want to start making instead of buying.

Store-bought things from food and cosmetics and cleaning supplies, etc come filled with chemicals and usually wrapped in plastic. Two things that are awful for us and the environment.

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!

15 thing to start making instead of buying

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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!

Recipe originally from nocompassnecessary.com 

(Be careful when adding the baking soda to the vinegar/water mixture as it may bubble up. Learn from my mistakes and combine it in a wide mouth bowl before adding to spray bottle)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.

I opt for a spray deodorant because it’s a lot easier to make and works just as well.

Love this recipe via jenniraincloud.com

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!

  • Equal parts witch hazel and distilled water (depending on how big your spray bottle is)
  • 20-30 drops tea tree essential oil
  • 20-30 drops other essential oil (for scent)

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!

(Just make sure not to swallow!)

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!

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

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.

  • 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar (from the mother)
  • 1/2 cup lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup water
  • optional: 2 tsp baking soda

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 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.

  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! 🙂

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