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6 Natural Products That Are Good Substitutes for Regular (Often More Expensive) Products

2013 June 28
by Aaron

aaron_image1Ever since my wife and I got on a more organic diet – we’ve been slowly moving towards more natural products around the house. These are turning out to be better for us and (in some cases), longer lasting and cheaper overall.

Here’s a list of some of those natural products that are great substitutes for regular products and more healthier to use: 



Natural Product
Use
Replaces
Cost
Dr. Bonner's SoapWe purchase a bottle of this at Target and it'll last us about 4-6 months. We use it in the shower and dilute it with water for our "foaming" hand soap dispenser.Body wash, bar soap, expensive hand soaps$15 / 32oz.
Rice DreamI visited the doctor this past week and she mentioned that we are the only mammals who drink milk after they are infants. This could be why I tend to cough after eating many dairy products. I made the switch to rice milk - and while it took a bit of time adjusting - I wouldn't go back to regular milk. It also lasts a lot longer.Animal milk$3.50
Dryer BallsI had no clue what these bad boys were when my wife came home with them one day. They are great for the dryer and leave everything static free!Dryer sheets$3-5
Cocunut OilFor a year now, I've used coconut oil to "fry" taco shells. It's much healthier for me. My wife also rinses her mouth with it to take out toxins (gross, I know!).Regular cooking oils$10-15 / jar
VinegarVinegar has got to be one of the best natural products known to man. You can use this stuff in cooking AND cleaning. Right now, we have a large container of it we mostly use for cleaning the stove-top and counters in the kitchen. Household cleaners$6-8
BoraxAnother great "wonder" product is borax. We use it as a whitener in our laundry - but it also can be used as a household cleaner, stain remover and to unclog drains.Drain-o, cleaners, laundry detergents$5-9

Are there any regular products you’ve substituted out for a more healthier alternative? (and is often cheaper than its substitute?)

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Aaron

Helped start Three Thrifty Guys with his friends Charlie and Mark after being inspired by how they lived their lives “on the thrift”. A designer by day, Aaron was once $40k in debt. After 5 years – he dug himself out and lives to tell about it. Aaron also blogs at the StarTribune

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11 Responses
  1. N Hanna permalink
    June 28, 2013

    Here’s one of the absolute best: use wedges of lime instead of deodorant.

    Yep, I know it sounds hinky, but it totally works!

    My body chemistry is changing with this delightful perimenopause thing and my regular deodorant just wasn’t cutting it. I read about the lime alternative & tried it.

    Amazing. You will still sweat, but it eliminates the nasty odor completely. I mean, it obliterates it: I was doing heavy-duty yardwork for three hours with limepits and I still smelled fresh as a margarita! (Anyways, sweating is good for your body–why would you want to hold those toxins in when your bod’s trying to flush ‘em out?)

    Seriously–slice up a lime & rub it in your pits. Try it for a week & see if you still want to go back to those chemical-laden commercial deodorants. Bet you don’t!

    • Aaron permalink*
      June 28, 2013

      @N Hanna – Never heard of that – doesn’t it sting?
      @Laurie – You eat coconut oil? Eew.
      @Stephanie – Love to hear how you make the ant killer.

  2. June 28, 2013

    Aaron, coconut oil is also a great toothpaste (it’s great at taking away tartar and plaque) and wonderful to replace things like Paul Mitchell’s Slick Works for shiny hair (probably more of a tip for the wives, than for the guys out there, I’m guessing. :-) ). We also just scoop some out plain to eat at times: a bit gross, but really good for you. And we’ve been using vinegar and a couple of drops of bleach in our dishwasher instead of the store bought stuff – it works great!

  3. June 28, 2013

    I make as much homemade stuff as possible, like laundry detergent, “Febreeze,” and ant killer (recipes for those are on my blog, they are incredibly easy to make, effective, and so freaking cheap). I’ve switched to all-natural soap made from goat’s milk (I buy but would like to someday make). I clean with vinegar, baking soda, hydrogen peroxide, & Borax (too sensitive to chemicals in cleansers to use or buy them.)

    I’d like to make my own shampoo as well, but I’m having trouble finding recipes that don’t use baking soda (which is HORRIBLE for hair and scalp. It’s what we used in beauty school to totally strip hair of EVERYTHING before perming. It should never be used daily.)

  4. June 28, 2013

    The one product that I will never go cheap or compromise on anymore is mayonnaise. I have become so addicted to Dukes mayonnaise that I will never be able to go back to the cheap stuff. I have tried but always return to them . They have my business for life.

    • Aaron permalink*
      June 29, 2013

      @Zimmy – haha – good ol mayonnaise!
      @Shirley – thanks for reading!

  5. Shirley Corbin permalink
    June 29, 2013

    I must say, I am really enjoying this site. Also am learning so much. Thanks for sharing.
    Shirley

  6. June 30, 2013

    The comment from your doctor about milk really has me thinking. How has the milk switch gone for you so far? What about for cooking purposes, do you still use regular milk for that?

    • Aaron permalink*
      June 30, 2013

      @Michael – Oh, don’t mind the rice milk at all – use it w/ everything, even cooking.

  7. Nilha permalink
    July 5, 2013

    I clean toilets, floors, countertops, door knobs (pretty much everything!) with a “thieves blend”. You can see the recipe on Youtube. Basically boiling lemon, rosemary, cloves, eucalyptus and cinnamon to extract their oils. It neutralizes odors without harmful chemicals.

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