In the last of his three-part Live for Less series on urban unit living, Roman Spur shares his tips on making your own household products and fermented food.
My family practices sustainable living with a holistic approach. Not only have we reduced our energy and water needs and grown our own food, we also make our own chemical-free cleaning products, produce our own probiotics and fermented food. It saves us money, is environmentally friendly and often a healthier alternative to conventional mainstream products.
DIY cleaning stuff
To clean a typical household you don’t need to buy pre-made cleaning products. Many DIY recipes use cheap multipurpose ingredients like white vinegar (cleaner, cooking and preserving, softener) and bicarb soda (baking, cleaning, get rid of smell, suppressing ants coming into house, etc.).
At home, we make our own:
- citrus fabric softener
- laundry detergent (10Litres for less than $2)
- multipurpose surface cleaner (scroll down) (2Litres for $1)
- cockroach traps.
Follow each of the links above for my recipes.
We also use aloe vera as a skin moisturiser and sun burn treatment, as well as tooth paste and shampoo/conditioner. Aloe vera has many medicinal properties – supporting good bacteria in the gut, for example – so we also eat it, adding it into our everyday smoothies. For us aloe vera is a power packed green gem – it’s easy to grow so use it more!
DIY fermented food
When you buy probiotics or fermented food at a shop it usually contains additives, preservatives or is pasteurised. For example, when opening a jar of sauerkraut from a shop a lid pops up, which means it was pasteurised and the temperature killed most of alive enzymes. Good news: you can make a healthier version at home, and for a fraction of the price.
Fermented food is not rocket science and it’s absolutely easy to make if you live in a small space. Check my blog for recipes such as yoghurt (from cow, soy and coconut milk), kefir, cheese, kombucha, sourdough bread, sauerkraut and kimchi. We also make home brew including Czech style pilsner beer, ginger beer, lemonade and absolutely divine mead from our honey.
How to get your DIY groove on
I have been asked many times where and how to start. I think it’s good to read or hear about all these recipes and how to do it, but it’s even better to see it in practice.
I run a lot of talks and hands-on workshops in South East Queensland and all around Australia. I talk to children and adults at libraries, childcare centres, schools and public events. See my events calendar for what’s coming up.
A new chapter: from unit to house
After living in a unit for five years, a new chapter of my family started recently when we bought a house on one acre of land in Fernvale, QLD.
We have been working hard to establish our sustainable paradise where we are aiming to be food, energy and water-sufficient and waste-free. The Spurtopia homestead was officially opened to general public in mid-September 2017 as an education centre (practical workshops & courses) for people to come and see, learn and be inspired.