One of the most popular gifts for the guys seems to be car grooming products. The only snag with these is that they’re not that natural, with the exception of chamois leather cleaning cloths. With the amount of time that modern people spend inside their cars, especially if you have a decent work commute, it makes sense to limit the amount of toxins you are exposed to in your vehicle as well as in your home.
But you can make your own car grooming natural cleaning products. You can make them for yourself or you can make a batch or three to give as gifts for the car-happy blokes (and women) in your circle of friends and relations.
Several of these recipes call for soap gel. Making soap gel is easy. Simply save soap scraps, or else grate or chop up a bar of soap. Put the scraps into a bucket or non-reactive saucepan and pour boiling water over the soap. The soap will melt and form a slippery gel once it cools. The consistency of the gel will depend on the proportion of soap and water you use, but the ideal consistency is one that’s slightly less runny than shampoo but runnier than honey (the best description of the best consistency for soap gel is to think of the sort of mucus produced by a heavy cold in the nose – revolting but true).
Basic car wash:
Mix 4 litres water with ½ cup soap gel (preferably from castile soap) in a bucket. Add about 10 drops of essential oil of your choice (one of the citrus family is ideal, but lavender also smells good). Use this to wash your car all over the exterior, using a soft brush. Finish by rinsing off with a hose or bucket before the soap dries. If making this up to give as a gift, just mix the soap gel and the essential oil, and add instructions on how to use it.
To make a heavy-duty car wash suitable for 4x4s, double the amount of soap gel used.
Mix 2 cups baking soda with ½ cup soap gel and 1 cup of water. Use this to wash down the tyres. Rinse it off with a mixture of vinegar and water.
Melt 12 tablespoons of beeswax in 2 cups linseed oil, plus about 10 drops of essential oil of your choice, in a double boiler. While it’s still liquid, pour it into an airtight container and seal. Leave it a few days to harden. Apply directly to the car with a soft cloth dampened with vinegar. Buff to a high shine with a dry cloth.
Blend about 1 cup of vinegar or vodka in 1 pint of water. Add about 12 drops of essential oil or a blend of essential oils (citrus or lemongrass help promote alertness, while lavender is soothing – may eliminate a bit of road rage!). Put these into a spray bottle and shake together. Put it away in a dark cupboard to mellow a little, then spray inside of the car when you want to freshen it up. This mixture can also double as a cleaning product for chrome or windows – a real bonus.