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Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Six Ways to Use Leftover Shampoo

As part of my Spring cleaning I decided to use all those little sample and travel bottles of toiletries that have been cluttering up my linen closet. Now I’m only stuck with a couple of bottles of shampoo that are full of parabins. I don’t want to donate these items to a shelter because I think it’s hypocritical to pawn it off on someone else if I don’t think it’s not such a great thing to use on myself - whether they care about avoiding parabens in their products or not.

What’s a Parabin and Why Avoid Parabens?


Parbins are basically a type of preservative. They are used in cosmetics and personal care products to keep fungus and bacteria from growing in the product. There are several types of parabens, the most common are methylparaben, probylparaben and butylparaben. Isobutylparaben, isopropylparaben, benzylparaben and their sodium salts are also parabens but they aren’t as commonly used as the first set.

You may want to avoid parabens because while studying the effects of estrogen hormone replacement therapy (HRT) in women, researchers established a connection between estrogen and breast cancer. They found that parabins can act like the hormone estrogen. This is what they mean when they call parabens an endocrine disruptor - because they can interfere with the body’s natural hormone production of estrogen.

To be fair there are quite a few studies that say parbins are safe to use because the estrogen activity in parabins is weak compared to levels of estrogen used in hormone replacement therapy.  Even more so if the paraben is in a product where you apply it and then rinse the product off of the body, like a shampoo or conditioner.

Still after experiencing this

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40, 000 people participated in the 2009 Komen Columbus Race for the Cure - including us

and knowing several women who have fought, and some who have sadly lost, the battle with breast cancer parabins are something I want to avoid when and were I can. And no, I’m not going to shove the paraben filled shampoo off on Husband because men can get breast cancer too.

I don’t want to use my parabin filled shampoo, I don’t want to give it way, but pouring it down the sink would be a waste. What do to? I put on a pair of rubber gloves and found six ways to reuse old shampoo.

  1. To wash delicates. I’ve always used shampoo to hand wash nylons and lingerie that’s too delicate for the washing machine. 
  2. For cleaning. Use it to scrub the tub, shower, or toilet. Add some baking soda to it if you need a little more oomph to tackle a bathtub ring. 
  3.  As a laundry stain fighter. Shampoos are designed to remove the oil and dirt from your hair and are the perfect stain fighter, espically perspiration or ring around the collar stains. Pour a little on the stain and scrub with an old toothbrush before popping it in the wash. 
  4. To wash makeup brushes. Especially if they are brushes made with natural bristles. 
  5. To wash wool. Shampoo works just as well or better than Woolite when hand washing wool sweaters.
  6. To wash combs and brushes. Soaking combs and brushes in a mixture of water and shampoo removes built up product. Be sure to rinse the items thoroughly when finished.

Warming: Do NOT use people shampoo on dogs or cats. The ph of pet skin and fur is different than humans. Human shampoo strips their fur of their essential oils and can dry out pet skin. If you have any questions please check with your vet.

Do you have any ways to use leftover shampoo? Help me out here; I used up my few little bottles of travel shampoo but I have a half a big bottle of nonparabin tea tree oil shampoo I can’t use because it makes my scalp break out into a rash. I could use some more ideas. Thanks!


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This post is part of the Get the Junk Out! Carnival where the topic is parabens hosted by Mindful Momma.