The next step on my ‘reducing plastic’ journey was to replace my empty toothpaste tube with homemade toothpaste. After doing loads of research online, I went out expecting my task to be easy. I mean, most of the recipes I could find online for homemade toothpaste only had two basic ingredients: Coconut oil (which I already had) and baking soda. I went to my local supermarket to get the baking soda.
Only to find that…I couldn’t find baking soda. It then occurred to me that I had no idea what baking soda was called in Japanese nor where to find it in the supermarket. After a quick search in the dictionary on my phone, I found the name of it (重曹–pronounced ‘juusou’) and looked around in the baking section for it. It was nowhere to be found. Eventually, I asked an employee where it was.
She actually didn’t know where it was either! She had to ask someone, who then took us both to the salt/vinegar/sauces aisle. It was a tiny blue box on the top shelf (by ‘tiny’ I mean 7 cm x 9cm x 1 cm max size…in the US the boxes are at least twice that size). The tiny box cost about $3.50! I was upset, but bought it anyway because it would speed me on my plastic-free journey. I mean, you can get a 5 pound bag online for the same price!
When I finally got home, I decided to use this recipe. I hadn’t been able to find the essential oils, but thought nothing of it because ‘meh, it is just for taste and how bad can it be??’ Well, I was disappointed for a couple reasons. First, the whole point of making my own toothpaste was to reduce my waste, but when I opened up the box of baking soda–true to nearly all Japanese products–the baking soda was all inside a plastic bag inside of the box. The second reason why I was upset was because of the taste. Without the oil drops, all I could taste was the saltiness of the baking soda. This toothpaste was SO SALTY! Like, crying-tears-of-loneliness-that-drip-into-instant-cup-noodles-on-Saturday-night level salty!
Holy mother of margaritas, I was not prepared the first time. True to my ‘reducing waste’ policy, I used up the full amount (which, thankfully, I had only prepared a small amount as a tester). The time it took me to finish it up allowed for my peppermint oil to arrive. Even with the peppermint oil, it is still a bit salty, so if you are sensitive to salty things, you can add a bit of stevia to your toothpaste. Thankfully, baking soda and coconut oil are both really easy to find in Korea, so this part of my life is much easier!
Do you make your toothpaste with a different recipe? What other tips can you share for toothpaste-making? Share your thoughts and ideas below!
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