Don’t Put Shampoo on Your Grocery List

I’ve mentioned on here a few times that I’ve been washing my hair with baking soda and rinsing with vinegar.  Other bloggers often use the unfortunate name “no poo” for this method, but I call it… washing my hair with baking soda and rinsing with vinegar. Because it sounds less stupid.

Now that I’m a few weeks into it, I feel qualified to tell you how it’s going–it’s going great! The impetus for trying it was that I was out of expensive natural shampoo and didn’t want to drop $15-20 on a new bottle of shampoo and conditioner, and I already owned baking soda.

Different people have different methods. What I do is use two glass baby bottles that I have lying around. I fill one with eight ounces of water and one tablespoon white vinegar (some people use apple cider vinegar, but I didn’t have any of that) and the other with four ounces of water and one tablespoon baking soda. I get my hair wet in the shower, then gradually pour on the baking soda mix, rubbing it in. I let it sit for several minutes while I attend to other washing. I rinse out the baking soda thoroughly (the goal is NOT to create a science fair volcano on your head), then slowly pour on the vinegar, and rinse that out, too.

Glass baby bottles, small bottle of vinegar, box of Arm and Hammer baking soda.

My hair care supplies. I refill the vinegar from my laundry jug and will probably start buying baking soda in bulk, too.

Advantages I’ve noticed:

  1. It’s extremely cheap.
  2. My hair actually stays cleaner longer. I’ve never seen it so squeaky clean! I was washing at least every other day, but now I can EASILY go every third day and might even be able to push it to a fourth day.


  1. It takes slightly longer, since I have to get it from the kitchen every time I wash my hair. But I think the extra time cost is made up for by  washing less often.
  2. I can no longer use shampoo to wash behind my ears.

Other bloggers have mentioned problems that I haven’t experienced:

  1. A break-in period during which your hair looks bad. I had no trouble with this. My hair looked totally fine from the first day.
  2. An off smell. I actually rinse out the vinegar (not sure if other people do) and have had no trouble. Mr. FP has a very sensitive nose and I’m sure he would tell me.

I was worried about that break-in period, and I let that keep me from trying it for a whole shampoo-and-conditioner cycle. Turns out I didn’t have a break-in period, so I wish I’d tried it sooner. If you’ve heard about the baking soda and vinegar method but have been hesitant to try it, just go for it! If you don’t like it, you can go back to using shampoo.


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About frugalparagon

I'm a part-time librarian and mom to two small boys. I blog about striving for the long-term goal of financial independence while running a tight ship at home.

6 responses to “Don’t Put Shampoo on Your Grocery List”

  1. jasminkrat says :

    I’ve been wanting to try this for ages, but have been scared of the break in period as well. I think you gave me the motivation to try. Thanks for your post!

  2. Gail says :

    Hi Frugalparagon

    I have been using the baking soda/vinegar method for about 5 years washing my hair and have had great results.
    For convenience I keep all my hairwashing supplies in the bathroom in a container so everything is easily accessed when required.

    Gail, Australia

    • frugalparagon says :

      That’s a good idea, although I use the bottles in the kitchen as backup measuring cups and so might want to leave them, at least, downstairs. Is it OK to keep baking soda in a damp place? It doesn’t clump or get moldy? Do you leave it in the cardboard box or transfer it to an airtight container?

      • Gail says :

        Hi frugalparagon, Sorry for the delay answering.

        I keep the baking soda in a tupperware container, (no problems with mould or clumping, or if it does clump, it is easily dissolved).
        I keep the baking soda, vinegar, teaspoon and recycled poptop bottles in a larger plastic box to make it easier to get it all out of the cupboard. I also fill the bottles with nice hot water before I wash my hair.
        I just love not having to choose from all the different coloured bottles of shampoo at the shop – one less decision.

        Gail, Australia

  3. David says :

    I think I’m going to try this and the coconut oil / baking soda deodorant recipe. Any suggestions for soaps or body wash? Needs to be gentle and fragrance free. I think I might just go back to using Dove bars instead of liquid body wash. Cheaper and less packaging waste but I’m open to other suggestions 🙂

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