Sunday, January 17, 2010

Homemade Laundry Detergent

Hi, everyone!
Today I'm going to share the recipe for homemade laundry detergent that I use in our household.
The first time I made a batch was back in October and it did an excellent job cleaning our clothes--even the poopiest diapers Ella threw at us!
So last night I did the second batch--larger than the first--and will share the recipe below:
  • 1 1/2 C borax
  • 1 1/2 C washing soda
  • 1 bar soap
  • water
1) Gather your materials. These were the brands I used for myself. They were all conveniently located next to each other at the local grocery store. And their prices were as follows:
Fels-Naptha = $1.23
Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda = $3.19
20 Mule Team Borax = $4.25
The water you can get out of your kitchen sink. ;)

2) Grate the entire bar of soap into a bowl with a cheese grater. You can use either the big-hole side for curls, or the small-hole side for a finer powder. I like to do this outside as it can kick up tiny, little particulates that I'd rather not having floating around my house. It's the most labor-intensive step of the process, but I like to think of it as building those biceps. ;)

3) Heat up 12 C of water on the stove in a pot, careful not to bring it to a boil. Stir the grated soap into the water, until it's all dissolved. Should end up looking something like this:

4) Being sure to stir the concoction on the stove regularly, fill a 5-gallon bucket with 4 gallons of warm/hot water from the tap. The bucket I got from Habitat for Humanity. It used to hold green paint, but I was able to clean that out pretty well and it only cost me $1. Thanks H4H!!

5) When the soap flakes are pretty much all dissolved in the hot water on the stove, it's time to pour in the borax and washing soda. Stir it all up until you don't feel that scratchy grainy texture of the borax and soda anymore.

6) When it really feels all dissolved, pour the stovetop formula into your 5-gallon bucket. Careful, 'cuz it's gonna fill your bucket almost all the way to the top! And now it's time to--you guessed it--stir!! Be sure to really dip in there deep as the borax-heavy solution will want to sink ASAP. Stir until you feel confident that it's all mixed up in there.

7) Cover the bucket, but not airtight or anything, and let it sit for the next 24-hours. This gives it time to coagulate.

8) After 24 hours, it should have the consistency of very runny jello. Very gelatinous. See?

9) Just stir a little more, to break it all up, and you're done!

For the first few batches, it tends to obviously separate between a solid stratum on top and a liquid stratum below, so I like to dip deep and stir it up to re-mix and really bring it together again.
I keep a 1 C measuring cup sitting on the lid and use that to pour the detergent into the washing machine. For Ella's dirtier diaper loads, I use 2 cups. Maybe I'm overdoing it, but I just like to be careful~ And my machine's handled the detergent very well with no residues or anything, so all in all, it's been a success!
And since the borax and washing soda boxes are 76 oz and 55 oz respectively, it's really only the bar of soap that you have to purchase when the bucket runs out. So $1.23 for this batch of laundry detergent that should last well into Spring. Not too shabby, economically speaking.

I hope some of you guys give this recipe a go and save yourself some money while minimizing the chemicals in your clothes.
Good luck and take care!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Knitted Love!

A belated Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!!

With only the last couple of months of 2009 bringing the beginning of knitting into my life, I look forward to many a more knitted thing in 2010. In fact, that's one of my New Year's Resolutions: to make at least one knitted good a month. So that's 12 by the end of the year. A fair enough goal, I think. :)
But first, from December 2009, here are some bi-colored leggings I made for Celeste's little bundle of joy, Maia! What a great model she makes!! And she's wearing a gorgeous knitted bonnet a la her crafty mama as well!:

And being such a sucker for matching clothing pieces, I made an identical pair for Ella too!
But when I unveiled them at the Mama turned out Celeste had finished her Christmas gift to Ella too and it was in the form of a matching hat with Maia!! What luck!! And a million thank-yous again, Celeste!! ♡

Don't they make a dynamic duo~? :)
And look at all the purple they're wearing!!
I can't wait to carry Ella all around town in her new completely-functional-while-still-adorable hat, and to see more knitted gear on her in the coming year!!
Until later, take care and wish me luck!!