Monthly Archives: October 2011

Homemade Laundry Detergent and Softener

Just what does this girl do with all her new-found time?

She cleans up good, that’s what. And, in the process, participates in a Pinterest Challenge thrown out by Sherry at Young House Love and her cohorts.

Like a kid at Christmas who just got a new chemistry set (okay, okay, so I’m a geek at heart, what can I say?) I have been giddy for the past 48 hours over the prospect of making my own home cleaning supplies out of natural and/or inexpensive ingredients. For the past few months, I’ve been thinking about making this lovely little recipe I found at the Yellow Brick Home blog (I’m an avid reader, so I read it first, pinned it second–that still counts for the challenge, right?):

Looks so pretty and cheerful, doesn’t it? Well, it was calling my name. Kim found it via That’s Church, who in turn found it on Tall Tales. But believe it or not, the ingredient list is no longer than the attribution list.

(For even gentler laundry, use 1 bar of solid castile oil soap, such as Dr. Brommer’s … I’m trying that version next, but I bought the Fels-Naptha first.)

Here’s the step-by-step:

1) Grate the bar soap as finely as possible into a container. Despite the fact that the majority of Fels-Naptha ingredients are plant-derived, it is still an irritant in large quantities, so I wore a rubber kitchen glove for a little extra protection during the process. There was a small stub left at the end which I threw out rather than grating my fingertips down to a pulp.

2) Measure the Borax and Washing Soda into the container. If you like, you may add a few drops of your favorite essential oils to add fragrance.

3) Mix it all up. I used a plastic spoon to break up the large Borax pieces and then put the lid on the Tupperware container and shook it to combine the mixture.

Then I stuck a mini (roughly 1 Tbsp) aluminum scoop in it and tried it out.

The recipe says to use 1 tablespoon for small loads of laundry, 2 for large, and 3 for extra-large. I opted for 1 tablespoon, but I added a couple of extra steps at the end. First, I added 1/2 cup of vinegar into the fabric softener compartment of the washer. I stole this from another pin:

Then, I added a squished and rolled-up ball of cheap aluminum foil into the dryer with my guinea pig towel load, to reduce static cling. Yet another pin!

The result? Oh. My. Goodness. Where has this wonderful detergent and its cheap assistants been all my adult life? Daniel had done a load of towels our old way earlier in the day, so I had the ability to compare the two loads.

I’m sensitive to many fragrances and cleaning agents, so we don’t use fabric softeners or dryer sheets. The first load with our normal detergent had the typical clean, but rough towels. However, the homemade method produced soft, unwrinkled, nearly static-free towels that didn’t bowl me over with a heavy-handed perfume. If my sensitive skin doesn’t react to this soap over the next few weeks, I think I may have found “The One.” Of the soap, variety, of course.

Fingers crossed!


Linked up at:

Young House Love

Bower Power

House of Earnest


Filed under Cleaning, DIY, Home Improvement, Laundry, Products

Moving In

Didn’t we just do this?

Wait. Yes. Yes, we did. This makes three moves in the first two years of marriage. Thank goodness it is our final move before we build/buy/renovate a house of our own. I am tired! The plan is to stay here while we save up our down payment, build our business, and recover from this move (I’m only half kidding about that last one).

There’s been a lot of conflicting feelings going into moving into a home that I used to live in (twice) before, but the predominate one is coziness, followed by joy and a sense of playing hooky. Let me explain that one … since quitting my former day job, I’ve been helping Daniel with our own business, even if it means just letting him bounce ideas off of me while I’m sweeping the floor or playing on Pinterest. Soon I’ll be doing much more than that, but for the past few days my primary drive has been to make our house into a home as quickly as possible so we can focus on growing the business, relaxing on days off, and being hospitable to friends. I haven’t “worked” a traditional eight hour day in a almost two weeks, instead I’ve worked my butt off in 12-15 hour days with the move–but I’ve felt like I’ve been skipping school and playing around this whole time!

Of course, then I realize that as much as I enjoy the end result of organization, the process is killer. I don’t love the sorting and the decision making. Where should this go? What is this thing’s intended use and where is it best placed in our home? (Candlestick? Computer printer cord? Bulk package of toilet paper?) And then, even with the extra space, I still have items that seem to have no home and they are driving me crazy. Plus, there is a certain annoyance in having to start almost from scratch on my 365 day plan to get organized once and for all! Yikes! Only three months left …

But I’m home. And for the first time since I was a kid, I have the time luxury of being able to put everything in its place up front, instead of over months. Don’t get me wrong … the months of tweaking happen next. We’ll start decorating and painting (yes, more painting. I don’t think it ever stops. My brother teases me that every time he talks to me I’m painting something. I can’t deny it. Guilty as charged.) We’ll even attempt some landscaping and renovation projects (I’m looking at you, dining room walls.)

For now, though, it’s back to unpacking for me. Last night I did the kitchen and entryway hall. Today, it’s the “living room” part of our open house plan and adding the second coat to the office walls. Tomorrow … who knows. I might tackle the dining room or, scarier yet, our bedroom. That’s a LOT of clothing to put up in that closet! Pictures to come soon.

In the meantime, if anyone has any unpacking/setting up home tips, I’d love to hear them! What has worked for you?

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Filed under Moving, Organizing, Ponderings