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Saturday 1 October 2011

The Dirt on DIY Laundry Soap

Daddy takes T for an adventure!!
Laundry is such common ground for all of us.  Whether you're hanging it on the line outside your window in a Greek village, scrubbing hard in a river in Africa or using your state of the art energy efficient front loader to getter done, we all work hard to restore our clothing after life takes its toll.

My sister Bethany shared a recipe with me about a year ago for making my own all natural but effective laundry soap and I think it is one of those things that just has to be shared.  Not only is it free of dyes, perfumes and chemical additives, it does a great job of the wash, smells lovely and is basically free to make.

Shopping List:
  • 1 box Borax (available in the laundry aisle of the grocery store)
  • 1 box Washing Soda (same aisle, made by arm & hammer)
  • 1 Laundry bar (same aisle, no brand requirements just make sure it's pure soap)
That's it!  That's all you need and you will get many many batches of this soap from the Borax and Washing Soda so consider these items an investment.  

Special Equipment Needed:
  • Immersion blender (like to puree soup)
  • Large plastic tub that can hold 4 quarts or 2 gallons (same thing)

Note:  For a personal touch, add 6 drops of your favourite essential oil just prior to blitzing with the immersion blender, smells uh-mazing!!  My fav is lavender.

1.  Coarsely grate 1/2 bar of laundry soap.  Measure out 1/2 cup each Borax and Washing Soda, set aside.

2.  In a meium saucepan combine grated laundry bar with 2 cups water.  Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer, stirring occassionally until almost all the soap is melted.  Add remaining ingredients plus 2 more cups water and cook, sitrring often for 2 minutes or until bubbly well mixed.

3.  Pour cooked soap mix into another 12 cups cool water, stir with a spoon to mix and then set aside for a couple of hours or until cooled to room temp.  You will find the mixture separates into a thick layer on top and a watery layer on the bottom.

4. Now puree the whole mixture until it is a smooth white gel, be sure you find all the lumps for evenness.  The laundry soap is now ready to be divided into containers of your choosing.  Use the soap for spot treating ahead of washing or just add 2 Tbsp (1/2 a lid full on most high efficiency liquid detergents). Of course you can add more or less depending on the size and dirt factor of the load.

Special friends always holding hands
Family Updates:

I always like to include a few tidbits about what has been happening in our household of late since Tricia is always up to her little ways and as she grows so does her capacity for mischief!

The Highlight Reel:
The cousins composing
  • Breaking an Entering - Tricia is always veering off the path, but the other day off the path didn't seem adventuresome enough for this girl.  So she quickly and efficiently (before I could catch up) made her way up a driveway in our neighbourhood, entered their side screen door and wandered into their kitchen to check things out.  I felt embarrassed as I announced my own presence and tried to verbally warn these strangers of the trespasser, sheesh!
  • Petty Theft - Toddlers are always collecting treasure and everyday Tricia tells me that pretty much everything in my house, at the store and in the world is hers, or "Mine!" as she so deftly puts it.  Well, with this belief firmly in her mind she took a pair of keys the other night, put them in her purse and there they stayed until after she got home, had daddy put her to bed and then heard him sneak back in to her room to check her purse for them.  Mommy was stranded without them and had been searching at their friends house for a good 1/2 an hour!
  • Falling in Love... with Football! - Always in search of something new, Tricia recently discovered the fun of  watching football as a family.  Much to her mom and dad's delight I might add.  We love our Redskins, we make special snacks and we have fun snuggling on the couch with her.  Now she just needs a jersey to wear so the whole family matches on game day.
  • Shoe Fetish - "My shoes!!" are literally the first words out of T's mouth every morning, and if she can't find the pair she has her heart set on then watch out cause you will be looking for them until they are found and she has them firmly in place.  That is of course until she sees another pair she would rather wear and it all begins again.... what's wrong with being barefoot?  Oh yeah, and she refuses to wear socks.
  • Public Displays - "Cause baby you're a firework" is the new tune of choice as Tricia discovered this song is not only great for dancing to, but also singing over and over and over.  She even added her own lyrics "Doggy, doggy, doggies, dog!".  In other public moments  we have been making friends with everyone we meet.  We say "hi", "bye", "friend" and then we tell them something interesting about ourselves, our mommy, our doggy or our babies at home.  I of course translate and folks sweetly give us their attention and interest.  It's amazing to watch people I would avoid, melt on the spot, it is good for me to be reminded how approachable people really are when their guard can be lowered for a moment.
We start swimming lessons this week, I'm working hard on prototypes for my business (you have to have inventory to sell inventory, hah) and we're gearing up for my friends wedding. Tricia is the flower girl and I can't wait but I'll confess I am also nervous about what she might come up with... like taking off her clothes in the middle of the isle?? This month we also get to have a shower at our house, Cowgirl themed and all!!

Thank you all for voting on the recipe poll, it is very helpful and will totally influence the recipes I post.  I hope you like this soap one, let me know if you have any questions or need more information as usual and I will respond promptly.  In the meantime, enjoy fresh smelling clean clothes!!

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