laundry how I love thee

Pshaw, yeah right. What's to love? It's a never ending pile of odoriferous, mud-caked, food stained, dripping wet-toweled mess. The clothes are inside out, the socks rolled up in a twisted ball, and pockets are forever full of things I fear will bite my fingers off when I go to empty them.

Then there is the task of sorting. Everyone has their own ideas of how to do it, and much of that probably derives from how your mother sorted. I separate out towels and washcloths for one load, reds, pinks and browns for another, denim clothes have it's own cycle, greens go with blues, and finally the white load. If I do laundry every 3-4 days, I have plenty to satisfy my sorting desires.

In an effort to make the task of laundry more enjoyable (huh?) and fun (what?) I decided to make my own detergent. I did this for a couple of reasons. One, we live in an older part of town and the sewage pipes are s-l-o-w. If I use something like Tide, my backup drain spews more foam than a rabid dog. Secondly, our clothes seemed to be wearing out much too fast. I needed to find a solution. I hoped on the computer and researched my problem ....... Google answered with "Make your own laundry soap!" You can do that?

Without further ramblings, here is how I make my own laundry soap. BTW, I won't ever go back to using anything else:

Grab these ingredients from Hy-Vee (the only local store in my area that caries all of it)

Washing Soda, (NOT baking soda) Borax, a bar of Fels Naptha, a cheese grater and essential oil if you want a particular 'smell' to your clothes. I have found this step unnecessary, as the Fels Naptha provides a nice scent.

Grab a Tupperware container (with locking lid) and combine the following:
2 cups Washing Soda
2 cups Borax
*add in some baking powder (1/2 small box) if you have especially hard water

Then grab your grater and shred that bar of Fels Naptha. At this point, you could add it to the other ingredients and be done. I, however, am a little on the weird side and like my soap to be more powder-like. So,I place the grated soap on an aluminum lined cookie sheet and place it in a pre-heated 350 degree oven. Then I turn the oven off and allow the soap to dry out in the oven. Maybe an hour or two?

Yummy ...... looks like shredded sharp cheddar cheese

then I grab my baby food grinder (not currently used for baby food, of course. Since I am done having babies ..... ::sigh::) and pulse away until the consistency looks like this:

You could use a coffee bean grinder, or a food processor or even a blender. Or, you could skip this whole step and just deal with the fact you will have large slivers of soap floating in your fine-ground soda and borax. Oh my, I can't even handle the thought.

Almost there; hang with me. Now, combine all the ingredients, give it a stir and pat yourself on the back for saving the environment, your money and your clothes. I usually make a double batch (2-4Tbsp. per load) and it will last about the same amount of time the big bottle of Tide does.

Oh, and if you look in your washing machine while it is agitating the clothes (what, YOU don't peek in the washer to watch your clothes swirling around? Weird) you will not see suds. Did you know bubbling suds serve no purpose? It's an additive to make people think the soap is working. Really. I read that somewhere on the Internet so it must be true. Anyway, the lack of suds makes my s-l-o-w sewer pipes really happy.

One last tip and then I will stop taking about laundry ..... for now. I use a Downy ball filled with white vinegar as a fabric softener and static reducer. Don't worry. the smell rinses out. I no longer use dryer sheets (yeah! more money saved) and my clothes aren't full of static.

Wow. I have said about 7x more about laundry than one person should talk about. It's a true love/hate relationship. Just wait until I start talking about line drying! I'll save that for another day.


Katie said...

OMG...I don't know how you find the time. You are just be coming your own little miss Marth Stewart! I wish I was as clever as you. Maybe sometime when you have extra time (HA!) you can sit and make me a little book with all your tricks. :)
Was good to talk to you today, give me a call next week. I miss ya.

Amy said...

I have time because I don't have a toddler! It's amazing what I can accomplish when the kiddos can play on their own for awhile.

Sara said...

I'm into it and up for the challenge!

Maybe if we ever get to leave Valparaiso, we can move next door and you can teach me all these great tips!

Amy said...

Sara ..... absolutely! I have so many more tricks up my sleeve just waiting to share with other weird people. HeHe