Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Concentrated Laundry Soap Recipe #WIWW

I've been toying with the idea of making my own laundry soap for awhile now.  I had rounded up all the supplies to make a 5 gallon batch but I realized I really didn't like the idea of needing to regularly handle that much soap and find goofy containers to store it in.  I had visions of my huz putting the laundry soap that I had poured in a milk jug in the fridge. Or if I put it in a standard laundry soap container using way too much of it.  Yep that could totally happen in this house.  So I set off to find a more concentrated recipe that I could store in pint sized canning jars as countertop space is always limited in a laundry room, right? I also wanted to keep the recipe as simple as possible. I think I accomplished both goals.  My version is a mix between liquid and solid so I won't call it "liquid" laundry soap.  If you add more water it would probably pour but then it would take up so much more space and need larger containers so I like it like this. I keep a tablespoon by the jar in laundry room and wash it and any extra soap off in the water streaming into the washing machine.

1 Bar Fels Naptha Soap, grated
1 Cup Washing Soda**
1 Cup Borax
3 Cups Water

I used my cheese grater for the soap, I've read that other people use a food processor to chop it up. Doesn't take long to grate it by hand and was an easy clean up.  Plus I always view hand grating cheese as part of my workout.  :)
Heat water, stir in grated soap.  Make sure it doesn't boil or it will make a LOT of bubbles. Once all the soap is melted add washing soda and borax.  Stir thoroughly.  Pour in jars or other container to cool overnight. Separation is normal and sometimes crystals will form on the bottom.  If you want to add essential oils to this you can. I put about 10-12 drops in each jar.  Next time I think I'll do more as I can't really smell it in the clean laundry.
Chop up the top hardened layer and dump in your blender.  I use a Vitamix and it does a really good job.  Love it! At this point I used some really HOT water out of the tap to rinse the jars out.  I added this to the blender since I didn't want to waste it and I also needed a little extra liquid in the blender to get it to mix smoothly. I didn't measure this, but my guess was about a cup per jar so an additional 2 cups of hot water added. Here's what it looked like after it was blended.

It has the consistency of butter.  I use 1 tablespoon per load.  4 jars like this should be able to wash approximately 128 loads.  Based on all the other recipes I've researched this stuff has a great shelf life so no need to make it in small batches if you are worried about using it up by a certain time.  I already had a open box of Borax from making slime with the boys and a HUGE bag of Baking Soda that would take me about a jillion years to use up, thus the reason for researching the difference between baking/washing soda, below. The only thing I had to purchase for this was the bar of soap. Not bad for less than a $2 investment!  For future batches all I need to pick up is the bar of soap. I have also read that Zote soap or Ivory soap work for other recipes so I might try that or maybe a homemade bar soap from my local shop on the next round.

I've read that you can apply this concentrated version of the laundry soap to stains.  Can't wait to try this...I should have a grass stain coming my way on the boys' clothes soon, right?  :)

Ok, last but not least, I added washi tape for decoration and a removable chalk board label to my jars.  I mean washi tape is so fun.  I believe Baran's (11 years) exact words were, "Mom, why did you put tape on the jars?"  Isn't that obvious, cause its fun of course.  Boys!  They don't understand pretty things at all, do they?  And the removable chalk label is necessary so the fam knows what this is and how much to use just in case they want to handle some laundry duties.  A girl can wish, right?

**I was wondering what the difference is between washing soda and baking soda so I googled it.  Come to find out you can make your own washing soda with baking soda just by baking it at 400* for 30 minutes.  Here is a link to the explanation from  It also saved me from having to purchase one more ingredient that most people already have.

Do you have your own laundry soap recipe?  I'd love to hear about it!

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Upcycled Pinspiration

  • Upcycle [uhp-sahy-kuh l]
  • verb.    To process (used goods or waste material) so as to produce something that is often better than the original. Example: I upcycled a stained tablecloth into curtains.

Upcycling—it’s a buzzword these days. Taking items that might be on their way to the dumpster or landfill and creating something new + beautiful is the ultimate example of waste not, want not.

In addition to being eco-friendly, upcycling is a lot of fun! A few of my favorites include:

By upcycling old t-shirts into bags, you’re not only doing the Earth a favor, you’re creating a tote with personality. Choose favorite tees in great colors and themes, and designate bags for the grocery store, farmer’s market, or gym. Love the tied fringe on the bottom of this one!

So, turns out that wine bottles are actually one of the least green ways to go. That’s because glass bottles require an immense amount of energy to make and ship, so their carbon footprint is pretty massive. However, if boxed wine is not your thing, at least you can feel good about upcycling one part of the bottle—the cork! Begin collecting now, and have your friends and family save their corks as well.  Want to see what I did with mine?

With darkness falling earlier and earlier this time of year, lanterns are a beautiful way that allow you to linger in the screened in porch a little longer. These, crafted from tin cans that are painted and punctured with pinprick holes, are not only environmentally conscious, but far less expensive than their counterparts. 

What have you upcycled lately?  I'd love to hear about it!