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Easy Homemade Laundry Detergent Recipe

The amount of laundry required for 2 kids and a husband who works outside is staggering!  To save money and ensure a non-toxic product, I’ve started making my own laundry soap.  It’s a “quick and dirty” version of my friend Annie Tryon’s recipe and takes about 5 minutes to assemble (not counting cooking time).  Here it is!

Ingredients needed: 2 cups Borax, 2 cups Washing Soda, 1 bar Castile Soap (I use Kirk’s castile because I can buy it locally but any natural castile brand is fine, scented or unscented depending on your preference).  This makes 4 gallons of laundry soap or enough for 128 loads.

Using a food processor or hand grater, grate the bar of soap into a pot.  The larger your pot, the faster your soap-making will go because you can add more water to make everything dissolve faster.  As I type this I’m realizing you could probably just buy liquid castile soap if you want to skip the step of grating the bar soap, but I’ve found the Kirk’s castile bars to be a lot cheaper than any liquid castile soap out there.  And I don’t know how much liquid soap is equivalent to a bar of castile so if there are any soap experts out there who want to share that info in the comments section I would appreciate it!

Add the Borax and Washing soda and enough water to cover everything. Cook over medium low heat, stirring occasionally until everything is dissolved.  You can turn the heat higher if you want it to go faster but do not step away for even a minute on high heat or you will have an overflowing volcano of crystalline soap that gets down in your stove and takes so long to clean up that you will WISH you had just gone to Costco and bought expensive and possibly toxic laundry soap instead.  Not that I know from experience…

Personally, I set it to low and then go about my day around the house stirring it whenever I’m in the kitchen and within an hour or so it has all dissolved to a clear (if I was really good about stirring occasionally) or somewhat cloudy (normally the case since I forget to stir) solution.  Once everything has dissolved and there are no large chunks, you can pour it into your containers.  If you have a 4-gallon container that’s great but if you don’t, just use any combo of containers that will add up to 4 gallons.  The best way to do it is to have several of the same container so you can eyeball it when dividing it up rather than having to measure it.  I personally use 3 empty vinegar bottles from Costco.  Since they are plastic and the soap solution is hot, I fill each halfway with cold water and then divide up the soap in thirds, pouring it through a heat-resistant canning funnel.  Then I fill each container to not quite full since each holds 1.5 gallons (I fill each to approximately 1 and 1/3 gallons to make 4 gallons total).  Give each a good shake, and continue to shake each time you walk by them for the next couple of hours to help everything homogenize as the solution cools.  Here’s a photo to help you visualize this, sorry it’s out of focus – it was hastily snapped before the little Godzilla attached to the tiny brown foot in the photo was able to exert destruction on his intended target (my laundry soap).

After the solution has cooled you should be good to go!  Just give it a quick shake before you use it each time to help break up any little clumps that might have formed in the cooling process.  Use 1/2 cup (4 ounces) per load.  Works well for everything from baby clothes to super dirty work clothes and anything in between.

Cost breakdown vs. Seventh Generation Free & Clear Concentrated Laundry soap from Costco:

  • Costco natural soap: $24.72 for 1.17 gallons @ 1.5 ounces/load = 25 cents/load
  • Homemade natural soap: $8.23 for 4 gallons @ 4 ounces/load =  6 cents/load

 

 

 

 

April 24, 2013   5 Comments

Homemade Shave Oil Scrub

Tomorrow is Father’s Day!  Mr. Milk (my toddler – need to think of a new name for him since he’s been weaned for quite a while – at 2 years old Mr. Mischief seems appropriate) is at a birthday party with Daddy and Mr. Muscles (the newest addition to the family) is napping so I took this rare moment of peace and tranquility to whip together some homemade shave oil scrub to add to my husband’s shave-inspired Father’s Day gift.  We’ve recently gotten into reruns of Queer Eye on Netflix and he is especially intrigued by their shaving advice so I thought to get him some aftershave in his favorite fragrance which would be a true classic Father’s Day gift from his two boys.  Below is the recipe for the shave scrub I made just now in less than 3 minutes from ingredients I already had in the house!  Now he can exfoliate once a week before shaving just like the guys on tv tell him to.

The ingredients you need are:

  • Exfoliant – I used fine grind Celtic salt that I had in the cupboard.  Finely ground salt or sugar are the best because they dissolve and don’t clog your sink drain but ground oatmeal, almonds, or flax are good also.
  • Oil – I used coconut oil (of course!) but olive oil, almond oil, jojoba, or avocado would work.  Really almost any oil works, just don’t use a janky oil like canola or vegetable oil or something that will become rancid like cod liver oil or flax oil unless you like the smell of dead fish on your man!
  • Fragrance – I used jasmine essential oil to go with the coconut and appeal to my husband’s Hawaiian DNA.  Originally I was going to use peppermint oil but it was in the bedroom with my napping infant and there was no way I was going to go in there to retrieve it!  You can use any essential oil or combo of fragrances that you like.
  • A container – I had a nice glass flip-top container that I picked up at one of those organizational stores for $3.  A small glass mason jar would have worked also.

You want a ratio of 3 parts exfoliant to 1 part oil.  I had limited time so I just eyeballed it and filled the jar halfway with Celtic salt and then added about 1/3 that volume of coconut oil.

For a traditional body scrub the consistency should be like wet sand, but for shave scrub I wanted to add a little more oil to act as a moisturizer so the consistency was more liquid.  Safety note: don’t forget that this is oil so if you use it in the shower the floor will get slippery!

Once you have the scrub to desired consistency, add a few drops of your essential oil for fragrance and you’re all done!  Father’s Day gift complete – and it was so easy that our sweet boys could have almost made it themselves :)

June 16, 2012   No Comments

Homemade Body Butter

CB107516I love the body butter that I buy at the Body Shop but it is expensive and has a few questionable ingredients, so once I ran out of it I decided to make a homemade version.  I kept the body butter container, washed it out, and poured into it a combination of gently melted coconut oil (about 8 ounces) and my favorite essential oils (about 30 drops).  Swirl this mix a few times so the ingredients blend together, then store in a cool place until the coconut oil solidifies. 

This stuff works great as a moisturizer or lip balm with the added benefits of nourishing the skin, preventing scars, reducing the visibility of existing scars, and preventing stretch marks.

March 6, 2009   2 Comments