Thursday, April 14, 2011

Laundry,Thrift Store Joy and Other Earth Shattering News

There are many areas in where I fall dismally short in the Suzy Homemaker department, but the #1 is: LAUNDRY. Now I will have you know that this pile is all clean laundry; it is just waiting to be folded. Some would say it is no longer clean, but it is freshly washed & dried, just outside the dryer. Somehow actually taking it up the stairs to fold seems like a huge task. (And Charlie usually takes advantage of my basement moments to stir up trouble).

In an effort to self motivate in regards to laundry, I made laundry detergent this week. If this conjures up images of Caroline Ingalls stirring a giant cauldron with a huge stick, you are not alone. Making my own soap seemed ridiculous when I always purchased mine on sale....could the savings be that great?? In addition, I had my doubts about the effectiveness of homemade detergent. T's soccer uniform can get REALLY dirty. After researching several blogs, recipes and youtube videos, I decided that the initial cost $5 would be worth my experiment. I roughly followed the Duggar's recipe online; it seemed very simple and I liked the idea of adding essential oil for fragrance. By the way, this stuff is amazing!

What you will need:
1 box Borax (found at Meijer for $2ish)
1 box Arm & Hammer washing soda (NOT baking soda-Meijer for less than $2)
1 bar Fels Naptha soap (Meijer again for around $1.25)

*I purchased a 5 gallon bucket with lid at Menards for around $3 and a rubbermaid pitcher, too. Most people have these around their house already.

Grate bar of soap on box grater. Place 4 cups hot water in pan on stove. Add grated soap to water and turn on heat to medium-low. "Cook" until soap is completely melted into water, stirring often.

While soap is in pan, fill up 5 gallon bucket almost halfway (about 2 gallons worth) with hot tap water.

Turn off heat and add 1 cup washing soda & 1/2 cup Borax to your pan. Whisk together and pour into bucket with hot water.

Stir stir stir until the grains are dissolved. Now add 2 more gallons of hot water to bucket. It will be almost full. Stir again for a moment and you may add your essential oil here. (I added about 30 drops lavender-mmm).

Place lid on bucket and let sit overnight. (I taped lid down because Charlie was very eager to help stir).

Next day, stir it all up. It will be a gelatinous goo. Use an empty detergent bottle (or rubbermaid pitcher like me) and add 1 part detergent and 1 part water. Leave some head space and shake it up. Use about 3/4 cup for a top loader like mine.

I was VERY skeptical about the efficacy of my detergent and tried it out on some very "choice" laundry items. They were soooo clean and smelled so fresh. The amounts of product I used cost about $2.00 to make approximately 8 gallons of detergent. It works great, is all natural and saves money. It will take me a long time to use all of this batch but next time I plan on using orange essential oil. For my local friends, I will happily fill one of my jelly jars with detergent if you want to try it out!

Yes, I found Le Creuset at the thrift store-vintage, worn Le Creuset which is the best! I think someone made a lot of Boeuf Bourguignon is this Dutch oven and I plan to make lots more in it. The flame color has always been my favorite (I have the blue color, too) and I love that the lid fits on the skillet, too.

Most people do not enjoy hitting thrift stores with yours truly because I am relatively quick. My eyes scan, scan, scan and unless something looks like a "find", I usually do not pick it up. Today, I grabbed these and headed for home to clean them up. If you ever get an opportunity to own a Le Creuset, they are the best pots and you will not be disappointed.

That's all. Charlie & I walked to T's school today to pick him up. The air was chilly but we had a beautiful walk, enjoying God's creation. I marveled at the fact that less than three months ago we were digging out of waist-deep snow. And now the peonies are pushing through the ground. Wow. What a Creator.


  1. I posted about laundry soap last week too. I love it! I have been making my own for about 5 years now.
    And what a find on Le Creuset!
    I have a set in red.

  2. laundry is my nemesis as well.

    i can't believe that thrifting find! amazing!

  3. I would LOVE to make my own detergent here. Until recently you could only purchase powder (except for a few stores which shipped small liquid bottles in from the states that hiked the cost up unbelievably). Whether I buy powder or liquid now it still costs $10 for a large box that does about 12-14 loads of laundry. Unlike the states...the stuff is never on sale and coupons are not offered. I could get the borax and I'm sure that another brand of soap would work but I don't know about the A&H washing soda. Baking soda is hard enough to find at times.

    Also, I'm SUPER jealous about the dutch over you got!! I've been eyeing the red Le Creuset one at a store here for a few years now. It costs a little under $ that a rip off even for the states?

  4. One last thing...seeing your pile brought back a good memory of us women and kids folding your laundry in the basement that afternoon during a tornado siren.

  5. That is a GREAT price for Le Creuset, Lisa. My larger ones retail around $250.

  6. I want to try your detergent!!!
    Also, thank you so much for the salsa- it was super yummy.