Saturday, April 5, 2014

DIY Laundry Detergent

Confession: I secretly want to be a crunchy hippy who makes her own soap, weaves, raises chickens, and lives off the land for less than $10,000 a year.

But I still want to eat at McDonald's and I like Tupperware.  And I want to go to Disney World tomorrow.

So I decided to just take a baby step and make my own laundry detergent.

I kept seeing it on Pinterest and finally I decided I'd just break down and try it.

I have an HE washing machine.  I hate it, so secretly there is a part of me that hopes this will ruin it so I can get a new one. I used to always use liquid detergent, but recently I've been using the little packets.  I don't use a certain brand, just whatever is on sale or what I have a coupon for.

Disclaimer:  I do not know if this will work for you.  It may ruin your clothes.  It may ruin your washing machine.  It may ruin your microwave.  It may burn your skin.  It may cause headaches, vomiting, bowel leakage, and in some cases, even death may occur.  Ketchup with the Frys is not responsible for any negative outcomes that may occur from any reader who tries this at home.

First, I researched many different recipes.   Most call for Fels Naptha soap, Borax, & Washing Soda (not to be confused with baking soda).  I found one that also included regular baking soda, OxiClean, and Downy Unstoppables.  Unstoppables are just for smell, but the ones I got are turquoise and make it look cute in a clear jar.  My only beef with Downy Unstoppables is that "unstoppable" sounds too much like  "uncrustable", which makes me think of food and they also kind of look like mini chocolate chips so it makes me want to just try one.  But I try to curb my pica cravings.  That's about the only diet I can follow.   Not eating soap.

I like to use liquid soap, but most of those require cooking on a stove top.  If I am making my own laundry detergent, I don't want to have to think about cooking at the same time.  One domestic art at at time is all I can tackle.  Also, the liquid DIY detergent looks like snot.  So that was out.

There were lots of other dry recipes but most of them required 4 pound boxes of ingredients and made enough for an entire year.  I didn't want to commit to making that much in case this doesn't pan out.  Finally, I found one with smaller measurements that looked pretty good.

Here's the recipe I used:
1 Bar Fels Naptha Soap
1 C Borax
1 C Washing Soda
1 C OxiClean
1/2 C Baking Soda
3 caps of Downy Unstoppable

Grate the Fels Naptha.  I found some online tips that recommended putting it into the microwave first, so I did. Chop it up in to some chunks and microwave for a minute or two.   They recommend allowing it to cool before handling.  I would recommend that also.  Do as I say, not as I do.

Fels Naptha BEFORE
Note:  You need to cut it into 4 or 5 chunks before microwaving.
No, my plate is not stolen from TGIFridays.

After microwaving.  They kind of look like Grands Biscuits.
I tried two methods of crumbling, because I wanted to get a really fine end result without using my food processor.

Fels Naptha Method #1:  Microwave, then grate by hand.  Since I did not wait for it to cool, I stabbed it with a fork and tried grating it on the fine part of my grater.  It worked okay, but I thought my method #2 worked better.

Fels Naptha Method #2:  Microwave, then grate in Pampered Chef Hand Grater.  This worked really well and it didn't matter that the Fels Naptha was hot because I didn't have to touch it.  I did use the fine grater part and I ran it through twice to make it super fine.  

Fels Naptha after grating
Mix it all together in a giant bowl.  I put mine into quart size mason jars because that's what I had.  Most online recipes show this in a really cute giant glass jar with a chalkboard label.  I am going to try to recycle some kind of plastic container because my washer shakes and I don't want it to fall off and break.
This is how much the recipe above made.  I used a wide mouth canning funnel and just poured into quart jars.
I am going to use the scoop that came with the OxyClean to scoop it out.
I am washing my first load as I am typing.  I'll let you know how it works out.  Even if it doesn't work, I feel pretty good about myself for being sort of homemakery.  No, homemakery is not a real word.  Yes, it's underlined in red.  Yes, I am ignoring it.  I'm a renegade who makes her own laundry detergent, do you think I'm going to allow a machine to tell me how to spell?

Friday, April 4, 2014

Easter 2014

Easter will be here soon.

I like Easter.

If I compare the holidays, Easter comes out on top.  It's not as stressful as Christmas, but better than Thanksgiving, because you get to dye eggs and buy chocolate.

Here's how I came up with that, rating each on a scale of 1-5, with 5 being the highest score.  I was going to include other holidays like MLK Day, Valentine's Day, and 4th of July, but I think we can all agree that Easter, Thanksgiving, and Christmas are the biggies.  Of course, if you have another favorite, that's cool with me.  But you're wrong, because Easter is the best.  But we can agree that you can be wrong.

Spiritual Significance
5...Jesus died and rose from the dead.  That's the best news ever!

3...We really should be thankful every day of the year, not just on Thanksgiving, right?

4.9...God sent His Son.  Good news, second only to His death and resurrection.

Pinterest Craft Potential
4...Not only can you dye eggs, you can etch them, wrap them in twine, temporary tattoo them, ombre color them, dye them with kool-aid, dye them with natural dyes like organic blueberry, and probably many many more things.  Easter basket creative potential also abounds with tips for baskets for toddlers, manly Easter baskets, and grown your own jute and weave your own organic basket to fill with homemade gluten-free granola.  And let's not forget the classic paper plate Easter bunny.

3.4...Turkeys galore!  Pine cone turkeys, hand print turkeys, potato stamped turkeys. Cornucopias made from ice cream cones, cornucopias filled with glittery gourds. Pilgrim hats and Indian headdresses made from homegrown corn stalks that are pesticide free and hand crafted while waiting on yoga class to begin.

4.9...Hand print ornaments, popcorn garlands with cranberries harvested from your backyard bog, baby Jesus whittled from an acorn.  The Christmas craft potential on Pinterest is almost endless.  But not a perfect score here because of Elf on the Shelf, which I find creepy and annoying.  But what you do in your own house is fine.  I can judge from afar.

5.0...For me, Cadbury Mini Eggs (not the gross snot filled ones) could be the sole reason Easter sweeps this category.  However, for the rest of you, I still think Easter rates the highest in this category because not only do you get the big family meal, but you get lots of chocolate.  And biting off a hollow Easter bunny's ears is quite satisfying.
On a side note, I happened to be eating these like popcorn while laying in bed and one of them fell off into the bed, unbeknownst to me.  The next morning, the bed was streaked with brown and there was a lump of brown that can only be described as turd-like in the bed.  But don't let that ruin this candy for you.  It truly is the best candy ever.

4.9...I love Thanksgiving food, but I have to knock off just a teeny bit because I hate pumpkin flavored things.  Pumpkin pie, pumpkin lattes, pumpkin roll, pumpkin soup, pumpkin a la king....the list never ends and pumpkin tastes yucky and the texture is odd.

4.8...Christmas rates just under Thanksgiving for me because not only does pumpkin make a reappearance, but things like fruitcake and mincemeat come out and declare themselves festive.  Also, there are really only probably less than 10 cookies that are actually good Christmas cookies.  The rest are just tray fillers that nobody wants to eat.

4.8...While not as many choices as Christmas, Easter offers some of my favorite hymns.  Particularly, He Arose.  I like the version below the best.

3...Thanksgiving isn't really known for its music, but I do like For the Beauty of the Earth and the Doxology.  I'm sure there are more that I just can't think of.

4.9...Gotta give it up to Christmas for the best music.  However, I did have to subtract a little because of songs like The Christmas Shoes.  Here's an old post about Christmas songs if you're in the mood.

5...Everyone is looking their best on Easter Sunday.  Dresses and cute little vests for the kids, dresses for moms instead of yoga pants, and even a suit for dads. Superfrydad wears a suit for 2 occasions.  Easter and funerals.  Weddings if he must.  Also, hopefully the trees and flowers are blooming and you can catch a cute picture of your little one in front of a weeping cherry or some daffodils.
Superfrykid circa 2011 in front of my grandmother's (aka "The Don") tulip tree

1...Thanksgiving is one holiday that I always forget to take a picture of.  Everyone knows we will take one  at Christmas in a few weeks, so nobody really cares.  We just want to go home so we can put on our sweatpants and eat leftovers.

4...Picking the right picture for your Christmas card is stressful. Trying to coordinate but not be too matchy-matchy.  Trying to choose a color pallet that is modern, yet classic.  Trying to get your husband and children to actually smile and not look like beavers.  It's just too much.  Actual Christmas Day pictures are usually in pajamas, therefore not the ones I'd like to put in frames to display in my living room.  Mostly because my pajamas are old yoga pants with holes and an old tee.

5...Easter is really a no-stress holiday.  Make some food, dye some eggs, and buy some candy.  No Easter Eve to worry about and a week of Spring Break to get ready for summer.

3...Thanksgiving isn't really stressful in and of itself.  However, it heralds the Christmas season, which can be stressful.  And don't even get me started on Black Friday.

2...I know that Christmas is not supposed to be stressful, but let's face it.  It is.  Shopping and cooking and parties and decorating and trying to celebrate the real meaning while everyone around you is singing's a bit much.

So Easter is the winner.  I hereby declare it.  Enjoy it and celebrate it.  And send me some Cadbury mini eggs.  Not the snot-filled kind.  And I will make sure not to drop any in my bed.  Not that that would bother you.  Because I'm the one who has to wash the sheets and ward off the accusing questions like "did you crap the bed?"