Saturday, January 7, 2012

Cute, Not So Cute volume 2 (and homemade powdered laundry soap)

For about the last three years I've made my own powdered laundry detergent and I know I've chatted with friends who want the recipe (but I honestly can't remember which ones), so I thought I'd post it.  It's stupid-easy to make, works great and is practically free compared to store bought detergent. (Unfortunately, I can't remember where I got it to give credit where credit is due, but the recipe is tangled about here and there in the world wide web...)

But a post about laundry soap?  BO-RING!  So I'm interspersing soap-making instructions with a new volume of "Cute, Not So Cute." (Because we wouldn't want a short post, now would we?)
The soap 
I was always irked to finish my grocery shopping by dropping a 
$17 box of detergent into my cart (made extra expensive because it was 
dye/fragrance free for my sensitive-skinned kinfolk - 
why exactly does less ingredients = more expensive?  
Riddle me that.)
I had seen recipes online for DIY laundry soap that is super cheap and works great. Cleans well, keeps colors bright, doesn't irritate anyone's skin, yada yada yada.    

Cute, Not So Cute

Cute:  Belle does this hilarious stomping thing where she hunches over a bit, sticks her hands out in front of herself, squints up her face funny and takes tiny steps, stomping as hard as her 22 lbs can do with each step.  It's hilarious.  Picture a scene where some American Indian, dressed in traditional garb, is doing a stomping dance around a huge bonfire.  That's what she does.  Like this beautiful girl:
Image credit
And how Belle would love to wear something like that.  She's a smidge Cherokee from her father's side and it shows. 

Not So Cute: The other night I was trying to calm Liam down and get him to sleep (Any of you notice that I only talk about around three topics on this blog?  There's bodily waste products that don't end up where they are supposed to, odd things my kids do and issues arising from getting Liam to sleep.  Perhaps I need to branch out...), he was almost dozing off when suddenly there was this BOOM BOOM BOOM BOOM and the floor of his room began to shake.  His eyes snapped open and I expected air raid sirens to start going off. 

I left the now crying Liam in his bed and ran out to find Belle, just inside her room (which is two feet from Liam's room), doing her stomp dance (as though her little legs were commercial grade impact hammers instead of tiny twigs) and singing a chanty sort of version of Away In a Manger.  And I didn't find it cute at all.

(back to the soap)

1 cup washing soda (sort of like baking soda but found in the laundry aisle)
1 cup Borax
1 bar of plain, old, regular soap  (I use Ivory)
(NOTE: The recipe calls for Fels-Naptha soap which can be found in the laundry aisle or sometimes with the regular soap, but I find the fragrance of it foul, so we use Ivory...)


(back to Cute, Not So Cute)

Cute: My parents came to visit and gave Dalton Connect Four for Christmas.  Then my mom played about a hundred games with him.  There was lots of, "Now wait!  You have to look at both of our pieces!  You might need to block me!"  Or "Now wait! You have to look at both of our pieces!  Is there a way you could win???"  And so Dalton "won" a lot of the games.  

Then D needed a potty break and headed upstairs yelling, "Mommy!  You play with Grandma while I'm upstairs."
Me: "Do you think I can beat her?"
Dalton: "Oh yeah!  She's not really very good at that game!"

And I laughed hard at how cute it was that the thought he was better than her.

Not So Cute: Grandma leaves town and now I'm stuck playing Connect Four.  So I continue the incessant coaching ("You have to look at both of our pieces!").

D: I don't need your help, Mommy.  I am good at this.  I can play you.
Me: Oh, really?  Ok.  All I'll say now is "You have to look at both of our pieces..."

And he continued to play in his devil-may-care sort of way while I literally bit my tongue to keep from nagging helping him and none-too-subtly stacked my yellow pieces into a line. 

Then suddenly his eyes lit up.  "I WIN!" he shouted as he dropped in his little red piece completing a line of 4 right in the middle of the grid which I had not at all noticed, being too busy only watching my own pieces.  

 "Mommy!  You have to watch both our pieces."

Not so cute.

(back to the soap)

1.  Shred the bar of soap in the fine section of your cheese grater.  This is as hard as the recipe gets, which isn't hard because soap grates REALLY easily.  So easily, in fact, that you should watch your thumb knuckle and make sure it doesn't hit the cheese grater.  I've heard that really hurts. 
 2. Add one cup Borax and one cup Washing Soda.  Mix together. 

Viola.   That's it.  Oh, and the great part?  It takes ONE TABLESPOON PER LOAD.   
Yup. One tablespoon for a ginormous load of towels or a humongous load of pee-soaked bedding or a monstrous load of poop-filled baby pajamas.  

One Tablespoon.

Some fancy math:
Borax < $4/box
Washing Soda < $4/box
Ivory soap < $0.50/bar

That means a recipe of this costs about $1.50 and I get around 50 loads from each recipe. 
That's 3 cents per load or 
$1.50 for as many loads as a big box of store bought soap. 

Yup, that's how ya stick it to the man!

Hmmmmmm, who is "the man"?  
Proctor? or Gamble? 

PS: This laundry soap doesn't make the water all sudsy.  Don't be alarmed if your water isn't.  It's still cleaning stuff, I promise.


  1. I keep thinking I should do a home made laundry soap, but then I get lazy. . . does your recipe work for front loaders, you know, H.E. machines? that is the real question!

    and thanks for sharing more cuteness from your kids. You make us all love them, and maybe even our own children, more.

  2. Sorry to say, but your "Cute, Not So Cute" is actually all, entirely cute. Thanks for making me laugh out loud.

  3. OMG that cracked me up! What a sweet little thing practicing her stomp dance while you are trying to get the baby to sleep! So considerate!
    I was putting one of my dozen babies to bed once and he was -->this<-- close so falling asleep when I suddenly heard the ripping sound of my 4 year old boy running through the halls calling, " Mom! Where are you? I invented a sandwich!!"
    I put down the baby,( totally awake, crying baby ) to go out in to the hall to lose it on my other kid.
    He was holding this crazy sandwich he deemed The Sloppy, which was a mix of peanut butter and cheese and a leftover piece of salmon.
    Totally worth waking the baby up for.

  4. But what does your laundry smell like? Because I have to say I am sucker for the fresh clean smell? And it really does keep dark things dark? Because, again, I have to say- a little neurotic with keeping the three matching little girls' outfits looking good...

  5. Do you find that this laundry soap recipe is gentle enough for sensitive skin? I have the same problem and plopping down the $16 for the detergent is a killer.

    Thanks so much for linking up at our party this week!

  6. Thanks for sharing!

    ~Mrs. Delightful

  7. What an awesome idea! I'd love for you to link to our Things I've Done Thursday link party going on now until noon Saturday EST.


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