Saturday, December 22, 2012

Yuletide, Oathing & 13 for 13

Yule is upon us yet again and it's time to start looking towards the new year.  Where did the time go? 

One aspect of our Yuletide festivities is Sumbel.  It's a sacred rite which involves making oaths for the next year.  One of my friends, Cat, posted on her blog about the 13 for 13 at Life Skills Challange 2013.  I figured I could make my oaths and then use the 13 for 13 website to update my progress as the year moves forward. 

You can check out my skills and also join yourself. 

Until then, I wish each and every one of you a blessed Holiday Season no matter what you're religious views or lack thereof.  Glad Yule!

The Yule Tomte and his Yule Buck. 

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Making Liquid Laundry Detergent

If you've been buying laundry detergent lately, you know how expensive it is.  Even the cheap stuff is not cheap anymore. I come from a long line of die-hard Tide users.  It runs about $8 for 50 ounces of the stuff. Yikes!  Sure, you can get coupons &/or catch it on sale, but it's still crazy expensive.  A 5 gallon bucket of homemade detergent costs approximately $2.35 to make & lasts a long time!  It's quite a savings in the long term.

So last summer, I started making my own detergent. Yup, I make my own.  So does my mother (the Tide queen!), my best friend, an aunt, and several cousins.  It's so easy and so inexpensive I doubt if any of us will ever buy commercial detergent again.

So here the 'scoop'..ha ha..I'm SO funny!
Notice spoon and grater.
Here's what you'll need:
Approximately 4 gallons hot water
5 gallon bucket
1/2 cup Borax (20 Mule Team is what's usually available)
1 cup Washing Soda (Arm & Hammer is easy to find)
1 Bar of soap (Most recipes call for Fels Naptha. I've also used Zote and Colgate's Octagon).
Add Borax and Washing soda to bucket.

Fill bucket about 3/4 full of very hot water and stir until Borax and Soda are well mixed.

Heat 4 cups of water to boiling in a saucepan. 
While water is coming to boil, grate soap into a bowl.  I've read some people use a food processor but I do it the old fashioned way.

Once the water comes to a boil, slowly add soap flakes and stir until melted. Do it slowly.  Do not add all at once or you'll end up with a big ball of hot soap.
Keep adding soap until you have a nice pan of soap soup. By the way, you're house is going to smell extra clean while you do this so pick a scent you like!

When all soap is melted, pour into hot water and stir until mixed.

This is the 'hard' part.  Put the lid on the bucket and wait 24 hours.

When you open the bucket you can see a variety of things. 
EEEK! I've been slimed!
Sometimes, the detergent will look just like Jello.  Sometimes, it will look like 'real' liquid detergent and sometimes you'll end up with sorta slimy water with blobs floating in it.  It really doesn't matter.  It looks kinda gross but works just fine.  If you don't like it, take a hand-blender and mix it together.

We usually just use it straight out of the bucket.  If you don't want a bucket of slime hanging around your laundry room, you can decant it into used laundry bottles.  Make sure to shake before each use.

If you want to get fancy, you can add 10 to 15 drops of essential oil to the detergent.  I've used lavender.  It doesn't scent your laundry so for me, I just keep it simple.

To use, add about 1 cup per load.  It will not suds like store-bought detergent but your clothes will be nice and clean.