Homemade Laundry Detergent

Have you ever noticed how EXPENSIVE laundry detergent is? I mean, really. It is. And it’s not like you can just decide to save money by not washing your clothes….I HATE being trapped like that.

Besides the cost, laundry detergent has some toxic stuff in it.

Four of the worst offenders are:

Sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS)/sodium laureth sulfate (SLES)
1,4-dioxane
NPE (nonylphenol ethoxylate)
Phosphates

A few years ago I was introduced to the idea of making some household cleaning products at home.  I was uncomfortable with the idea of breathing in chemicals used for cleaning the house, and certainly did not want my children doing so. So when I learned that plain old white vinegar could be used as a cleaner, I was excited. And we switched to doing almost all household cleaning with plain old (and inexpensive) vinegar with water.  It works, it does not smell at all like vinegar once it dries, and I can even let the children help spray and wipe because it’s NON-TOXIC!

Speaking of Toxicity, it’s real, and most commercial cleaning products have high levels of toxins.

Here is a non toxic and extremely inexpensive laundry detergent that you can make easily at home.

Did I mention it was easy? And inexpensive? I mean REALLY inexpensive! These ingredients go a LONG way.

2  Cups – hot tap water

1  cup grated Zote bar (a little less than 1/3 of a 14 oz bar) OR 1 full bar of fels naphtha  (grated)

1/2 Cup – Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda*

½ Cup Borax

– Grate bar of soap and add to saucepan with water. Stir continually over medium-low heat until soap dissolves and is melted.

-Fill a 5 gallon bucket 1/4 full of hot tap water. Add melted soap, washing soda and Borax. Stir well until all powder is dissolved. Fill bucket to halfway point with more hot water. Stir, cover and let sit overnight to thicken.

-Stir and fill a used, clean, laundry soap dispenser half full with soap and then fill rest of way with water. Shake before each use. (will gel)

-Yield: Liquid soap recipe makes 5 gallons. (total, after adding additional water to bottles. 2 ½ gallons concentrate.)

Here are my thoughts on this recipe:

I found it to be too watery when I diluted it this much, and therefore ended up using more. So I decided to use it full strength and have continued to use it that way  since. At the time of this posting, I have used this as my only detergent for more than a year and recently upped the concentration by using almost 1 full cup of each of the powders, and have been satisfied with the results. I have tried it with both types of soap and both work fine. My only complaint is the chunkiness…it is not smooth but that dissolves in the machine. It would be helpful to use an immersion blend for this; I might use my vitamix to blend it in batches but am not sure it’s worth the effort.

I also put some in an empty stain treatment spray bottle for pretreating stains. Of course, it will only spray out if it is smooth and diluted slightly.

When I have anything extremely stinky in a load to wash, I will add some vinegar and also some Young Living Thieves Household Cleaner and that certainly does the job!

Got To Pick A Pocket Or Two

I have a confession to make.

I’m a pickpocket.

But it’s all for a good cause, you see….the cause of my time. And my laundry.

If you have children (or even just husbands), you have probably learned that it’s important to check pockets before putting things in the washing machine.  Not for you, of course; you never forget there’s an important paper in your pocket.

I once washed my husbands entire wallet. Complete with credit card (needed replacing), memory stick (amazingly, still worked), and a check that fell apart and was an embarrassment to ask for a re-issue. I learned my lesson.

And then I had children. Who like to stick the strangest things in their pockets! Rocks, pieces of play-dough, crayons….you do not want to wash those things with your other clothes.

I made a cutsey sign to hang over the hamper. It reminds everyone to check their pockets, sort by color, make sure it’s dirty, etc.

Nobody pays any attention to the sign.

I nagged, I implored them to check their pockets. It made little difference.

And then, I began to pick pockets. For profit, that is.

I empty the pockets, and the contents become mine. I then offer said contents for SALE to the owner first, and then to others if the owner doesn’t want to fork it over. If there are no buyers, I declutter it by putting it in the trash (it usually belongs there anyway).

I don’t charge much, only a shekel (about 25 cents) per item. But to the kids, it’s a lot (the 2 older ones get 1 or 2 shekels for allowance each week plus a little for extra jobs if they choose). And it works! It makes them more careful about leaving things in their pockets, and helps them learn the value of both things and money at the same time.

It works for me.

What’s your trick for getting your family members to participate in laundry rules?

What’s the worst thing you ever washed by mistake?

Have you ever been pickpocketed for real?

How do you teach your children to take care of their things/value of money?

When was the last time you watched Oliver! ?

Sunshine vs. Sunscreen: Which is Worse?


I’ve heard a lot lately about Vitamin D and its almost epidemic rate of deficiency. Apparently most of us are lacking it, and its lack causes or at least contributes to all sorts of problems: cancer, heart disease, chronic pain, Fibromyalgia, hypertension, arthritis, depression, inflammatory bowel disease, obesity, PMS, Crohns Disease, MS and other autoimmune diseases.
The Vitamin D Council states that Vitamin D deficiency can also cause stroke, osteoporosis, muscle weakness, muscle wasting and birth defects.

Here is a great page of Vitamin D & Vitamin D Deficiency Links.

Apparently, we have been so taught to fear the sun (for causing premature aging and skin cancer), that we automatically spread on the sunblock, preventing us from getting what we need. So, we lack vitamin D, which as you can see, causes many, many health problems.

We need sunlight. Only 5-10 minutes each day is enough. More for those with darkly pigmented skin.

And about that sunscreen…..well, ironically, most are FULL of toxins that should NOT be put on our skin. Those toxins actually increase our chances of skin cancer, it seems.

According to this article from Enviromom, only 39 of 500 sunscreens are recommended by the EWG, for primarily 2 reasons:
1) Many sunscreens with high SPF claims don’t actually offer that much protection, giving consumers a false sense of security and potentially increasing the amount of time they spend in the sun. Sun burns and exposure to UVA radiation increase the risk of skin cancer.

2) Vitamin A is a common sunscreen ingredient and has recently been linked (via government data) to accelerated development of skin tumors and lesions.

This article on the NatualNews explains how “the idea that sunscreen prevents cancer is a myth. It’s a myth promoted by a profit-seeking tag-team effort between the cancer industry and the sunscreen industry. The sunscreen industry makes money by selling lotion products that actually contain cancer-causing chemicals. It then donates a portion of that money to the cancer industry through non-profit groups like the American Cancer Society which, in turn, run heart-breaking public service ads urging people to use sunscreen to “prevent cancer.”

And this article from Dr.Axe shares that “The great thing about the way God designed our bodies is that the very thing that can cause damage to our bodies (ultraviolet rays) also protects us from that very same damage. Dr. John J. Cannell tells us that when you are out in the sunshine, Vitamin D goes directly to your genes and helps prevent any sort of abnormality that could be caused by ultraviolet light.

That is why sunscreen can actually contribute to cancer. Aside from the high amounts of toxicity, sunscreen blocks Vitamin D production in your body and you are left without nature’s built in cancer-fighting protection.”

So pause a little before you slather on the sunscreen. Get some rays first, then use a more natural screen if you need to.

And purpose to get some sun on your skin each day. I do this while I’m hanging out my laundry. It’s my “replenish my Vitamin D” time.

What do you do for your sun time? Protection?

Pick Out Your Clothes For Tomorrow–Babystep #7

I love this one. But mostly for the children.

In the morning, it’s chaotic enough to get everybody ready for the day without all of us still needing to pick out our clothes. Inevitably a child will tell me that he can’t find socks, or a shirt. (This is because I really need help getting the stuff folded & put away; but I’m working on that. ) Here’s one of the ways I help myself to get the laundry put away.

So, I figured, since it’s so helpful for me to pick out my clothes the night before, just think what a help it is for my kids to do it! And it is. It gives me time to find the missing piece while we’re not hurrying.

As for me….yes, it’s a good habit. But, honestly, I don’t have a huge wardrobe. I usually rotate between the 3 or 4 things that are my favorite for the time of the year. Since I stay home most days, nobody sees me. So, I don’t really mind that my clothes are repeated frequently. I don’t change my jewelry, so this is a simple one.

It takes me about 1 minute to grab a comfortable dress, my underclothes, socks, & lace up shoes. If I worked outside the home or wore more complicated outfits, I’m sure this habit would make even more of a difference!

And in the morning, it’s one less thing I need to do. I like that.

How about you?

Rewards Help Me Get It Done! -WFMW

You may have noticed a dramatic increase in my number of posts lately. If you haven’t, that’s okay. I know some people who have noticed, but not because they read this blog. I am, of course, referring to mi familia.

And the way they have noticed is this: every evening when the kiddos are told to lay out their clothes for the next morning (something I learned from Flylady; very helpful), I inevitably hear something that sounds like this:

“I can’t find a shirt” or “I have no socks” or, well, you get the picture. And although I do believe we must house an entire tribe of sock hiding gremlins, at least one or two pair would be found for use, that is, if I had actually folded and put the laundry away.

I get it washed; doing one full load (sometimes 2) a day keeps me on top of it. And it gets line dried in the sun. I even figured out that I can fold as I take it off the line and stack it by owner as I put it in the basket. But still…..I just haven’t been putting it away. Some, but not all.

So, I made a new rule for myself, starting today: No Publishing A Post Until ALL Laundry is FOLDED and PUT AWAY.

As you can see, I did it!

Little rewards help me get things done. It works for me. What works for you?

See what works for lots of other moms at wearethatfamily.com

Let The Sun Shine In–Frugal Fridays

When I was little, I’d see movies or commercials that showed little girls running through the sheets that were hanging out to dry. It looked like so much fun & I asked my mom why we didn’t do our drying like that. She basically said that only “poor” people dry their clothes that way and that it didn’t look nice to see laundry hanging. And I saw that she was right; in our neighborhood nobody would do such a thing, but driving into other sections of town we could see their laundry hanging. I just accepted it as the way it was and went about my business.

Until I moved to Israel. Here, hanging laundry is the socially accepted norm. For years I couldn’t fathom hanging it every day like my neighbors and didn’t like the way it looks. Then one summer my dryer broke. And I hung all summer long, until the rainy season began (winter here), and we prioritized the dryer repair.

But I’ve been thinking about it again, and a few weeks ago I decided to start utilizing this (free) power we all have-the sun, to save on electricity (translate: $$$). Good for the environment, good for the pocket, I’m happy.

It does take more time to hang the clothes and bring them in than it does to load and empty the dryer, and that has been my main objection. However, I have decided to enjoy those few minutes outside by myself as a little break. All moms need that!

And as for the way it looks, I hang it out on my roof deck where it doesn’t show-not to the neighbors; it’s out of my view as well. But twice a day I have a reason to stand and look at my gorgeous view of the Judean hills. (That’s my laundry and my view) Nice!

I do one large load every day (keeps Mt. Washmore away), plus a load of cloth diapers. My drying rack holds only the one load; for now I’m still using the dryer for the diapers or if I need to do more than one load. Another drying rack or a line would solve that problem. I’ll get there. Babysteps.

For more Frugal Friday ideas visit LifeAsMom.

For more about saving electricity, visit this site.