So...wanna play 20 questions? I dare you to guess what I made yesterday afternoon. Something homemade. Nope, not something yummy to eat. Nope, not a cute scrapbook page or card or anything else with paper. Nope, not anything for my craft room. Nope, not anything for the girls' room. Not a storage item. No curtains or pillows. No candles. Figure it out yet?
Before I give it up, let me back up a bit. I am ashamed to admit that it's taken me a really long time to start thinking about green stuff. Not money green, not color green - you know, stuff like recycling, the environment, how much STUFF we consume, that kind of stuff. We JUST started recycling like a few months ago...yes, I'm hanging my head in shame... Anyway, lately, it's been on my mind, and so I've been pondering different ideas and reading about different ideas, getting my head churning.
Several things have been creeping into our lives - I've been trying to buy more organic produce, especially as far as baby food goes. For some reason, it seems easier to put pesticides into MY body, but not so much when I think about the babies!! I've also looked into the diaper situation; I just can't bring myself to do cloth diapers, yet it does bother me that we are putting loads of plastic-filled (read: will not break down in thousands of years!) diapers in the landfills. A nice alternative I found, which I was interested in, are gDiapers, and I would LOVE to be able to use them...but they are simply cost-prohibitive for us at this point. Isn't that sad? They are at least double what we pay for pampers/huggies. :( However, for those of you who can swing it, they do seem like a more environmentally-friendly way to go!!
I've also been researching a bit on how to reduce the amount of chemicals we are using in our house. Which is hard for me, b/c I really like products that are fast and easy - wipes, sprays, etc., that make life simple - but a lot of those are really harsh and the materials really damage the environment. I did find some awesome Method brand bathroom wipes that smell lovely and are biodegradeable and FLUSHABLE - which is REALLY nice!!
Which leads me to what I made yesterday. I found a list of recipes for more earth-friendly cleaning products, and at first, I was not interested at all. Until one thing caught my eye. The price tag. How much do you spend on laundry detergent? I know we get a big thing of Gain liquid detergent, and it probably costs at least $12, and lasts for a couple months, if that? It's a 1.3 gallon bottle. Yep, I made laundry detergent!!! And you wanna know how much I spent on it? I made 2 gallons of it for about 65 cents. Yeah. As in, 6 dimes and a nickel. The instructions say to use 1/2 C. per load, but let's say even if I end up using a full C. per load - at 32 C. per batch, that comes out to about 2 cents a load!!! Seriously - how can you beat that???
If you had suggested to me, maybe 5 years ago, that I would even CONSIDER making my own laundry detergent, I'm fairly certain I would have laughed you out of the room! Seriously! Crunchy, I tell you!
At any rate, the recipe is remarkably simple, and from start to finish - including set up, cleaning the old bottles, grating the bar soap, cooking it, mixing it, pouring it, and clean-up, it took me 50 minutes. And as a bonus, my house smelled quite lovely at the end of the process, too!! :) I actually used Pink Zote bar laundry soap, as I couldn't find the specific bar laundry soap listed in the recipe (though it also says you can use regular Ivory bar soap - the Pink Zote was less expensive). Also, I could not find "washing soda," sold as such; however, washing soda is sodium carbonate (note - this is NOT sodium BIcarbonate, aka baking soda) - which is also sold as a pH-riser for swimming pools. Alas, I found it as such in the pool chemical section of the store!! The borax was easy to find in the laundry aisle. The Pink Zote has a nice lemony scent, and I also added a bit of lavender essential oil at the end, and it turned out to have a wonderful scent. The final test - I had to wash something!! I decided to do a load of towels, figuring that was pretty safe. I didn't really notice any difference from my old commercial detergent. The real test will be when I have a load of the girls' puke and poop-stained clothes!!!
There are lots of other cleaning recipes on that website, too, if you are interested. I haven't tried any of them myself, yet, but another mom I know tried the dishwasher detergent and liked it. Let me know if you try any of the recipes!!!