08 March 2012

Things Don't Always Go As Planned

I had this great post planned for today. It is about letting go. I think it's important. But it wasn't quite finished, not quite perfect.

And although some days it might seem like I just throw something up here, this particular topic is too important for me to leave it simply ok.

Things didn't go as planned this week, and the editing did not get done.

Sometimes that's just how it goes.

So, we're going with Plan B. Actually, what you see below (and probably recognize from my 31 Days to Homemade series) was going to be integrated into Plan A. But Plan A is on hold until it is not simply ok but just right.

Laundry Soap: Is it worth your time? What kind of investment are you willing and able to make? I talked about toothpaste last week, and now I'm on to clothes washing.

Laundry.  The bain of every mother's existence.  The never ending cycle that rears its ugly head once, twice, 12 times a week.  First I want my kids to use their hampers.  Then I want them to stop using their hampers.  The thing is always full!

Several years ago I stopped buying detergent.  I didn't like the perfume-y smell, I didn't like the chemicals, I didn't like the cost.

I made my own powder with this recipe.  It was laughably easy and cost effective.  That worked great for us for several years.

But then we moved to the Netherlands, and our washer doesn't like powdered detergent.  I had always avoided making liquid detergent because I just figured it would not be worth the effort.  But by the time we moved to NL, I didn't want to go back to store bought, so I gave it a shot.

Yes, it has a few extra steps, but it is still so incredibly easy that it doesn't matter.  What's more, one batch lasts us several months, so I only have to make it a few times a year.

Our clothes are clean, and it really is just a few cents a load.  Amazing.

If you decide to undertake this project, many recipes say you can use any bar of soap.  But I really prefer Dial Corp. 04303 Fels-Naptha Laundry Bar Soap

for it's stain fighting power.  I have heard that it can be harsh, so take that into consideration if you have an infant or someone in your family with super sensitive skin.  We have never had any problems with it, but Ivory is a gentler alternative if you need it.


Dial Corp. 04303 Fels-Naptha Laundry Bar Soap

You might be able to find these items in the laundry section of your grocery store.  I can't, so I just order mine.  Incidentally, Borax is also fantastic for cleaning toilets, and washing soda is a good all purpose cleaner.

Recipe (courtesy of Tipnut):

1 quart Water (boiling)
2 cups Bar soap (grated)
2 cups Borax
2 cups Washing Soda
Add finely grated bar soap to the boiling water and stir until soap is melted. You can keep on low heat until soap is melted.
Pour the soap water into a large, clean pail and add the Borax and Washing Soda. Stir well until all is dissolved.
Add 2 gallons of water, stir until well mixed.
Cover pail and use 1/4 cup for each load of laundry. Stir the soap each time you use it (will gel).

I keep my detergent in old detergent bottles or a lidded bucket.  Like I said, it makes a big batch and lasts forever.

Ok, you're all set.  Get to work!


  1. Sounds great, but is it ok for high efficiancy machines?

    1. while here in Europe I don't have an HE machine, I have heard many people say this detergent is ideal because there is no sudsing agent in the soap. And this I know is true: you will not see suds in your machine at all. Both liquid and powder are fine because the only ingredient difference is water.

  2. Thank you for posting this! We will be moving to Vienna in a few months and I've been wondering if I could manage the switch to making liquid detergent if needed. I refuse to ever go back to buying laundry detergent and your post has eased my mind!

    1. Well, glad to help. Vienna sounds amazing...are you excited?