Homemade Laundry Detergent

OK, I broke down and tried it. I did. I admit it. I tried the homemade laundry detergent. My one word description is: impressive.

Some months back my friend Mel Suderman, wife, mother, homemaker, and librarian, was talking on FB about making homemade laundry detergent and how much money it was saving her. With 5 people and a dog in the family, I know Mel is and experienced laundress. And whats more, she has a husband and son who like to play hard. Like working on cars and driving motorcycles kind of hard. So not only does she do a lot of laundry, she is really dealing with some serious dirt.

She gave me the recipe for the liquid form of the detergent she was brewing up. The ingredients were simple and easily attainable items in the cleaning isle at most stores. Wal-Mart would certainly have everything I needed.

Unscented bar soap, Borax, and Washing Soda.

The recipe Mel gave me was for like 4 gallons of this stuff and I wasn’t sure I really wanted to jump into a batch that size and then discover I didn’t care for the way it performed.

So I started reading on the internet about similar recipes and discovered a few for dry detergents in much smaller batches. All of them contained at least the three ingredients Mel had given me in her recipe.

A few weeks ago, while looking for ways to trim my budget, I came across these detergent recipes. I decided to give it a shot and see what happened. After trying a couple different variations on the recipe, this is what I came up with. (I make it in much larger batches but broke it down in a smaller batch for you to try)

Ingredients:
1/3 bar of soap (Ivory, Fels Napfha, or Zote)
1/2 cup Borax (20 Mule Team brand recommended)
1/2 cup washing soda (Arm & Hammer brand recommended)
Do not confuse washing soda with baking soda. They are not the same thing.

Directions:
Using a cheese grater to grate 1/3 of the bar of soap into a bowl.
Add Borax and washing soda, and stir until bar soap is well broken up and blended completely with dry ingredients.
This is what it is going to look like when it’s all broken up and blended well.
You could actually pulse this in your food processor and break it up much finer. Don’t over process though or it will melt the soap and cause clumping.

The photo shows what it takes to wash 1 load of clothes, 2 tablespoons.

That’s right, 2 tablespoons of this stuff really packs a punch. Extra large or heavily soiled clothes; I use 3 tablespoons.

To compare usage amounts (commercial detergent vs homemade) here’s what a measure of homemade detergent looks like in your commercial laundry scoop.)

Store detergent in a cool dry place in a container with lid. This recipe will fit into a small cottage cheese container or butter bowl.

Variations for this recipe:

  • Add 1/2 cup Clorox all fabric bleach to maintain vibrant colors in your clothing and added stain removal.
  • Add essential oils to scent your detergent.

Although the detergent has a clean fresh smell in the container, your clothes will come out of the wash with the absence of smell. No odor at all. I was amazed.

Here’s the fun part, which totally blows my mind.
Cost of doing a single load of laundry with my store-bought detergent: 63 cents per load.
Cost of doing a single load of laundry with my new homemade detergent: 6 cents per load

Seriously, I am saving 57 cents per load, and with all the laundry I do, that is a substantial savings.

I don’s have a great deal of clothing to wash; just what I wear each day,  and a couple of outfits a week for my grandson, (oh and the occasional visit from one of my sons wanting to do his own laundry. )

But I have several animals which means I go through several blankets, furniture covers, and doggie beds each week. That’s about 6 loads per week right there, and that’s in good weather.

Top that off with my not being a big fan of cramming our landfills full of disposable paper towels, and the mountain of cloth towels and rags I use each week would scare a normal person.

It may not seem like a huge savings, but I will take it where I can get it.

Some discoveries I made while trying out these recipes:

  • Aside from being seriously economical, this detergent is safer to both the environment and you, than any commercial detergent! This mix contains no dyes, perfumes, or other components to irritate skin or pollute the environment.
  • During the month I have used this detergent my dog has not had any mysterious break outs. (She’s allergic to everything including commercial laundry detergent apparently.)
  • I have had no dry itchy skin.
  • My clothes all look and smell clean. I worried about the dog bedding not coming clean and smelling fresh but I was pleasantly surprised. There was absolutely no smell in the bedding what so ever.
  • I gave some of the detergent to a friend of mine who cannot use any detergents with any kind of perfume in them. it causes her respiratory distress. After trying out this detergent she says she will never buy laundry detergent in the store again. She has had no allergy issues with the homemade detergent.
  • A couple of hunters also let me know that the detergent was perfect for their hunting clothes as they want zero scent on them when they go out into the woods.
  • I have not noticed any visible difference in the color of my clothing. Nothing appears to be faded or dull. Whites are still coming out white, colors still bright.
  • I still use fabric softener sheets because I want the softness and a slight scent to my laundry. The scent is much softer from the fabric sheets when using the homemade detergent.
  • If you want to soften your clothes and are not concerned with any scent, use a 1/2 cup white vinegar in your rinse cycle to soften fabric. Your clothes WILL NOT smell like vinegar when they come out of the dryer. They will have no smell at all.
  • When I wash my cleaning rags, I don’t use any fabric softener sheets. This allows me to use cloth rags to clean glass without streaking.
  • Because this detergent requires such a small measure per load, it’s space saving and is convenient for campers, truck drivers, or anyone who travels.
  • This recipe does not create suds and therefore is fine to use in top front loading machines. It is however recommended that you cut the measure in half for front loaders.
  • This recipe would be a perfect money saver for animal rescues and shelters that wash a lot of animal bedding.

Since the dry version of this detergent was such a success, I decided to make a couple of gallons of the liquid version. I stirred it all up tonight and will start using it within the next couple of days. After I have tested it out, I’ll let you know how it goes and give you the recipe for that as well.

Coming up, I’ll share recipes for the following as I have had a chance to try them out thoroughly.

  • Stain remover for the laundry
  • Fabreeze type air and fabric freshener
  • Household bleach cleaner
  • Window and glass cleaner
  • Dishwasher detergent

UPDATE:11-17-11

Day 2 of the original batch of liquid detergent- This batch did not gel or clump up.

I was perplexed because almost every recipe I have read about says the mixture will thicken, gel, clump, separate when gelling, etc. My batch had no clumps, no gel, but was just milky and slightly thicker than water.

That’s actually good btw because it means that I can use it in a spray bottle like a pretreatment (Shout or Spray -N- Wash for example) without messing about with it clumping in the sprayer.

Whatever the issue was with the lack of thickening, I used some of the watery detergent today, washing two stinky, dirty dog beds, and they came out of the wash perfectly clean and smelling….well they had zero smell, so just clean.

It bugged me so much about the gelling thing that I made another batch of liquid detergent tonight. This time I processed it just slightly different.

  1. In the original batch I melted the soap in a little water on the stove  till dissolved.
  2. Then I removed from heat and added the Borax and washing soda into the HOT water with the melted soap.
  3. When everything was dissolved in the pan, I added the soapy mixture into the bucket with the rest of the water.

I also stirred the first batch every couple of hours for about half the 24 hour period it was “curing”. (Never noticing any thickening I might add).

Batch 2:

  1. This time I first dissolved the Borax and the washing soda in the bucket of room temperature water.
  2. Then I added the hot melted soap and water mixture from the stove into the bucket of borax and washing soda mix and stirred.

I even went a step further and once it was mixed I poured this batch into two different containers.

One I have covered and plan to leave alone for 24 hours. The other I’ll stir occasionally to see if I can keep clumps from forming (if it does gel).

Mystery solved.

Adding the Borax and washing soda to the scalding hot melted soap mix in the first batch must be the reason for the mixtures refusal to thicken.

So far that’s the only difference in the batches, and this batch was gelling within minutes of stirring it up. Thickening was actually apparent before I had it all stirred up well.

Homemade Egg Noodles

Ok yes, I know this is an artery clogging dish. But it’s good ‘ole, stick-to-your-ribs home cookin,’ and it’s not like I eat egg noodles 5 nights a week. Besides, my grandson thinks I rock because I can make my own noodles and will eat a pile of them without complaint.

Some folks like to eat these noodles in place of dumpling but I use them in a beef dish. I just boil salted stew meat in water till it falls apart. That usually takes the better part of the day. Then I make my noodles and add them to the beef mixture and simmer until the noodle soak up all that gravy.

I didn’t take pics of this recipe all the way through because I really didn’t want to handle my iPhone with dough covered hands.

But here you go Laura, this ones for you. You’ll have to forgive the aloof manner in which I present this recipe. It’s one of those I usually just throw together and eye out the measurements. This will get you close though, and this is a recipe that’s hard to mess up.

  • 2 Cups flour
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 Teaspoon salt
  • Splash of milk
  1. Mix all ingredients well. Dough should be gooey. If not add a little more milk.
  2. Turn dough out onto floured surface and incorporate more flour as needed to make dough pliable and workable. It should be sticky when you are through.(try not to over-knead)
  3. Roll dough out flat and thin (1/8 – 1/4 inch thick depending on your taste)
  4. Coat top of dough liberally with flour.
  5. Roll dough up like a jelly roll.
  6. Refrigerate, uncovered for at least 2 hours to make dough firm.
  7. With a sharp knife, cut noodles in widths depending on your taste (I do 1/4-1/2 inch) If you are squishing your dough when you cut it, you should put it back in the fridge for a little longer.
  8. After noodles are cut dust with flour to await boiling water. (All this extra dusting of flour is to keep the noodles from sticking together after they have been cut. Dough will become softer as it warms to room temperature)
  9. Boil noodles in a pot of water separate from your main dish. These are a super starchy noodle and will create a thick paste when cooked so you want to at least partially boil them alone.
  10. Strain and add noodles to your main dish.

Just on a little side note. These are not hard noodles to make. Just messy. Some people like to make large batches, use what’s needed for a meal, and freeze the rest.

These noodle freeze very well. You need to do it right though so you don’t end up with a big lump of dough.

To freeze:

  1. Prepare and cut noodles as directed in the recipe.
  2. Liberally toss with flour and place on a cookie sheet. Try not to handle the dough too much as it warms and softens it.
  3. Place noodles in freezer for as long as it takes noodles to freeze solid.
  4. Remove from freezer and break apart noodle placing them in zip lock bags for storage.
  5. These will keep in the freezer for several weeks.

To cook frozen noodles:

  1. Remove from freezer and drop in boiling water.

Just a Meatloaf

For Lacey, who has forgotten the recipe the last couple times she has visited.

Meatloaf

  • 1lb lean ground beef
  • 1/2 Onion
  • 1 Green pepper
  • 1 Fresh garlic bud or 1 t. minced garlic
  • 2 Eggs
  • 1/2 C Ketchup
  • 3/4 C Oatmeal (uncooked)
  • 1/4 C Milk
  • 1 T Salt
  • 1 t fresh ground pepper

Topping

  • 1/2 C Ketchup
  • 1/4 Brown Sugar

Combined all of the meatloaf ingredients in a bowl.

Once all ingredients have been combined well. Make a loaf of the mixture in  baking dish.

Mix ketchup and brown sugar together in a separate bowl.

Pour ketchup mixture over the top of your raw meatloaf.

Place meatloaf into a 350 degree oven and bake for 1 hour. (Cooking time may vary depending on how think you make your loaf.)

Remove from oven and allow loaf to rest for a few minutes. (If you cut it fresh out of the oven it will fall apart)

Serve with mashed potatoes or your favorite vegetable.

Waste not, want not: A Chicken and Dressing recipe

Dressing is not something that’s common place on the tables of America today. It’s an old school recipe that’s a little more time-consuming to prepare than most folks are willing to put into it. Sure you see it on Thanksgiving, other holidays, or assorted special occasions. But it’s just not as prevalent as it once was for the average American diet.

Now while a tasty side dish for any pork or poultry meal, dressing wasn’t on the menu in my Nany’s kitchen simply because it was delicious food.

I had once noted when I was young that dressing appeared on many tables about the end of each week. Sunday was a big dressing day at Nany’s and something my grandfather drooled about for days, in anticipation of the gooey stuff.

One Sunday morning as Nany toasted every scrap of “leftover” bread in the kitchen, I asked her what was up with dressing on Sundays.Did we have dressing on Sunday’s because it was a special day?

She said “Well, you see all this here bread I am toasting in the oven? I have been saving it all week for this pan of dressing. The heals from loaves of bread, couple of left over biscuits, some cornbread too crumbly to spread butter on.  All go into the dressing bin. Sunday just happens to be the day that falls at the end of the week and we have to use the bread before it goes bad. Don’t want to waste those good left overs. Don’t want to throw out money”

I answered with a nod noting the bread loaf heals, stale biscuits from meals earlier in the week, and even a clump of cornbread from the day we had eaten ham and beans.

She went on to explain to me that when she was growing up, before it was common place to buy bread in a store and most people couldn’t afford it anyway, bread in her home was made on Mondays. Bread for meals, sandwiches, or dipping in soup, all prepared in one day to last an entire week. Cornbread and biscuits filled in on days when sliced bread wasn’t required, and no one ever minded a fluffy pan of biscuits topped with country milk gravy.

So dressing was a Sunday staple not as a special occasion, but out of necessity and saving waste. It was about not throwing away money. Dressing was about making the most of every little crumb, and enjoying it.

So when I went into my kitchen today and seen the half a bag of left over hamburger buns, and knew they were going to go bad if I didn’t do something with them soon, dressing came to mind. I hate to waste anything, especially food, so I scrounged around the kitchen to see what I could come up with.I threw the buns in the over to toast.

Toasted Buns

Once out of the oven I crumbled up the buns and added onions, rosemary, sage, salt, pepper, and lavender. Yes I said lavender. It grows right along side the rest of my herbs and adds a wonderful kick to my recipes. The aromatics are to die for.

Seasoned breadcrumb

I needed some broth to mix up this dressing so I used the chicken breasts I had thawed in the fridge. I cut them up in chunks and browned them for flavor, seasoning lightly with salt and pepper. Once they were slightly browned I added about a cup of water to de-glaze all the goodies that were stuck to the pan. I let it simmer for about 15 minutes.

Cookin chicken

Then I removed all the chicken from the pan and used the “broth” from the chicken to mix up my dressing.

Broth

Along with the broth I poured over my seasoned bread crumbs I added 1 egg and about 1/2 cup of milk. I stirred the mixture lightly, just enough to coat all the crumbs. (Note, if you stir it too much, it will all turn into a big glob.)

Wet dressingIt’ll look like a big wet mess of goo until you bake it, but my mouth was watering at this point. The smell of the smashed herbs rising out of this mixture was delicious.

So now the chicken goes back into the original iron skillet I fried and de-glazed it in.

Chicken in a pan

And then I spread the dressing mixture over the top of the chicken. Yes, I said the dressing goes over the top.

Chicken and dressing

Then it all went into the oven on 375 degrees.

The next 35 minutes my house smelled like a spring herb garden with a hint of roasted freshness.

Then out of the oven to rest for a few minutes, it was actually a “pretty” dish that would have made any one of my chef friends proud.

I’m thinking you could probably divide this recipe up before baking, into individual size servings,  and cooked them in separate mounds in the pan. Might make serving a bit easier.

Chicken and dressing baked

From the side you can see the layer of dressing melted into the layer of chicken chunks.

LayersI wondered as I cut into it what this was going to look like plated up. And maybe I should have went with the individual serving size mounds, but much to my surprise I think it came out looking fairly sharp plated up.

Plated upAnd wow, it really did taste as good as it looked and smelled. It came out hearty, full of flavor from the fresh herbs, and was quite filling for a one course meal.

Chicken and stuffingI think the only thing it was missing, was some type of glaze or sauce over the top.

Like maybe a cranberry glaze made from boiling a bag of fresh cranberry’s to death  with a cup or so of white sugar, a cup of water, and some lemon zest. Maybe even add a splash of Tabasco or red pepper to the glaze to make a sweet and spicy addition to this dish.Garnish with s spring of fresh mint and wha-lah! a gourmet meal.

Just drizzle the glaze liberally over the top after plating.Hmmmm yes, that sounds about right. Too bad I didn’t have cranberries in the house.

Chicken and dressing 2Quite possibly another flavor that would go well with the herb blend in the dressing would be fresh orange juice. I’ll bet the added orange flavor and cranberry glaze would really make this dish pop.

At any rate my Nany would be proud. I used up that bread that would have went to waste and created a smart one pan meal for a few bucks.

*Note: All photos taken for this illustration were shot with my iPhone. (I love my iPhone:-)

Waste not want not….good advise, especially in the kitchen.

Fluffy Whole Wheat Biscuits

Found this recipe online. Tried and true, these biscuits are the bomb!Ingredients:
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
4 teaspoons baking powder
1 tablespoon sugar
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup butter or margarine
1 cup milk

Directions:
In a medium bowl, combine flours, baking powder, sugar, and salt; mix well. Cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Stir in milk just until moistened. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface; knead gently 8 to 10 times. Roll to 3/4-in. thickness; cut with a 2-1/2-in. biscuit cutter and place on an ungreased baking sheet. Bake at 450 degrees F for 10 to 12 minutes or until lightly browned. Serve warm.

Devils Food Cookies From a Boxed Cake Mix

1 box Devil’s Food cake mix
2 eggs
1/2 c. vegetable oil
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Mix all ingredients together, roll into walnut-sized balls and place 2 inches apart on ungreased cookie sheet. Bake 8-10 minutes.

Remove from oven and let cool 2 minutes on cookie sheet, then move to wire rack. Makes 2-3 dozen cookies.

Hydrating Solution

This is a simple recipe for hydrating fluid in case of dehydration. It works well with people as well as pets and was recommended to me by a physician when my youngest son was an infant. I have used it many times over the years to help prevent dehydration due to the stomach flu.

Mix well:

  • 4-5 cups of tap water
  • 6 teaspoons sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt

As an adult I drink this chilled.

This is by no means a medical solution for hydration but will help during a case of the flu. It works similar to Pediolite.

Always consult a physician in cases of dehydration.

Here’s the link to other solutions for re-hydration.http://rehydrate.org/solutions/homemade.htm#recipes

Chart for hydrating solution mixture.

Pet Odor Remover

Mix equal parts of white vinegar and water.

Apply enough of the mixture to saturate the area affected, and allow to almost dry. (On carpet, blot with a paper towel or absorbent rag to speed the drying process.

Next, apply a liberal amount of baking soda over the area and then drizzle hydrogen peroxide (about 1/4 cup) mixed with 1 tablespoon dish soap or laundry detergent.

Work mixture into area and allow to dry.

Remove with vacuum or clean cloth.

22 Uses for Bounce dryer sheets. It’s not just for the dryer anymore.

All this time you’ve just been putting Bounce in the dryer!

1. It will chase ants away when you lay a sheet near them. It also repels mice.

2. Spread sheets around foundation areas, or in trailers, or cars that are sitting and it keeps mice from entering your vehicle.

3. It takes the odor out of books and photo albums that don’t get opened too often.

4. It repels mosquitoes. Tie a sheet of Bounce through a belt loop when outdoors during mosquito season.

5. Eliminate static electricity from your television (or computer) screen.

6. Since Bounce is designed to help eliminate static cling, wipe your television screen with a used sheet of Bounce to keep dust from resettling.

7. Dissolve soap scum from shower doors. Clean with a sheet of Bounce.

8. To freshen the air in your home – Place an individual sheet of Bounce in a drawer or hang in the closet.

9. Put Bounce sheet in vacuum cleaner.

10. Prevent thread from tangling. Run a threaded needle through a sheet of Bounce before beginning to sew.

11 Prevent musty suitcases. Place an individual sheet of Bounce inside empty luggage before storing.

12. To freshen the air in your car – Place a sheet of Bounce under the front seat.

13. Clean baked-on foods from a cooking pan. Put a sheet in a pan, fill with water, let sit overnight, and sponge clean… The anti-static agent apparently weakens the bond between the food and the pan.

14. Eliminate odors in wastebaskets . Place a sheet of Bounce at the bottom of the wastebasket.

15. Collect cat hair. Rubbing the area with a sheet of Bounce will magnetically attract all the loose hairs.

16. Eliminate static electricity from Venetian blinds. Wipe the blinds with a sheet of Bounce to prevent dust from resettling.

17. Wipe up sawdust from drilling or sand papering. A used sheet of Bounce will collect sawdust like a tack cloth.

18. Eliminate odors in dirty laundry… Place an individual sheet of Bounce at the bottom of a laundry bag or hamper.

19. Deodorized shoes or sneakers. Place a sheet of Bounce in your shoes or sneakers overnight.

20. Golfers put a Bounce sheet in their back pocket to keep the bees away.

21. Put a Bounce sheet in your sleeping bag and tent before folding and storing them. It will keep them smelling fresh…

22. Wet a Bounce sheet, hose down your car, and wipe lovebugs off easily with the wet Bounce.

14 uses for coffee filters besides the obvious. Who knew?

Coffee Filters! Who knew? And you can buy 1,000 at the Dollar Tree for almost
nothing.
1. Cover bowls or dishes when cooking in the microwave. Coffee filters make excellent covers.
2. Clean windows and mirrors. Coffee filters are lint-free so they’ll leave windows
sparkling.
3. Protect China. Separate your good dishes by putting a coffee filter between each dish.
4. Filter broken cork from wine. If you break the cork when opening a wine bottle, filter the wine through a coffee filter.
5. Protect a cast-iron skillet. Place a coffee filter in the skillet to absorb moisture and prevent rust.
6. Apply shoe polish. Ball up a lint-free coffee filter.
7. Recycle frying oil. After frying, strain oil through a sieve lined with a coffee
filter.
8. Weigh chopped foods. Place chopped ingredients in a coffee filter on a kitchen
scale.
9. Hold tacos. Coffee filters make convenient wrappers for messy
foods.
10. Stop the soil from leaking out of a plant pot. Line a plant pot with a coffee filter to
prevent the soil from going through the drainage holes.
11. Prevent a Popsicle from dripping. Poke one or two holes as needed in a coffee
filter.
12. Do you think we used expensive strips to wax eyebrows? Use strips of coffee
filters.
13. Put a few in a plate and put your fried bacon, French fries, chicken fingers, etc. on them. Soaks out all the grease.
14. Keep in the bathroom. They make great “razor nick fixers.”

Helpful tips for your car, Ice proof your windows. Prevent car doors from freezing shut and more.

Keep your headlights clear with car wax! Just wipe ordinary car wax on your headlights. It contains special water repellents that will prevent that messy mixture from accumulating on your lights – lasts 6 weeks.

Squeak-proof your wipers with rubbing alcohol! Wipe the wipers with a cloth saturated with rubbing alcohol or ammonia. This one trick can make badly streaking & squeaking wipers change to near perfect silence & clarity.

Ice-proof your windows with vinegar! Frost on it’s way? Just fill a spray bottle with three parts vinegar to one part water & spritz it on all your windows at night. In the morning, they’ll be clear of icy mess. Vinegar contains acetic acid, which raises the melting point of water—preventing water from freezing!

Prevent car doors from freezing shut with cooking spray! Spritz cooking oil on the rubber seals around car doors & rub it in with a paper towel. The cooking spray prevents water from melting into the rubber.

Fog-proof your windshield with shaving cream! Spray some shaving cream on the inside of your windshield & wipe if off with paper towels. Shaving cream has many of the same ingredients found in commercial defoggers.

De-ice your lock in seconds with hand sanitizer! Just put some hand sanitizer gel on the key & the lock & the problems solved!