Mt. Washmore & Homemade Laundry Soap

Friday, October 1, 2010

Laundry (yes, at my house it is called Mt. Washmore)! NOT my favorite chore. It has gotten easier over the years. No more cloth diapering, 2 kids on their own, teens who help with their own laundry. Still, I don't enjoy it. I do enjoy hanging out a wash, listening to the hens scratch and feeling a nice warm breeze thru the clean laundry BUT that is rarely my experience these days. I must confess I always feel a tad guilty complaining about laundry. Afterall, my own mother used a wringer style washing machine (no automatic dryer) until I was in Jr. High School and forget about what my foremothers did before her. No right to complain....but alas, I do! Give me a toilet (or a hundred) to scrub any day before the laundry.

I've tried many *systems* over the years to make the chore, well, less of a chore. I was thrilled when I saw that the author of my favorite homekeeping book (Cheryl Mendelson, Home Comforts) had written a book targeting this most dreaded of household tasks. I was eager to give it a look over. I knew I was in trouble when I read, "For Cheryl Mendelson laundering is the best part of housekeeping". Not my take on things and truthfully as much as I love Home Comforts, I found this newer book to be just redundant information already contained in the first book. If your library catalogs this book, please check it out and decide for yourself if you need to add it to your personal library. For me, the first book was all I needed to own.

All that out of the way, one thing that is a favorite when it comes to laundry is my homemade Laundry Soap. Years ago, I used the liquid (gel) version but switched to the dry version to make it more time efficient for me. My orginial reasons for using a homemade version were purely thrify ones. Now I realize, I am a better steward when I use this. Less money, less packaging and really a better product in my opinion. This recipe calls for Fels Naptha laundry soap. To me it is the key to this being a superior product. I use a bar of Fels Naptha as a stain remover (just moisten the bar and rub into the stain and wash as normal). It really is great stuff. Please do not substitute Ivory, Castile, Zote or even homemade soap. Your results will not be the same. When I have a load of especially soiled laundry, I fill the tub with water and allow the laundry to soak overnight.

Homemade Laundry Detergent Recipe
(Printable Version)

2 bars Fels-Naptha laundry soap
4 cups Arm and Hammer washing soda
4 cups Borax
2 cups Oxyclean

In a large bowl mix together the washing soda, Borax, and the Oxyclean. Grate the Fels-Naptha (a food processor makes this part much easier). Combine the grated soap into the dry mixture and combine thoroughly. Place in container with a lid for storage.

You can add between 5 to 10 drops of essential oil to your homemade laundry detergent if you prefer your laundry soap scented (essential oil ideas: lavender, rosemary, tea tree oil). I really enjoy the clean smell of the fels naptha.

To use:

Use 1 heaping 2-Tbsp scoop (a 2 Tbsp coffee scoop is perfect for this) per laundry load. Place in washer as water is filling and then add dirty laundry.

Skip commercial fabric softeners and use 1/2-1 cup distilled white vinegar in the rinse cycle.

Sharing at Laurie's ~ A Few of My Favorite Things