Laundry Soap

April from Red Dirt Mama is one of my closest friends. A few months ago, one of her blogfriends made laundry soap, and she decided to follow suit. Her post about it is here. When she made it and raved about it, I decided to take a spin of the wheel.

This “recipe” is really easy. Actually, it’s pretty much idiot-proof. It’s also a million times cheaper than store-bought, pre-made laundry detergent. It has a lovely “clean” scent, not an nauseating fake floral or fruit scent. It also seems to be non-irritating. My daughter and my husband are both sensitive to certain kinds of laundry soap, and both of them are doing just fine.

One of my fears about making it was that it wouldn’t be worth the effort – that I’d have to make it every week (or make a ton of it at one time), or that it wouldn’t smell good, or wouldn’t work as well, or something. Let me tell you – it’s definitely worth it. I put in about 20 minutes of work, and got a good supply of it. I made it almost a month ago, and I’ve barely made a dent in it.
This is suitable for HE and standard washers. Anecdotally, my washer smells better too – it doesn’t have that gunky smell that front-loaders are notorious for getting.

Here’s what you’ll need:
Super Washing Soda – 1 cup
Borax – 1 cup
1 laundry bar soap (Fels-Naptha is common)
Baking Soda – 1/4 cup

I also added a cup of Oxy-Clean to the mix, but it’s not necessary, and not pictured.
I also should mention that I still have a TON of the baking soda, Borax, and washing soda left. Next time I make this, I’ll only need to buy the bar of laundry soap. All these items (except the baking soda) are found on the laundry aisle of your store.

You’ll also need a container. I buy those dishwasher “pod” things, and I had an empty tub from those that works just fine (yes I am one of those crazypeople who saves every container, but I really do use them), but you can use whatever. An empty peanut butter jar, whatever.

Here’s the hardest part – you have to grate the bar of soap. Just sit on the couch with your favorite show and get at it.

Watch your fingers when you get it down to a little nugget.

This is what it looks like when it’s done. Reach in there and crumble it up a bit.

Get out your measuring cups and dump in the other ingredients, and stir it up with your hands. (If you shake it, all the soap will work its way to the top – just stir.)
I always add a bit of Oxy-clean to our laundry, so I made my life a bit easier and added the Oxy-clean to the soap mix.

This is what it looks like. I put 1/8 cup (that’s 2 tbsp) in the soap compartment of my washer (I have a front loading HE washer, by the way). Our clothes are clean and smell great, and none of us have itchy skin! Not to mention how nice it is to not have to buy it so often.

Do you make any of your own cleaners? Why, or why not?

Lady Macguyver – Craft Storage Edition

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about finding ways to use things I already have to decorate my home. I have a whole bunch of art supplies in one of my hall closets, but it all just sits behind the closet door and doesn’t do anything. With that thought, I resolved to get some of my pretty things OUT of the closet and into the house. So I bring you TWO quick and easy projects!

First, behold the lovely Fabric Ladder! Want to know what I made it from?

The rail from my daughter’s old crib!
I’m definitely not the first to think of this – I am positive I’ve seen this idea around the wubs. I think it makes a great addition to my hallway – it’s rather narrow and bare, and this ladder adds a big punch of fun and color.
If you don’t have an old crib in your garage, I bet you can find one like this for free on Craigslist! Drop-side cribs were recently outlawed for sale in the US (I think that was dumb, but that’s not important.), so there’s bound to be lots of people near you with one that they can’t sell and are encouraged to not use. Place a quick want ad on Craigslist for a drop-side crib, and mention that you’re not going to use it for a baby. I’d be willing to bet that someone gets in touch with you and you should be able to pick it up for free. Each crib should give you two long rails like this to hang with fabric (for those of you with tons and tons of fabrics).
(I’ve got an idea up my sleeve for the springy mattress support piece, as well, by the way.)

I wanted to actually hang the “ladder” on the wall, but it ended up being far too heavy, so I just arranged my fabric and leaned it against the wall. I suppose with proper support (screws into studs, for starters), you still could hang it if you wanted. I suspect this idea would also be great for displaying things like quilts and other pretty fabric things, as well.

Secondly, behold the amazing Ribbon Rail! It’s fitted into a narrow strip of wall between my two hall closets, and it really livens up the joint.

You’re never going to guess the materials on this one. The rail is a simple metal dowel that I got at Home Depot months ago. I used it to wrap wire to make jump rings (but now I have a real mandrel so I don’t need it for that). It was cheap.
The rail is supported by… you know those little things you get to screw onto cabinet doors so that kids can’t get into the cleaning supplies? Those.

I had these laying around and they just happened to be the perfect size. I haven’t been able to look, but I bet you can find a proper L-bracket at a hardware store. The child-lock-thing was great because it has a small dent close to the end, which holds the metal dowel nicely. They are designed to bend a little, so if I want to take a spool of ribbon off, I can simply lift the top bracket and pull out the entire dowel. You can’t see it in either of these pictures, but the setup with the lock-thingie is the same at the top, just upside down.
Take care to test the weight of your Ribbon Rail, making sure that your L-bracket will support it. The things I used have no problem with the weight of my ribbons.

I am so happy with how these turned out. My hallway is now brighter with color, and I can change them on a whim!
Do you ever wish you could make some use of all your extra craft supplies instead of leaving them in the closet? Share your ideas in the comments, or better yet – go make it and share it!