One day my husband and I were discussing how many people lose their lives to cancer these days. We then got to talking about processed food and all the additives in products we use every day. While I'm not a doctor and unsure of a direct correlation between chemicals in our products/food and cancer, this discussion led me to do lots of researching. Now, there is SO MUCH controversy over what is harmful and what isn't, so I'm not going to preach about that. I think it's up to each person to do their own research and decide what they think is safe for their family. One thing I did keep finding over and over was how much better people felt (and looked!) after switching to all-natural and/or homemade products, food, etc... Since I am only working part-time, I decided to start down this path during my free time. Because it does take time. However, it can be, and is, done by full-time working moms. I've read several of their blogs. It's all about what's important to you and how you balance your time.
I began by researching websites and using Pinterest to collect my findings. You can follow my Pinterest boards here for more homemade ideas. I also purchased and read a few different books (more about those later). It was overwhelming to say the least. Rather than give up, I decided to switch things out one product at a time. Baby steps. One of my first adventures was making homemade laundry soap. I viewed several recipes and sort of combined a few to come up with one that I liked. Here's what I did:
I started with 1 box of baking soda, 1 box of washing soda, 1 box of Borax (all 4 lb boxes), and 3 bars of Fels-Naptha soap. I found all these ingredients in the laundry section at Wal-Mart. The Fels-Naptha soap is not all-natural. However, I did check each ingredient on my favorite website, EWG's Skin Deep Cosmetics Database (which lists ingredients in most products and tells you what concerns have been found with each. You can also check individual ingredients). The only ingredient that concerned me personally was fragrance, which is a hard one to stay away from. Mark and I have never had problems with fragrance, so I used it, but if it concerns you some alternatives are Castile Soap (all natural coconut oil soap found in the beauty section at Wal-Mart) or Dr. Bronner's all natural soaps. I have heard these are more oily and have stained clothes, so do your research first! I might try a different one next time and see how it works!
First I poured all 3 boxes into my container. I used my hands to mix all the ingredients together. I know it's hard to tell when they're mixed because all are white powders, but this problem will be solved later, I promise. Then I used my grater to grate the 3 bars of soap:
Next, I used a big spoon to transfer the soap flakes to my blender. I tried my food processor first, but I still haven't gotten the hang of it yet and I haven't met anything my Oster blender can't handle. I blended the first bar for too long and it got clumpy, so with the next 2 I only ran the blender for about 15 sec. Make sure you shut the blender off real quick to let the flakes settle after about 7 sec, then run again for another 7 sec and you should be good to go. The flakes should now be powdery.
I added the soap to the top and began folding all the ingredients into each other with my hands. It was now easy to tell when they were mixed because I had to make sure the yellow soap flakes reached all the way to the bottom.
I purchased this container at Wal-Mart for about $10, and the scoop is from an old jar of protein powder. The lid rattled on the jar, which I didn't like, so Mark added a bead of window sealer around the edge of the lid. Now it seals perfectly!
I'm not going to sugar-coat any post on here. This took me an hour to make, I cut 2 fingers (thank-you grater and food processor), and my kitchen was a MESS when I was done. But I guarantee that won't be the case next time. Yes, next time. I will make laundry soap again. It made a huge batch for much cheaper than the store-bought stuff. My kitchen smelled amazing afterwords, so clean. I only use about 2-3 tbsp. per load, depending on how dirty the clothes are, so this will last a really long time. I used the soap on my dog's muddy towels and they came out clean! My laundry smells fresh, clean, and pure with this soap. Honestly, I don't want my clothes smelling like Hawaii or a waterfall anyway. That's what perfume is for. Too many scents give me (and everyone else!) a headache. I have an HE washer, and this soap is great for those because it generates less suds, which is what the HE soaps (supposedly) do since the washers use less water. And next time, I know the process won't take so long, and I'll spare myself cuts in the future. Practice makes perfect!
If you don't have time or patience for this:
When we moved in, I knew I didn't have time to make homemade soap yet. I purchased this soap from Target in October and it just ran out now in May (I average 3-5 loads of laundry a week). It's reasonably priced and way cleaner than lots of other brands.
Now, I'm off to do more laundry!