Sunday, August 12, 2012

Going green and getting clean!

Why, no, I did NOT fall off the face of the earth.

Life has been quite crazy lately, and my Cistern replied, "Never," when asked when she was going to post again, so there's that.

It is nice to have a paycheck, but this work thing isn't all it's cracked up to be. I love my staff. I love being around patients. However, the day to day administrivia is a bit overwhelming. I am working hard, doing what I can do to make the lives of the patients and the people who are taking care of them as good as I possibly can.

However, you don't want my reasons for being gone, you want me to say something! (At least I hope you do.)

I have been trying more and more to be kind to the environment. The old Reduce, Reuse, Recycle and the like. I have been interested in the "greener" products that are available, but the price is often much higher to the good old stuff with the chemicals of names unpronounceable.

My cousin Caitlin and her boyfriend Mike are living in a cabin in the middle of nowhere. The link is to her blog that describes how they are living. I have no intention of going to that extreme, but it got me thinking.

A few months ago, I made a batch of homemade laundry detergent. I have cobbled together a recipe from several different sites. I have done easily 100+ loads of laundry with this concoction--and never once missed the store brands. It costs approximately 3 cents per load compared to more than 30 cents a load for the average large-sized container of the popular brands.

Homemade Laundry Detergent

Start with a 5 gallon bucket (available at the hardware store)

1 bar of soap, shaved into small pieces or grated
1/2 cup washing soda--it is available near the laundry detergents at Publix, but you may have to look a bit for it
1 cup borax--also in the laundry aisle, usually easier to find than the washing powder.
essential oils (optional)--be sure to use body friendly oils; the ones for aromatherapy may not be good for your skin

1. Heat 4 cups of water to just shy of boiling.

2. Add the grated soap. Stir until it is melted. Fels Naptha is very popular and might be best if you have tough stains. I live alone, do not hike or garden, do not do anything that results in grass stains, etc. I use unscented glycerine soap. I am thinking of trying a Dr. Bronner's soap in my next batch.

3. Move the soapy solution to your bucket. Add 3 gallons of hot water.

4. Mix in 1 cup of washing soda.

5. Mix in 1/2 cup borax.

6. Add several drops of the essential oil of your choice. (optional)

7. Add 3 gallons of hot water.

8. Stir periodically as the mixture cools. Let cool overnight. You will end up with a gelatinous gooey stuff. Use 1 cup per load of laundry.

I found this wonderful picture to help remember the ratios of cups to pints to quarts to gallons at Maybe I won't have to look it up every single time I make it any more.

Fabric Softener

Mix together in a squirt bottle:
2 cups white vinegar
3 teaspoons essential oil

~Some people add a small amount before the rinse cycle of the washing machine.
~Others have rags or washcloths they use only as "dryer sheets." They spray 10-15 spritzes onto said cloths and toss them in.
~My choice is to spritz directly onto the wet clothes. Very few loads don't have at least one pair of socks, one t-shirt, or old pajamas that wouldn't be worse for wear if there were some lingering effect from the spray. (Several loads in, I can't tell which items I have sprayed.)

I have also started using baking soda and vinegar instead of shampoo and conditioner, I have made homemade cleaners for the bathroom and the kitchen. I have made air freshener out of vodka and essential oil. I am thrilled to be able to choose my own scents. I am the queen diva fan of citrus, and it has been harder and harder to find lately.

Next on my list to try are the following: bath bombs, body scrubs, face masks, bath salts (not the kind on the news) and lip balms.

Have you found any great ideas or recipes for things like this? Any interest in trying these, or am I just a hippy freak?


  1. You're no more a hippie freak than I am. Seriously? I love to make stuff to give as gifts. I have not yet done bath bombs, but I have done the bath salts (not much different). The key is to use *less* essential oil than you think you need. I used too much and it was overwhelming. Quick fix though - add more epsom salts to the batch (a bag or two) and a few drops of food coloring to half the batch and the peppermint twist bath salts were much appreciated by all! I'm a sucker for lemon verbena, and I wonder if you could take epsom salts, add some of the leaves (assuming one had a lemon verbena plant), and let it "steep" with the salts (much like the bottles of vinegars you see with stuff in them) until you use it.

  2. I like doing this kind of thing myself too. I recently came across HildaBlue, she's got lots of recipes.
    I'm not keen on baking soda for shampoo, but diluted ACV is my conditioner of choice.

  3. I will try this at home. May I know the sources of your borax?

  4. I buy the borax at the grocery store in the laundry aisle. Good luck!