Monday, July 13, 2009

They Grow Up So Fast

Elanor has recently started texting me (from her mother's phone) while I'm at work. This morning I got this one from her:

"Dad this is ella what shall i eat love ella"

I told her to eat eggs. And I love that she said "shall." Then, this afternoon, she sent me this:

"Dad this is ella i love you"

Which made me feel pretty good.

For some reason, writing this post made me think of this, which has nothing to do with anything:

Thursday, July 09, 2009

DIY Laundry Detergent, Pt. 2

After a few preliminary test loads (some of the kids' clothes, Jack's sheets and blankets, some kitchen towels), it was time to put my homemade laundry detergent to the real test: a load of Jack's cloth diapers. It wasn't the most heinous load of diapers I've ever washed, but any load of cloth diapers is worse than pretty much anything else we wash.

I'm happy to report that it worked as well as the All that we used to use, and it may even have worked better. It certainly smells better - I was a little worried the sandalwood soap would give the finished product too strong a fragrance, but it didn't. There's a pleasant but not too strong sandalwood smell when the clothes come out of the dryer, but it doesn't last.

The finished product, at least this time around, was pretty close in consistency to normal laundry detergent - slightly slimier, with a viscosity similar little-kid snot or pudding with too much milk in it.

I'm definitely going to be doing this again, and for the foreseeable future. It works as well as commercial detergent, it costs a hell of a lot less, and it allows me to feel superior to other people (but only as long as I don't think about the Amish or the Minimites, because then I feel like a failure).

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

DIY Laundry Detergent, Pt. 1

A few months ago, I started making dishwasher detergent at home. It's really simple: equal parts washing soda and borax powder, well mixed, with a few drops of essential oil for aesthetic value (we use lavender, mostly because we already had it). It works pretty well - maybe not as well as the Method tabs we were using, but it's a hell of a lot cheaper.

Emboldened by this modest success, I decided to try making my own laundry detergent. The recipe I found is pretty basic: a cup of washing soda, a half cup of borax powder, a bar of soap, and 13 quarts (3.25 gallons) of water. It's cheap, too - it works out to roughly 3¢ a load. Three cents!

I was going to splurge on a bar of Dr. Bronner's soap, but I found a bar of Bee & Flower sandalwood soap on sale for 79¢, so I went with that - in the future, though, I may use some liquid Dr. Bronner's soap, which we buy by the gallon, since I now have an idea how much soap to use.

Basically, you bring a quart of water to a boil or near-boil, mix in the grated soap, stir it until it's a uniformly soapy mixture, and then dump it into three gallons of hot water, which you should have in a five-gallon bucket. I used room-temperature water, and I don't think it made a difference.

After mixing the soapy water into the other water, you add a cup of washing soda, stir for a bit, add a half cup of borax powder (if you feel like it), stir some more, and that's it. It has to "cellar" overnight, preferably with a lid on the bucket, and then it's ready to use.

I just finished making it (took twenty minutes, tops - less time than it's taken to write this post), so I have no idea what the finished product will look like, or how it will work - but I'm going to put it to the test tomorrow, and use it to wash a load of Jack's diapers. If it can get them clean, it can get anything clean.