Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Two Ingredient DIY Laundry Detergent

I attended a cloth diapering class at my birthing center recently and they provided me with this recipe. Thanks to The Rebecca Foundation! They are a great local organization that helps low income families with cloth diapers as well as educating the community about using cloth. But that's another post! I have been using this on my regular laundry to test it out and I have been thrilled with the results. I used a free and clear brand before with lackluster results. My laundry has been AMAZINGLY clean. My towels have been SO fluffy. It makes sense because the purpose of not using regular laundry detergent on cloth diapers is to prevent oil buildup that will eventually affect the absorbency, as well as make the diapers stink.

I won't claim to be an expert and I know there is controversy surrounding various ingredients of DIY detergents. But I know this works well with my washer on my laundry and it's the simplest I've seen so far.  It may be worth noting that my water is not very hard. These recipes have a reputation for not working great with hard water.

Without further delay though, here is the recipe:

I feel kind of strange calling this a "recipe". It only has two ingredients. Here is what you need:

  • 1 bar Fels-Naptha or Ivory soap. I used Ivory. At Kroger it was around $1.80 for a three pack here in Tennessee. (sixty cents a pop!)
  • 2 cups baking soda (they were very clear NOT washing soda) One 16oz (1lb) box of baking soda is two cups. A box should run you less than a dollar.
  • You will also need a jar or something to keep your detergent in. It should be air tight. This one is, it's just prettier without the seal and clips.
  • A cheese grater is also needed. I don't see any reason why you shouldn't use the one you cook with. It's just soap, and the ivory rinses easily off of mine.
  • Something to mix it with, you could always use your hand. I used the scoop I use for the detergent.

Step one: Grate the soap. I used one of the finer grits on my grater and it works great. Here is what it looks like grated.

Step two: Add the box of baking soda

Stir it up! Here is what the final product should look like:

Use 1/2 a teaspoon for small loads. I have a heavy duty giant washer (I use a whole mounded teaspoon if it's full. Which is usually.) On the recipe The Rebecca Foundation gave me it says this does 250 small loads (1/2 tsp). Which means 125 large loads for about $1.60. If you do about two large loads a day, this should last you two months. That's a years worth of laundry for less than $10! A sixty load package costs more than that with some brands. And in my opinion they do not clean nearly as well. I have been using this for about a month now and have hardly made a dent in my first batch. I am very happy about my new detergent!

Thanks for stopping by! Let me know if you have tried this and if it worked for you. A piece of advice my cloth diaper instructor gave me is to try adding water softener before giving up on this recipe if it is not working. You should be able to call your energy company and ask if you have hard water.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

5 Ways to Make Yourself Miserable While Pregnant


  1. Don’t take your prenatal vitamin. Not only are your prenatals essential for your baby’s development, but missing out on your vitamins can make you extra tired, which is often a problem anyway in the third trimester when iron deficiency anemia is a more common problem.  Iron deficiency has also been linked to restless leg syndrome which can start a vicious cycle of disturbing your sleep. I learned this the hard way. Talk to your doctor or midwife if you are having problems with your current prenatal vitamins.  I’m really bad at remembering to take mine, but I notice a difference when I do. I am planning on trying the gummy kind soon. I love gummy vitamins.
  2. Don’t rest enough. If you are tired your body is trying to tell you something. Even a short nap during the day can be essential for some women. Don’t let anyone make you feel guilty for needing a break. Fatigue is extremely common during the first and third trimester. I have started getting tired again lately. I feel like I could nap all day then sleep all night. I feel like my nesting instinct is the only reason I wake up. I remember feeling like I woke up from fog at the end of my first trimester. Sleep while you can, especially if this is your first baby. It won’t be so peaceful next time!
  3. Don’t exercise. Exercise during pregnancy can be a great energy booster. Not to mention my midwife is constantly reminding me that if I don’t stay in shape my labor will be harder.  I’m not the best at this honestly. I had some complications at the beginning of my pregnancy that made it difficult to keep up my active schedule, but I do try to move some every day. Even if it's just a vigorous house cleaning. I try to stretch a lot at a minimum. I make a resolution to start hiking again on a weekly basis.
  4. Skip meals. Skipping meals make your blood sugar drop which can lead to a drop in energy. If I don’t eat I also end up being extremely nauseous, even in my 3rd trimester. I also tend to bite my husbands head off when I am hungry. He learned very quickly that I needed food if I started to get testy. Eating well also help you maintain energy levels and support baby's growth.
  5. Don’t drink enough fluids. Not staying hydrated while pregnant can not only make you feel like crap but is extremely dangerous .  It can be hard to remember to be consistently consuming fluids, but if you don’t you can have a wide variety of outcomes, including premature labor. If you are thirsty you are probably already mildly dehydrated. Right now I am addicted to sparkling waters. I started drinking them in an attempt to quit drinking my beloved sodas. They aren't for everyone though. Some people seem to think they are nasty. I think they are yummy. I’m mostly into sodas for the carbonation though, not the sugar so it depends on what you like. I personally like the fruity La Crouix flavors.

There are plenty more things you can do to make yourself feel pretty miserable while you are pregnant, but I think these are the most common.  I've also been guilty of all of them at some point or another. What bad habit did you stumble into that you didn't realize would have such an affect on you?