I think one of the biggest challenges for me at holiday time is figuring out what to give family members. As many of you have mentioned in past comments, other people may not always appreciate handmade items as much as we love and pride in creating them. I switched to making all of the gifts I give out to family members over the past couple of years, and this year I tried to think very hard about what to easily, quickly, and inexpensively create, with my kids, to give out at Christmas that others would truely appreciate and have a need for.
And, by golly, I think I figured out the perfect thing! After all everyone uses laundry detergent, and what’s better than washing your clothes with laundry detergent made just for you with love and gentle caring. Nada!
So we set to it. First, I stumbled across THIS recipe for powdered laundry detergent over at planet green. However, after a little perusing, I noticed Amanda’s recipe HERE which includes baking soda in the recipe for an extra cleaning booster and deodorizing effect. Baking Soda is great for so many things! And these teeny curly strands of soap were completely irresistible to squeeze and play with during the creating process. The kids voted for peppermint soap, so that our detergent can be candy cane scented… appropriate I do think, for the holidays and all.
I noticed in Amanda’s comments a little side note about the smaller the grating of the soap, the better it would work in cold water. We wash all of our wash in cold, to avoid heating our water with our oil burner, so this point stuck out to me. We grated on the second smallest grater side and then we put batches of it into our food processor as Heather suggested in her recent post about making laundry soap. I figured you can’t really get it grated any smaller than blending it all up, so thanks Heather for that helpful tid bit. After running it all through the food processor, we put it in a large pot and stirred it all together to incorporate the powders and scooped it into mason jars. We always begin to have a surplus of these jars lying around after the pickles, pickled beets, applesauce, etc have begun to get consumed at this point in the season. Having all of these on hand makes it a very convenient and inexpensive gift container.
Powdered Laundry Detergent
2 (5oz.) bars grated castile soap
2 cups borax
2 cups baking soda
2 cups washing soda
I am happy to say that we have tried the laundry soap out and I doubt we will regularly ever be buying laundry detergent again! Our wash turned out so clean and fluffy and light feeling. Really amazing, actually! Something even Seventh Generation can’t do for our grimey dirty wash. Although, the facts on their products always put things in perspective for me so I will quote the back of their powdered laundry soap box:
“If every household in the US replaced just one box of 48oz. petroleum based powder laundry detergent with our [Seventh Generation] vegetable based product, we could save 96,000 barrels of oil, enough to heat and cool 5,500 US homes for a year.”
So I will start by providing my family and friends with some good stuff that they hopefully will love and I will save some oil in the process too!