Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Homemade Suds and My Grandma

I'm not kidding when I say I can no longer catch a whiff of strong cologne (except my Dad's :) ), air freshener, or any other potent fragrance and not feel a headache coming on.  Wow, speaking of which, this reminds me of a teacher I had in the 8th grade who would go ballistic if she saw us chewing gum, or had on too much perfume.  I didn't care for her too much.

Have I really turned into a perfume hating old lady?!  Hmmm, I don't think it's that dramatic, but I have been shying away from heavily scented products and turning to natural, earthy ones; especially with my laundry.  I stopped using dryer sheets quite a while ago, and I've just recently transitioned away from laundry detergent and have started to make my own.

Making your own detergent is seriously the easiest thing ever, and I have no idea why it took me this long to get on with it.  I love the stuff I've been making; not only is it artificial fragrance-free, but it's also super mild and great for those who may have skin allergies, like my husband. 

Before I move on to the detergent, I want to say one more thing.  I LOVE finding ways to make things that are both more organic and more economic.  When I do make something that I would have otherwise bought, I get wound up with excitement.  It's the best feeling when I use something (as simple and random as laundry detergent), knowing I made it (with as pure ingredients as possible) opposed to purchasing the chemical and fragrance laden nonsense.  And the added bonus?  No headache!

I began by finding a "recipe" online, one that kind of spoke to me and I knew I would like:

I also want to mention that I know Arm & Hammer (although unsure about Borax) is most likely tested on animals.  While I do eat vegan, I have not yet done away with all the products in my home that are not considered "cruelty free".  In due time these things will be phased out, but at this point I'd say I'm about 80% of the way there in terms of the non-food products I buy and use. 

After grating the soap I added it to hot water and allowed it to dissolve.  Then, added the Borax and washing soda.

Next, I poured it into a large bucket along with lots of additional water and mixed to combine.

The last step is to let the mixture sit for at least 24 hours in order for it to become a gel-like substance.  My concoction took more like 48 hours to look like this:

Which is actually a thick, jelly detergent that looks very strange.  I'm happy with the way it turned out, and has been cleaning our clothes.  In combination with our dryer balls and vinegar in the rinse cycle, our clothes come out smelling very, very clean instead of seeming like they've been masked with perfume.  There's a fresh, clean scent opposed to a synthetic chemical fragrance.

Although, I did opt to add some essential oil during the laundry's first cycle.  I like how tea tree oil smells, but when the time comes to buy more, I think I may try lavender or citrus. 

I'm super stoked on using this detergent; it's fun and easy to make and the satisfaction in doing so is unparalleled to any store bought soap used in the past.  Nothing can quite compare to making it yourself.  :)

I hope everyone had a wonderful Memorial Day weekend!  We spent ours visiting my maternal Grandma in Arizona.  Here's a picture of the two of us (enjoying every moment we had to spend)...

I love her dearly.  She's the same Gram I recently wrote about who used to watch us every other Saturday evening while my parents were out bowling, and would make us popcorn to munch on while we watched the Muppets.  :)

She didn't seem to mind when I took her recipe box home.  Not exactly for her recipes, but for nostalgia rather.  I think I'm going to find a way to veganize some of her classics; mandel bread, kugel, and a few others.  After all, while I can live without lots of food from my past, there are certain things that I grew up with that I will always want to enjoy (in order to remember and take pleasure in the past more so than the taste).  Food that reminds me of my Grandma is very important - I'm sure I'll figure out a way to recreate these recipes but still keep to their authentic nature as much as possible.

My Grandma Jean has always been such a huge presence in my life, and as you might have guessed, even her food brings back many lovely memories.  She used to wait for me and my sisters after school with a table full of snacks to tide us over until dinner.  Dinner usually consisted of some sort of roast or glazed chicken - which makes me think about how much I've evolved (away) from that dinner table.  Comfort food has definitely taken a turn for me, but still finding much comfort in my Grandma has not. :)  She's an amazing woman who just upon laying eyes on, brings me back to the days where nothing else mattered while being with her.  Although, she's not still trying to feed me, like all Jewish grandmothers do, she's still here to love me, and for that, my family and I are so very fortunate.  :)

I love you Gram. 


  1. Awe... that was beautiful Ginny:) And the laundry detergent has got me inspired to make my own. I also learned something new - that arm & hammer tests on animals... never was aware of this :(


  2. Your Gram is adorable, Ginny! And, I love your ingenuity in making your own laundry detergent. So cool!