February 2, 2009

You're making WHAT?

So last night, as my children were upstairs doing their best NOT to go to sleep and my husband was puttering around on his computer I decided to make laundry detergent. Right, see, I knew you would say that. Will had the same reaction. But what can I say, other than a E! True Hollywood Story that I'd already seen and hadn't liked the first time and Cambell Brown ( who I am beginning to believe is really a Republican) there wasn't much on TV and I wasn't ready to sit down and read. Plus we were almost out of flour* so I couldn't bake, and tomorrow was laundry day, so really, it was a logical thing to do.

It started as a science experiment that I was going to do with Briton over the weekend. Actually, it started when I went cruising the blogosphere one evening. I think I started out looking for a crock pot recipe for beef brisket but somehow, as blogs do lead to blogs, I ended up reading a recipe for laundry soap. And that's when I thought it would be a fun thing to do with Briton. So during last week's shopping expedition I bought a box of washing soda and a box of Borax so I would be ready. Except, Briton had no interest. I kept offering throughout the weekend, but in an almost teenager-like way he kept turning me down. He had better things to do it seemed.

And this is how I found my self on a Monday evening making laundry soap in the kitchen. The recipe was pretty easy. simmer 2 cups of water on the stove, grate in half a bar of soap (I used Lever 2000, which my creature-of-habit-husband insists is the only soap he can possibly use) then add the soapy water to a bucket with 24 cups of hottish water and stir for a bit. Add 8 T washing powder and then 4 of Borax. Stir a little more and in the morning you have Laundry soap. And really, other than the fact that the first bucket I brought up from the basement had about 10 little holes in it so that when I hauled the bucket full of water out of the sink to mix in the soap, water started streaming out all over the floor (it needed to be mopped anyway), everything went smoothly and I had a (new) bucket full of what I hoped turned into nice thick laundry detergent by morning in sitting in the sink.

And I only tried to put dirty dishes into the bucket three (well, five) times during the rest of the evening.

So how did this strange and bizarre take on my obsessive making turn out?

Really well actually. In the morning it had solidified into an opalescent gel that I could scoop out with an old tea cup ( I have an odd set of old green garage sale teacups that are always in use as scoops around here. But don't worry, I wont switch the laundry soap one with the sugar one, I made sure to used the cracked and dyed blue from Easter eggs cup that I keep waaaaayy back in my cupboard for the soap.) Once I'd scooped a few cupfuls out it broke up a little and got more runny as per the instructions, so I might try dumping some of it into an old Meyers Laundry Soap bottle which would be a little easier than keeping a big bucket on the washer.

The laundry came out very clean, whites almost as white as they are after my bu weekly bleach soak (well, bleach and dishwasher soap soak. Hey! Don't laugh! it works!) and everything smells faintly of Lever 2000 but mostly of nothing at all. So all in all, it's a hit. Who knew? I wonder if there's a recipe for home made Mr. Clean Magic Erasers out there. I love those things, even if they are a little scary. (seriously what is in them that they can get sharpie marker off the wall and soap scum off the tub? But still I buy them. After all, how else will I get 2 year old "art" off the walls?)

* I have to say I'm a little disturbed by this. I bought a five pound bag of flour last Wednesday! I blame the No Knead Bread. Damn you New York Times and Bread and Honey Blog for showing me how to have yummy crusty bread with almost no work at all. So much for a low(ish) carb diet. This, ladies and gentleman, is why I will never be skinny, five pounds of flour in 5 and a half days. Baaaaadddd! We're also out of brown sugar which I swear I just bought. I think I've been baking too much.