Girl's Guide To Hip Homemaking

I admit, I still cringe when I am asked what it is I 'do.' When I say that I am a work at home mom I have often been asked, "Oh, do you telecommute or freelance?" "Sure, why not?" I am happy to say however that the vocation of homemaking is becoming more and more embraced as our world changes. The term, "New Domesticity" is becoming attractive and appealing as we find ourselves caught in a never ending rat race of obligations to achieve financial stability. People are looking for reprieve though as lives start being corporately controlled. I have really digressed here because this post is really designed to tell you about the homemade cleaning products I am making, starting with laundry detergent. However, I wanted to lay a bit of groundwork first as to why I'm doing this. If my place is at home for this time then I want to do my part in achieving a healthy lifestyle starting with what I am giving/using in my household. The products I made today (cleanser, detergent, counter spray, rinse agent, dryer sheets, stain remover, dishwash detergent) cost me about 2-3 dollars, contained zero chemicals and took minutes to prepare. Not only am I reducing my carbon footprint, I am also providing healthful alternatives to ordinarily expensive and toxic materials. The best part? I had fun so that has got to count for something. In addition, I get a lot of pleasure in using things I made myself while knowing it helps keep my family healthy. So on with the detergent. Super easy. I did my research on the whole Borax issue. No, it isn't Boric Acid and no, it doesn't harm the environment. Apparently their plant in the Mojave desert has been touted as one of the best ecologically sound plants. I hope I'm not being lied to. It does have debate but for now I am OK with using it. Do your research and decide what you are comfortable with, of course. So take 1 Cup of Borax and 1 Cup of Washing Soda. Now here is where I do have issues. There is a laundry bar soap called Fels Naptha. I don't want to use it because it contains tallow (animal fat) so instead I use a local soap company's Laundry Bar made from Coconut Oil. It is made by Sellwood Soap Company here in Portland and I buy it by the bar at my urban homesteading supply store in Portland. There are plenty of alternatives to the Fels Naptha in terms of the laundry bar. Anyway, mix together your Borax and your washing soda. Grate 1/2 bar of the laundry soap (a box or hand held grater is perfect) and mix together. At this point I add some drops of essential oil, your choice. I buy it by the ounce at my homesteading store and it goes forever because you just need a little. For this I use Spanish Lavender. It costs about 7.00 for 1 ounce (30 ml) but again, a little goes a long way. Well, reuse a container to store it in, put a cute label on it and you are set to go. Use 1/4 cup per load and for a rinse agent I just use white vinegar. If you really want to get down with your inner domestic diva take all that gorgeous laundry and hang it out on the clothes line you made because you are awesome like that. Oh another thing, forget those creepy dryer sheets. I cut up old towels into wide strips, add a drop or two of essential oil and then I fold them up and seal them in a container. I use 1 per load and then back they go in the container for next time. Reapply the oil as needed. Trust me, laundry was never so fun! Now for the reality check. Your kids will care less that you invested your time, energy and committment to their well being. They will not care SO MUCH that one may be tempted to go out and purchase bleach and wash all their clothes in that instead. And lest one may think this post is about me trying to be all groovy and hip with my down home lifestyle please let it be know there might be a large amount of marshmallows, fruit loops and doritos in my cupboard. Baby steps...


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