Puddle Jumpers

Enjoying life, off the hamster wheel

Laundry detergent, coffee and bathrooms

Linking the disparate minutia of life into a FASCINATING blog entry, I invite you to read on for great intellectual and literary stimulation!

You don’t need fancy packaging and fruity smells to make a product that works. A couple of weeks ago I made a batch of liquid laundry detergent. It was a slightly different recipe than the one I posted before. Here it is:

1/4 bar Sunlight Pure Soap (grate on a cheese grater)
1/2 cup borax
1/2 cup washing soda
4 1/2 litres water

Put all ingredients into a large pot. Bring to a rolling boil over high heat, stirring gently to melt the soap. Cool and pour into a reused container.

We’ve been using this soap consistently for about two weeks now. I’ve noticed it coagulates when it’s been sitting awhile, but if I shake the bottle vigorously before pouring, it liquifies again.

This laundry soap is excellent in our front loading machine, as it doesn’t foam much. Clothes come out smelling fresh and clean, not artificially scented. The real test has been with Neil’s work clothes, and it works perfectly on them. For extra cleaning boost when necessary, I’ve added some Borax straight into the drum with the clothes.

How’s my liquid dish soap holding up? Well, it works really well; however, it’s a bit too “liquidy” so we’ve gone through it faster than we’d go through an equal amount of commercial dish detergent. Unfortunately, I’m out of homemade castile soap, so I’ll have to use the Dr. Bronner’s stuff we have. I wonder if there’s a way to make the next batch more viscous… hmmm… Any ideas?

I ordered some green coffee beans and they arrived in the mail a few days ago. Friday morning I roasted a batch in our oven. What I’ve learned is that freshly roasted coffee only keeps for a few days. That familiar bitterness we associate with coffee is caused by oxidation of the oils in the roasted beans. I guess the oil goes rancid very quickly after it’s been heated. I bought the beans from Merchants of Green Coffee which has directions on how to roast coffee in a conventional oven. It took about 20 minutes and the first cup I made was amazing! It was so smooth without even a hint of the bitterness we associate with coffee. Today, Sunday, I made a cup from the same batch. It’s now getting that familiar bitter taste. When I spoke to the rep at Merchants of Green, he warned me that 3 days was about the maximum that coffee will last before it turns bitter. Well, it’s been 3 days, and he was right. So I’ll be roasting coffee fairly often! The downside to roasting in the oven is that the house fills up with a light smoke, and my clothes had a distinct smokiness to them when I left for work in the morning. No matter, I’ve got my homemade laundry soap to clean my clothes with!

I’ve been using Dr. Bronner’s liquid castile soap for shampoo, and I haven’t noticed a difference between that and the more expensive shampoos on the market. I don’t have a good conditioner yet. That will come.

Speaking of soap, watch this interesting YouTube video about soap, drugs and getting high (caught your attention, didn’t I?)

Finally, I made my own sugar-wax for hair removal. I’ve done it before, and it will last a long time. The only special piece of equipment you’ll need is a candy thermometer. I got the recipe off the ‘Net many years ago, and it works very well. Here’s that recipe:

Waxing Alternative: Sugaring
1 c sugar
1/3 cup honey
juice from 1/2 a lemon

Measure all ingredients into a saucepan, over med/high heat until it reaches 240 F, stirring constantly.

The “Wax” will turn an amber color. (You must bring it to 115°C (240°F) or it will Not work, no matter how many times you “warm” it up.)

Pour it into a small widemouth jar, add 2 tsp glycerin, stirring well.

*Hints: When it is completely cooled you should be able to indent your finger into the mix and not have anything on your finger (like a sticky mess).

It’s actually not that hard to change the things we use around the house for cleaning to more ecologically sensitive materials. What’s hard is resisting the flashy packaging, the advertising, the promises of better and faster. In the end, 20 minutes of prep here and there isn’t the worst way to spend my time, and it’s good to know that I’m reducing my environmental footprint.

Puddle Cleaner


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This entry was posted on September 14, 2008 by in Main and tagged , , , .

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