Quick and Easy Homemade Powdered Laundry Detergent

I used Amway’s SA8 laundry detergent for years and love it , but I let my membership lapse and I eventually ran out, not having  money to renew.

We tried many brands but were disappointed in ALL (including supposedly “concentrated” ones). Then I heard about homemade laundry detergent and figured I couldn’t do worse! I decided against liquid form because I read it had a limited shelf life, and found dry detergent recipes quite simple:

  • 1 bar (or 4.5 ounces) bar soap (Ivory, ZOTE, Fels-Naptha, etc.)
  • 1 cup of washing soda
  • 1 cup of borax

My first attempt was not encouraging. Hand grating was time-consuming (and risky for fingers!) and the soap wasn’t fine enough, but it was successful enough that I streamlined and improved the method.


Cut 4.5 oz of bar soap (I used half a ZOTE bar per batch) into a size just small enough to fit the neck of a food processor.

1 – Grated soap using grater attachment

2 – Change to regular blade. Add 1 C. Washing Soda (prevents soap gumming onto blades).

3- Add back soap.

4 – 1 cup Borax on top.

5 – Process until fine. Stir and process finer.

6 – Put in airtight container. Done!

This is truly concentrated so use 1 Tablespoon per average load, or 2 Tablespoons (a standard coffee scoop) for larger or more heavily soiled loads.

I’ve read that each batch yields approximately 32 ounces (between 32-64 loads based on how many Tbsp used per load), but I haven’t measured or counted.


The Green Thing

I got this from a friend and it was so good I’m posting it here.

In the line at the store, the cashier told the older woman that plastic bags weren’t good for the environment. The woman apologized to her and explained, “We didn’t have the green thing back in my day.”

That’s right, they didn’t have the green thing in her day. Back then, they returned their milk bottles, Coke bottles and beer bottles to the store. The store sent them back to the plant to be washed and sterilized and refilled, using the same bottles over and over. So they really were recycled. But they didn’t have the green thing back her day.

In her day, they walked up stairs, because they didn’t have an escalator in every store and office building. They walked to the grocery store and didn’t climb into a 300-horsepower machine every time they had to go two blocks. But she’s right. They didn’t have the green thing in her day.

Back then they washed the baby’s diapers because they didn’t have the throwaway kind. They dried clothes on a line, not in an energy-gobbling machine burning up 220 volts – wind and solar power really did dry the clothes. Kids got hand-me-down clothes from their brothers or sisters, not always brand-new clothing. But that old lady is right. They didn’t have the green thing back in her day.

Back then they had one TV, or radio, in the house – not a TV in every room. And the TV had a small screen the size of a pizza dish, not a screen the size of the state of Montana. In the kitchen, they blended and stirred by hand because they didn’t have electric machines to do everything for you. When they packaged a fragile item to send in the mail, they used wadded up newspaper to cushion it, not Styrofoam or plastic bubble wrap. Back then, they didn’t fire up an engine and burn gasoline just to cut the lawn. They used a push mower that ran on human power. They exercised by working so they didn’t need to go to a health club to run on treadmills that operate on electricity. But she’s right. They didn’t have the green thing back then.

They drank from a fountain when they were thirsty, instead of using a cup or a plastic bottle every time they had a drink of water. They refilled pens with ink, instead of throwing the used one and buying a new pen, and they replaced the razor blades in a razor instead of throwing away the whole razor just because the blade got dull. But they didn’t have the green thing back then.

Back then, people took the streetcar and kids rode their bikes to school or rode the school bus, instead of turning their moms into a 24-hour taxi service. They had one electrical outlet in a room, not an entire bank of sockets to power a dozen appliances. And they didn’t need a computerized gadget to receive a signal beamed from satellites 2,000 miles out in space in order to find the nearest pizza joint. But that old lady is right. They didn’t have the green thing back in her day.

Makes you stop and think what we’ve done to ourselves.

Scratch Cooking – learning by necessity

It seems few people know how to cook from scratch anymore. I even know a woman putting up with a relationship she doesn’t want – because he cooks and she feels like she and her daughter would starve without him. Seriously. That’s what she told me. Wow…

Well, over the years I had to learn how to make a many things from scratch, for both health and economic reasons. I just wish there had been affordable classes to shorten the learning curve, or at least someone I could have gone to (my family was far away). Sometimes necessity/life is the best teacher.

Anyway, I drive some friends to an independent food pantry that picks up food directly from the stores, with no government help (which ALWAYS comes with strings and restrictions). Consequently, choices vary weekly and you find yourself faced with the opportunity to try to figure out what to do with what was there. These are some very simple examples.

Occasionally they have some wonderful bread (soft crust organic whole wheat with interesting grains added) which makes excellent croutons, although regular bread is fine, too.

  • Stack a few slices at a time and cut in strips, then the other way for little squares.
  • Put them in as large a bowl as you have/need, and toss with “homemade” Good Seasons Italian dressing.
  • Put them in a casserole (or two) and dry in oven at 180-200 F, stirring occasionally until toasted to your liking. Remove and cool.
  • Store in large glass or plastic containers (like pretzel rods come in), re-filling a smaller, more convenient container as needed.

Occasionally there would be a plentiful supply of hard, crisp apples, but one can only eat so many without soon looking like a bear before hibernation. So you can:

  • Make and can apple butter (info available online, from library, at canning section of stores, bookstores).
  • Make dried apples rings (slice thinly, then toss with a little lemon juice to minimize browning and for flavor,then dry on very low temp in the oven).

Both have been successful and wildly popular with my family, which is nice.


Certain times of the year there is an abundance of oranges, grapefruit, lemons and limes.

  • Lemons and limes can be squeezed then frozen in ice cube trays (each cube is about 1 oz, or 1/8 cup), then pop them into freezer bags and keep until needed for homemade lemonade or limeade, or added to iced tea.
  • Grapefruit and oranges can be squeezed and frozen in shallow amounts in freezer containers, then transfer the flats to a larger container (like gallon zip bags).

Buttercup (#1 for sweetness!!) and butternut (#2) are multipurpose. I cut them, scoop the seeds (to toast “cleaned” but unwashed in butter – yummy!), bake the squash and scoop it into freezer containers for later use in squash soup (best only if made from the above two), added to pancake batter and also to other soups for an interesting color and delicious flavor.

As a result of going there to help my friends, I have found and tried vegetables I never would have spent the money on in the first place, and I am glad I did!

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