I try to keep up with laundry by washing 1 to 2 loads a day. However, every once in awhile I'll get behind, and with a family of 6, getting behind on laundry is easy to do. Below is a completed 6 loads in one day, with only 2 baskets folded. I'll have Skylar and Maddox fold and put away their own clothes.
We usually use Gain as our detergent, we like the way it smells, and Mitch swears its the only detergent that doesn't irritate his skin. If I switch detergents on him he'll start itching and know right away. When Skylar and Maddox were young and I was on a couponing kick and trying to do whatever I could to save the family money, I tried my hand at making my own detergent. It was easy enough, and it was gentle enough on Mitch's skin, but it didn't take long for us to fall back into the habit of buying Gain again. Fast forward a few years later, and I'm motivated to make my own detergent again, but this time saving money isn't my goal (though a pretty cool perk), instead I'm in a stage of wanting and enjoying making things from scratch for my family. I want fresh produce from a garden or a farmer's market, I want homemade bread with few ingredients (and with ingredients that I can pronounce), I want more whole foods, I enjoy eating meat and eggs from the animals that we raise, and in our everyday products I want more of what is natural and less chemicals. Of course I'm not hardcore 100% natural, I certainly appreciate the convince of modern food in boxes, fast food every once in awhile and store bought toothpaste, and many other store bought conveniences. But if I could make a shift in our daily lives with more things that are natural and healthy, then I'll be happy and satisfied.
Homemade Laundry Detergent:
1 beautiful glass jar (optional)
1 Tablespoon sized scoop
2 cups Borax
2 cups Washing Soda
1 bar Fels Soap (grated)
Mix the ingredients in the jar and just use one tablespoon per load. I think this detergent smells great on its own, but you could easily customize it by adding in essential oils.
All Purpose Cleaner:
Glass Jug or squirt bottle
I filled an empty windex bottle about a 1/4 of the way with lemon peels. My kids love to eat lemons like most kids like to eat apples or oranges (they like those too) and then I'll cover the lemon peels with vinegar, so the bottle is still only about a 1/4 of the way filled. I'll leave this bottle under my sink for about 2 weeks before removing the lemon peels and filling the bottle the rest of the way with water. Now I have a lemony all purpose cleaner. Honestly, this cleaner does what its suppose to do, its an excellent cleaner, but it does smell like vinegar and lemons. However, when the vinegar drys the smell goes away, and I haven't once had the kids or anyone else complain of a vinegar smell. I've been thinking about adding a few drops of lemon essential oils to add to the lemony smell. I also went ahead and made a bulk jar of this lemon cleaner. I filled a gallon sized jar a little less than half way with lemon peels (this took a few days of 4 kids snacking on lemons) and then I filled the jar completely with vinegar and let sit for a couple of weeks. It doesn't take long for this vinegar mixture to turn yellow and smell like lemons. Now when my windex bottle runs out, I'll refill my bottle 1/4 of the way and add the rest with water. Or I can use this jar mixture as my mopping cleaner. I'll simply fill a mop bucket with hot water and splash in some of my all purpose cleaner.
(or body butter, its really more of a body butter)
1/3 cup coconut oil (found in most grocery stores)
1/3 cup raw organic shea butter (ordered off amazon)
essential oil of choice
I softened the oil and shea butter in the microwave like I would soften butter for toast. I put the 2 together, added an essential oil and whipped them up with a hand held mixer. This made a perfect whipped texture! I thought the coconut oil might cause this butter to harder, but days and weeks later it has held its whipped texture. A little bit goes a long way with this butter, and it goes on a little oily, as one might expect, but it soon absorbs in the skin, leaving your skin soft and silky, not greasy. I love this butter for myself and it works as a perfect moisturizer for my 2 younger boys who have naturally dry skin and hair (yes I put it in their hair after a bath and while their hair is still wet). I'm playing around with the essential oils and the fragrances that I like. The first batch I made was with 15+ drops of lavender and a tablespoon of vanilla extract. Lotion fragrances that are on my to do list include:
vanilla and cinnamon
lavender and chamomile
orange and lemon essential oil
. I'm sure my options are endless!
And while I had my oils out, I went ahead and made Mitch a small batch of beard oil
1/2 cup coconut oil
15 drops of cedar wood essential oil
8 oz mason jar
I melted the coconut oil and added the cedar wood oil and stored it in an 8 oz mason jar. He says he loves it and it leave his beard feeling soft, and it smells good too! Next time I think I'll use jojoba oil instead of coconut oil.