11 December 2011

Going Green

It's hard not to pay attention to the footprint that you leave behind. Here in Germany it is mandatory to recycle. There are bins for rubbish, paper/cardboard, yellow bags (plastics, aluminum and things like that) and Bio waste for composting. It always irks me when my neighbors don't seperate their garbage. How hard is it really? Recycling is the first step. Then comes homemade cleaners and cloth diapers...

Now, I'd like to tell you that I started making my own laundry soap because I am sooo Earth conscience. Actually I was broke and the $10 Tide wasn't cutting it anymore. Not having a job sucks! For the record I would use the recommended amount of liquid detergent and a booster, like OxyClean, as well. Don't forget the Snuggle. Now, I use my homemade cleaner, about half a cup, a booster like OxyClean and vinegar. I've been making my own detergent for more than a year now. I really am happy with the results. I still have to use a booster for my kids clothes. They are just so hard on their jeans.

I originally got inspiration from the Duggar Family. They are inspiring in many ways. Here is the recipe I use: I'll tell you at the end how I change it up for me

5 gallon bucket
one bar of soap
1 cup Washing soda* (not to be confused with baking soda)
1/2 cup borax*
essential oil if you like
*can be found in German stores too

Grate the soap (using a regular ole cheese grater)

Fill up your bucket about half way with warm water. Put a good size pot of water on the stove, add your grated soap. Stir until it is melted.

To your bucket add washing soda, then the borax. Stir until dissolved.
Next, add the soap mixture and stir well. Fill it all the way up with warm water.
Put the lid on and let sit overnight. This is what it will look like:
It will be a gel like. Wisk it up good, then fill your container half way with the detergent and half with water. Shake it up before you use it. That's it! Easy.

Notes: Most recipes you find online are all about the same. Some tell you to use a certain amount of water to melt the soap. They also tell you to use Fels-Naptha bar soap. I've never seen this, nor is it available here. I still can't figure out what is so special about this soap. I've used Dove because that is the only soap I will put on my face. This last time I used this organic Lemongrass soap that was uber easy to grate and smells wonderful.

Most recipes tell you a certain amount of water melt the soap in. I just fill up my gumbo pot about half way. I also use a 15l bucket. Where in Germany am I going to find a 5 gallon bucket? Also, I only cut the detergent with water to a 3:1 ratio. My kids are hard on their clothes. We have no hand-me-downs. I also still you OxyClean as a booster in their loads of clothes. I have never had any problems with my clothes. I also use vinegar in a Downy Ball instead of fabric softner. The first time you use it you will smell it when you open the lid, but it will smell normal after drying. I haven't noticed since that first load.

This was an easy transition to make. It is simple, and last for quite a while. I feel good that I reuse one plastic container (usually until I give it away) instead of 2 a month. If you don't want to make so much just cut it down to fill the container you have. My friend uses 1/3 of the ingredients to fit in a gallon bottle.

Other great make at home cleaners are a multipurpose spray, glass cleaner, and dishwasher detergent. I am just venturing into cloth diapers and wipes. We make our own play dough too! The kids love this. What do you do to reduce your footprint?

1 comment:

  1. Wow that is pretty impressive. We actually just started using German detergent because the stuff we bought in the commissary wasn't working with the water.

    The only thing I can say we've done so far to reduce the footprint is the mandatory recycling. Don't forget that glass also has to all be separated by color lol. Oh, and we use re-useable plastic containers for storing food. I also just use white vinegar and water to clean our floors and wooden cutting board, but that's more out of necessity between the hard water and the crappy parquet floors we have than anything.


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