A photo of some of the spread from the "Martha Gets Out Of Jail" party--the punch was made by one of the men I worked with who even got the recipe from the Martha Stewart website!!!
I think one of the reasons I admire Martha is that a lot of her ideas are throwbacks to the good old days--back to basics kind of things that were typical for our moms and grandmothers, but in the fast paced world we live in, kind of got lost in the shuffle. With the economy still struggling to recover, some of these ideas are starting to get noticed again. People are realizing that not only are some of those old ideas less expensive than their modern counterparts, but they are also a whole lot healthier, safer and creating less of an environmental impact.
One area that seems to be getting a lot of attention lately is household cleaners. So many people are becoming more and more concerned with what they are exposing themselves and their families to while doing something as simple as cleaning the floor, washing dishes or doing laundry. In addition, the prices to buy all these chemical laden products keep going up and up and up--I'm appalled at the price of laundry detergent anymore. In fact, it has gotten so out of hand that in some areas Tide is nicknamed "Blue Gold"--and is a target for thieves. Someone steals a bottle of Tide and then because it is so expensive, they are using it to purchase drugs!!!! Crazy huh?!?!
Laundry detergent is one thing that I've been contemplating in the "make it yourself" category, and after an incident I had with a name brand laundry soap about 10 days ago, I finally broke down and gave it a try. (I ruined a brand new shirt!) For $25 I purchased the following items (excluding the green bins in the background, I had those already)
A box of 20 Mule Team Borax, a box of Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda, a large box of Arm & Hammer Baking Soda, a tub of Oxi Clean and 4 bars each of Zote and Fels Naptha soaps. My list of ingredients to purchase came from checking out several different recipes I found online. Based on different things I've read, this batch of ingredients should last me anywhere from 6 months to a year--or even longer! I purchased all of these items at the local Walmart except for the borax, I picked it up at the grocery store.
I made up two small batches yesterday to try--one with only Fels Naptha soap and the other with half Fels Naptha soap and half Zote soap, both mixed with the other ingredients. I want to see if one works better than the other. I'm not a huge fan of the odor of Fels Naptha (although it does take me back to childhood!), the Zote soap smells more like Ivory soap. I'm not going to share my recipe just yet because I'm going to tweak it as I go. I did do a couple of loads yesterday with it and I learned this--if you have hard water--you need to pulverize the soap, leaving it in small beads will not work very well especially if you use cold water. This was easily remedied by running the batch I had made back through my food processor when I was done mixing it. I ran it to the point that the batch of 1/2 and 1/2 started out with pink and yellow beads and is now a nice shade of orange! I threw a load in this morning with it and it seemed to solve the issue of the soap not dissolving. Best part is my clothes smell clean--not perfumed. You can add scent crystals, but to me that's just adding an unnecessary chemical.
I will keep you all posted as this project progresses--once I am satisfied with a recipe I will be sure to share it. According to a friend who also makes her own, a batch like I made should last several months. I am wondering what other things some of these ingredients could be used to make as well for cleaning purposes, I couldn't help but notice that once mixed, this smells a lot like Murphy's Oil Soap. Stay tuned! In the meantime, you can call me Martha. I won't be insulted.