Monday, May 10, 2010

Homemade laundry detergent is a breeze.

You, too, can wipe out 90% of your laundry detergent costs by making your own. It's not difficult and doesn't take long. I got the recipe from my cousin, and even my reluctant husband now admits that it works just as well as the storebought stuff; a quick Google search can teach you plenty about chemicals in commercial detergent that we'd be better off doing without.

Go shopping for:
Borax powder (usually near the laundry detergent; green "20 mule team" box is common)
Washing soda (usually near the laundry detergent too; "arm and hammer" brand is common)
Bar of soap (I use Kirk's Castille; my cousin uses Dove Sensitive Skin)
Essential oils to scent the detergent if you wish (I use lavender and orange together; yum)

Find a 2-gallon or larger container to hold your completed soap (I use a 5-gallon bucket and double the recipe).

Got five minutes? Then it's time to make it.
Put two pots on your stove. Put four cups of water in one pot, six cups of water in the other. Start them heating.

While they're heating, grate your bar of soap (using whatever you use to grate cheese). When it's grated, dump it into the six-cup pot and stir periodically until dissolved.

While that's dissolving, dump 1/2 cup each of washing soda and borax into the four cup pot and stir until it's dissolved, too. When both pots are dissolved, dump them into your big container and stir, then add one gallon plus six cups of tap water, the essential oils if desired, and stir again. All done!

Put the lid on the soap and leave it for 24 hours. It should set up into a funky gelatinous mass. (Don't be afraid of it!) Use 1/2 cup per load in a top loading machine; possibly half that in a frontloader. That's it!


Friday, May 7, 2010

Essential Oils and infections.

Here's yet another study that confirms the effectiveness of essential oils against bacteria and viruses... even ones that conventional medicine has a hard time fighting.

In this one, British researchers tested thyme oil's effectiveness against the deadly MRSA bacteria that's become so prevalent (and scary) in hospitals. (But you can read another one here. Or here. Or this well-referenced and thorough article here.

Just this week, we noticed that my four-year-old (who is apparently Mosquito Ambrosia) had received her first three bugbites of the season, up on her upper back. Unfortunately, by the time we noticed them, she had scratched them all raw and they were red with irritation and the beginnings of an infection. A day or two later, and the infection was spreading quickly away from the bites; we were out of town, and I was getting worried.

All I had with me oilwise was my little purse kit: lavender, tea tree, and a bit of an anti-infectious Four Robbers blend that is too strong to use directly on the skin. After some thought, I used a drop of lavender and a drop of tea tree oil, blended together on my palm, and applied to the bites and the red area around them with my fingertip.

We put her to bed in the hotel, and woke up the next morning with the redness and swelling significantly reduced. We're still treating it now that we're home; the infection's pulled itself into a boil, and the redness is all but gone, so I'm expecting to have this cleared up within a day or two. The only "medicine" I've used is the tea tree and lavender oils.

My sister's an RN and an oil skeptic (being thoroughly trained in conventional medicine makes one a bit suspicious toward natural cures, I think), and she was with us on the trip. I'm not going to rub it in, but I hope she noticed how quickly the oils handled our problem-- with no doctors' visits, no prescriptions, and no side effects.

I just LOVE my oils.