Monday, March 25, 2013

Clean and Green

Going Green...a little at a time.

I have been slowing "going green" over the past four years. It all started with cloth diapers. I began using them with my first born when he was 7 months old and have now used them for 3.5 years and with two children. I use BumGenius and I LOVE THEM. Then I decided to stop using paper towels and paper napkins. I do keep one roll of paper towels under the sink in both the kitchen and the laundry area for super messy, gross, those left by a dog or a cat. But I honestly can not remember the last time I purchased them. So, for my every day messes and cleaning needs I use cloth rags. I made my own from old t-shirts. A few years back I made a t-shirt quilt from all my sorority shirts and used the extra fabric for rags. Now whenever a shirt gets a stain, I cut it up and throw it in the rag basket. We use cloth napkins too. And to round out the use of all things cloth, I keep a basket of baby washcloths in the kitchen to use for all messes the kids make...messy hands, messy faces, and messy baby. NOW...I do use paper plates and cute paper napkins for special events and birthday parties. I mean, I figure Mother Earth will understand that Target just has too many cute party items for me to ignore the entire year :)

I recently decided to jump on the homemade cleaning products band wagon. I had already been using baking soda to clean my sink and stovetop, along with a mixture of vinegar and water to clean my windows. Now I was ready to to try the big time stuff. Homemade laundry detergent, homemade dishwasher detergent, and homemade cloth diaper soap. The triple threat, as I am beginning to refer to it as. I searched a bit on Pinterest and read a few blogs before deciding on the final recipes. Here are the ones I used, along with the original sources.

equal parts:

baking soda

washing soda
OxyClean or SUN Oxygen cleaner

1  (4 pound) box of Super Washing Soda
1 (4pound) box of Baking Soda
1 (4 pound) box of Borax
3 bars of Kirk’s Castile soap–Shredded
(you can use Fels Naptha, Zote, or Ivory soaps)

Mix well in a large container.
Add two heaping tablespoons to each load of laundry

Step 1: cut up bar soap (you can also grade on a cheese grader)


Step 2: dump all the ingredients into a bucket and mix well with both hands


Step 3: scoop into pretty jar and add a cute scoop (I have been using one scoop of this coffee scoop for each wash)

This is the entire amount, one jar full and half of a giant ziplock bag. One batch yields 12 lbs.

1 cup Arm and Hammer washing soda or baking soda
1 cup BORAX
1/4 cup kosher salt
1/4 cup citric acid 
(you can also use Fruit Fresh or 2 packets of Lemonade Kool Aid - 
ONLY lemon, and ONLY unsweetened)

Add 1 to 2 tablespoons of this mixture to your dishwasher detergent compartment ALONG WITH 3 drops of liquid dish soap. 
ONLY 3 DROPS! Also add a splash of 1/2 to 1 cup of white vinegar into the bottom of the dishwasher and then push start.

*** I did this recipe X6 because I had enough of all the ingredients. ***

I got these two plastic containers at the Dollar Tree. The labels are Martha Stewart purchased from Staples.

I purchased all the rest of my supplies from Walmart. My total was $17.02 for ALL THREE SOAPS, including one glass jar (I already had one) and two metal scoops. Not bad at all considering I had been paying $12.95 for my Charlies Soap (cloth diaper soap) and it was only half the amount of my cloth soap batch. Good call on the homemade soaps :)

I hope you make some soap too and enjoy the feeling knowing that you are using only all natural ingredients! Goodbye nasty chemicals! I'm GREEN now!

- Awbree

*** note: I had some leftover Borax and decided to try it out on my stove top. I poured it generously over all the brown spots (I have a white stove) and then squeezed some soapy water from my sponge onto the powder. I let it sit about 5-10 minutes, then scrubbed a bit. Almost all my gross brown spots are gone. I was kinda amazed. Not much amazes me these days, but this actually got a huge smile and an out loud "WOW!" No one was there to witness this miracle in green cleaning, but it made me happy.


  1. What type of liquid dish soap do you use with your dishwasher detergent?

    1. AHHH! I am so sorry I just saw that you left a comment yikes :( I use Palmolive Clear.