Tuesday, June 1, 2010

remind me again why I fear grating ivory soap?

I'll admit it. There's something I've been avoiding.

Most of you know I can make my own bread,

baby food,

amber raspberry jam.

I've even dappled in making cloth toilet paper. But there is something that, until recently, I just could not bring myself to do.

I wanted, really wanted, to make my own laundry detergent for about a year now. I've long given up windex, lysol, pinesol, and the like, in favor of my trusty 50/50 water and vinegar in a spray bottle. I *love* that stuff. And, yes, sometimes I bring out the big guns, my 10% bleach and water solution. So why not make some naturally derived laundry solution? Seems like a logical progression.

It all comes down to this: Am I willing to grate a bar of ivory soap?

Something about the idea of grating soap, measuring it, mixing it with other stuff seems too... sudsy for me. Like I'm taking a bath in the kitchen. Like I'm eating bits of soap. Not pleasant.

So I've been avoiding it.

Then my daughters, who have the strings of my heart clenched in their teeth, came upon a recipe for making bathtub crayons. And, you guessed it, the recipe calls for grating a bar of ivory soap. Ugh.

It's kinda like when I take them to the community pool on opening day. The water is freezing and I have to decide if I value swimming with my children over my grave discomfort.

So I get out the grater. One child reads the recipe, the other child grates.

Then they switch.

I watch.

Hey, that doesn't look so bad. Let me have a turn. I said, "LET ME HAVE A TURN!"

And it wasn't so bad. Almost like I'm shredding really, really stale cheese.

So now that I'm over my fear, I grated up a batch of laundry detergent. It's embarrassingly easy. And it gets clothes clean. I should have done this years ago.

Thanks to my uber-creative, yet surprisingly sensible, friend Andrew S for the simple recipe and kick in the butt.

Here's the recipe: Grate one bar of ivory soap, measure this, add an equal amount of Arm & Hammer Washing Soda (not baking soda, silly, look in the laundry aisle at the store for this), add an equal amount of Borax. Mix together and use about 1/4 cup of the mixture for a load of laundry.

And while the clothes are washing themselves, I can pop the aforementioned kids in the bath ...

and have them wash the tub with their 'new' bath crayons.


  1. So how did you make the crayons?

  2. Your über-creative friend Andrew sounds really amazing. I'll have to meet him sometime.