I've sat here for the past few nights and really thought about what "Going Green" really means. I mean, everyone is into saving the planet, use less packaging, blah blah blah, but if you really think about it, most of that is what our grandparents, great-grandparents, and so on had been doing for generations. Don't get me wrong, I like some of the new convenience things out there, like the Swiffer Sweeper and Clorox Ready Mop. But I'm wondering if we are getting the wrong picture when we say we are "going green".
In an earlier post, I made mention that I was starting a soap-making adventure. I've completely given up on bar soaps, mainly because I don't like using the bars. I really prefer liquid soap. I found a wonderful book, Making Liquid Soaps by Catherine Failor. Her instructions could have been more clear, but in a nutshell, it's well written. Using her recipes, I've made 100% Liquid Castile soap, and one of the shampoos. I will say this about the shampoo; it did not thicken on me, and the one time I did use it as a shampoo, it left a greasy, waxy lump on the back of my head. I'm not sure what I did wrong, if my hair went into shock from using pure soap, or it's the residue from the store bought shampoos, but won't try it again on my hair until I figure it out. But it does turn into a very nice body wash. Both of my kids love it.
And that doesn't stop there. The Liquid Castile is now being used in many recipes I found on the net from a degreaser spray to window cleaner and will be using it in my ready mop. If you start on the Edentia Farms youtube page, this gal will show you how to make liquid laundry soap and even has a link to the amounts she uses. A little deeper search will also find her recipe for dish soap. I have made the laundry soap, and will be trying it later on this weekend, but the dish soap is to die for!!!!! I was getting grease and other gunk off of pans that I didn't think would ever come off, so I will believe her claim that it will get Sharpie Marker off of almost anything.
* Just wanted to come back and say that I did try the laundry soap this weekend, and throughout the week and we love it as much as the dish soap. Had to wash blankets and pillows over the weekend, and my daughter is complaining now that her blankets and pillows are so bright she can't sleep w/o sunglasses. One of the pillows is one she made and it's brighter now than when she made it. Those two recipes are keepers in our household!!!!
But back to the "going green" thing. We are starting to view this as if it was good enough to do for our ancestors to keep clean, then why shouldn't we do the same thing?? If making soap was just using wood ash from the fire filtered with water, then combined with grease, no one would have to worry about running out of soap ever again. Though I try to take the easier road with this. Instead of trying to filter wood ash, I buy my KOH (Potassium Hydroxide) online. Some of the recipes (see the dish soap) call for organic oils, I just use what I can buy cheaply at WalMart or Winco. Borax is my choice for a neutralizer and thickener rather than anything else out there because it's cheaper and has a two-in-one punch. Our ancestors used what they had at hand to make their soaps, then why shouldn't I do the same thing?? I'm just going about it in a little bit of a lazy way. I just can't bring myself to rend the grease from what I'm cooking to make soap out of. EEEEWWWWW!!!!!
Give it a try, you might just like the results that come out of making your own soap. It sure surprised us with our savings, as well as how clean everything gets. Watch the videos that youtube has, so you can get an idea how it's suppose to look and act when making. Try doing the bars first, like I did, then expand onto the liquid soaps. It does help, and get a copy of Failor's book. I treat mine like a bible. Though I will say one thing, you don't need a double boiler system, the crock pot does even better. Plus, you don't have to worry about making sure there is enough water in a double boiler to keep it going.
And if you are wondering about those savings, for around $20 I was able to get the KOH, oils, borax, and distilled water. Out of it all, I've made approximately 2 gallons of Castile soap, 1 gallon each of the body wash (just can't call it shampoo), laundry soap, and dish soap. You tell me, can you get all that for around $20 and have it last for about 4 months?? 5 gallons of soap. I think our ancestors were on to something there.