Thursday, January 31, 2013

Meds and homemade laundry soap

YEEHAA! Or however you write that exclamation of joy! In Afrikaans, it would be "JIPPEEEEE!" which is not to be confused with the sound a teacup dog makes. (big smile)

Joyful - joy - gives synonyms as "joyous, happy, blithe; buoyant, elated, jubilant." I agree with all those.

Reason? Just got off the phone for my 3-month telephone consult with the Lyme specialist in the USA. We were discussing how I was feeling and then I asked if I could please take a break from all the meds, for a month or two. She was happy to let me go on herbals for three months, to see how it goes. I've been doing a lot better on the whole, and think the problems the last few weeks were more about meds.

I'll be using mainly Bab-2 drops twice a day before meals and try to go up to as many drops as possible. Last time I could only get up to 9 drops at a time before feeling sick all the time.

Happy? You bet! Not having to swallow all those pills for a few weeks - that's major! Poor hubby had to spend at least half an hour every week or so to sort them all out. And then the cost, the hundreds of dollars spent every month to pay for all these things out of pocket. It is now hubby's turn to have his health looked at, some tests to be run, and getting him back up to speed and good health, especially better hearing, which is a problem in his family.

I'm also still working on getting arrangements for the May Lyme Disease awareness day in Brampton and elsewhere, while talking to people in other towns across Canada who would like to set up events as well.

Now about something else -- I wrote the piece below for a friend in Sweden who was curious about my making laundry soap. She thought it should be put on the blog as well, so here goes!


Why? I've been annoyed with all the cleaning stuff we have to buy, and have gradually moved over to natural cleaning agents like fresh lemon, vinegar, baking soda, and boiling water. The steamer is wonderful, using only really hot water, getting rid of bacteria, dust, stains -- you name it. I should use it more often, though! Pity it can’t drive itself.

My grandmother always made her own soap in a black pot on a fire outside, using fat from one of the animals slaughtered. I was really small when I started helping her. She used a large, long stick to stir the mixture and we would use the bar soap to get the stains out of Dad’s overalls or my brother’s play clothes. It was wonderful on the collars of school shirts!

Supplies for doing laundry
For a long time, I've been wondering about making my own laundry soap and knowing exactly what is in there. I don’t like perfumes, but do like the smell of lavender and have been using homemade soaps for almost a decade. A friend’s daughter started making soap and I bought the first ones just to support her, but it became the only soap I've been using.

Back to laundry soap and making my own. Plowing through internet sites, blogs, people’s comments and more, I decided to try a combination of them to see how things would work. The first batch of laundry soap was made and we've done a few loads. So far, so good! I might have to tweak the recipe a little, though. Using white vinegar as softener, helps too. I've always had Borax in the house to add to laundry now and then anyway. Borax is also good to lay a line over doorways if you have trouble with insects like ants or cockroaches, as very often happens in towns near oceans, but ONLY if you don't have small kids or pets in the house. 

WARNING: Just remember, as with all cleaning agents, to keep out of reach of pets or kids! As an alternative, you can dust the Borax into places like behind the fridge or stove or inside the covers for electrical outlets or lights and screw them back on. You might have to do this a few times if you have a problem with roaches. Like the ticks, cockroaches can survive anything .... And roaches will come in if they are around, no matter how clean you are!

Back to the laundry ... 

The recipe, with pictures as I took some while making, is simple:
1 Cup Borax
1 Cup Washing Soda
1 Bar of Ivory Soap
7.5 litres hot tap water

Bar of soap before microwave
Since a few sites said that baking soda could be used to add a boost to whites, I figured I might as well add some to the mix. Maybe it makes the mix a little coarse, I don’t know. Might not do it with the next batch. Also, I couldn't find washing soda, no matter how I searched. A few sites mentioned that you could make your own, by changing the chemical structure of baking soda. So, I did --- turned the oven to 200 C / 400 F and bake the soda for at least 30 minutes. I spread it out onto a cookie sheet so that as much as possible would be exposed to the heat.

Soap after microwave, on wax paper
To start, the bar of soap has to be grated, but I found several sites that said it could be put in the microwave oven for 90 seconds, let sit for 30 minutes and then crumble into a large pot.  The blob on the right is what the soap looked like, sitting on a piece of wax paper in the microwave. When it crumbles, the flakes are very light and might make you sneeze!

Add about 2 litres of hot water and heat gently to melt. Stir all the time so that everything is dissolved in the water.

Take off the heat and add the washing soda and Borax with another litre of water. Stir very well.
Add the rest of the water.

Let sit for 24 hours. (I left mine for two days). When you stir again, there will be a thick layer on top. Break that up. I just used my immersion blender (wand) to mix everything.
Now I added about 40 drops or so of lavender essential oil, just because! Some people add the essential oil to a piece of cloth and toss into the dryer, or add to the vinegar in the compartment for softener. 

Pour the detergent into clean milk jugs or empty detergent bottles. Mark as needed. Shake well before every use.

Experiment with your machine and how much to use per load. We have a top loader and I found that using two caps full (about 3/4 cup) will do the trick. I also used the mix to rub into a collar to get it clean before adding to the machine.

Adding white vinegar to the compartment for softener helps to cut static cling and also removes any soap deposit that might be left in your machine, I read somewhere. Last night I forgot to add the vinegar to a laundry load and there was definitely more static cling when things came out of the dryer.

Lemon and salt air freshener
I also found a recipe for air freshener, using lemon and coarse salt. Placed it in a clean, empty cat food container at the cat litter boxes, and it really helps. I put the date on to see how long it works. 

Just squeeze the juice out of a lemon (and drink in water - it is good for you!), then stuff rock or coarse salt into the empty shell. Put out in various spots to be a natural air freshener. 

The other one I want to make again, is just an orange and whole cloves. Push the cloves through the orange skin to stand out like studs and hang the orange with a ribbon or twine in an airy closet or space. 

Have fun, fighting the Lyme bugs or real bugs in your life! 

1 comment:

chillin with Quillin said...

so happy that you get a break from all the meds and your feeling good, hope you continue doing good with the herbs!!!

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