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How to make powdered laundry detergent

Laundry Detergent

Laundry detergents have always been problematic for me. Certain brands irritate my skin, and I’ve never been able to pinpoint what ingredient is the problem. Even if I knew, most laundry detergents don’t exactly provide a list of ingredients I could check. Luckily, laundry detergent is easy to make. Doing it yourself not only allows you to control what ingredients are in your detergent, it also saves a ton of money.

My recipe uses four basic ingredients stocked by many supermarkets now, and one optional ingredient.


  • 2 parts Borax
  • 2 parts Washing Soda
  • 1 part Grated Bar Soap
  • 0.25 part Baking Soda
  • Optional Fragrance Oil or Essential Oil  


You’ll want a clean, dry, lidded container or bag to store your homemade laundry detergent. If the container isn’t air-tight, the detergent may clump from moisture in the air. Usually it’s easy to break it up, so this isn’t a big problem. If you don’t do laundry very often, though, you probably want to store it in something with a good seal.

The soap can be anything. Most people start out using a laundry soap like Fels Naptha. Once I started making my own soap, I switched to using whatever basic recipe soap I had on hand. You can grate it by hand with a cheese grater or with a shredding disk on a food processor. 

Make it:

Combine the first four ingredients in a large mixing bowl. If you’re not familiar with the “parts” measurement, it’s a simple way of making a recipe fit whatever amount you need by giving the amounts as a ratio instead of a specific measurement. You could substitute “cup” for “parts” if that makes it easier.  


Leave it unscented, use a scented bar of soap, or add your choice of fragrance or essential oil to the combined ingredients and stir to combine. I usually use about half an ounce of fragrance oil per batch. With essential oils, I usually start with 15 drops or so and see how it smells before adding any more. I’ve heard you could use your favorite cologne or perfume, but I haven’t personally tried it. 

Use it:

I use about two tablespoons per load in my top loading machine. You can use one tablespoon for lightly soiled loads, but with my family, every load is a two tablespoon load.

Laundry Detergent
DIY Powdered Laundry Detergent
DIY Laundry detergent

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Want to be Featured?

Want to be featured

Want to be featured?

In the past, I often featured handmade or vintage shops on Fridays. Over the years, the world of crafting and blogging has changed dramatically. I would love to resume Feature Fridays, but with a broader scope.

Handmade shop and websites are still welcome. I also want to feature guest writers sharing tutorials, tips, advice, recipes, etc. Categories that I feel are a good fit for this blog are crafting, sewing, sustainability, refashioning, healthy living, parenting, hair and beauty tips for busy moms, homeschooling and homesteading. I am open to other topics as well, so if you are interested but don’t quite fit into one of the above categories, please contact me anyway with your idea.

Guest posts will be promoted across my social media sites frequently throughout the week they are published and then periodically after.

Handmade shop/website features

For handmade shop/website features, answer the questions in the following list and email them to I will contact you before your shop is featured and if any clarification is needed. You can give as much or a little info for each section as you are comfortable with sharing. Be sure to include links to your shop, web page and blog, if you have them. If you sell your products in a brick and mortar store and would like to include that info, you may include that as well.

I also choose a favorite item from your shop on the week that you’re featured and briefly tell why I like it. The first image from your shop for both your favorite item and my favorite item will be included in the blog.

  • Name and Business Name
  • Tell us a little about yourself and your business.
  • What made you get started in your business?
  • Anything else you’d like to share?
  • Tell us about your favorite item listed in your shop.
  • Links to your shop, website, blog, etc.
  • Email address (This will NOT be published)

Guest posts, tutorials and everything else

Please contact me at with your idea. If you already blog, a link to your blog or site where your writings are published is also helpful. Newbies are welcome, too. I’m also not opposed to reposts if they are a good fit and your own work.

If I think your idea is a good fit for SubEarthan Cottage, I will let you know and we will work out the details from there.

Matisse Creativity Mug Mugs featured
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Random Sewing Tip- Painless Prewash

You know how you need to prewash most fabric to keep your finished project from being a shrunken, lumpy mess? If you just toss it in the wash, though, it comes out a stringy, tangled mess.

If you have a serger, serge the cut edges before washing. I usually just leave the thread tails long and they don’t unravel enough to be annoying.

With a sewing machine, you can sew a quick zig-zag or similar stitch along the cut edges to prevent fraying. Even a straight stitch would probably work, although I haven’t tried it. You will probably need to back-tack or knot the ends to keep it secure through the wash.

This also lets me see at a glance which fabric was prewashed by looking at the edges.

And I know 90% of the people reading this are thinking “Duh!” because it’s such an obvious fix. The other 10% are wondering why they didn’t think of that, much like myself when I first learned the trick.

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Quick Takes Friday, Vol. 6

— 1 —

B is still congested. It is getting better, but laying down=congestion=no sleep. Luckily B is perpetually happy, sleep or no sleep. Me, on the other hand…

— 2 —

I just got this cute bag in the mail yesterday. (I got the blue one.) I can’t wait to stuff it’s zillion pockets with emergency supplies that I’ll probably never need unless I forget to pack them. I’m even more excited to see that the sale price I paid for it last campaign was less than half of the current campaign price.

— 3 —

I found out that the driver behind the 911 fun yesterday morning had been arrested sometime after the mailbox/gas line destruction for similar shenanigans up the road. I’m very thankful that nobody was hurt. I’d also like to know what kind of indestructible tank he drives.

— 4 —

Beckett loves Elmo. I think he even said “Eee-uho” yesterday. Sorry Sweetie. I’m sure da-da will be next.

— 5 —

Finnian had started writing and illustrating his own books. He can crank out two or more a day. I love his creativity, but I’m now faced with the problem of what to do with all of them, not to mention his schoolwork, report cards, random artwork, etc.

— 6 —

Finnian and one of his friends have decided that their pets who died have returned as ghosts to play with and protect them. So far it seems to be fun pretend, but knowing Finnian’s imagination I’m waiting for it to get a little extreme.

— 7 —
Why is it taking so long for a laundry washing/drying/folding machine to be invented? Even just an automatic folding machine would be nice. In other words, I‘ll be spending the day with a mountain of laundry. I am seriously contemplating a “naked at home” policy.
For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

Quick Takes Friday, Vol. 6 was originally published on SubEarthan Cottage

Quick Takes Friday, Vol. 6 was originally published on SubEarthan Cottage

Quick Takes Friday, Vol. 6 was originally published on SubEarthan Cottage

Quick Takes Friday, Vol. 6 was originally published on SubEarthan Cottage

Quick Takes Friday, Vol. 6 was originally published on SubEarthan Cottage

Quick Takes Friday, Vol. 6 was originally published on SubEarthan Cottage

Quick Takes Friday, Vol. 6 was originally published on SubEarthan Cottage

Quick Takes Friday, Vol. 6 was originally published on SubEarthan Cottage

Quick Takes Friday, Vol. 6 was originally published on SubEarthan Cottage

Quick Takes Friday, Vol. 6 was originally published on SubEarthan Cottage

Quick Takes Friday, Vol. 6 was originally published on SubEarthan Cottage

Quick Takes Friday, Vol. 6 was originally published on SubEarthan Cottage

Quick Takes Friday, Vol. 6 was originally published on SubEarthan Cottage

Quick Takes Friday, Vol. 6 was originally published on SubEarthan Cottage

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—-Skip this section to avoid politics—-
I stayed up until almost midnight last night like following election news online. Without getting too political, I have to say I’m slightly depressed and frustrated. Not just because our President is pretty much on the opposite end of the political spectrum from me on most issues (most, not all. silver lining and all that), but because Romney wasn’t exactly my first choice either. Frustrating because I was left with the choice of voting for the person I really, truly believed would do the best job but had no chance of winning this time or voting for the person I thought might do a little better job. Maybe.

The only way to change that is for everyone that feels that way to vote their conscience regardless of how they think the election will turn out. But, if you have a definite opinion on the main party candidates and you vote for your preferred third party candidate, there’s the “wasted vote” guilty feeling if your “lesser of two evils” main party candidate doesn’t win. Even so, I’m glad I live where I have the freedom to vote and to express my opinions, good, bad or indifferent.


The vaporizer I got for Beckett seemed to help a little. He only cried once every two hours instead of once an hour like Monday night. Luckily he’s pretty happy now that he’s awake. I need another cup of coffee, then I’ll be set. Maybe I’ll splurge and use some Pumpkin Spice or Peppermint Mocha creamer this time.

I would love to spend the day in the craft room working on some refashions or gifts or some shopping bags at the least. Laundry is piling up, though, so I should attack that first. Should.

I do have some Shiner going flat so I can make a batch of Beer soap without blowing up the kitchen. It’s probably my favorite to make, but with B I haven’t been in the soap kitchen much. I love using it for shampoo, but I’m out and refraining from raiding my shop stash, so I’ve been alternating between other soap varieties and *gasp* store bought shampoo. I can’t wait to get back to shampooing with my beer soap.

CDCGF<–from Beckett

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First day of summer.

Today was the first day of summer for Finnian. Chris still has a week left. Beckett loves playing with Finnian, so I mistakenly thought I might be able to get a few minutes to myself here and there to, say, wash dishes or fold laundry, or maybe even go to the bathroom by myself. Instead, here’s what my day was like.

Wake up with massive sinus headache at 6:30ish. Out of Sudafed, so I take maximum dose of ibuprofen and hope for the best. Baby wakes up. Change his diaper and lay back down with him and hope he’ll nurse back to sleep. (YES!)

Wake up for real at 10 ish. Headache moderately better. Finnian wakes up. Nothing would make him go back to sleep, and it is ridiculously late, so we get up. Quick shower with Finn entertaining Beckett in his empty bathtub on the bathroom floor.

Get dressed and “fix lunch for Finn”. (Pull out a lunchable instead of the sandwiches or mac n cheese because Beckett is VERY UNHAPPY). Settle on the couch with laptop and the intention of paying bills while Beckett nurses and takes a nap. Instead Beckett is either gassy or fussy from the change in routine and nurses in one minute increments punctuated by short bursts of fussiness. Whenever he seems about to settle, Finn asks a question/makes a random loud noise/comes in for a closer look to see if B’s asleep and wakes him up. Repeat for about an hour. Finally get Beckett and Finnian settled enough to pay the end of the month bills.

Move clothes from the washer to the dryer and toss diapers in the wash. Massive headache returning. Realize I haven’t eaten or had coffee yet and it’s already 1:30. Go to kitchen, discover cat poo in front of the pantry. Clean up while threatening to kill cat. Take out trash. Make coffee and eat two chocolate chip cookies. Get caught and fix Finn a cup of milk and a few cookies. Wash dishes. Eat a few more cookies. Drink about four sips of coffee before Beckett is awake and fussy. Refuse to wonder if he’s teething.

In the meantime, Finn decides to get dressed. Now he can’t find his suspenders. Total panic mode on his part. Try helping him find them with B in one arm. Finally get B to let me set him down (for about 1.5 minutes). Find suspenders in the dryer. Discuss why it’s important to remove them from your pants at the end of the day with Finn. Rescue a fussing B from the crib.

Lay down in bed with Beckett to nurse while playing Connect 4 with Finn. Beckett decides he’d rather sit up and watch. Peace for a little while…..

Chris gets home. Need to go vote and pickup books at the library. Load kiddos into a hot car and tag team at the polling place. There’s only one electronic booth and three paper ballot booths. Glance from the sweet elderly lady currently seated at the electronic booth to my little darlings waiting with their daddy just outside the door and grab a paper ballot. Vote. Load back up in the hot car and head to the library. Briefly wonder why Beckett is uncharacteristically quiet in the car. Instead have discussion with a now fussy Finnian about why we get mad when he covers his ears when we’re talking to him. Get to library. Get books for everyone. Load up and head home.

Beckett is happy in his car seat, so leave him in the air conditioned living room with Finn and rush to get a start on dinner. 2.5 minutes later let Chris take over due to fussy baby. Get Beckett to sleep for a late nap in the bouncy chair. Eat. Fussy baby wakes up. Change and nurse him to sleep for the night. Take about an hour to make sure he’s asleep/browse library books.

Wash dishes. Freeze fruit for smoothies. Cut up vegetables for tomorrow’s dinner. Sit on the couch to blog while letting Finn stay up waaaaay too late, mostly because it will make him sleep in again tomorrow. Plan to get up earlier so my day is (maybe) smoother.

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When Finn was about a year old I became a Flybaby. (For those who have no idea what I’m talking about, visit I had a control journal that lived on my kitchen counter. My kitchen sink was shiny, floors mopped, meals planned, tables de-cluttered and my house was always ready for unexpected guests. Basically, with Flylady my house looked like this:

Okay, maybe not quite. I never had a giant bowl of apples sitting in the living room. Anyway, I was organized, my house was organized and it honestly took about an hour every day, tops. I swore I would never go back.
Fast forward to today. Here’s what my house looks like:
So, that’s not entirely accurate, either. I don’t do chili pepper decor. But you get the idea.
I do try to keep up with some of my routines from my days of flying, which keeps the house at a passable-as-long-as-I’m-holding- the-baby-and-looking-sufficiently-sleep-deprived-level. But, as I learned with a few days of a sick kiddo and total destruction of what little routine I had, it doesn’t take much to send everything into chaos mode. With summer coming, this is totally unacceptable. If I don’t get a head start before I have all my boys home 24-7, I will constantly be playing catch up.
Therefore, this weekend I will dust off my control journal, see what changes I need to make to my routines now that I have one son in school, a new baby and a home business to run. I will revisit Flylady’s website for inspiration. I will give myself a head start by planning our meals for the week. And on Monday I will have my flight plan ready to start taking baby steps again. 
To keep myself accountable, I will post updates frequently. (I’d love to say daily updates, but I’m trying to be realistic.)  If you already Fly or would like to start, please comment. Maybe we can help keep each other on track.