Yesterday, I sat down at my kitchen table to make a batch of my mother’s favorite homemade laundry soap + I cried the entire time.
Since my mother passed away a few weeks ago, many things make me cry. Sometimes, I cry for seemingly no reason – and I mean ugly cry. Other times, I experience this peaceful joy – a warm sort of comforting glow from within me. During those moments, I know all will be well again soon but, for right now, processing + mourning must have their space.
Recently, a dear friend said to me that mourning the death of a loved one is similar to a melting ice cube… you don’t feel it all at once, it releases slowly, like melting ice. That made a lot of sense – if we had to feel the full impact of a blow like that all at once, it would be too much to handle.
So, now, I’m sobbing at my kitchen table as I grate a bar of soap across a microplane. I look at my mother’s hand-written recipe and am thinking that I want to have this precious item laminated to protect it…. then I think, why had something like this suddenly become so precious?
I continue to measure out the other ingredients sloppily into the large mixing bowl, guestimating 2 cups of super washing soda before dumping it in, and pick out lavender + geranium essential oils to add a soft freshness. But, by now, I am actively trying not to let my tears drop into the soap mixture. I’m losing this battle.
You might think that every tear shed is one of sorrow or sadness – and, on some levels, they really are – but some tears are joyful memories of my mother. Like, how she used to talk to me about wanting to clean her home without toxins + was going to find out how to make her own cleaning products.
Then, another memory of when she put together my own “starter cleaning kit” with all of her favorite ingredients, recipes, and tools (like spray bottles + reusable cleaning cloths). She even made little tags that she laminated and tied around the bottles with ribbons. Those are hand-written, too… I remember the hardships I was facing during that time in my life + feel so much gratitude that she was there to help me in so many ways.
This is the first time I’ve had to make laundry soap since my mother passed away.
I know I’ll have to do it again sometime in the not-too-distant future. And again, and again. And every time, I will think of her. But, I just love this laundry soap so much (even before it had this new special meaning for me). My mom was a no-fuss kind of lady + was pretty picky about her ingredients + recipes, so trust me when I say, THIS IS A GOOD ONE.
I usually make a double-batch of this recipe every 3 months or so. It fills up my container just to the top + my arms get a good workout grating two bars of soap instead of just one, ha! Because a medium-sized wash only needs a Tbls of the soap mixture, it lasts a long time. I store mine in a sealed container that I leave a measuring tablespoon in for scooping. The benefits of making your own laundry detergent are that the cost of the ingredients are WAAAAAAY cheaper than any laundry detergent on the market + it’s a soap, not a detergent (look up the difference my friend, you will be amazed).
So, if you’re up for about 15-20 minutes worth of work every few months, you can reap the benefits of using this lovely little mixture to wash your laundry, too. ♡
Powdered Laundry Detergent
1 bar castile soap (grated)
2 c. Borax
2 c. super washing soda
1 c. baking soda
30 drops essential oils
Gently mix all ingredients into a very large bowl – don’t breathe in too much of the dust, Borax can be a little toxic if inhaled but is perfectly fine + safe to use in the wash (ask Wellness Mama). After mixing, transfer to a large (preferably non-plastic) sealable container. Store in a dry place. Use 1 Tablespoon for a medium-sized load.