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How to Make Homemade Liquid Laundry Detergent

How to Make Homemade Liquid Laundry Detergent

DIY Laundry Detergent

    Unless you’re a rather stinky, slovenly sort, chances are that you do your laundry fairly regularly, and not just to wash your clothes: bedding, towels, blankets, stuffed animals… everything needs to be washed and freshened up every so often, and every load of laundry requires that magical additive that suds up and leaves it all smelling wonderful: detergent. Depending on the type that you buy, it can range from just a couple of dollars per package to uber-expensive, and the cheaper options tend to be the most damaging to the environment. You also have a limited selection of scents to choose from—many of which are downright headache-inducing—and some people have such super-sensitive skin that they’ll also react to the chemicals in these products.

    Fortunately, with just a tiny bit of time and effort, you can make your own laundry detergent for a fraction of what you’d pay for anything you’d find at the store.

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    The type of soap you use for this will determine the fragrance, so if you prefer to use products that don’t have any strong scents, aim for a bar of pure vegetable glycerine or castile soap, as these are generally unscented. They’re also some of the most eco-friendly choices out there, so you don’t have to worry about polluting your waterways with a bunch of vile chemicals. This homemade detergent is safe for septic tanks, and is completely biodegradable.

    *Note: you can skip the “dissolving in water” step and just blend the dry ingredients together (grated soap, borax, and washing/baking soda) and then use 2 tbsp of that dry detergent in every load of laundry, but if you go this route, you have to either wash your clothes in hot water, or fill the washing machine part-way with hot water and dissolve the soap in it before you add your clothes and top it up with the water temperature of your choice. This detergent will not dissolve in cold water.

    What You’ll Need:

    • 1 litre of Water
    • 1 bar of your favourite soap, grated
    • A large bowl
    • 1 cup of Borax
    • 1/2 cup of washing soda (or baking soda, if the washing soda isn’t available)
    • A large stock pot
    • 2 large empty containers with lids (I like to use plastic cat litter pails with capped pouring spouts)
    • grater
    • funnel
    • long plastic or metal spoon
    • Optional: essential oil in a scent that’s complementary to the soap you’re using

    Step 1: Grate

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    Grated Soap

      Grate your bar of soap into a large bowl. If you have a super-fine grater, use it, as it’ll make the soap melt much more quickly than when it’s grated with the larger setting, but as long as you manage to reduce it to really small pieces, that’s all that matters. If you don’t have a grater, then just shave it with a sharp knife; hopefully you have one of those, at least.

      Step 2: Dissolve

      Warm up the water in a large stock pot on medium-high heat, and then add the grated soap to it one handful at a time, stirring it gently with your spoon until it dissolves.

      Step 3: Blend

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      Add Borax

        After the soap has completely dissolved, remove the stock pot from the heat and stir in the borax and washing/baking soda. Like the grated soap flakes, you’ll add it in a bit at a time and stir continuously until everything has dissolved. Let this cool for half an hour or so.

        Step 4: Scent

        Once cooled, you can add in some essential oil for scent, if desired. If you’re going to do this, be sure to add scent that’s complementary to the soap that you used: adding something sweet or minty to a citrus soap will be absolutely repugnant, so keep to the same fragrance profile. When in doubt, leave it out.

        Should you decide to use essential oils, add in 20 or so to the stock pot and stir it well. I like to use lemon and tangerine, as I like citrus notes in our linens and such, but my favourite is rose: I’ll use a rose-scented soap, and then add in extra rose absolute essential oil. Note that I do not use this particular detergent for my husband’s clothes, as he wouldn’t be terribly pleased to go about smelling like a rosebush—for guy-friendly detergent, stick to scentless, minty, citrus, or “green” scents (like Irish Spring).

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        Step 5: Decant and Store

        Here’s where your large spouted containers or pails come in: get someone to hold the funnel for you and pour (or ladle) the liquid detergent into the containers until they’re 3/4 full. This mixture can thicken up a bit once it’s cooled, so leave a bit of space to add extra water if it’s needed. Alternately, if you’re using a large plastic pail with a lid on it, just pour the contents of the stock pot right into the pail, and seal it shut. Then, you’ll just use 1/2 cup of it for every load of laundry, and voila! Clean clothes.

        If you go this route, you’ll never have to buy those chemical-laden detergents ever again, and can easily do 30+ loads of wash for just a few cents per load.

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        How to Keep Yourself Awake at Work Without Caffeine

        How to Keep Yourself Awake at Work Without Caffeine

        Keeping yourself awake at work can be a real challenge when you’re bored, exhausted or sleep-deprived.

        But before you reach for that can of Red Bull, bottle of Mountain Dew, or pot of coffee, try these healthy remedies to stimulate your 5 different senses and help you stay awake at work:

        Sight – Visual Stimulation

        The first thing you do when you wake up is opening your eyes, so your visual stimulation is very important to keeping your energy level high.

        1. Maximize your exposure to light.

        Your body’s internal rhythm is regulated by the amount of light you receive. The greater your exposure, the more alert you will feel.

        Open the shades and let in the sunlight. Step outside or look out the window. Turn on all the artificial lights in your office or around your work space.

        2. Exercise your eyes (or give them a break).

        Roll your eyes up and down, side to side and diagonally. Rotate them clockwise and then counterclockwise. Squeeze them shut and then open them wide. Do this several times.

        Reading and sitting in front of a computer screen for long periods can lead to eye fatigue.

        Take regular breaks with deliberate blinking and looking out into the distance.

        3. Take note of your environment.

        Learn to enjoy people-watching. Observe their activities, speech, body language and interactions with others. Notice the details of building, trees and other objects around you, including their color, shape and size.

        By doing this, you’re not only relaxing your eye muscles but also calming your mind.

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        Hearing – Auditory Stimulation

        What you hear or listen to have direct effect on your brain. This is why we feel so annoyed and sometimes angry when we hear construction noise when we’re working.

        4. Engage in conversation.

        Talk to a friend or colleague. Trade funny stories. Discuss your business venture, a creative idea, the latest political scandal, or any other topic that interests you.

        Practice mindful listening to what you and the other person are saying. Tune into the tone, volume and content of the conversation.

        Learn how to practice better listening from this guide:

        Why Listen to Reply Instead of Understand Is the Key to Failure

        5. Listen to upbeat music.

        Try hip hop, rock or jazz to keep you alert. Instrumental, non-distracting music works best.

        Sing, whistle, and hum along if you can. Plug in the earphones if you must.

        Smell – Olfactory Stimulation

        If you’re feeling sleepy and suddenly smell the coffee, you’ll probably feel more energetic. This is why smell is an influential stimulation.

        6. Work your nose.

        Aroma therapists recommend essential oils of peppermint (to boost energy), rosemary (to build awareness), eucalyptus (to increase oxygen), cedarwood  (to activate your mind), and cinnamon (to improve your reaction time).

        If you don’t have essential oils on hand, you can use lotions or burning candles that provide the same scents.

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        Citrus like lemons, limes, grapefruits and oranges are also natural olfactory stimulants. Get a whiff of these citrus scents to stay awake.

        Taste – Gustatory Stimulation

        If you want an energetic day at work, you can’t let your tongue feeling plain and flavorless.

        7. Have a good breakfast.

        Start off with the most important meal of the day.

        Think fresh, light and healthy: bran cereals, wholegrain breads, fruits, and yogurt.

        Nix the heavy stuff like sausages, greasy eggs or pancakes.

        Need some breakfasts inspirations? Check out these ideas:

        20 Healthy Breakfast Choices That Will Save You Time

        8. Drink lots of water.

        Keep a glass or bottle of H2O near you and sip from it throughout the day. Dehydration can leave you feeling tired, sluggish and sleepy.

        So make sure you drink enough water throughout the day. Not sure how much to drink? This can help you:

        How Much Water Should You Drink Each Day (and How Much Is Too Much for You)

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        Think that you’ve been drinking too little water? Try these friendly reminders:

        3 Best Apps To Help You Drink Much More Water

        9. Eat energy-boosting snacks.

        Nuts and fruits (like bananas, apples and strawberries) are sure bets. Pairings with staying power include baby carrots with a low-fat cream cheese dip; celery sticks with peanut butter; red peppers with hummus; and plain yogurt with granola.

        Avoid carb-filled, sugary snacks that make you crash and leave you feeling tired.

        Here you can find some healthy snack ideas:

        25 Healthy Snack Recipes To Make Your Workday More Productive

        Touch – Tactile Stimulation

        Last but not least, your sense of touch will make you physically feel more energetic and less stressful.

        10. Splash cold water on your face.

        Do this in the morning, during bathroom breaks and in the afternoon. Being exposed to cold water pushes your body to adjust and regulate its internal temperature, which in turn keeps you alert.

        This works the same as you take a cold shower to increase mood and alertness. Take a look at this article to learn more about it:

        5 Surprising Benefits of Cold Showers

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        11. Use acupressure.

        Apply pressure to, massage, or tap on the stimulation points of your body. These include the top of your head, the back of your neck, the back of your hand (between the thumb and index finger), just below the knee and your earlobes.

        Watch this video to learn about the acupressure points you can try:

        12. Get moving.

        Move away from your chair and stand, walk, run or climb the stairs. Feel the earth under your feet. Stretch and twist. Do jumping jacks, lunges, push-ups and back bends.

        And if you need to move more discreetly, wiggle your feet, bounce your knee up and down, scrunch your toes, or cross your legs.

        You can also try some simple stretches and exercises at your desk:

        Unlike addictive caffeine fixes, these remedies activate your senses, engage your attention, amp up your energy and prevent morning grogginess and afternoon slumps without the side effects or health risks.

        Pick a few ways from this list of suggestions and practice them consistently. And when you do this consistently, you’ll soon see the positive results — a more energetic and productive you at work.

        Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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