TV and social media have a way of making us feel like we’re not doing something right in our own life. I really didn’t need much help with that as I think I’m pretty good at not feeling confident but there it is anyway. We are bombarded with how we should do things through the pictures, videos and commercials surrounding our day anytime we use our phones or turn on the TV. Like if I’m not smiling as I deeply inhale fresh towels from my dryer am I even trying? I’ll free admit, in all the year’s I’ve done laundry in my life I have yet to act out the TV commercial of smiling with anticipation as I inhale fresh hot towels or clothes from the dryer.
Most of the time when I do laundry it is a rushed event. I am hurrying because something is wet, smelly, laying on the floor or someone needs something. My washer and dryer are in a closet next to our breakfast area in the kitchen. It would seem convenient but when you have a lot of laundry it tends to block the doorway into the living room effectively trapping you in the kitchen until laundry is done. I guess the builder of our home thought while you’re doing laundry you can also bake something delicious as you wait. I never thought much about this layout until we had our son and laundry became a much bigger situation. Now I sit trapped in my kitchen, doing laundry, sometimes baking cookies and sometimes writing blog posts as I wait.
I don’t think how laundry is done in my house is abnormal from other families. Since this isn’t something I typically see posted about on social media I have no idea but there really is no telling is there? I can safely promise you there is no sniffing happy face for laundry out of the dryer. More often than not I’m making a “ewww” face because I’ve found something in the dirty pile that is particularly gross and stinky. The dog seems particularly interested in wanting to roll in it too. I used to think she enjoyed just hanging out with me while I did laundry but have since learned she wants to lay in the dirty clothes and wait for me to drop a treat for her as I mix up something in the kitchen.
I decided it was time that laundry deserved a moment in the social media spotlight showing it’s journey from eww to ahh. Why should beautifully plated food get all the attention you know? We wear clothes every day so surely there is something to this whole laundry thing that people should be talking about. Laundry is one of those things we learn to do but no one ever really talks about it beyond how much they have and how it never ends. Yet it is in this very chore we all have to do that lies the core of so many other things in our life. We take it for granted until we can’t escape our kitchen area or we find our favorite jeans are in it.
What we use to wash our clothes also doesn’t really get much thought. We just reach for the green, blue or orange bottles of detergent and add a capful. If it smells good or what we think fresh meadows should smell like than it must be alright to use and will make our clothes smell nice in the process of cleaning them. The same goes for softeners, brighteners, whiteners and aromatic add-in products. We just go for what seems to work and what seems to take care of stains and odors. The whole point is to get clean clothes in the least amount of time and effort as possible right? This is what I used to tell myself too as I lugged heavy orange bottles of detergent off the shelf and into my shopping cart. What I used seemed to work and it was what everyone uses so why wouldn’t it work?
When I heard you could make your own detergent and softener I asked why? Why would someone want to do that when it was so easy to just buy a big bottle of it? Sure it was cheaper but did it really work? Wasn’t it just prolonging how long it takes to do laundry if you also had to make your own detergent? Who has time to make their own detergent anyway? Where are these people and why don’t they have more to do besides show off their best Suzie Homemaker skills? What was really the deal with this anyway?
Maybe it was too many hours listening to my own washer run that had me curious enough to try making my own detergent. Maybe it was all the time I spent at home in 2020 but I was feeling very homemaker-ish too! What did these Suzie’s know that I didn’t and was I missing something super important? I had already switched a couple years ago to a natural detergent and other laundry products containing only natural ingredients. I saved a few bucks and felt great about no longer flushing chemicals back into the water system but was I still missing something bigger?
There are several recipes for making your own detergent but here too if you’re looking for an all natural option you don’t want to be adding in chemical based hair conditioner, Dawn dish soap or some other ingredient that isn’t any better than regular detergent. In my mind at least I believe if you’re going to go through the trouble of making it yourself naturally then use natural ingredients too. Plus do you really want to use Suave hair conditioner on your favorite sweater? That seems pretty gross to me.
Here’s what I found that was the easiest to make, contained natural ingredients and actually worked on cleaning clothes. It is also significantly cheaper than the currently natural products I was buying to do laundry and it is definitely cheaper than the orange, green and blue bottle stuff not to mention better for you. What I learned was it wasn’t that big of deal to make my own and I could personalize the aroma. My clothes came out clean and fresh smelling. What I noticed most though was it wasn’t costing a bunch of money to make my own laundry products. I didn’t have to lug big heavy bottles home and I wasn’t using nearly as much per load to get the results. Even though I was using natural products I thought hey why not whip my own this year? Maybe Suzie was onto something after all or maybe I truly have just spent too much time at home the past year.
The change in this approach I’m trying is not to make things more challenging to prolong the laundry chore but rather to truly explore what it means to live naturally well. I think in too many cases I have underestimated what that looks like and how it can be as simple as mixing a couple things together that cost me pennies to make. There is a sense of independent confidence you get when you make your own household products. It is like a secret you discover that all of a sudden it’s just what you do from that point forward. It is noteworthy and you wonder why it took you so long to figure this out. It turns the mundane eww chore of laundry into an ahh isn’t this nice experience too.
If you’re looking to explore what it means to live naturally well this year, start with the laundry!
For more ideas on living naturally well, visit my recipes at dragonspitapothecary.com/recipes