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January 31, 2013
Kelsey Buck , Emmetsburg News

Many of you are probably familiar with the popular photo sharing website, Pinterest. If not, it is a pinboard-style site that allows users to create theme-based collections such as events, interests and hobbies. These photos then link to the location they can be found on the web. Thus "pinning" your own "interests" on your very own virtual pinboard.

Most users browse other boards for inspiration, and "re-pin" images of things they like or would like to try. The site was cofounded by fellow Iowan, Ben Silbermann and has grown to be one of the largest social networking sites in the world in just a few short years.

A while back, I finally succumbed to the peer pressure and started my own account. I began using it for work-related research but quickly found it fascinating what people can dig up on the internet. "The Google," as my friend calls it, doesn't always find the most interesting websites or blogs. Although I don't frequent the site often, it can be fun to see what other people (acquaintances or not) are interested in. It's also a handy way to bookmark pages you otherwise wouldn't remember.

At some point during the year my mother-in-law, Gwen, got hooked on Pinterest and the do-it-yourself projects so readily available. Every time I see her, she is sharing a recipe or craft idea she thinks I would enjoy. Her latest visit was no different.

Last weekend I found myself making homemade laundry detergent. She brought all the supplies and her typical energetic can-do attitude. I volunteered our stove and a little bit of skepticism. Apparently this was all the rage among her group of friends. Everyone was trying out homemade liquid detergent and fabric softener recipes they had found on Pinterest.

After a quick lesson on what the heck Fels Naptha was, we whipped up a batch. It was quick and easy to make and made more than I anticipated. I even ran out of proper storage containers and was left with a pot of soap sitting on my counter for several days. All of the ingredients can be found in the laundry aisle and can be kept on hand to make numerous batches as the need arises.

Why bother making your own detergent? Besides being eco-friendly and an escape from boredom, it's super cheap. This recipe makes 64 loads and comes to about $.02 per load or $1.28 for two gallons. Recipe variations and the price of ingredients always vary but anything beats the cost of detergent at the store.

Does it really clean your clothes? I've used it a few times and it appears to do the trickor at least I have convinced myself we are wearing clean clothes. You may want to try it and see for yourself!

The recipe is as follows:

Liquid Laundry Detergent

1/3 bar grated Fels Naptha (or a full bar of any other

soap like Ivory)

1/2 cup washing soda

1/2 cup borax powder

Small bucket or plastic containers for storage (about 2-

gallon size)

Grate the Fels Naptha and put it in a saucepan. Add 6 cups water and heat it until the soap melts. Add the washing soda and the borax and stir until it is dissolved. Remove from heat. Pour 4 cups hot water into the bucket. Add your soap mixture and stir. Now add 1 gallon plus 6 cups of water and stir. Let the soap sit for about 24 hours. It will gel. Use cup per load.



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