El Naturale

(Easy there. I know it’s au naturale – I had a sweet friend in college who would proclaim she was going “el naturale” (“AY-ull NATCHER-ahyl”) all drawled out, when she wasn’t wearing makeup. Funny memory.)

After years of fighting the incessant Austin hippie magnetic force, I’m caving. In small ways. (And I’m talking about the old school Austin magnetic force, not the newer, more obnoxious “OMG I caved and bought the YSL bag when my Barre3 class was over before brunching with my tribe at this new gourmet restaurant you’ve never heard of. So ghetto” hogwash.)

While I love the idea of going all pioneer woman (the legit kind, what with the making of lard soap and churning of butter and casting of our own bullets for muskets – yes, this and more I learned how to do when I was at Pioneer Day Camp in Houston…) … I do greatly appreciate and enjoy things like dishwashers and climate controlled homes and non-dirt-floors and not having to sew my own clothes…so there’s some compromise here.

(There’s a photo of me circa 1993 living my best life at Pioneer Day Camp. I’ll dig for it and share it in a later post.)

If you just think about it, it’s pretty strange: all the random ingredients that are added to products that serve purposes that are already easily covered by other, more simple, things. We make things more complicated, for what? Increased shelf life? Convenience? Mass production? Case in point: laundry detergent. What is even in it? Companies aren’t required to disclose what all they put on the bottle. Tide lists these ingredients on their website but helllooooo I didn’t pay attention in high school Chemistry (honors, thankyouverymuch) and why male models, there are so many ingredients! And some of them could be responsible for things like skin rashes, respiratory irritants, oh and it contains carcinogens, no big deal.

Enter the googling of “homemade clothes detergent” and voila! You can make your own, using borax and essential oil and baking soda and some other stuff and (cue Paula Cole’s fist in the air)…. girl, yes I did. I just made my own laundry detergent.

‘Cept it’s not really in powder form. It looks more like poorly chopped cauliflower in an overstuffed snowglobe. The instructions say to just add some hot water to it before putting it in the machine to help dissolve the soap (oh boy this is getting complicated… making a note to make this about saving gobs of money to keep Tim from marching over to Costco and (becoming a member and) buying a car-sized container of Tide. Back to the food processor. Whew. We’re good.

And don’t worry. Lots of lavender essential oil added and first two loads of laundry have been a success and we still smell nice. I’m probably saving like $9,384 a year or something awesome like that, using legit pioneer ingredients like 20 mule team borax, because that’s a thing and every fledgling pioneer needs the strength of a 20 mule team in her arsenal. I’m practically using a washboard and a bar of lye soap outside my log cabin. Yeehaw! I need a battle cry for these pioneer ways. Suggestions??

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