About a year ago I went to this class at work teaching ways to be "greener" in our cleaning, a.k.a. better for the environment. It was pretty interesting, and sufficiently scared me so I'm now leery of the harmful effects of many cleaning products. But moving on to the point of this post. One of the green cleaning tips was homemade laundry detergent. During the class, I excitedly jotted down the quick and easy recipe. Not only would I be helping to save the environment (superhero Jessica), but I would be using a healthier laundry detergent (I had no idea it was anything less than 100% fine for you), and I would be saving tons of money in the process. I'm not sure which of those had me more excited.

I was anxious to try it, but of course not so concerned that I wasn't going to finish the store-bought laundry detergent sitting at home. So one year later I finally got around to trying this recipe. I'll admit the excitement had died a little bit. Just like a kid at Christmas, I had moved onto the next bigger and better toy. But I still liked this old toy and was interested to see if it worked.

I'll admit I was also a bit skeptical. Why would anybody buy laundry detergent if it was really this cheap and easy? And would it really get my clothes clean? Would it make them feel stiff and weird?

So I finally tried it. My first attempt was less than stellar. Turns out the recipe was serious about the size of the bar of soap. It called for 3.1 oz and I only had a 4 oz bar so I just figured, more is better right? Wrong. Turns out if the soap to water ratio is too high, you'll end up with a solid chunk of detergent instead of a liquid. When I went to stir it I had an "oh crap" moment. There was nothing liquid about it. I could scoop it out and hold a slimy ball of detergent in my hand, not what I was going for! I added more water to help balance this out (while slightly frustrated with myself) and finally got the detergent to a reasonable-looking consistency.

Now came the real test, would it make my clothes clean? It was a neat idea and smelled delightfully of soap and orange (my chosen essential oil scent), but if it didn't clean my clothes then I was going to need to make a trip to the store for some detergent pretty soon.

The test load went in (towels of course). Wash, wash, spin, spin, open and smell. Hum, it smelled nice. I didn't notice the orange, but it smelled slightly of soap and mostly smelled like nothing. Into the dryer. Heat, heat, spin, spin, open and smell. They smelled clean! To be honest there wasn't much smell one way or the other, which is what I was going for. They didn't smell overwhelmingly of orange, but at the same time didn't smell dirty at all. There was also no weird feel or texture. It worked!
I found the idea for this spinach soup a while back when I was looking for interesting ways to use spinach more often. This is also a good recipe for those who like to use (or drink) wine while cooking. Or, if you're in the mood for wine one night but can't decide if you should open a bottle or not, give this recipe a try. You'll need a bit of wine in the soup, and then since it's already open might as well pour yourself a glass!