In Which I Astound You with My Domesticity.

Bryan and I often joke that if we were to be stuck in the apocalypse (zombie or otherwise), we’d be screwed. Because, um, we’re a family of talkers. If you need a spokesperson, LOOK NO FURTHER! If you want to shoot a gun or skin a deer or carve a shiv, well, keep on moving.

Sadly, we are ill-prepared.

BUT! I thought about this today! I am crazy domesticated! I can cook! And not only that, I can make most of what I use!

This weekend, for instance, I will be making another batch of my homemade detergent, another batch of fabric softener, and I will be mopping our floors with homemade cleanser.

Also, I want you to survive the Zombie Apocalypse as well! So recipes/instructions/tips for all three of those things are below.

Disclaimer: this may not, in fact, help you during any apocalypse. BUT your house and your wallet will thank you.


Laundry Detergent!

  • 1 4lb Borax
  • 1 4lb box Baking Soda
  • 1 3lb box Washing Soda
  • 3 bars soap (more to come)
  • OxyClean or some generic version (I found a giant tub)
  • Downy Unstoppables (optional)
  • Essential Oils (optional)

Note on the bars of soap: traditionally, you would use “laundry soap” like Fels-Naptha or Zote. I’ve seen both of these at your WalMarts or your grocery store in the laundry aisle. Now, I personally, like to use one bar of laundry soap and two bars of castille soap. For reasons that I use Dr. Bronner’s Lavender Castille Soap for Tony to bathe in and I like the way it smells. I’ve heard of even using body soap in this.

SO! Grate your cheese. Honestly, I use my food processor for this. (I wash it and it’s fine. I promise.) Then you take a big ole container (technical term) and dump all of the grated soap, washing soda, baking soda, borax, and OxyClean together. I use a paint bucket from Home Depot for this.

Now, if you’re a big scent person – we are – you can add a bottle of Downy Unstoppables to this mixture OR about 30 drops of essential oil. Mix well, either one you choose to add.

Be aware, this makes A LOT. We typically put it in large freezer bags (what didn’t fit in our glass jar) and just add to the jar as we run out.

We use the scoop that came with the OxyClean and add one or two scoops a load. This averages about $20 a big batch that will run you around three or four months, easy.

To answer some questions:

  • Yes, this is safe for HE machines. Add directly to the drum, not the dispenser.
  • Yes, it works well in cold water. We run about half our loads on cold and never had an issue.
  • Yes, we have VERY sensitive skin in our house and no one has reacted to this detergent.

Fabric Softener!

This is way less intense. Promise.

  • 6 C water
  • 3 C white vinegar
  • 2 C cheap conditioner

Heat the water in a big pot on your stove until ALMOST boiling. Turn off the heat and add the conditioner. (I use Suave in a scent a like, and it’s something ridiculous like $2 a bottle.) Mix until the conditioner is entirely dissolved. Add the vinegar. VOILA, YOU HAVE FABRIC SOFTENER.

To answer some questions:

  • I typically water down my store-bought fabric softener. You don’t have to dilute this at all.
  • My washer has a place on the agitator to add fabric softener to be automatically dispensed at the right time. If yours doesn’t, grab a Downy Ball at the store for $3. Same thing.
  • No, your laundry will not smell like vinegar. It might right out of the washer, but after drying, the scent is gone entirely.


  • 1 C white vinegar
  • 1 gallon water

Mix well. Mop. Let air dry.

To answer some questions:

  • I use this on my laminate and hardwood floors. Our hardwood is sealed but not waxed. I’ve been told that floors that are waxed do NOT take well to cleaning with vinegar. I suggest you do an inconspicuous patch test first.

Now. I’ve taught you how to keep your homestead clean during the apocalypse. Who’s gonna teach me how to shoot?

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11 Responses to In Which I Astound You with My Domesticity.

  1. dellekincaid January 27, 2012 at 3:35 pm #

    Hi I’m Delle. And you are?????

  2. Jessica January 27, 2012 at 3:38 pm #

    I can’t teach you how to shoot, but Chris and I are much more confident in our gardening skills so we might be able to hold down the food aspect of the Zombie apocalypse.

    I should try this laundry detergent since Chris and Jacob have really sensitive skin and I don’t think All F&C works well. The only thing I can’t wash with this type of detergent is cloth diapers, since it’s too hard on the components, but I don’t have to worry about that until June.
    Jessica wants you to read ..17 Weeks

    • Sarah Lena January 30, 2012 at 12:31 pm #

      @Jessica, Yeah, I heard a lot of discussion on Twitter about how this detergent would do on cloth diapers, and I didn’t hear the final verdict. Just think, though: if you made some today, you’d probably have enough to get you till June!

  3. Katherine January 27, 2012 at 5:38 pm #

    Thanks for the recipes! Never occurred to me that I could make my own fabric softener. I do love cleaning with vinegar; I just dump some on a paper towel and go…. I’m too lazy to even dilute it with water…

    • Sarah Lena January 30, 2012 at 12:32 pm #

      @Katherine, Lazy .. or smart? Efficient? See, I often camouflage my “lazy” by calling it “efficient”. Corporate-thinking will do that to you. 🙂

  4. Rick January 28, 2012 at 5:40 pm #

    My family can cover the shooting and building during a zombie apocalypse. We need someone who can cook, too. Maybe we should start a Zombie Apocalypse Crew, just in case.

    • Sarah Lena January 30, 2012 at 12:30 pm #

      @Rick, Totally agree! We should start a local zombie-proof village. Everyone has a job!

  5. TheBookMamma February 1, 2012 at 12:16 pm #

    Stay tuned for the whole teaching you how to shoot thing. I’ve got a lead….
    TheBookMamma wants you to read ..Where We’ve Been

  6. Laura K February 7, 2012 at 11:24 pm #

    I don’t know why you’re calling yourselves unprepared for apocalypse. You’re THEATER PEOPLE. Taxes, we’re unprepared for. Apocalypse… we are totally trained and ready for that.
    You can do many things. Bryan can wire up flash pots. That’s one step away from explosives. I’ll bet you can make shoes from gaffer tape. I know I can. And I can tie knots like a sumbitch. Apocalypse? Pshhh. We got this.


  1. Some Stuff I’ve Bought Lately: Slapdash Edition | The Anvil Tree - July 9, 2012

    […] I have been making my own laundry detergent and fabric softener for about a year now and have no qualms about it. It literally takes me ten minutes to do either and the detergent lasts me five or six months. (The fabric softener lasts a little over a month.) While I love doing this, Bryan complains that the laundry doesn’t smell clean to him. (Translation: it doesn’t smell like ANYTHING. Which is clean, but unscented.) So when I make detergent, I throw a bottle of these pellets in for a little touch of scent. But Gain’s new Sweet Sizzle Fireworks smells SO good that I throw some in with every load. And the scent really lasts! So now everyone is happy: my laundry has minimal additives and Bryan smells good. Win win. […]

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