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Back to the basics simplicity feels good PDF Print E-mail
Written by Wauneta Breeze   
Thursday, 07 January 2016 17:59

By Lori Pankonin


Bubbles, bubbles and more bubbles.

Bubble baths have indeed provided hours upon hours of entertainment for our grandkids. The girls would take multiple baths in a day if allowed. Jet power found bubbles stacking up with amazing lasting strength, far more impressive than any bubble baths we took in my growing-up years.

As the kids formed beards and crowns, they learned they could make air pockets within the bubbles. Of course they got a raise out of Grandma when it appeared they didn’t come up for air.

What continued to astound me after the bath-time fun was the dirty aftermath of the bubbles. If you didn’t tend to them to make sure they dissolved and washed down the drain, their dried form left a sticky dirty residue which required extensive scrubbing.

One time the girls took delight in scooping up bubbles and tossing them in Grandpa’s shower. They anticipated him opening his shower door to be greeted by the white mass of bubble mania. I’ll have to say, it made me chuckle.

The day’s activities progressed and Grandpa didn’t shower until later. Oh my. Rather than fluffy bubbles to greet him, his shower looked filthy.

Bubbles are basically soap and water. Why do they result in dirt? I realize that skin and oils combine with soap to form bathtub rings. But bubbles dried on a tub appear dirty even on their own.

Such realization made me like my homemade laundry detergent, which I started making years ago, even more. I’m not even sure why but I was attracted to a simple recipe with three ingredients. You simply grate a Fels Naptha bar and blend it with Borox and washing soda. It doesn’t take long to blend a month’s supply.

What’s a Fels Naptha bar? I hadn’t heard of it either but found the very inexpensive bar in the laundry section at the grocery store. I picked up several and the young gal at the cash register commented that it must be something new.

Well actually, no. In fact, it’s very possible that the gal’s great-great-great-great-grandma might have used it as the bar was first made in 1893. How many things are still on the market after 122 years? One thing is for sure, there are shelves and shelves of other products that surround it. Yet it’s still being touted as a great stain remover. I took interest in reading that it’s also a home remedy for poison ivy discomforts.

I like how the simple homemade laundry concoction deodorizes and cleans. What I soon discovered is there’s rarely any lent in the dryer trap, suggesting to me that the fibers aren’t breaking down as much in the clothes.

It took me awhile to get used to the fact that the mixture doesn’t suds up at all. Now after noticing the nasty results from bubbles, the no-suds effect is another plus. Suds and bubbles don’t mean clean.

I also adopted the tip of using white vinegar instead of fabric softener. My mother-in-law used vinegar in her hair as a rinse. You’d think it would cause a vinegar smell in the clothes and hair but it doesn’t. And I’ve never had to clean gunk out of the rinse cycle compartment in the washer since.

Marketing led us to stray from some of the very basic cleaning supplies used generations ago. Soda, vinegar, ammonia. I’ve been adopting the concept of simplicity more and more. I like having products on my shelf that grandmas from years gone by used. Back to the basics.

LORI PANKONIN is co-publisher of Johnson Publications newspapers in Imperial, Wauneta and Grant, and part-owner of the Holyoke Enterprise in Holyoke, Colo. E-mail: ljpank@chase3000.