Sunday, January 8, 2012

Keeping it Simple - Homemade Laundry Detergent & Household Cleaner

Simple ways to keep everyday life running smoothly without breaking the bank.

Homemade Laundry detergent
For laundry, I use a homemade powder. Into a food processer put 1 bar fels naptha soap, quartered, and 1 cup borax, and 1 cup washing soda (NOT baking soda). Process into a fine powder. Some people just use regular soap, like Ivory or something, but I use fels-naptha. It’s cheap enough, about a dollar or so at the grocery.
The whole batch costs about $2, tops. It makes what seems like a small amount of powder, but you only use (get this ONE TO TWO TABLESPOONS for an entire load). I use it for warm and hot loads in powder form, and let it agitate in the washing machine with the water before I add clothes. It will NOT foam a lot, but it still works.
If you regularly use ice-cold water, you can make this powder into a gel soap. Or if you just like liquid soap, you can do it, too. Add a gallon of water to half this powder in a big pot on the stove. Heat to boiling and boil a few minutes. Cool to lukewarm. You’ll need to have empty containers to pour it in. Use only 1/4-1/2 cup of this gel per load.
This will make a ton as well, for very, very cheap.
 Also, make sure you are not using your cooking pots to make soap and other household products . . .
Note: if you have trouble finding the Washing Soda, which is just Sodium Carbonate, you can buy it at:
I'll be honest.  I just use this, because we always have it on hand for our reef aquariums.  Plus, it is hard to find around here. 
If you have REALLY Hard water, you can add some Calgon Water Softener to the mix.  I also like it with my whites, because it binds minerals in the water to keep them from redepositing on the clothes.  Leaving them dingy.

Household Cleaner
Into an empty, appx. 24-oz spray bottle pour
4 oz. vinegar
1 tsp. borax
fill slowly to the top with water, then squirt in about a tsp. of liquid dish soap (I use Method or Seventh Generation). Screw on the spray top and shake. I put in some orange oil and that makes it smell lovely.  (Note from me: Tea Tree oil is a good anti-bacterial/anti-fungal)
You can’t use it to clean mirrors or glass, but as a regular kitchen/bathroom cleaner, it’s absolutely wonderful. I’d guess that it costs me about five to ten cents a bottle, depending on whether the vinegar is bought in bulk and store brand.

Play around with essential oils, find a mix that makes your heart sing.  I like Peppermint and Grapefruit, Ylang Ylang & Vanilla, During the holidays: Cedar & Juniper are very festive (I add a titch of clove too).
The following list contains oils that should be avoided* during pregnancy:
  • Basil
  • Cedarwood
  • Cinnamon
  • Clary sage (OK during labour)
  • Clove
  • Cypress (OK after 5 months)
  • Fennel
  • Hyssop
  • Jasmine (OK during labour)
  • Juniper
  • Lemongrass
  • Myrrh
  • Parsley
  • Pennyroyal
  • Peppermint
  • Rosemary
  • Sweet marjoram
  • Thyme

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