Make Your Own Laundry Detergent - Simplified

Some years ago, I posted my recipe for homemade laundry detergent and fabric softener (Make Your Own Environmentally Friendly Detergent and Fabric Softener). Since then, I have made a few changes to simplify the process, and thought that I would share them with you.

One of the steps, grating the bar of laundry soap by hand - a very laborious and painful task (especially if you have carpal tunnel, arthritis, etc) is out. I switched from the Fels-Naptha Laundry Soap bars, to Zote (brand) White Laundry Flakes - and I had a V8 moment when I discovered this pre-grated soap! It has probably been around for a while and I was just either oblivious, or it just wasn't in my neighborhood stores until recently. It is slightly more expensive than buying the bars, but I think the trade-off is worth it for the time saved and being pain-free.

Note: There is an askerisk (*) on the back of the box stating "Not recommended for high-efficiency machines." however I am not sure if they meant for those using the soap exclusively.  It may not be recommended because high-efficiency machines use less water, therefore making it harder for the soap to dissolve. As part of a laundry detergent mixture though, I have not had any issues.

One 17.6 oz box is equal to two bars of soap, so I increased my other ingredients to make up for the extra bar and it lasts twice as long:
1 box of Zote Flakes
2 cups of Borax
2 cups of Washing Soda
Combine all ingredients into one airtight container - 1/4 cup per washer load.

The liquid version of the recipe involved dissolving the same ingredients listed above in boiling water, then cooling before transferring to a container. Increasing the water to two cups would be the change for the new version. Lately though, I have opted for the quicker version using the blue Dawn dishwashing liquid (1/2 cup), Washing Soda (1/2 cup), Borax (1/4 cup) and hot water (5 cups). Dissolve the Borax and Washing Soda with the hot water (I mix in a gallon jug) then add the Dawn, cap and swirl - done!

Both versions of the liquid detergents need to be shaken/mixed before using (1/4 cup per load) because the ingredients do separate, but for those who prefer liquid over powder for cold water washes, it's another option.

As far as the Fabric Softener recipe goes (below), I still make it when there is time, but lately I have just used the easiest of all recipes -  1/4 cup of distilled white vinegar in the fabric softener dispenser - done!

Here is is again:
1 cup baking soda
6 cups distilled white vinegar
8 cups water
10 drops essential oils (optional)
bucket & container to pour into after mixing

Mix baking soda and one cup of the water in a bucket. Slowly add the vinegar. When it stops fizzing add the rest of the water, then essential oils of your choosing, if desired. Pour into container - shake before using.

Laundromat Tips - Get It Done Quick!

Most of us end up at a Laundromat at some point in our lives, whether it is because of your own washer being broken, or just not having one at all, there are ways to make sure it is a hassle-free experience.

In fact, many people prefer Laundromats because they can do a week's load (or more) of laundry in one fell swoop, as well as bigger items like bedding and rugs that might not fit in a regular washer and dryer.

Here are a few tips from some Laundromat veterans to help get it all done quickly...

My GE Top-Load Washer Review, and an OMG Update on Glass Lid!

This is about the GE 4.6 cu ft top load washer model GTW680BSJWS.

When I was shopping for a new washer and dryer last year, many of the reviews I read were written within a few days of purchase. Since I’ve been using this machine for the past year, I thought that I would share my opinion, since often times reviews are written by people who have just received the washer, or may have only used it once or twice.

crackled/shattered glass
Because of the laundry space we have available, front-loading machines are not an option. I would not be able to leave the washer door open to air out after washing, so it would probably become stinky in no time.

For the past 15 years I’ve had a front-loading washer, and really had not paid too much attention to changes in washer technology. The first thing I noticed on some of the new top loaders was no post (agitator) in the middle. The pitch for these HE top-loaders is that they are quieter, use less water and are gentler on fabrics. Plus, without the agitator, you can fit bulkier items like blankets/comforters more easily. Sounded good - no more mangled underwire bras or stretched out sweaters!

How to Wash Cloth Diapers

First, I would like to say thank you to those of you reading this who are already using cloth diapers and even to those who are seriously considering going the cloth diaper route, for doing your part in saving landfills from thousands of diapers. It takes an estimated 450 years for disposable diapers to decompose in a landfill - that's disgusting!

Secondly, the cloth diapers of today have changed a lot since my days of changing diapers! Way back in the day I used plain white cloth diapers, secured by safety-pins and a separate, waterproof pull-on style pant on top. Those nylon covers were bulky, ugly, and very inconvenient if you had a messy change on your hands! Then there was the fragrant, wet diaper pail for pre-soaking, ugh.

Today's cloth diapers with their all-in-one design styles and snap close covers in fun colors/patterns, it is an attractive, money saving alternative, even if you do it part-time.