Friday, February 24, 2012

Ugly as homemade soap...

So after a trip to the grocery store last month I was looking at the cash register receipt. (something I don't normally do) All in all I added up over $30 dollars just in cleaning supplies, and I didn't even get "stocked up" on things. I just picked up a few things that I had coupons for! Its highway robbery I tell you! I looked at the things that I purchased: dishwasher soap, laundry detergent, glass cleaner, and shower /bathroom cleaner, and it just bugged me to think that I was paying so much money for all of these products and ultimately I was just washing all of this stuff down the drain. 

Later that week I laid in bed just stewing over all that money that I was wasting on products that I KNEW I could make myself for so much less money. I began looking at the backs of the products that I'd purchased, then I got on the Internet and began searching around until I found recipes for every single one of them! Some of them I already knew, but I'd just forgotten because its so much easier to just pick it up and put it in my cart rather than make it at home. (or so I thought) 

So on my next trip into town I picked up a few supplies to make my own cleaning products. I wanted to be able to test them against the "name brand" and here's what I came up with:

Homemade Dishwasher Detergent:

  1. 4 cups Epsom Salt (I found it in the Pharmacy section of my grocery store)
  2. 2 cups 20 Mule Team Borax (4lbs 12 oz or 76 oz ) (2.15 kg) found in the detergent isle 
  3. 2 cups Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda 
  4. 12 packages of unsweetened lemonade drink mix, like kool-aid. (colored drink mix will stain your soap dispenser)                                                                                                        or 1/2 cup of powdered/dry Citric Acid (which can be found in the canning section of your grocery store)
  5. White Vinegar -  to pour in your "Jet Dry" dispenser for a rinse aid (NOT Apple Cider/brown vinegar like you use for cooking)


Sift all of your dry ingredients together: Borax, Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda, Epsom Salt and lemonade drink mix in a large bowl. The lemon drink mix is really fluffy and powdery, so I recommend pouring that in first. (Trust me and learn from my mistakes) 

I use a Purex Crystals container. It has a pouring spout and it has a measuring cap that's marked with Tablespoons so it makes things easy, and this chick likes easy! I had a little more than would fit in the bottle, so I put the extra in a Ziploc bag, marked it, and stored it under my sink. 

It only takes one scoop  - about tablespoon, to sufficiently clean a regular load of dishes. I know that doesn't sound like enough, BUT that's because the commercial manufactures are used to adding "fluff" and "filler" to their products to make us use more, sort of the same way they water down shampoo and liquid soaps.

If you like you can cut these portions in half just try it out. You might find that you can use less Epson Salt if you have soft water. We have super hard water on the Outer Banks, so I formulated this for hard water. You're going to have to buy large boxes of Borax and Washing Soda anyway because that's just how they come, but if you plan on trying the laundry detergent recipe you can just use it in that recipe, or you can store for later use.


Homemade Laundry Detergent: 

I saw several variations of this same recipe, and honestly I've tried all of the ones that I saw on the internet over the years. All of the ones that I've found work just as well as the other. The only thing that I found, or actually the only thing that is missing is the fresh scent. Sure they get our clothes clean, but I really like that nice fresh scent of clean clothes, too and none of the homemade detergents that I've tried have been able to do that. I got thinking and I came up with this formulation. It works great in hard water and it smells great, too.

Here's what you'll need:
  1. 1 - 55 ounce box of Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda 
  2. 1 - 76 ounce box of 20 Mule Team Borax 
  3. 1 - bar of Octagon Bar Soap (**note** you can use other soap if you prefer, I remember my grandma used to make her soap with Octagon and it was cheap, and I liked the smell. Use whatever tickles your fancy – Other brands of commonly used bar soaps include Pure & NaturalFels-Naptha and/or ZOTE.  Ocatogon,  ZOTE and Fels-Naptha are made for and sold as “laundry bar soap.” and can be found in the laundry asile)
  4. 1- box of Epson Salt (you can use Kosher cooking salt if you perfer)
  5. 1 - 28 ounce bottle of Purex Crystals

(If you made the Homemade dish washing detergent above you'll already have all of these ingredients and only need to add the Purex Crystals)

Mix together:
  1. 1 bar of shaved bar soap (I used my food processor to quickly grate my bar of soap, and its soap, so its not like I can't get my food processor blades clean again after grating soap...)
  2. 2 cups of Borax
  3. 2 cups of Epson Salts
  4. 2 cups of Washing Soda
  5. 2 1/2 cups of Purex Crystals
Sift together all of the dry ingredients first, then add the shaved soap last. Shake everything together and enjoy the results! 

Remember: you only need to use ONE-TWO Tablespoons of this powdered detergent per load, and less for smaller loads. Don't get excited if you don't see a lot of suds, you're not supposed to. (Again, this is formulated for hard water, so if you are seeing too many suds you can back off on the salt or cut back on the soap content.) 

This really is UGLY soap, but I swear it really works and it smells soooo awesome! You don't have to use the Purex Crystals. There are a couple of other types of fabric softener crystals on the market that you could use if you prefer another scent, or if you could leave the crystals out if you wanted to save money or if you don't like the crystals. (But the crystals is what gives it the amazing fresh smell...)

Regarding High Efficiency (HE) Front-Load Washers

HE front-load washers require “special soap” for one reason alone – low suds. Because they use less water, they require soap that is "less sudsy". The good news is, this homemade detergent is VERY low suds. The ”special” HE detergent is just another advertising mechanism to push consumers to buy “special soap” for unnecessarily high prices. Don't fall for the hype!
Shower and other hard surface cleaner
This one really got to me! As I've said over and over, we have "hard water" or water with a high mineral content. If you don't have an expensive water softener then you can kiss shiny shower doors and chrome fixtures good bye unless you spray them constantly, and who has time for that?

This is by far the easiest and cheapest of all of the homemade cleaners to make. This is simply equal parts white vinegar and blue Dawn dish washing liquid mixed in a spray bottle. 
I've been using this concoction for a really long time and I've used both the generic detergent and the Dawn brand. The only difference that I've seen is that the Dawn brand has a little bit less of an "ammonia" type odor to it. I haven't found that it cleans any better, but its normally a costs a little less. 

I use this in my showers, on sinks, a few drops in my bucket when I scrub my floors, on my kitchen counters, when I wash my vehicles it cleans rims and shines the chrome on our motorcycle like no body's business! We live on the water and we always have salt spray on our windows. I spray a little water on my windows, I squirt a little bit of this on my windows and then rinse it off and I don't even have to use a squeegie. 
I'll never buy Windex again!

1 comment:

  1. Girlie girl, I've been making my own laundry soap for about two years now, and absolutely love it!!!!! Instead of using fels naptha or colgate, I use ivory soap.... works great!!! And Ive been using vinegar for cleaning for a while too. Great ways to save money!