No-Fuss Homemade Laundry Soap (Liquid)

As promised, here is another version of homemade laundry detergent.  The other day I showed you my version for powdered laundry detergent.  That recipe is great for babies or anyone with sensitive skin, but our whole family uses it and I love it!  View that post here.

Today’s recipe I can’t take credit for.  I found this version of detergent from one of my favorite bloggers, Jill at One Good Thing by Jillie.  Her blog is so full of useful tips and tricks.  Please take a moment to visit her site here!

In Jill’s post, she has great photos telling exactly how to do each step.  It’s so simple and that’s what I love about it.  Here is her step-by-step tutorial.

This recipe is great for HE washing machines, regular machines, safe but effective on cleaning clothes, and also safe for sensitive skin.

Super Fast & Easy Homemade Laundry Detergent

This makes 1 gallon

Ingredients

  • 3 Tablespoons Borax (found in laundry aisle at most grocery stores)
  • 3 Tablespoons Super Washing Soda (found in laundry aisle at most stores)
  • 2 Tablespoons Dawn dish soap (I use the blue dawn, because it cuts through grease better than any other I’ve tried)
  • 4 cups boiling water
  • 1 gallon jug

Directions

  1. Pour 4 cups of boiling water into gallon container.
  2. Add Borax, Washing Soda, and Dawn to container.  Swirl around until all ingredients are dissolved.
  3. Let the liquid cool.
  4. Once it’s cool, fill the container almost all the way to the top with water.  Bubbles will come out the top of the container.
  5. Use about one cup for large loads.

A few extra tips for you:

* This is safe for HE machines because it is low-sudsing.

* This detergent is watery, but it cleans really well.  It even removes my husband’s grease stains from his work uniforms.  I tried making it more concentrated by using less water, but the dish soap didn’t dissolve and just sat on top of the water.

* Make 2-3 batches at a time.  Use up rate is about 16-20 loads.  But it only costs about $.17/gallon!!  (My powdered soap recipe does seem to last a bit longer.)

Give this or the powdered version a try and let me know what you think!

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Homemade Laundry Soap for Sensitive Skin (or any type of skin)

When did laundry detergent get so expensive?!  Why am I spending $12-$20 on products that I am just washing down the drain?!

We have always been a Tide detergent family.  Liquid…powder…it didn’t matter as long as it smelled good and was Tide.  My husband is a mechanic, so his clothes always come home greasy.  Tide was the only detergent that would remove the stains.

Then my son came along, and our laundry story changed drastically.  He has very sensitive skin, and cannot tolerate anything but a free & clear detergent. (Check out my post on baby powder for sensitive skin)

Free & Clear wasn’t working for me because I like my laundry to smell good.  So, we ended up buying 2 types of detergent: 1 for adults and 1 for baby.  Crazy, huh?

I finally got tired of spending wasting money on brand name detergent that was mostly water.  I found quite a few recipes online, but none really seemed “easy”.  I admit it…I’m a lazy effortless housewife and like things simple and no-fuss.  A lot of the recipes for homemade laundry detergent required grating, cooking, mixing, and waiting. Basically wasting a whole Saturday morning making soap.   Uh…no thanks!

So here is my no-fuss, super-simple recipe for laundry soap!

I use this for my son’s clothes and have had no problems with his eczema.  My husband usually washes his own clothes (I know….he’s a keeper), and he still doesn’t believe a homemade version works as well as his beloved Tide (which we still have a bottle of because he refuses to switch.) But when I get a load of his clothes, I use the homemade version and he never knows the difference. (Until now…sorry honey, now you know.)

Homemade Laundry Soap (Powdered)

Great for babies, sensitive skin, or anyone really

**NOT RECOMMENDED FOR HE WASHING MACHINES (I have another easy recipe for HE washers, come back later for that recipe!)

***The Zote Flakes are what is not recommended for HE washers, but if you use Fels Naptha soap, I believe that is okay for front loading machines.

Ingredients

  • 4 cups Borax
  • 4 cups Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda (not baking soda)
  • 2 cups of Oxygen Booster/Cleaner (OxiClean)
  • 1 box Zote Laundry Flakes (or 2 bars of Zote White soap, or 2 bars of Fels Naptha)

All of these ingredients I found in the laundry aisle at Wal-Mart.

The Zote Laundry flakes is a fairly new product, and may not be available everywhere.  If you can’t find it, just grab 2 bars of Zote White, or 2 bars of Fels Naptha (both in laundry aisle).  Put them in the microwave for about 90 seconds.  This causes the soap to break apart and will easily crumble for you.

Grab a large bowl and layer each ingredient, this helps make mixing easier .  Then  grab a spoon and start mixing.

1 tablespoon per load, or 2 tablespoons for heavily soiled clothes.

I store this in a gallon air-tight canister, but use whatever you have.

That’s how easy it is to make your own laundry detergent!  I think it took a whole 5 minutes to make.

Check back soon for my liquid version of homemade laundry soap.

Send me some comments if you have any tips or questions.  I love to hear from you!

**UPDATE – I finally figured out the cost break down for this version of detergent.  The leading sensitive skin/baby detergent costs approximately $.29 per load.  My homemade version only costs $.07 per load, and yields about 200 loads per batch!!!  Let the savings begin!!

mop it up mondays


5 Simple Steps to a Spa Pedicure

I LOVE a good spa pedicure!  BUT…it’s hard to find time to get a professional pedicure.  So, I am sharing my secrets to get that “spa smoothness”, in your own home!

Step 1: Soak Your Feet

  • Grab a pot, bucket, tub or whatever your feet will comfortably fit in and fill it with warm, warm water.
  • Add a tablespoon of baking soda and a squirt of your favorite hair conditioner to the water. (This helps soften those calluses and combats stinky feet odors.  Plus, it makes your skin super soft!)
  • Set your timer for 15 minutes and relax!  DO NOT MOVE FOR 15 MINUTES!!  (I say this as a reminder to myself, because I have to physically force myself to relax.)

Step 2: The Callus Eliminator

  • Be Natural Callus Eliminator is magical!  I love this product!!
  • Remove your feet from the water and dry with a towel.
  • Grab a pair of gloves, or use a plastic bag to cover your hands.  Squirt about a quarter-sized amount of product into your palm (while wearing the gloves) and rub the product onto the bottom of your feet.  Let product sit for 3-5 minutes.
  • DO NOT use on broken or cracked skin, because it can burn.  Follow the directions carefully.

Step 3: Scrub

  • I use the Mr. Pumice scrubber to scrub the bottom of my feet.  Keep the callus eliminator on during this process.
  • Scrub each foot for a few minutes until feet are smooth.

Step 4: Rinse

  • Put your feet back in the water and rinse all of the callus eliminator off.
  • At this point I use a foot scrub or body scrub (whatever I have on-hand) to wash my feet and legs. (A baking soda paste is also a great exfoliant if you don’t have a scrub.)
  • Rinse thoroughly.  Remove your feet from the water and pat dry.

Step 5: Finishing Touches

  • Now is the time to clip, file and buff your toenails.
  • Massage a foot cream or thick lotion onto feet and legs.
  • If painting toenails, remove the lotion with a little bit of alcohol or polish remover.  Add polish if you want.  (I personally like to leave this up to the professionals.  I usually spend more time removing polish from my toes than actually painting them.  And I never have the patience to let them dry properly.)

That’s it!  Super easy (the hard part for me is trying to get my husband to do this for me).


My Nemesis: Saran Wrap

I am plastic wrap impaired.

Each time I use plastic wrap, a battle ensues in my brain that sounds something like this…”Please, work for me today!”  “Why do you want to stick to only yourself?”  “Why is it so difficult to get a tight seal?”  “Am I doing something wrong?!”  “Do other people have a hard time with this?”  “AGHH!  I give up!  I’ll use the foil.”  Then I take the piece I painstakingly managed to cut it from the roll (after a few cuts to my fingers), spend 10 minutes unsticking it from itself, and eventually end up wadding it up in a ball and throwing it away.  It never fails…this happens every.single.time.

I see beautifully wrapped dishes at pot-luck dinners; their seals are tight and it’s actually sticking to the bowl.  How do they do that?!  So, I have been researching this dilemma, and have found a few tips.

  • Saran wrap is best used for sandwiches, cut produce (i.e. cut watermelon, apples, etc…), and any food that doesn’t need a bowl.  Think bread, cookies, fruits and veggies, not that left over soup.  Tupperware is better for those.
  • It prefers to stick to glass and itself.  So, I guess if your bowl is plastic or metal, you’ll have to wrap the entire bowl like a present…
  • Wrap your container first to create a tight seal before tearing the plastic from the roll. (This one takes practice…food service kitchens do this.  Set the dish on the counter, unroll a large portion of wrap, wrap dish tightly, then cut from the roll.)
  • Wrap an open container of ice cream before returning it to the freezer, to prevent those yucky ice crystals.
  • Use it as a shelf liner.  Love this one!  Cover the shelves in your fridge for an easy clean-up later.  (I recommend cleaning the fridge first…I know, I know, no fun.)
  • Store your roll in the freezer to prevent it from sticking to itself.
  • Just ditch the wrap all together and opt for shower caps!

I suppose I will keep the roll in my drawer, but will use it for things other than the occasional food storage.  Help me out on this one!  Leave me a comment about how you manage to beautifully wrap everything with this evil stuff!!  I’ve heard good reviews about Glad’s Press and Seal, and may try it, but I will probably always consider plastic wrap to be the spawn of Satan.


How to Make a Hand Print Keepsake

I love a baby’s hand and foot print.  In my opinion there is nothing cuter, except maybe the baby itself.  I have seen hand print keepsakes everywhere and thought they were just adorable.  But me being a frugal and creative mama, I thought I could make my own.

I have a wonderful book with over 100 helpful hints on how to use baking soda.  In it is a recipe for “Play Clay”.  I like this recipe, because it’s really simple, you can keep it pliable for up to a week, and then dry your creations when your done.

Recipe for Play Clay

  • 2 cups baking soda
  • 1 cup corn starch
  • 1 1/4 cups cold water
  • Food coloring (optional)

Start by mixing the baking soda and cornstarch in a saucepan.  Add food coloring to your water if you choose.  I didn’t add any to mine.  Add water to baking soda and cornstarch mixture, stir to mix, then cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, 10 to 15 minutes.  Don’t overcook.

Clay should have the consistency of mashed potatoes.  Remove from heat and transfer to a plate.

Cover with a damp cloth to cool.  Mine took about an hour to cool.

I then rolled out part of the clay with a rolling-pin to about 1/2 inch thickness.  The other part I put in a container and stored it in the fridge for later.  It keeps for a week, but my son doesn’t do crafts so it eventually was tossed out with some left overs.

Then I dragged my son kicking and screaming to his high chair and placed his hand in the clay.  Remember…he doesn’t do crafts, so I only tortured him long enough to get a good print. 😉

Once the print was made, I cut around it with a knife.

I then had a cute hand print in clay that needed to be dried.  Before you dry your print, punch a hole in the top big enough for a ribbon to go through so that you can hang your keepsake up.

There are a few ways to dry the play clay.

  1. Air:  Set on wire rack overnight
  2. Oven: Preheat to 350˚, turn off, then place finished object on a cooking sheet.  Leave in until oven is cold.
  3. Microwave: Place object on a paper towel, bake at medium power for 30 seconds, turn over, bake for another 30 seconds.  Repeat until dry.

I like things simple, but I also like instant gratification.  I opted for the oven method of drying.  Worked pretty well.

Get crafty and let me know what kind of creations you come up.  I like the idea of giving these as a Mother’s Day gift for the Grandmas!


Friday Funny

The innocence of vintage advertisements make me chuckle.  The good ‘ole days when your doctor recommended Lucky brand cigarettes, women vacuumed in heels and pearls, and no one thought twice about giving the baby cocaine teething tablets.  I threw in a few of my favorite Anne Taintor images as well!!

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Have a great weekend!


Homemade Baby Powder for Sensitive Skin

My son Roland will be 2 in a couple of weeks.  It’s a little sad for this mama, because I am realizing that this adventurous toddler is no longer a baby.  He makes me laugh, knows exactly how to push my buttons, and most importantly, helps me slow down and enjoy life.  He is my daily dose of delight.

R has always had sensitive skin.  He is very fair with light hair…we blame both aunts for that one, as the husband and I have dark hair and not-so-fair skin. Since he was just a couple of months old, R has battled eczema.  It’s never been severe, but it’s been enough to be annoying…and itchy.  Mostly on his back, upper arms and diaper area, the eczema does effect his cheeks and face sometimes, too.  We tried everything…soaps, lotions, creams, heavy creams, no creams, changing laundry soap, and everything in between.  A combination of free and clear detergent, Aveeno eczema relief cream, Aveeno soothing bath treatments and an Rx cream, we finally have it to the “manageable” point.  It’s still hard to keep that diaper area free of itchiness, though.

With potty training on the horizon, he is still in diapers.  I use powder with each diaper change to keep him dry.  At my baby shower, I received tons of baby powder!  I just recently ran out…another reminder that my baby is growing up.  I thought that now would be a great time to try a homemade recipe.

After many searches online, the ones I’ve found are very similar.  Using cornstarch, arrow-root powder, essential oils, etc…  I wanted something simple, easy, and something that would also help soothe his sensitive skin.  Here is the recipe I came up with:

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups of Cornstarch
  • 1 Packet of Aveeno Baby Soothing Bath Treatment
  • The bath treatment is made of natural colloidal oatmeal, known for its soothing properties to itchy, dry skin.  Plus, it helps soothe diaper rash.  The cornstarch absorbs moisture and is used a base for some baby powders.  With all of the hype about talc now, this is my preferred baby powder.

I combined each of the ingredients in a bowl and whisked them together.

After whisking the cornstarch and the bath treatment together, it was still a little lumpy for my standards.  I then sifted it through a flour sifter into a larger bowl.  This is what it looked like after sifting.

I took a pint-sized mason jar and punched a few holes into the top, and poured my powder into the jar.  I originally filled the jar full.  Not a good idea.  Since the powder is a little thicker than the store-bought version, it needs a little space to move around.  I emptied half of the jar and put the lid back on.  This worked much better!

I took the other half of the powder and put it in a ziplock bag, and am now storing that in the freezer.

A few sprinkles of this and you are good to go.  Enjoy!

 

EXTRA TIP:  Keep a jar of this mixture by the bathtub and add a scoop of this and 2 T. of baking soda under running water. This will make a great soak for those pesky eczema and diaper rash flare-ups.  Cornstarch and baking soda when run in a bath are very soothing for rashes, eczema, poison ivy, and much more!

Now, all I need is to find a cute label for my jar!!