Monday, September 5, 2011

Laundry Room Fun! Make Your Own Soap and Cleaners!

Happy Monday!  There was time when Monday was traditionally laundry day.  When I was a child I often helped Grandma Zetta with her laundry.  Believe me, that was an all-day affair!  She had one of those old wringer washers with big old tubs.  Not as primitive as the one shown below...but it might as well have been.  She didn't have a laundry room...or an indoor outhouse.  She still added blueing to the rinse to whiten her whites and mixed up a bucket of starch to dip her pillowcases in before hanging them on the line.  You wouldn't believe it was the 60's would you?
These days, many of us are learning to be more self-reliant and thrifty.  One way to save a little money is to make your own laundry and cleaning products.  I am going to include instructions for making four different products. Utah is known as the Beehive State because her people are known to be hardworking and industrious.  Our symbol is a beehive.  To decorate my container labels I chose a pretty French beehive from

It's fun to decorate containers, but re-using your spray bottles is even thriftier.
(Just be sure to label what's in the bottle.)

Homemade Laundry Soap

Here's what you need:
  1. 2 cups finely shredded bar soap (about one 4.5 oz. bar)
  2. 1 cup Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda
  3. 1 cup 20 Mule Team Borax.
Ivory Soap shreds easily.  I use Yardley Lavender Soap because I love the scent (and I have about 30 bars of it), but it's a harder soap.  Use 2 tablespoons per load.  Works great in HE machines.

My Soap Container with Bee Lid.
Tupperware works just as well!

Vinegar Window Cleaner

You will need:
  1. 1/4 teaspoon liquid dish soap
  2. 1/4 cup vinegar
  3. 2 cups water
Mix in a spray bottle.  I don't like the smell of vinegar, so I made my own lavender vinegar.  It has a fresher, less vinegary scent.  Pour boiling hot vinegar over lavender sprigs in a glass jar and let it sit for a couple of weeks...or days.

Lavender has been used for centuries to freshen linens.

All Purpose/Window Cleaner

A former neighbor of mine uses this to clean almost everything from the bathroom to the windows.  She says it is safe on most, but not all, household surfaces.  It is the main cleaner she uses.
  1. 1/2 cup ammonia
  2. 2 cups rubbing alchohol
  3. 1 teaspoon dishwashing liquid
  4. water
 In a one-gallon container, mix ammonia and rubbing alcohol. Fill with water and add dishwashing liquid.  It is supposed to work better than most commercial window and kitchen sprays.  Alcohol is the secret ingredient.
This is not Grandma Zetta's old iron, but they used to call them "Sad Irons."  I don't know why, but I know that ironing makes me "sad."  Grandma Zetta taught me how to iron, but mostly I "dryer iron"...and when I'm too lazy to do that...I use Wrinkle Releaser, a handy-dandy spray invented for women like me. To make Wrinkle Releaser, you only need two ingredients: 1 teaspoon of fabric softener and 1 cup of water.  Put it in a small spray bottle and spritz your troubles away.  Actually, I haven't tried it yet...but I'm assuming my troubles will be spritzed away. =D

I am so grateful for my cheerful laundry room and the lovely red washer and dryer (not shown) that give me the free time that Grandma Zetta never seemed to have.  Not too many years later, Grandpa built a bathroom and utility room onto the back of their house and she was able to get a more modern washer, 'tho she still hung her wash outdoors.  To this day, I love the smell of sun dried linens.

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