Wednesday, June 29, 2011

DIY Laundry Soap

Did I mention that I made my own laundry soap? I found many recipes around the net, but this one seemed to be the easiest. It works in HE washers, and front loaders, too.

You need three ingredients:
I found the Fels Naptha at the grocery store (or use Zote). The washing soda and Borax also at the grocery store (or Wally World if you prefer). Usually, Walmart is your best bet. None of them were particularly expensive. I think I spent $10 max on all three together and it makes more than one batch.

Now, the DIY part-

Use your handy dandy grater and grate the fels-naptha (or Zote).
To that grated fels-naptha, add
1 Cup borax and
1 Cup washing soda.
Mix well and you're done.
Yup. Done.

To use it- you use 1 Tablespoon per load of clothes. I've been using this for a week and have seen no difference between my homemade version and the expensive store-bought laundry soap.

Okay- one difference. Mine is cheaper.

I think out of the Borax and Washing Soda, I can get probably 5 batches of DIY Laundry soap. I just have to purchase a new Fels-Naptha for each batch. That's it.

Go me!

UPDATE 8/10/2011:
I did some research on OxiClean and guess what? It seems that OxiClean is made up of sodium percarbonate and some cute little secret ingredient blue granules. (Think, 'Color Safe Bleach.)
Now, what is sodium percarbonate, you ask? Simple, it's granulated hydrogen peroxide. When mixed with water, it turns into oxygen, water and soda ash. 

What is Washing Soda? soda ash. One common source of washing soda is the ashes of plants- for this reason it is called soda ash.

So what is this DIY laundry soap? It's a better version of OxiClean for two reasons-
1- Borax is better at cleaning laundry and keeping whites white, and
2- you know exactly what you are getting, unlike the OxiClean which had something 'secret' in it.
A third reason would be it is MUCH cheaper to make your own laundry soap!

With the DIY laundry soap recipe above, you are using Borax (a cleaner and whitener) with Washing Soda (a stain remover and cleaner) along with Fels-Naptha (a laundry soap bar helpful in treating stains).
So feel free to make your own laundry soap! You'll be glad you did!

UPDATE 11/17/2014: I've been using the 'liquid' (or rather, gel form) of the same laundry soap and it works just as well, and better on stains when you rub it directly into the stain. My fiancee works in manufacturing and comes home covered in machine grease. This works like a charm!
The original positing is HERE for the wet version of the same laundry soap- but the basic  recipe is like this:

Grate 2 bars Fels Naptha (or Zote) and dissolve in 6 cups hot water (not boiling), remove from heat.
Add 2 cups Borax and 2 cups Washing Soda. Mix well.
Let sit until top is solidified. Using a hand blender, mix well, adding in little bits of water to make end result smooth. Spoon into jars.

1 Tablespoon per load. Works great on stains. It's the only thing my mother uses now that I gave her some!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Pore Strips My Pocket of Cash

Do you use those pore strips? You know the kind, you remove the backing, get it a little wet and put it across your nose only to rip off your skin remove it in a few minutes along with the gunk in your pores?
Yes? Well, Have I got a money saving DIY for you.
You can make a homemade version of the same thing! Yes, you can!

I found this recipe here, if you want to go to the source. But here's what you need:

A make-up brush
A small dish
1 tsp milk
1 tsp gelatin

Mix the milk and gelatin in the small dish and microwave for about 10 seconds. Stir and verify it is kinda goopy and not too hot before you put it on your skin. Use the brush to apply it to your face (nose etc). Wait 10 minutes and peel off.

That's all there is to it. Easy peasy.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

TP Organization

I organized my electronics drawer today....

Who knew TP rolls were so versatile?

Why Didn't I Think of That?

How often do you replace your shower curtain? If you're like me, you do it a couple of times a year, usually when the rings finally rip through the holes and no longer hold the curtain up.
I've been known to wash shower curtains, extending their life so long as the holes remain intact.

But I've another idea....

Winter is almost upon us. Okay, so it's not. It's like six months away...but if you start now, you might have a couple used shower curtains to use for this project.

Make your own Magnetic Windshield cover. (I know, right? Why didn't *I* think of that!!?)

Take your old shower curtain and lay it over your windshield. Cut around the windshield, leaving enough room for a hem. Then sew magnets into the hem and voila! An almost free, home-made windshield cover.

OR you can spend $20 bucks on something you won't have as much pride in...

Friday, June 24, 2011

We be Jammin'

So I walked in to my local Wally World the other day and lo and behold, strawberries were on sale for $1.10 a pound. Yeah, I know! It must have been a bumper crop this year. Of course I bought some. Some? More like 8 pounds worth!

They are gorgeous, no?

I thought, hey, I can make strawberry shortcake, or have strawberries on cereal, or better yet, I can make jam!, how do you make jam?
The last time I made jam, it was as a spectator when my mother made strawberry freezer jam last year. Before that I was a child in Nova Scotia and making Blueberry Jam with my grandmother. (I won't tell you how long ago THAT was!)

So this morning I woke with a stream of mojo and decided to get with it...

Once I took off the stems and washed them, I started to mash them up.

Now, I can't make regular jam because I do not own a canning pressurizer or even have a pot large enough to cover the jars and boil once filled with the red deliciousness.

So I made the next best thing- Freezer Jam. It takes less berries, but works just as well. And all you do after boiling your mash is put it into washed, rinsed and sanitized jars. (I boiled the empty jars in a large pot to sanitize since I do not own a dishwasher, either.)

Once the jars were sufficiently cleaned, I put the sugar and pectin in a pot, boiled it for 1 minute, removed it from the heat, added the berries, mixing well and poured 1 cup into each jar. I put the lids on to keep dirt particles out and the only thing I have left to do is let them sit on the counter for 24 hours before I add the bands and put them in the freezer.
It's that easy.

Personally, I think I did rather well with my lack of equipment. And the best part? I still have 4 pounds of strawberries left!
What should I do with those?

A Lot of Dough

I have an ex brother-in-law that worked for a major bread company. He knew which breads were fresher than the rest. Somehow, I never bothered to ask him how to tell the difference. Well, the people at Wise Bread have shown me the light....or the wheat, so to speak.

Breads have different colored tabs. The tabs tell you when the bread was baked. If you ever forget what color is for which day, go by the alphabet, because the colors are in alphabetical order:

Monday: Blue
Tuesday: Green
Thursday: Red
Friday: White
Saturday: Yellow

And here's a handy chart:

Now that's what I call helpful!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

DIY Liquid Hand Soap

First off, this recipe is compliments of Savvy Housekeeping.

I love doing some DIY, crafty, save money endeavors! This one did not disappoint.
Usually when you buy liquid hand soap, you're paying $2 for the cheap stuff and up to $6 for the good stuff. And that's usually the small sizes!

With this do-it-yourself version- you need water (got it!), bar soap (yeah, think I can come up with some of that, too) and glycerin (Okay, not usually on my shelf, but not hard to find at a pharmacy or discount store).

That's it, folks.

How easy is it? Three steps. Three steps easy. Here ya go:

10 cups water (use a liquid measuring cup)
1 cup shaved soap (use a dry measuring cup)
1 T glycerin.

Take your bar of soap- any kind you want (different bars render different results, so you'll have to play around) and your handy-dandy grater and grate your soap. As you can see, I grate my soap and then put it into a mason jar for later use in some other project.

Then, use a large pot and put in 10 cups of water, 1 dry cup of grated soap, and 1 Tablespoon glycerin. The mixture doesn't necessarily have to boil. You just want to heat it long enough that all the soap melts.

Then I turned off the stove and walked away.

Yup. That's it. I went out and ran some errands and had lunch and enjoyed my day.
When I got home, I checked the pot. The soap was now cold, and gelling (gel-ing? is that a word?).
I went ahead and added some essential oil at this point. About 10 drops of my favorite scent and stirred it through. Once mixed thoroughly, put into your existing, empty, liquid soap bottles. You will have some left over, depending on how many empty soap bottles you have. I just store my excess liquid soap in a 2-liter soda bottle under the sink. It's ready whenever I need to refill.

This goes a long way! You can get probably 5 or 6 bottles of soap out of this, depending on the size of your soap bottle.

Trust me when I say that you might need to play around a bit. Different soaps react differently. For example, if the soap you buy is a moisturizing soap, it may not gel properly, or if it does, it may not make bubbles when you wash your hands. If you do not use enough glycerin (the magic ingredient) it may not gel at all.
Some bar soaps are really lathery...that is, the type of oils used in making the bar soap is directly related to how much it lathers when used.
Other factors affecting the lather or bubble-ness of soap could be salt or sugar amounts in your brand. A third factor affecting the amount of bubbles soap produces is the water itself- hard water (water that contains lots of minerals) will not lather as much, no matter the brand of soap used. Whereas soft water will bubble a lot.

Again, play around with your circumstances. Maybe add a 1/2 t salt or find soft water if you are experiencing a non-lathering soap.
But, no matter what, the soap will clean without the bubbles. :)