I have absolutely fallen in love with making my own household cleaners, specifically laundry detergent and all-purpose cleaner. I can't tell you how excited I am that I have this new-found skill for a variety of reasons.
Back when my baby was actually a baby I was a cloth-diapering mama. (In case you were wondering, I used these, but then they were versions 1+2...I really hope this baby works out so I can get some of these!). So many people asked how I kept up with it all, particularly as a working mom. Honestly, it was so much easier to me than purchasing diapers. All I had to do was invest up-front (actually, I invested twice - bought a set early on for $225 and then another set to add to my collection later on $225). When were running low, I didn't have to worry how I was going to run to the store to buy more diapers. All I had to do was stick them in the wash, which I did daily or every other day, and when they were done I had a new set of diapers. I couldn't imagine all that trash or running out when I needed new diapers. I also breastfed and then made my own baby food, so I rarely had to make special trips to the grocery store, which really helped this mama. Not to mention the cost savings - After I was done with the diapers knowing we were infertile I sold them to a friend for $50 - could have gotten much more for them I'm sure online - in total I spent about $400 which worked out to about $5.15 per week for diapering my son. Not too shabby.
So what does this have to do with laundry detergent? I feel so free not having to worry about running out and going to spend $17-$30 on a container of laundry detergent. All I have to do is keep stocked up on the ingredients (which admittedly can be a bit hard to find, I was lucky and found all at Walmart in one trip). Then, whenever I start getting low I can just make more. How super cool is that?
I learned about how to make detergent here. She includes all the instructions, ingredients, and even breaks down the cost for you. The only difference I made, based on her picture, is that I grated the Fels-Naptha bar a bit more finely purely because I didn't know better (but it does seem to make it work well). I did this several weeks ago when I was still in school and I find the investment super worthy. It took me 15 minutes tops to make the soap and that's because I hand grated the Fels-Naptha bar. I gave half the recipe to my sister, so I'm starting to get low. I intend to purchase a stock-pile of soap bars, grate them using my food processer (super fast) and then make a huge batch that I can just have on hand for a long-time. LOVE IT. And it smells super good. I've also stopped using liquid fabric softener with great results and yes, indeed, the laundry detergent is cleaning my clothes very well - I'd say better than my previous brand and I'm not noticing fabric fading or damage either.
She used to sell the mix but as of this month has stopped. She had great ideas about making it as gifts with cute little containers for new moms (baby showers), college students, or just anyone who needs a pick-me-up. I'm definitely going to borrow that idea.
It was no surprise then that I moved fairly quickly onto the household cleaner bandwagon as well. I've heard for years that all you needed for good cleaning was vinegar, lemons, and maybe some bleach. We definitely keep the bleach around (someday I'll let you know how much vomit I clean up), but historically I've used an ammonia-based (Lysol, Mr. Clean, etc.) for general cleaning. It's not too expensive, but with little kids I can definitely appreciate the desire for a way to clean that is less chemical heavy. And, I love cheap. So, a vinegar-based spray that I can make as needed, is inexpensive, and safe for my kiddos to help me clean with (!!!) is right up my alley.
The "recipe" is simple. Hot water and vinegar. The huge bottle of vinegar at Costco when I bought it was about $3.50 and you use so little that it lasts forever. Seriously forever. And, you don't need yet another ingredient on your shopping list - just vinegar! Check out how to make it and other home types of cleaner here. I grabbed a bottle of store-bought chemical cleaner because it was closer the other day and the smell was so strong and acrid. I've gotten used to the vinegar smell which actually is quite pleasant as a cleaner (to me anyway). It's a great deodorizer.
I got this idea from my super-mom friend Ms. Brit. I just love her. Such a great gal AND has given me some wonderful ideas on how to do this mothering thing. I love her kids too - the oldest always gets excited to see me and it makes my day. Shoot on over and give her some love will you?