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Ozark Lady
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Homemade soap, cleaners, bleach alternatives

I am changing gears, in many areas, I have been researching mushroom spores, plugs etc. I need input on best place to buy them, as well as, which form...spore, block or plug?

I am changing from hobby gardener to serious gardener also. With all the changes that entails.

To me those seem linked, still they are food related.

But, here I am going off in another direction entirely. And not with an over abundance of confidence.
Has anyone else noticed how the price of laundry detergent looks like a hot air balloon? Up, up, up with no ceiling in sight.

I have also been researching homemade laundry soap. Which led to homemade cleaners, then homemade dish soap, and on.
Well, along the way, I kept reading...with my homemade soap.

You got it, I am about to make my first ever batch of homemade soap, and following that up with homemade laundry soap, no, not using my homemade soap this time, it has to cure.

This does sort of link with this site, it is all about, natural, all about, doing it yourself, it is all about safer alternatives. And lots of soaps have herbs, flower petals, and even oatmeal in them.

I have the ingredients. But, not the nerve, not yet. So, do any of you make your own soap, laundry detergent or cleaners?
I have even been investigating bleach alternatives. Come on folks, put your sweet environmental heads together, and lets see how we can all do what we need to do without all these chemicals getting into our groundwater.
Talk to your plants.... If your plants talk to you... Run!

syntheticbutterfly
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Well, I have mentioned before on here I think that I don't use shampoo, though obviously thats not for everyone!

The best non toxic things I've found for cleaning are Bicarbonate of Soda(I think you guys call that baking soda) and Vinegar or lemon juice. I clean almost everything with a combination of those. Sometimes, for example if I'm mopping the floor, I add a few drops of essential oils for a pleasant smell.

Washing wise, I was giving an Eco Ball at one point, but I'm afraid I found it just didn't get the clothes clean enough(and I'm not fussy about snow white whites!). It was disapointing.
My cousin has just suggested barley soap nuts, so thats next on the eco friendly cleaning list to try!

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applestar
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Have you seen the home-made laundry soap kit at lehmans.com? It's a bit pricey, and some of the tools and stuff you probably already have, but I guess you have to buy the kit to get the recipe and directions for how to make it.

Are you talking about soap making with lye and fat/oil, Ozark Lady? Are you going to make your own lye with ashes? I've thought about it. Have several scraps of instructions, including one Japanese blog with lots of photos. But I haven't had the courage to try, especially since I don't have a good location to do something like that -- uncluttered open space, work surface, utility sink, some way to dispose left overs....

I did notice that Lehman's as well as Pinetree Garden Seeds sell soap-making kits. These are made with vegetable oils and lye. Some of the instructions I have are for making with grease. After reading some pioneer stories and home butchering accounts, I can see that making use of the animal grease was sensible.

I also use baking soda a lot for kitchen clean-up. Baking soda paste actually works better than dish detergent sometimes, especially on greasy stuff and things like coffee and tea stains in mugs. So I use it for treating stains in the laundry as well.

We buy distilled white vinegar in gallon jugs and use it as fabric softener in the rinse cycle. I need to study up on using vinegar for cleaning because I tend to reach for the baking soda more, but I'm pretty sure one is better than the other for some jobs.

For bleach alternative, right now, we're using store-bought Ecover brand, but they say they "disclose all ingredients" and all it is, are "hydrogen peroxide and water."

syntheticbutterfly
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Applestar, I use vinegar for cleaning windows and glass. I also use lemon juice sometimes if I have loads of lemons in the house.

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rainbowgardener
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There are lots of recipes on line for home-made laundry soap. They seem to be mainly borax, wash soda, and soap with water, sometimes also with baking soda. I'm not even sure what "wash soda" is, but those are the recipes. You can easily find it. I have not tried it.

I need to work more on making the inside of my house as eco-friendly as the outside. Mainly I just use the commercial "green" products; there's lots of that stuff available in the supermarket these days.
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Ozark Lady
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I am looking at this from many views.

I have x dollars, and spend them where needed, the amount alloted to cleaners is getting out of proportion. And have you noticed, "green" seems to mean more dollars?

Well, they say homemade detergents will save alot of money.
Well, if I grow a garden for good produce and saving dollars, why not clean by using good products and saving even more dollars.

I could then use those saved dollars to buy fruit trees, mushroom kits, many other things, to get set up even better.

Or if we save money we could use the extra money to pay off our bills, get debt free... which is a wonderful place to be.

Or... we could save up our "found money" and make a trip to see each other! ha ha

I bought lye crystals, but I am bagging some ashes, for maybe someday trying it that way, but not without experience. And I bought lard, again doing it first the easier way. I will begin experimenting, once I have made a batch of soap the easiest way possible.

I also bought the borax, washing soda (which is basically baked baking soda), Fels Naptha soap...I also got Zote and Castile, to do a comparison, and I got essential oils to scent my creations.

In old westerns they used yucca as a shampoo. I wonder, how many soap plants are there? And can they be used? Hmmm.

Have you ever washed your hair with baking soda and rinsed with lemon juice for blondes and vinegar for brunettes? It works, but it tends to dry my hair too much. So, I have to use that after an olive oil, hot oil treatment. But, it doesn't smell pretty, so maybe add some essential oil to the vinegar? Hmm. Or soak rose petals in water and spritz it on?
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cynthia_h
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Ozark Lady wrote:I am looking at this from many views.

I also bought the borax, washing soda (which is basically baked baking soda), Fels Naptha soap...I also got Zote and Castile, to do a comparison, and I got essential oils to scent my creations.
In the deepest part of my under/unemployment from August 2003 to August 2009, I made laundry cleaner from borax, washing soda, and shredded Fels Naptha soap.

It worked well. So well, in fact, that my standard laundry combo these days is borax, washing soda, and Dawn (yes, of dishwashing fame). I changed from the Fels Naptha to Dawn because I was hitting my knuckles too often on the box grater I dedicated to shredding the bar soap. The Dawn is great for getting oily spots out of clothing, just like it attacks oil on dishes, and the borax and washing soda take care of odors and general cleanliness.

I can't remember the proportions I used to make the laundry cleaner, but as soon as I do, I'll let you know. I *do* know that I got them off a "frugal" type website. Amy D. wrote the books on frugality (Tightwad Gazette I, II, III), but a lot of others now have copycat websites, probably b/c she doesn't have one.

I agree with you: after I brought down expenses in all the areas I could, the laundry detergent became a sore spot. Even purchasing it on sale, etc. didn't gain me that much, b/c I need to purchase the odor-free varieties (migraines). So making my own returned a greater reward for my investment of time than it might for others who can use standard on-sale brands.

And I don't have a wood-burning *anything* ....

Cynthia H.
Sunset Zone 17, USDA Zone 9

cynthia_h
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This is the recipe I started from: https://www.livingonadime.com/recipes/homemade-laundry-detergent.html , but I didn't use the water. I made a dry mix and worked out, by experimentation, how much was needed to get a load of laundry clean.

This detergent rinses out completely, so extra rinse agents aren't needed.

Cynthia

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applestar
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Wonderful Cynthia :D This does sound like the same stuff Lehman's is selling in a "kit" down to the gel-like consistency and 1/2 C per load. Thanks! :wink:

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Ozark Lady
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Yes, that is basically the same recipe that I have been gathering ingredients for.
There are variations using different bar soaps, or even liquid soaps, and also using baking soda in place of the washing soda.
I found one that added essential oils to add some fragrance to it also.

I will be cranking up the wringer washer and using my clotheslines soon, and blown dry is cool, and saves me money, but I want my clean clothes to smell... more than just not dirty, but fresh smelling. Hey, lemon peel... I bet that would work and be very green!

I do hate the stiffness of towels when the wind does not blow though... any suggestions for that other than, crumple the towels a few dozen times.
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cynthia_h
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Beginning in August 2006, I implemented a New Regime Regarding the Dryer. Since I was at home so much (and Aug 2006 was when I still had two of my part-time jobs), laundry was 100% my responsibility. So...

When the Utah mine disaster happened that month, even though DH and I had already been careful in our electricity usage, I looked long and hard at the dryer. I thought, If I can't make line-drying work during a heat wave in August, when can I make it work?!

But we have dogs and cats, and their fur/hair gets onto absolutely everything. So some time in the dryer, just to remove animal hair, was needed.

Ultimately, the solution was:

--During dry and/or warm weather, 10 minutes in the dryer. Use a timer but NOT the timed cycle on the dryer--because the dryer will cool down the last 10 minutes of its own timed cycle! Useless for the purpose!

--During wet and/or cold weather, 15 minutes in the dryer.

--Followed by line drying.

"Wait," you say. "I don't have room for a clothesline." Ah, but you may have more room than you think...shirts don't have to already be dry to be hung on a clothes hanger; they can dry on one. Women's blouses, camisoles, children's clothing (if you hang any of their stuff up), some towels can all be hung up to dry on clothes hangers.

If you can time the laundry such that hanging it up to dry takes place near adult bedtime, an amazing amount of stuff will dry overnight, esp. if hung in rooms where there is good air flow, whether from outside (summer) or the heating system (winter).

A folding/wooden drying rack is very useful, although I limped along for almost two years without one after my original one broke. (Couldn't afford to replace it until Christmas 2009.)

Instead, I used ex-pens--portable fences dog people often use to corral dogs when guests/workmen come to the house. These make excellent clotheslines for small items like socks, hand towels, underthings, children's wear, and so on, especially because you can use multiple layers for hanging items!

The model of ex-pen I have is very similar to

https://www.petedge.com/product/ProSelect-Goldtone-Exercise-Pens/43927.uts

42" tall.

I also repurposed an adjustable clothes rack to hang all those hangers on: https://www.asseenontvguys.com/index.asp?PageAction=VIEWPROD&ProdID=889 -- it was the model my hardware store had carried in maybe 2004 -- and a retractable clothes line.

I purchased one bag of clothespins at a hardware store (good price) and got the rest of them on FreeCycle. I keep them in a ZipLock bag, but will "soon" :oops: make a real clothespin bag....

Ozark Lady, if you have a wringer washer, there's nothing I can tell you about frugal laundry, but I thought I'd give others some creative ideas about hanging laundry indoors, esp. during bad weather, and maybe have them cast their eyes about the house for alternate "clothes lines"!

Great thread to have started; thank you very much! :D

Cynthia

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Ozark Lady
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I am frugal. Of necessity, raising 4 sons, homeschooling them, meant only one income, mostly it was hubby, but when need hit, I am not above waiting tables to feed my kids.

I found my wringer at an auction. Again, I am frugal, folks will stand around for auctions in the cold times, but let it get hot, and you have no competition for what you are bidding on! Ahah trade secret. I got the wringer for $60.00 and it has served for many years.

I was in Salvation Army thrift shop, Monday, and there was a indoor drying rack, in mint condition for $5.00. I had not seen one in years!
I didn't need it, lots of trees to run clotheslines from, but folks, keep checking these places, you never know what you will find.

You mentioned dog and cat hair, how about goats pulling clothes off the line, that is a favorite pasttime for them. And I trip over the ducks, geese, chickens and dogs while working, yep animals some days are just too friendly.

I have many photos from my trip to Europe, and it is quite common to see clothes hanging from balconies.

And you know, your clothes will even last longer if you line dry them, inside or out, the high heat of dryers.. set stains, and damage the elastic, whether it is waistband, or the "ease" in your clothing.

I also have an automatic washer and dryer, but they are a ... get the job over with, not a fun adventure to me.

Clothespin bag... how bout recycle! I take a gallon plastic jug, laundry detergent, or water, or even milk... Cut about 1/2" chunk out of the very bottom of the handle, so it will hook over the line.
Then I just cut an opening in the other side, big enough to get my hand even full of pins in and out. Works fine. If I forget and leave it out and it rains, that is bad... so I would say, poke holes in the bottom... ha ha
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rainbowgardener
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Now you are singing my song! Love line drying! I have a retractable clothesline outside, so once it is warm enough, I pull it out, hang things and then put it away again so it isn't messing up the looks of the landscape.

([url=https://www.amazon.com/Whitmor-6243-2513-Retractable-Clothesline-White/dp/B002KCOHFU/?_encoding=UTF8&tag=thehelpfulgar-20&linkCode=ur2&camp=1789&creative=9325]https://www.amazon.com/Whitmor-6243-2513-Retractable-Clothesline-White/dp/B002KCOHFU/[/url] ... for people with children there is also a 5 line version)

In the winter, I hang all the big stuff on hangers from the shelving in the laundry room/pantry and dry one small load of undies and stuff.

I love getting the clothesline out... love the smell of outdoor dried clothes!
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Ozark Lady
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I just did a cost break down on the homemade laundry detergent.

I did not figure the tax in, so this is not including about 10% which is the combined tax usually, here in Arkansas.

Fels Naptha bar was: $1.35 which is 5.5 ounce bar, I get $.25 per ounce
Washing Soda was $2.89 for a 55 ounce box, so I get $.05 per ounce
Borax was $2.98 for 76 ounce box, so I get $.039 per ounce

1/3 bar of Fels is $.45
1/2 cup of washing soda is $.20
1/2 cup of borax is $.16
You dissolve the soap in water, then add ingredients, and then you put it all in a two gallon bucket and fill with water. That means that you end up with a total of 2 gallons of laundry liquid. You are to use 1/2 cup per load.
And by my calculations you would get 64 loads from this 2 gallons.
The laundry detergent cost you $.81 for those loads, plus a bit for water, and the heat to melt the soap... Without adding heat or water costs, I get $.013 per load of clothes.

I also bought a 2 ounce bottle of essential oil to scent my laundry soap, it cost me $2.00 wonder how much a drop costs, since that is all you use?

I have other cleaner recipes listed, but I would like to price the ingredients and then do a cost break down on them too.

I think this is a winner price wise.

I used a potato peeler to peel the bar of soap, while watching a video, and then just crumbled it up. I paid attention when Cynthia said she got bloody knuckles!

I have not assembled my laundry soap as of yet, to test it, which is the real test. But, based on what many here have said, and in the places that I found the recipes, I bet it will.
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rainbowgardener
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But of course it is only $0.13 (or whatever) per load, if your time in making the stuff counts for nothing. Try paying yourself minimum wage for the time and see what that does to the calculation. If I were home all the time maybe I could "afford" to not count my time. But I'm still away from home more of my waking hours than in it, so doesn't work for me.
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Ozark Lady
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Good point, I will keep up with the time factor, what rate of pay shall I give myself? The same as my previous job, department manager of a well known box store? And should I figure it as net pay, since I sure didn't bring home what I was allegedly paid.

I don't think the time spent peeling the soap counts, because I was watching a video, and would have watched the video anyhow, just I had busy hands while watching it, it didn't distract from the video.

If I hadn't been doing the soap, it would have been crochet or macromay, I just always do "something" while watching videos!

But, the cooking, stirring, pouring etc. will be focused activities, that are measureable. I had to get groceries anyhow, so shopping and gas for getting the products won't count, it was not a special trip.

We shall see, this just may be a ... okay, I tried it, and once is enough, or it may be great!
Talk to your plants.... If your plants talk to you... Run!

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Ozark Lady
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I just got this in an email, I was not sure where to post it... here or under cucumbers... ha ha

The Amazing Cucumber


This information was in The New York Times several weeks ago as part of their "Spotlight on the Home" series that highlighted creative and fanciful ways to solve common problems.


1. Cucumbers contain most of the vitamins you need every day... Just one cucumber contains Vitamin B1, Vitamin B2, Vitamin B3, Vitamin B5, Vitamin B6, Folic Acid, Vitamin C, Calcium, Iron, Magnesium, Phosphorus, Potassium and Zinc.

2. Feeling tired in the afternoon? Put down the caffeinated soda and pick up a cucumber. Cucumbers are a good source of B Vitamins and Carbohydrates that can provide that quick pick-me-up that can last for hours.

3. Tired of your bathroom mirror fogging up after a shower? Try rubbing a cucumber slice along the mirror... It will eliminate the fog and provide a soothing, spa-like fragrance.

4. Are grubs and slugs ruining your planting beds? Place a few slices in a small pie tin and your garden will be free of pests all season long. The chemicals in the cucumber react with the aluminum to give off a scent undetectable to humans but drive garden pests crazy and make them flee the area. WOW!

5. Looking for a fast and easy way to remove cellulite before going out or to the pool? Try rubbing a slice or two of cucumbers along your problem area for a few minutes. The photochemical in the cucumber cause the collagen in your skin to tighten, firming up the outer layer and reducing the visibility of cellulite. Works great on wrinkles too! DOUBLE WOW!!

6. Want to avoid a hangover or terrible headache? Eat a few cucumber slices before going to bed and wake up refreshed and headache free. Cucumbers contain enough sugar, B vitamins and electrolytes to replenish essential nutrients the body lost, keeping everything in equilibrium, avoiding both a hangover and headache!!

7. Looking to fight off that afternoon or evening snacking binge? Cucumbers have been used for centuries and often used by European trappers, traders and explores for quick meals to thwart off starvation.

8. Have an important meeting or job interview and you realize that you don't have enough time to polish your shoes? Rub a freshly cut cucumber over the shoe, its chemicals will provide a quick and durable shine that not only looks great but also repels water.

9. Out of WD-40 and need to fix a squeaky hinge? Take a cucumber sliced rub it along the problematic hinge, and voila, the squeak is gone!

10. Stressed out and don't have time for massage, facial or visit to the spa? Cut up an entire cucumber and place it in a boiling pot of water, the chemicals and nutrients from the cucumber with react with the boiling water and be released in the steam, creating a soothing, relaxing aroma that has been shown the reduce stress in new mothers and college students during final exams.

11. Just finish a business lunch and realize you don't have gum or mints? Take a slice of cucumber and press it to the roof of your mouth with your tongue for 30 seconds to eliminate bad breath, the photochemical will kill the bacteria in your mouth responsible for causing bad breath.

12. Looking for a 'green' way to clean your faucets, sinks or stainless steel? Take a slice of cucumber and rub it on the surface you want to clean, not only will it remove years of tarnish and bring back the shine, but is won't leave streaks and won't harm you fingers or fingernails while you clean.

13. Using a pen and made a mistake? Take the outside of the cucumber and slowly use it to erase the pen writing, also works great on crayons and markers that the kids have used to decorate the walls!
Talk to your plants.... If your plants talk to you... Run!

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Ozark Lady
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I got my homemade laundry soap made.
I kept up with my time. But, I did peel the soap with a potato peeler, while watching a video, so that time, I didn't count.. I would have watched it anyhow.
But I have 15 minutes into the laundry soap, now how much is minimum wage?
I filled the 2 gallon container, it was very thick today, so I filled one small bottle with that for a stain fighter, and added more water to the rest. I finally got it thinned some, and poured it up.
3 full sized laundry jugs, and my cleaner... $.81 and 15 minutes...
I think it is a good return on my time and money. Now to see how it cleans!
Talk to your plants.... If your plants talk to you... Run!

tomato_girl
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Nice to hear, Ozark Lady. I made 2 batches of soap so far. For the second one I used olive oil, rapeseed oil, coconut oil, cacao oil, lard. At trace I added some essential oil, clay, coffee and tumeric. It'll be ready in a few weeks.

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Ozark Lady
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I am still using my homemade laundry detergent and enjoying the savings.
The concentrated cleaner is working really well on stains.
I still am putting off the soap making, it just always seems to end up being low on my priority list.

This is funny, but often how I learn:

I was adding another cabinet to the kitchen, so I had to move the cleaners cabinet, it is not a closed cabinet.
Anyhow, a bottle of Murphy's oil soap got knocked off... lid broke, and I have Murphy's oil soap all over my tiles! It spilled about a cup before I could grab it up again.

It took forever to get it all mopped up off of the floor... boy do I have a clean kitchen floor now! I don't know that I would recommend putting it on full strength, but it definitely does clean tiles and grout and leaves a nice fresh scent! I kept thinking, oil on tile, that will be slippery for days... but it isn't at all. Lesson learned it cleans tile floors really well!
Talk to your plants.... If your plants talk to you... Run!



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