Thursday, July 12, 2012

Frugal and Fun!

     So, the last few days I have been reading lots of information on the web about making your own shampoo, conditioner, hand and body wash, dishwashing soap, dishwasher detergent, and laundry soap.  Yesterday, I made my first batch of laundry soap using common household cleaning products.  Today, I made the dishwasher detergent.  I will have to update as to how these products measure up to the store bought brands, but I think I will be pleasantly surprised.

Laundry Soap

1 4 lb. box of Borax 
1 4 lb. box of Arm and Hammer Super Washing soda (not to be confused with regular baking soda)
1 4 lb. box of Arm and Hammer Baking soda
3 bars of washing soap (examples are Fels-Naptha, Zote, or Kirk's Castile)

Empty the contents of all boxes into large container for mixing.  Using a cheese grater to thinly grate each bar of soap.  I used Fels-Naptha brand and found it to smell really nice.  Then mix together all ingredients until blended well.  This cost a total of about $12.00 and will wash approximately 150 loads of clothes using 2 tbsp. per load.  Some reviewers said that 1 tbsp. would work, but I am going with 2 since I have a tendency to really overfill my washer.  I have a frontloading machine and found that when I set the soap dispenser to the powder setting, no residue was left and no clumping of the soap occurred.  Also, some reviewers suggested just putting the powder into the barrel of the washer.  I also filled the laundry softener reservoir with distilled white vinegar.  The clothes came out clean and fresh although not particularly scented.  I may add a bit of essential oil onto a small cloth to toss in the dryer for added fragrance....

Dishwasher Detergent

1 c Arm and Hammer Super Washing soda
1 c Borax
1/2 c Kosher salt
20 pkgs. of unsweetened lemonade mix

Combine all ingredients into a container and shake well to mix.  Use 1 tbsp. per dishwasher load. 
This cost $3.12 to make.  I used a 24 oz. Mason jar with a dispenser top I made using an old salt canister.  This amount will do 48 loads of dishes at a cost of $.07 a load!  The savings compared to the brand I normally use will be a difference of about $.25 a load.  That really adds up over time!  It is recommended with this detergent that vinegar be used in the rinse aid spot or by pouring some into the tub of the dishwasher.  Other people recommend sprinkling a product called Lemi-shine onto the floor of the dishwasher.  I was unsuccessful in finding this product at several grocery stores today, but will continue my search.  Since I have hard water, I think this will be a necessary addition.

Here is my pretty finished dispenser: