Monthly Archives: May 2013

Homemade Laundry Detergent 101

So here lately (aka approx. 6 months) we’ve been broke.  The husband would probably not appreciate me airing our finance issues, but I’m cool with it because I know we’re by far not the only ones, and I’m praying to sweet baby Jesus that it’s only a temporary set-back.  Anyway…being broke forces you into doing things & trying things you never have before, such as making your own laundry detergent because you’ve run out but there are zero dollars to buy more yet everyone still needs clean clothes because the world doesn’t stop turning & clothes don’t stop getting dirty just because you’re broke.  Right?  Right.

I have quite a few packages of bar soap…it used to be a ton & I acquired them during my coupon heyday.  I googled a recipe for homemade laundry detergent (found one that I almost had all the necessary ingredients) & got to work.  Let me tell ya…do not be daunted by the sound of this activity.  It’s very simple & cost effective & even better (as far as I can tell anyway): it actually works!  So whether you’re currently broke like myself (by the way…I don’t mean the kind of broke that some assholes claim they are yet they have all their basic needs met & then some, which in my opinion is not truly broke, it’s just lying for sympathy(?) or attention (?)) or just curious or trying to save a few bucks or maybe you’re just a Crafty Little McCraftster….try the recipe out & let me know what ya think!!

Broke People’s Detergent

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You Need:
3 bars of soap (I used Ivory; you can use any kind on hand)
6 cups water
1/2 cup Borax
1/2 cup washing soda (Can be found with the laundry junk at the store; I had just run out so I upped my Borax to 1 cup as a substitute)
6 cups warm water
Large pot
Bucket (I used a 3 gallon-I think-plastic mop bucket)

You Do:
Add 6 cups of water to a large pot.  Stir in grated (I only chopped my soap & some of it didn’t melt completely so I’d definitely take the time to grate) bar soap; heat over medium high until melted.  Add borax & washing soda; stir well until dissolved.  Add 6 cups of warm water, mix well with a whisk.  Add 1 gallon (I used a freshly emptied milk jug) cool water, mix well.  Stir with the whisk every 30 minutes until completely cool (I bolded this because I was lazy & did not do this because it felt “cool enough” to me; I think that’s why I ended up with some chunkiness in the end. Don’t let laziness mess up your results!).  Cover & let it sit undisturbed overnight. 

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In the morning you may have to break up some solidified soap on the top & stir well for a little bit just to mix it all up good. 

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After that the mixture should resemble thinned hair conditioner

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(aka Dollar Tree conditioner; aka you know what I’m talking about if you’ve ever experienced true broke-ness) & you can pour it into containers for storage & distribution (I used the freshly emptied laundry detergent bottle+the milk jug).  When ready to use just give it a couple good shakes, use 2 oz. for small loads/4 oz. for large loads (or just fill the detergent bottle cap up like myself) & you’re off!  See how clean your clothes can get & truly at a fraction of the price of commercial detergent.

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Schooooooool’ssssss out…for…SUMMA!!

It totally snuck up on me.  I’ve had a lot on my mind lately & completely didn’t realize the end of school was upon us, until looking at the calendar one day & it was like “Oh, the last day of school is in 3 days.  Wait…whaaa??!”.  Anyway, now I’ve got all these random thoughts, tips & ideas floating through my head & taking up too much room.  So I figured well hell, why not blog about it?!  So here we go:
(This list may or may not evolve as I think up new crap…feel free to leave your own ideas in the comments!)

*Make ice cubes out of whatever non-carbonated drinks you have on hand, that way your drinks won’t get watered down in the summer heat yet will still be cold! For example: kool-aid cubes for kool-aid, lemonade cubes for lemonade, etc.

*Set up a lemonade stand & get your kids to “work” it.  It’ll teach them all kinds of great, valuable life lessons as well as earn them some summer spending money (plus 10% for yourself for raising them) & give them something to do to keep them out of your face for awhile. (PS: I have a great homemade recipe on this blog!)

*Water.  When it’s hot outside water is a great toy.  If you’re like us & don’t live somewhere that is flat enough for a cheap-o pool, give the kids water to play with.  Some people would worry it would run the water bill up too much but it really won’t & the few cents extra that it may cost will be worth it to keep those kids busy…trust me.  Invest in a slip & slide maybe.  Or water guns.  Or even just some water in one of those athletic type water bottles that you can squeeze & it streams out.  Hell, fill up a Rubbermaid tub & let them splash each other in the driveway.  Water amazes kids.

*Utilize your crock-pot & outdoor grill.  Grills are a summer staple but a lot of people tend to view crock-pots as being more of a winter time thing.  Not at all!  Using your crock-pot will save you time in the kitchen, therefore giving you more time with the family.  It will not turn your kitchen into a sauna, like the oven will.  Doesn’t suck a lot of electricity, which is important during the summer if you use central air & your bill is higher.

*At the risk of sounding like a Martha Stewart rip-off, try to plan 1-2 things to do with your kids every week.  It doesn’t necessarily have to be a craft, but summer is a great time to keep in tune with your kids…they’re not gone at school all day & quality time is extremely important.  Something as simple as a walk or weeding the flower bed together counts.

*Two words: MOVIE.  NIGHT.  We do movie night pretty much every Friday & Saturday during the school year, & then during summer it’s usually every night.  Sometimes we do family movie night (self-explanatory) & sometimes we send the kids off to their room(s) to do their own movie night.  A lot of times we pop popcorn (from the kernels!) & have other snacks.  It’s just a cool yet cost effective way to get the kids out of your face watch a movie.

*Go to the local library.  At the risk of sounding like a complete After School Special (remember those?!) I highly recommend the library.  It is free(!), they usually will have at least 1 free(!) summertime kids program/event, & nurturing a love of reading early on provides soooo many benefits I won’t bore you with them all here (just think on it a minute & you’ll see). 

*Invest in bug spray.  Lots of it.  I don’t know about you but bugs irritate the living shitballs out of me.  Also invest in some itch relief cream/gel, sunscreen (wear it/put it on the kids every sunny day!), sunburn relief & it wouldn’t hurt to grab one of those to-go “boo-boo” kits….places like Hellmart Wal-Mart used to have them for, like, 98¢ but they’re probably $4.99 nowadays.  You could probably just build your own from stuff you already have.

*PoPsIcLeS!!  Up until this year I was totally one of those popsicle Nazi’s that despised them because when it’s hot out (of course) they get everything within a 2 mile radius drippy & messy & sticky.  Blegh.  However I have seen the light!  You can get a box of 100 (I think) for $3.80 at Hellmart Wal-Mart, the childhood-reminiscent Pop Ice brand.  They taste great & there are lots of them & they’re basically frozen sugar water.  Sure the kids may get a little hyper but in my opinion it’s a fair trade off for a little extra mopping & a chunk of time that I don’t have to hear “I’m bored”.  I’ve even stepped my game up to letting my kids have more than 1 in a five minute period.  I mean hell…it’s not like they’re filling or something, like a T-bone.

*Cook-out time, bitches!  We love feeding people (must have 1/4 Italian in us) & having a cook-out is awesome.  It’s relaxing (well…more so then preparing a regular dinner), you can have friends/family over, you can keep the menu relatively cheap, and everyone can just hang out & enjoy summer….coated in bug spray of course.  If you don’t have a grill just grab a bag of charcoal & go to a local park & utilize one of their built in grills.  If you don’t have a lot of budget then decide on cheap stuff & split the grocery list with whoever is coming (who said you had to be the one to always provide everything?! Plus true friends/family should be more than happy to pitch in, in my opinion).  All in all it’s a good time & one of our favorite things.

*Chores.  As a stay at home Mom I keep a pretty usual, mundane schedule of daily crap to do.  The kids have one or two chores to do regularly but during the summer they get a couple extra.  Why?  Because they’re there & perfectly capable of helping out.  Because there are more dishes to wash, clothes to launder & mess to continually clean up.  Because they can earn money.  Because it teaches them responsibility.  Because they’re good kids & usually don’t mind helping out.