Ornamental Plaster Sculpting, Mural Painting, Faux Finishing, and Imaginative Interior Design.

Ornamental Plaster Sculpting, Mural Painting, Faux Finishing, and Imaginative Interior Design.
CLICK ON THE RABBIT ( yes, those are cabinets) TO SEE MY PORTFOLIO, AND LEARN MORE ABOUT MY SERVICES...theartofthehome.com

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

This post could save you more than $120/year

My friend Pamela Pomplun-Morgan is not only an excellent massage therapist (check out healingessencemassage.com, if you are in the Belle Plaine / Arlington area), she's also pretty smart.  Awhile back, she told a bunch of us about a recipe for making laundry soap.  Unlike the commercial stuff, this one doesn't fade your clothes, has pretty eco-friendly ingredients, and best of all, for about the cost of one bottle of Tide, you have the ingredients for more than 18 gallons, which saves you about $120 around here.  I can think of more interesting things to do with $120 than dump it down the drain.  All the ingredients can be found in the laundry aisle at the supermarket.  It took me about 20 minutes to make a double batch.
1/2 bar Ivory Soap
1/2 cup Borax (20 Mule Team)
1/2 cup washing soda (this is different than baking soda)
Essential Oil (optional)

Put 6 cups hot water into a 6 quart pot.  Grate the Ivory soap into the water, and heat on medium until dissolved.

Add Borax and Washing soda, and remove from heat.  Add 3 cups of cold water and stir until it dissolves and thickens (this part seemed pretty magical to me!).  Add up to 1/2 oz. of your favorite essential oil.  Divide into three 1-gallon jugs, and top with water.  I used recycled laundry soap bottles, which aren't gallon sized, so I did go a little lighter on the water to fit it all in.  It seems the normal consistency, so you might want to experiment with a little less water, but know that this thickens more as it cools, so don't leave it too thick, or it may not pour!  Shake to blend, and shake before using, as it will separate. 

Use about 1/2 cup per load.  I used a bit to pre-treat an orange grease stain, not really expecting the color to come out, but it did, and after accidentally leaving a load in the washer all day, even in the heat, no funny locker room smell, so I give this my Good (Enough) Housekeeping Seal of Approval.

If you use essential oil, use a clear oil only, as colored oils can stain.  Having said that, I'll now confess that I only had lemongrass oil on hand, and it's yellow, so I added just a couple of drops to the whole double batch.  The fragrance is very soft, but it's enough to scent the entire house, while my just-washed paint clothes are draped all over the saw horses left in the dining room, from Artgirl Faithie's shelf building project. 

Yes, that's still under way.  Her big brother moved out, so she's getting an art room of her own, which involves rearranging their basement, before installing her shelves.  And yes, I usually dry my laundry in my basement, but my friend Carol is moving to a smaller place, and her party-art materials (a.k.a. The Glitter Factory) are coming to live here, which means my whole basement is getting rearranged, too.  Needless to say, I'm not having company for dinner this week, which is just as well, since the only thing I've cooked up is laundry soap.

Here's a bonus:  Do you use an Oxy type product in place of bleach?  Did you know you are basically paying big bucks for hydrogen peroxide, which is about 99cents in the next aisle? 

Mix 1 cup of hydrogen peroxide, 3 tablespoons of lemon juice, and 15 cups of water, and store in a gallon jug.  Use about a cup in a load to combat dinginess.  Keeps 3-6 months.  (that's the official recipe.  Personally, I just splash the peroxide straight from the bottle, a few tablespoonfuls, straight into the wash water, a little more if the socks are grubby)

I have often used full strength peroxide successfully to remove blood and colored stains.  At full strength, it can lighten fabrics, so use sparingly and rinse immediately.  It is after all what makes blondes, blonde, when nature doesn't.

That's about my quota for cleaning advice for the whole year.  I'm finishing a couple of paint projects over the next two days, so there should be photos to post on Friday.

When not sharing useful household tips, I do paint some pretty nice walls.  Check out the portfolio at theartofthehome.com.

If you want more cleaning tips, google Martha.  If you are working on a decorating project and think I might be able to answer your questions, email me at dawnmariedelara@gmail.com

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