Homemade Laundry Detergent: Money Saver or Time Waster?

There’s a reason why Pinterest is so widely successful – moms love DIY projects. What else are you supposed to do with leftover tee-shirts other than make a rug? There’s nothing I like more than crafting something that is both functional and fashionable.

So naturally when I came across a pin for homemade laundry detergent my interest as a mom and a laundress was peaked. I’ve heard that it can save you $100s every year and that it is as easy as ramen noodles, but is it all its cracked up to be? Sure it can save you money but can it clean your clothes as good as the commercial stuff? And exactly how much money do you really save? I took this DIY challenge and cooked up a batch of rustic Tide to find out the truth behind homemade detergent.

The recipe I found had 3 core ingredients:

- Borax ($4.99)
- Washing Soda ($3.69)
- FelsNaptha laundry soap ($1.50)

Each can be found in almost every grocery store. Mix these 3 ingredients together, add some Purex Crystals (optional) and viola! You now have a six month supply of detergent (127 loads). Not bad, huh. (Above) is what it looks like.

On with the testing….

I took a load of clothes comprised of each family member’s garments – my husband’s dress shirts, son’s soccer clothes and daughter’s play clothes. I threw the load in the washer, added the detergent (¼ cup) and set the cycle on “normal” wash in warm water.

Thirty minutes later the wash cycle was complete. I opened the door to my front loader and was greeted with a soft, fresh soap scent. It was not nearly as strong as Tide but I prefer a light scent over a heavy perfume anyway. I pulled out a few garments and inspected them for brightness, softness and stain-removal. The clothes were the same degree of softness as the store brand and about the same brightness – no more, no less. I did notice a slight discoloration on my hand towels (from my nightly face cleansing routine) was still present. Whether or not Tide could have removed the discoloration, I don’t know. After quickly doing a one-over on the rest of the clothes I concluded that my homemade concoction was on par with the store brand. There was no discernable difference in the level of cleanliness, only a difference in prevalence of scent on the clothing.

So its cleans about the same but is it worth the effort of grinding the bar soap, vigorously shaking the container and cleaning up the mess afterwards? In my opinion, yes and no. Here’s why no: I’m a pretty savvy shopper and I only purchase detergent if it is on sale or I have a coupon. I recently hit the detergent lottery when my local grocery store had Purex for 50% off. I paid $2.70 for a 72 oz container that cleans about 48 loads. That’s $.05/load. The total I spent for my homemade detergent was $10.18 for a container that cleans 127 loads. That’s $.08/load. Now I realize that my Purex jackpot was a one-time event but even regular priced Purex is $.11/load. If the average family of four washes 8 loads of laundry a week that’s only an annual savings of $33.00. Not anything to be brag about. Here’s why yes: I’m not a “crunchy, granola-type” mom but I do make efforts to be green when feasible. This method of laundry is definitely the eco-friendly option. There’s less ingredients involved which means less manufacturing, less transportation and less waste created. This is a concentrated recipe so again you are using far less product than the store brand and do not have to make trips to the grocery store for as often. For this reason alone I think I will keep my homemade batch and continue to use it.

 

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Maximize your Small Laundry Room

Do you have an itty-bitty laundry room? You’re not the only  one. Many homes found within historic neighborhoods have laundry rooms the size of the modern closet. This creates a challenge of figuring out what to put  where. Read on to find out some neat ideas on maximizing your small laundry room without compromising function:

1.)   Collapsible Hamper – A bulky hamper is the last
thing you want to fit with for space in your laundry room. Collapsible hampers
are perfect because the fold down when they are empty and are very light to
carry.

2.)   Between Washer & Dryer Drawers – Rows of narrow drawers that glide easily between your washer and dryer. This product is great for storing lint rollers, clothes pins, detergent, dryer sheets and other laundry essentials. You can find them online priced anywhere from $15 – $50.
3.)   Countertop over your Washer & Dryer – Give yourself folding space by putting a countertop over your washer and dryer. If you’re handy (or know someone who is) you can build a table with countertop that sits above your washer and dryer. This will give you a smooth, flat surface to fold on without taking additional space in your laundry room. Of
course you’ll need to own front-loading machines for this idea to be applicable.

4.)   Wall-Mounted Ironing Board – Just like it sounds; this is an ironing board that is mounted to your wall. You can pull it down when you need to use it then neatly retract it back up against the wall.

5.)   Over-the-door Garment Rack – When the weather does not allow me to use my clothesline, I love to use my door rack to hang-dry garments. It fits snuggly over any door and is very reasonably priced at around $10. You can also find variations of this product that mount to your ceiling or wall.

6.)   Wire Shelves – Cheap yet effective, wire shelves are great for storing laundry products and aids. You can find them at a local hardware store sold as single shelves or complete shelving systems.

7.)   Hooks – I don’t think I need to explain what hooks are. They are useful for many things ranging from hanging laundry bags, garments that need ironed, panty hose, bras and anything else that can be hung.

The key to making the most out of your small laundry room is to keep the essential organized (detergents and softeners together, garment repair kits and stain treatments) and everything off the floor. Stackable washers and dryers are great for the small laundry room as well as wire shelves. Laundry is a chore most of us dread so it’s important to make this room as inviting as possible. Use bright lights to make the room appear larger
and add décor like wall stencils and pictures. You find many great small laundry room ideas online.

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Let’s get organized!

Everything has its place. I’ve heard this saying all my life.  Mostly from people I know whose closets are sorted by season and color and who records every penny spent from their bank account.

No sock goes unmatched, no paper goes unfiled and almost everything has a label. These masters of organization can take chaos and turn it into an organized system that functions harmoniously with very little effort. Unfortunately in my home everything does not have a place. Leaving the house can quickly turn into a stressful seek-and-find, with my husband looking for his misplaced flip-flops and me trying to remember where I left my coffee. Although we’re not completely living life like rock stars, there are definitely areas that need improvement.

That’s why people like Birdie are here, ready to take on any situation and organize it into a smooth operating machine. She is a professional organizer which is someone who helps both people and businesses become efficient. Her organizing services range from relocations, residential, commercial, closet design, and customized packages.

With Birdie’s help her clients save hours of tedious searching and sorting, allowing them to focus on more important things. If your junk drawer has grown beyond just one drawer, it’s time to give Birdie a call.

Birdie Brennan
Professional Organizers
5965 Haughn Rd., Suite B
Grove City, Ohio 43123
614-297-1550
birdie@getorganizedcolumbus.com

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Laundry 101

I received a phone call a few days ago from one of my younger cousins, who thought she’d surprise her mother by doing a couple loads of laundry.  While sorting clothes, she came across a tee-shirt and wasn’t sure in which pile she should put it.  That’s when my phone rang.  After I answered her question, my young but wise cousin suggested that I devote a blog to “Laundry 101,” as she called it.  So by request, here’s a basic instruction manual for doing laundry.

The first thing you need to do when setting out to conquer a pile of dirty clothes is to sort them into three piles:  whites, bright colors and darks.  If you’re feeling particularly diligent, you can also separate clothes that produce lint (ie: sweatshirts, flannel and chenille) from the ones that attract lint (velvet, corduroy and permanent-press clothes).  I also suggest making separate piles for white towels, colored towels and sheets and washing them separately from your clothes.

As you sort, check the pockets, zip up zippers to prevent snagging and be on the lookout for stains.

Pre-treat stains with detergent or stain remover.  Be sure to check our previous blogs for fabulous tricks on removing stubborn spots.

Next, you will need to select the wash cycle.  The regular or permanent-press cycle will be fine for most clothes, but use the gentle or delicate cycle for sheer or delicate fabrics. Garments that are losely constructed or with embelishments will likely need hand-washing and should not be placed in the washer at all.

After selecting the wash cycle, begin to fill your washing machine with water, detergent, fabric softener and bleach (if you’re going to use it) before adding the clothes.  Choose the appropriate water temperature for the load.  It’s always a good idea, to check the labels on your clothes but generally speaking, cold water keeps colors and darks from bleeding and fading, while warm and hot water are good for whites.  When in doubt, you can’t go wrong with cold water.  I wash most of my family’s clothes in it but use warm water on our towels and sheets (and under garments).  Follow the instructions on the detergent bottle to determine the appropriate amount to add to the washer.  Allow the detergent and the water to mix for a couple of minutes and then add bleach to the water or bleach dispenser.

Add the clothes, shut the lid and allow the washing machine to do its job.

Remove the clean clothes from the washer and place them in the dryer (excluding air-dry items) with a fabric softener sheet, if desired.  Delicate items such as bras and sweaters should not be put in the dryer; lay them flat or hang them on clothing racks.

Make sure the dryer’s lint tray is clean and choose the appropriate temperature:  low for delicates, medium for most fabrics and high for cotton.  When in doubt, low and medium are your safest bets.  My personal preference is to use low and medium for almost everything except for jeans, sweats and towels, which are dried on high heat.

The drying cycle should take approximately 40 minutes for a full  load of laundry.  Removing the laundry as soon as it’s done will prevent wrinkles and keep you from developing a close bond with your ironing board.

Laundry can be intimidating, tedious and time consuming.  Let Laundry Care take the guess work away from you.  Give us a call today for an estimate.  Our service includes pick-up, laundering and prompt delivery.  We look forward to hearing from you soon!

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Properly Clean your Swim Suit

Memorial Day has come and gone, which can only mean one thing:  bathing suit season is here.  I don’t know about you, but I tend to obsess about it.  As soon as the swimsuits hit the stores, I embark on a quest to find the perfect one for my body.  It’s such a daunting task that when I finally manage to do so, I take great care of how I wash it, so the suit lasts for more than one summer.  Here’s what you can do to preserve the lifespan of your swimwear.

First and foremost, bathing suits should be washed by hand and not in the washing machine.  Their fabrics are considerably more delicate than your other clothing, and the washing machine can stretch or damage the material.

After you remove your bathing suit, rinse it in cold water.  This will alleviate chlorine, salt and topical sweat.

Fill a sink with one gallon of warm water.  Add a teaspoon of mild liquid hand soap.  Swish it around and make suds.

Place your suit into the soapy water and gently massage the suds into the suit.

Take the suit out of the water.  Empty the sink and hold the swimsuit underneath a stream of lukewarm water until the water runs clear.

Gently squeeze or wring the water out of the suit.  The keyword here is “gently.”  If you do it too vigorously, you’ll risk distorting the shape of your suit.

Finally, hang the suit over a towel rack or lay it flat to dry.  Do not dry it in the sun or in the dryer.  Heat will break down the elasticity of the suit, fade its color and will easily cause it to shrink.

So there you have my secrets to extending the life of your bathing suits.  You won’t get to use them much if you’re stuck in the house doing laundry all summer.  Give Laundry Care a call today and let us help you spend more time at the beach or the pool this summer.

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Other uses for Detergent

It probably doesn’t surprise you that I never run out of laundry detergent. I like trying new brands and versions the way some of you probably like to try new lipsticks or restaurants. As a result, I’m always stocked with detergent. Other household supplies, not so much. In the midst of a recent cleaning frenzy, I discovered that I was out of my favorite floor cleaner. Since I didn’t feel like changing into decent clothes to go to the store, I had to be resourceful and find a different solution. I ended up using a mixture of laundry detergent and water; it worked like a charm on the tile floors and yes, inspired me to share with you alternative uses for your laundry detergent.

All-Purpose Cleaner – Mix 1/4 cup of your favorite laundry detergent (liquid or powder) with 5 gallons of warm water. It’s safe to use on sinks, counters, toilets, walls, fireplaces and tubs. This solution is especially good on greasy areas, such as kitchen floors and stove tops, since laundry detergent are made to dissolve oils.

Oil Spills – Use powered laundry detergent to make oil or grease spills on the garage floor and driveway disappear. Simply cover a fresh spill with powdered laundry detergent and allow it to soak up the stain. If the spill is old, dampen the area with water, apply the detergent and use a stiff-bristled brush to work the mixture into the affected area. Wait 24 hours before sweeping the residue away.

Hand Cleaner – Mix 1 tablespoon of laundry detergent with 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil to remove pain and car grease from your hands. While the concentrated surfactants in detergent enable it to cut through stubborn grease, they can also cause skin irritation. Using the vegetable oil will reduce or eliminate the problem and while keeping your hands soft.

Stain Remover – I believe I may have covered this in a blog long ago, but it’s worth repeating. Remove spots from upholstery and carpet by applying powered detergent to the oiled area. Rub the area lightly to work the detergent into the stain. Wait 5 minutes, then brush away the excess and repeat until the stain is gone. For older stains, combine 1 teaspoon of detergent with 1 cup of water in a spray bottle. Shake well to blend. Spray the solution on the stain and allow it to sit for 10 minutes. Soak up the stain by blotting it with a soft white cloth.

So there you have it, some of the most popular alternative uses for laundry detergent. Think about saving whatever detergent you have in your laundry room for household chores. Let Laundry Care lighten your load by taking care of your clothing. We offer pick-up, delivery and affordable service. Call us today!

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Scentsy Give Away

Most of us are familiar with Scentsy’s wonderful candles but did you know that they also offer products for your laundry. Layers by Scentsy is a new personal and laundry care line that allows you to pick a fragrance and incorporate it in all your “perfumed” items from washer whiffs (scented crystals that adds a fragrance to your clothing) to Dryer Disks (scented dryer disk that is anti-static). This is gives you a unique, identifable scent from head to toe.

For the first time this month we will be hosting a Scentsy giveaway!

Three products will be mailed to the winner:

Layers Washer Whiffs

Layers Dryer Disks

Layers Fragrance Foam (scented hand sanitizer)

The scent you’ll receiving is called Quiver (smells as sentuous as it sounds!)

To enter this giveaway you can do several things:

1.)    Comment on this post with your favorite laundry tip/trick

2.)    Like us on Facebook

3.)    Follow us on Twitter

You can submit multiple entries by doing all three!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thank you Amber for donating this giveaway!

Amber Lovell Boone
Independent Scentsy Consultant

www.ScentSurplus.com

 

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Don’t throw that out just yet!

Those of you who read my blogs on a regular basis probably realize that the subject matter is inspired by my own personal experiences. Today’s topic is no exception. I learned the hard way about the importance of checking the pockets of my family’s dirty laundry before throwing it into the washer. Today, I found a couple of crayons in my son’s jeans. I can’t imagine what a nightmare it would’ve been had they made it into the washer and dryer. Even so, many laundry mishaps can be fixed. What follows is a list of those common mishaps along with their solutions.

Pink Laundry – I don’t know of anyone who hasn’t experienced this problem. Whether you unknowingly included an article of colored clothing with a load of whites or simply didn’t expect a particular item to bleed, chances are that you’ve turned a basket of laundry pink at some point in your life. Its likely that many of you resolved to wear newly pinked underwear, because you didn’t know there was a solution. The next time you open your washing machine and discover that you mistakenly dyed everything pink, remove the colored article(s) and rewash the white clothes with detergent and non-chlorine bleach or a cup of white distilled vinegar. If you already dried the load, soak the clothes for 24 hours in mixture of oxygen-based bleach (ie: Clorox2 or Oxiclean) and warm water. If the stains are still present after 24 hours, soak the articles in a fresh solution before laundering them as usual.

Ink Stains – Like all stains, you’ll have the best luck treating the ones made by ink if you catch them before the clothes are put in the dryer. If the ink is from a washable marker or ballpoint pen, place the clothing on a white towel or a paper towel. Dampen a cotton swab with rubbing alcohol and blot the stain, starting from the outside and working inward. The ink will be transferred to the towel, so keep moving area being treated onto a clean section of it. Rinse with cold water and repeat the process until the stain is gone.

Make-Up Stains – Don’t you just hate when your blush or foundation gets on your shirt collars? Get rid of these pesky stains by starting with a pre-treatment like Shout; just follow the directions on the bottle. Next, rub the stain with a heavy-duty liquid detergent or a paste made of powdered detergent and water. Scrub the stain and rinse in hot water. Launder the clothing in the hottest water the allowed for the garment. This solution will also work should you discover that a tube of lipstick found its way into the wash.

Crayons – Crayon is best removed with good ole WD-40 and dish washing liquid. Put a folded paper towel underneath the fabric. Spray WD-40 onto a clean white cloth and blot it on both sides of the stain. Then, rub a little bit of dish washing liquid onto the stain. Let the paper towel soak up the stain. When it seems to have disappeared, launder the clothing as usual. Please note that this trick should not be tried on clothes that are labeled “dry clean only.”

So there you have it: easy solutions to a few common laundry problems. Don’t forget that Laundry Care is here to help you with all of your laundry needs. Give us a call and we’ll handle those pesky stains for you.

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Front Loading vs. Top Loading Washer

Sooner or later, nearly all of us will face the daunting task of buying a new washing machine.  Ten years ago, the biggest decisions we had to make when doing so were which brand to buy and the number of features we wanted it to have.  Nowadays, we’re also faced with the choice of whether to buy a traditional top loading machine or one that loads in front.  What follows is a list of factors to consider when making your decision.

Efficiency – When it comes to saving time and money, the front loading machine wins hands down.  Top loading machines require enough water to cover the entire load of clothes in the basket, whereas their front loading counterparts only need 1/3 of that amount because their drums sit horizontally inside of them.  This means less water left in the laundry, shorter drying times and lower energy bills.  Moreover, front loading machines don’t have agitators, which enables them to wash larger loads.  Larger loads for the machines mean fewer loads for us.

Cost – There’s no denying that decent front loading machines cost more than top loading ones, but rest assured that your initial investment will be recouped in lower water and energy costs, as well as time saved.

Ergonomics – You’ll want to stay with a top-loading machine if you have problems bending or kneeling, which are necessary in order to load and unload front-loading machines.

Detergents – While you can use any kind of detergent in a top-loading machine, your options for a front-loading one may be limited by the manufacturer.  Most of them suggest using an HE low-sudsing detergent.  With a steady increase in sales of front-loaders, those types of detergents are fairly easy to find.

Clothing Life – Agitators found in top-loading machines are tough on clothes.  Front-loaders rely on gravity, which means that your clothes and linens will enjoy longer lives.

Space – Most front-loading washers can be stacked with companion dryers, which obviously isn’t possible with top-loading machines.  If your floor space is limited, a front-loader is your best bet.

If you’re looking to avoid the chore and expense of investing in a new washing machine, let Laundry Care help.  We’ll pick-up your dirty laundry and return it to you washed, folded and ready to put away.  Give us a call today to schedule your first service.

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Hypoallergenic Laundry Products

Don’t you just love Spring? There’s something wonderful about seeing blue sky and sunshine after enduring a cold, dreary winter. As I sat at the kitchen table drinking my morning coffee today, I noticed the crisp breeze coming through the windows, the vibrant colors of the tulips outside and the itchiness in my eyes. Ah, yes. It’s allergy season. There are many things to love about Spring, but allergies are not among them. As I left the table and scurried to the bathroom in search of allergy pills, it occurred to me that it might be a good idea for us to broach the subject of hypoallergenic laundry products.

People with sensitive skin are often allergic to the dyes and fragrances in laundry products. It often takes just one wash in the wrong detergent to cause their skin to itch or break out in rashes. As luck would have it, grocery stores shelves have become inundated with “free and clear” laundry products over course of the last ten years or so. One might think the products would be cheaper, since they’re missing all of those extra dyes and perfumes, but that’s not the case. They actually cost just as much as their regular counterparts, and sometimes a little more. What follows is a recipe for a homemade hypoallergenic laundry detergent, which will be kind to both your wallet as well as your skin.

You Will Need:

3 cups of baking soda
3 cups of washing soda (Arm & Hammer makes a good one, which is available in most grocery stores)
3 cups of finely grated Castile soap (it’s made from vegetable oils and bars of it are usually large)
3 cups of 20 Mule Team Borax
1 large plastic container with a tight-fitting lid

Directions:

Combine the above ingredients in the large plastic container. Put the lid on and shake the container, in order to mix the ingredients. Make sure the container is clearly marked in order to easily identify its contents. Use 1/2 cup of the detergent for each load of laundry or 3/4 to 1 cup for heavily soiled loads. You can always double or triple the ingredients to avoid having to mix the detergent as often.

Those of us who battle extreme cases of allergies will also benefit from buying hypoallergenic bed linens. Look for ones that are made of silk or bamboo, since both are naturally hypoallergenic. Popular brands such as Primaloft, Alpaca and Hyperclean can be purchased online or at local linen stores. Also know that AllergyBuyersClub.Com is an excellent resource for reviews on hypoallergenic products, including bed sheets and bath towels.

If you’re too busy to do your own laundry, let alone make your own detergent, let us do it for you. Laundry Care is fast, affordable and offers quality service. Give us a call today and see why we’re quickly becoming one of the area’s busiest laundry services.

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