Homemade Products

5-Minute Liquid Laundry Detergent Recipe: Quick, Easy and Cheap

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by Cassie on March 28, 2014

5-minute-liquid-laundry-detergent

I’ve finally done it! I’ve finally tried a homemade liquid laundry detergent.

For years, I have used my homemade versions of powdered laundry detergent. We love them and have been completely satisfied with our homemade powdered detergents. I have been making the powdered detergents for so long that they have been tried and tested in both an old used regular upright washing machine and new HE front loading washer. In both machines as they work well! They are cheap and I can make it in 10 minutes. We have also heard from many of you that you like these powdered detergents as well.

But we have had several of you that have raved about homemade liquid detergents. I haven’t had a desire to make laundry detergent this way as nearly every recipe has required a pretty decent amount of time and labor. I HATE grating soap. I also don’t want to spend 24 hours making laundry detergent. Yes, I know, hands-on wise, it’s not that long. But in all honesty, when I run out of detergent, I usually need more ASAP. So, I just haven’t felt the need to try liquid if my powder one works great and takes 10 minutes to make.

Well, a couple of months ago, we had a family that stayed with us overnight (we are part of a Christian Hospitality Network for Christian families all over the world to have a place to stay, and if we go on the road, we have hundreds of places to stay too! It’s GREAT!…..Now back on topic ;)) and the mom in this family also liked making her own cleaning products as well. She also agreed that homemade liquid laundry detergents take too much time and this has stopped her from making it. She’s like me…. if she runs out, she needs more right away, not a day later.

She shared that she found an instant liquid laundry detergent recipe. I was intrigued and thought I would give it a whirl myself. She sent me the recipe a few days later when she got home from Everyday Cheapskate.

So I gave it a whirl and added my own modifications with essential oils.

Here’s the recipe and then I will talk about the pros and cons at the bottom.

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What you need:

- 3/4 cup of Borax
- 3/4 cup of Washing Soda (or Soda Ash)
- 3/4 cup of Original Blue Dawn Dish soap
- Lavender essential oil (get them HERE)
- Hottest tap water
- 1-gallon container with a tight lid (I also used the Arrowhead water container, you can grab them for $1-$1.50 filled, drink the water and you have an affordable heavy duty container with a tight fitting lid and a comfy hand grip to make it easy to use).

Okay – are you ready for this……. it’s quite complicated! :)

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  • Dump the 34/ cup of Borax and Washing Soda in the bottom of a gallon jug with a tight lid – I used a funnel to not lose any.

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  • Then, with the hottest tap water you can muster, fill your bottle with water to the bottom of the label.

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  • Put the lid on tight and shake vigorously (BONUS: you will work on your underarm wings at the same time!)

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  • Then add you 3/4 cup of Original Blue Dawn Dish Soap.

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  • Muster up the hottest tap water again and fill up your bottle until the bubbles reach the top (liquid line will be several inches down still).  I actually filled the 3/4 cup scoop and poured it into the funnel to fill it to wash out any remaining down and washing down into the bottle.

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  • Then put the lid on again and shake vigorously, switching the hard working side to the other side to get an equal underarm wing workout (no one wants just one wing ya know ;)).
  • Finally, let it set on the counter for a bit for the bubbles to settle.
  • Then top it off with lavender essential oil (about 10-12 drops) if you like (I LOVE lavender in my laundry) and a slow flow of hot water to fill it up (slow flow to not create a lot of bubbles again).

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That’s it!

To use:

  • Simply add 1/4 cup of this liquid detergent to a full wash load (this is enough!) and less for smaller loads. The amount is the same in both a top loader and an HE machine.  I have an HE machine now and I have been using this with no problems. It doesn’t create a lot of suds and so it’s great for HE machines.

Pro’s

  • This detergent is super easy to make and I can make it in half the time of my powder and a lot less equipment.
  • It seems to be quite effective in our laundry!  Dawn is also used often as a stain remover, so it makes sense to include it in a detergent!
  • The laundry smells great!
  • The laundry seems to be nice and clean!

Con’s

  • The mixture does separate.  The blue Dawn will settle at the top.  So every time I need to use it, I just shake it vigorously for about 5 seconds before adding to the washer.  But I look at this as a pro as it forces me (again) to work on my underarms.  The housework workout is quite an effective one, but there aren’t many things that work on the underarms – so now you will be lifting a several pound weight and shaking it = underarm workout bonus for no additional cost!
  • Your clothes can become a little starchy according to others, I have not noticed this at all – perhaps it’s because I also use vinegar in every load – which I highly recommend.  This will do many things additional to your laundry, but also help the Dawn wash out completely to prevent starching.
  • It is not technically natural.  My powdered versions are totally natural.  But because of the Blue Dawn, it cannot be labeled natural.  However, original Blue Dawn is one of the mildest commercial products.  Again, not the Dawn’s with a bunch of added stuff and scents, just the good ol’ classic.  The good news is that this is the cheapest dawn and it get’s cheaper the bigger bottle you buy.

This was the biggest bottle at Walmart (56 oz.) as it was the best value at the time, but after buying this, I saw it at Costco and Sam’s Club that was about twice the size and even cheaper per ounce.

After this first batch, this is how much I have left. So this will last me for quite a while!

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Alex & Cassie
 

How to Deep Clean, Deodorize and Remove Bacteria Naturally From Laundry Baskets

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by Cassie on March 21, 2014

give-your-laundry-baskets-a-deep-clean

Today we want to share a basic cleaning idea for your hampers and laundry baskets.  We like to take our empty baskets and give them a natural deodorizing and bacteria removing deep clean.

Dirty laundry is gross, especially certain loads like the kitchen rags. Some of our baskets don’t look too dirty, but others (like the wet kitchen rags and dirty white socks basket) can get some dirt piling up on the bottom. But bacteria and germs can’t be seen and so we like to do this quick cleaning process for all of them to reduce the bacteria and germ-spreading, while cleaning them at the same time!

We have these hampers that have these deep crevices, and these are the ones that collect the most dirt in the bottom!

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Here’s what you need to clean and deodorize at the same time:

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  • borax - just sprinkle enough in the bottom  - like around 1/4 cup!
  •  vinegar - pour enough vinegar in to cover the borax and have a thin layer across the bottom of your basket

How to Clean and Deodorize the Microwave:

  • I wash these in the tub, so place them in the tub.
  • Then just pour those two ingredients in, starting with the borax.
  • Swish it around to mix the vinegar and borax and have a thin layer covering the bottom
  • Then let it sit for about 10 minutes
  • Come back and shake it harder to give some good resistant swishing.  This will break up the dirt in the crevices and help it all come loose.

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Me shaking my dirty hamper and getting that hiding dirt out of the crevices that no tool will reach. 

  • Then pour water into it and swish harder.
  • Then dump it out and add some water for a water swishing rinse.

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My water swishing rinse! 

  • Dump out the water and place upside down to dry.
  • For deeper cleaning, after the above process to rid of hidden dirt and bacteria, you can then wash your whole hamper/basket with warm soapy water (dish soap) and scrub, wipe with a rag and rinse – basically like a giant dish!
  • Then dry upside down on a towel.
  • That’s it!

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They are all clean!

Note: The rim on the second hamper is actually a handwritten Sharpie directly on the basket that is slowly being washed away from this process of washing – which is why there are methods to remove permanent marker from almost anything instructions HERE.

But I do want to keep this labeling for sorting purposes, so I have to go back through every once in a while and re-write it! 

And yes, these are old, cheap hampers that are breaking apart.  Thus the lack of handles, breakage – but they are still working, so I guess I will keep them a bit longer! Hopefully it just shows we are real and not Martha Stewart. :)

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Alex & Cassie
 

Cook and Prep Bulk Freezer Beans To Save Loads of Money and Time

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by Cassie on March 19, 2014

cost-comparison-of-store-bought-and-home-prepped-beans

Frozen beans are healthier than aluminum canned beans, but cost a lot more.  And canned beans themselves can get pretty pricey!

I do try to have a menu and meal plan, along with the dinner by 10 to plan a healthy meal with enough time to prep it.  But when it comes to beans, I often miss the mark on prepping and so I wanted to have a quick and easy way to grab some fresh beans that are already cooked and throw them into my recipes.

I bought a couple of these Hanover Beans Essentials for $1.28 at Walmart in the freezer section.

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They have been very useful and very easy to use.  The amount was perfect for adding to 1-lb. of beef to make 1-lb. of beef stretch to be equivalent to 2-lbs. of beef in recipes (another way we save big by stretching our meats with healthy add-ins!).

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Each bag is also equivalent to one can of beans, which is an easy way to convert for recipes and cooking when recipes call for “1 can of beans.”

I just didn’t want to spend $1.28 anymore for my emergency bean needs when I forgot to get the bulk beans we have soaking the night before.

So I decided just to make my own!

Here’s what I did:

  •  I filled two 9-quart stock pots half way up with dry beans.  One had black beans and the other had pinto beans.  I then filled them with water to cover the beans and then another inch of water (or until the water reaches the first joint in your index finger when touching the beans.  I soaked them in 9-quart stock pots overnight.
  • I also try to dump and rinse at least three times during the soaking process.  This greatly reduces the gas (or flatulence – whatever fits your fancy on the subject!).
  • Then I boil the beans for about 1-hour, draining and rinsing at least once again here too.
  • I then drain and and rinse in cold water and let them cool on the counter in a big bowl.

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  • I prepare sandwich ziploc bags for the freezer storage by labeling with the type of bean and the date!

Now to figure out how much to add to each baggie!  So if each store-bought bag is equivalent to one can of beans, I want to keep this same measurement to continue to make it easy to use in recipes and to double my 1lb. of ground beef.

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Well, 3/4 cup is one serving and there is a total of 3 servings…… So I will too put in three 3/4 cup scoops of cooked beans into each baggie!

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And that’s exactly what I did!

Now I have my own fresh frozen beans for my last minute bean needs!

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Now for the cost, I can buy a 25 lb. bag of beans for $25 at a local bulk foods store.  I barely touched the bulk supply and so I estimate my version to cost .10 (plus the cost of the ziploc!).  That is quite a savings!  They also store well in a freezer because they can be frozen nice and flat, which conserves room in your freezer!

They ended up being the exact consistency as the store-bought versions, which was perfect as I loved using the store-bought ones for convenience sake.

Now let’s talk about an issue that many of us think about when eating beans…… that lovely three-letter word…… gas.

I just want to mention this, I don’t know if the next batch I make will be the same (hoping so with the same process shared above) but these seem to cause less gas.

You see, right after I did this thrifty project, I made a soup with the black beans. Alex said that he felt quite gassy…. he didn’t feel it, I already knew it.  :) So he said: “I wonder what we could do to these next time to reduce the gas.”  Well, I said, since this is from the LAST bag of the store-bought ones…. I hope my process (taught to me by my mom and grandma) will have less gas.

Sure enough, next time I used my own freezer beans and the gas was at a minimum! Alex was pleased, but I was even more pleased. :)

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Homemade Natural Downy Unstopables Recipe for Laundry Scent Booster and Odor Removal

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by Cassie on March 17, 2014

natural-alternative-to-downy-unstopables

Would you like to have a natural alternative to Downy Unstoppable to add the laundry scent boosting and odor removing benefit to those special loads of laundry that need some extra special attention?

Well,  there is a very affordable and easy way to make your own.  We try to use homemade and natural products for cleaning and most personal care.  But we have used Downy Unstoppables before, but not in our laundry - but in the vacuum - it is awesome for this purpose!

However, my family’s skin and allergies are too sensitive to wash this with their clothing and be rubbing against their skin.  But there are some loads of laundry where it would be nice to add a “scent boosting and odor removing” bonus.  But did you know that baking soda is an odor remover?  That’s why we have all been putting it our fridges for so long and why one of our most popular recipes, car and carpet deodorizing powder, includes Baking Soda!

Then for your scent boosting, just combine the baking soda with essential oils and you have an effective natural alternative!

You can add any scent of pure essential oil (this is NOT fragrance oil, but the aromatherapy essential oils.  Read about them HERE as well as a good deal on them!).  We personally like lavender as it is calming, smells great and is florally like many of the Downy Unstoppables fragrances.

Here’s how to make it:

  • Before you wash your load of laundry that needs some extra special attention, mix 1-cup of baking soda with 10 drops of essential oil.
  • Then start your load and add it to the basin of the washer at the beginning of the load or in your “pre-wash” slot in your front loader machine.
  • Then wash and dry as normal!

That’s it!

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Alex & Cassie
 

How to Remove Permanent Marker From Just About Anything

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by Cassie on March 10, 2014

how-to-remove-permanent-marker-from-just-about-anything

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So you want to save some money by removing that permanent marker?  We understand.  With 5 kids and what we thought were “hidden” Sharpies, we thought we would be safe, but we have had our fair share of “Sharpie removal experiments!”

So we want to share this list with you to help you restore your item to it’s previous “before Sharpie” stage.

Many of these, we have used and done ourselves, but some of these are reader submitted suggestions for removal on other items that we haven’t tried, but passing the information along.

*Please note, some of these experiences will vary based on the EXACT type of surface and how long the Sharpie or permanent marker has set it.  For best results, you want to try and remove the Sharpie as soon as possible.  These solutions may have to be repeated depending on how set in the marker stain is.

1. Skin 

I know – toddlers love to color on themselves with Sharpies.  Well, the best solution we have found is to use sunscreen to remove it.  The best brand has been Waterbabies (or rather, what we have successfully used).  The sooner you can get sunscreen on the skin where the Sharpie is, the faster it will remove it.  Basically, rub the sunscreen on pretty thick and let it set for several minutes. Then wipe it off! You may have to do this another time or two depending on how long the Sharpie set.

2. Old Style Television Screen

Draw over the Sharpie with a dry erase marker and wipe away with a dry cloth!

3. Flatscreen Television or Computer Screen

Toothpaste and baby wipes with alcohol have both be stated to work.  For toothpaste, very gently rub the toothpaste over the marker and let it set for a couple of minutes and then wipe away with a baby wipe or a very damp cloth.  Test a small area before.  Depending on the screen and stain, a baby wipe alone may do the trick.

4. Plastic Surfaces

The best reported method is simply using a pencil eraser and erase just like you would pencil on a paper – except it won’t be quite that easy.  You will have to put a bit of elbow power into it. But eventually, you may be able to erase those marks away!

5. Plastic Storage Totes

You can try pencil erasers since they are plastic, but they are a rougher type (not smooth) and so WD-40 or sunscreen have also worked on these surfaces.

6. Laminated Surfaces (like posters)

Dry erase marker is a simple solution! Just color over the marker with your dry erase marker and wipe away with a dry cloth.

7. Metal Surfaces

Toothpaste may be the best removal solution! Classic Colgate is the reported best. Rub the toothpaste into the marker on the metal and wipe away.  Repeat as necessary.

8. Stainless Steel

Again, Dry Erase markers will be the best solution! Color over the permanent marker with your dry erase marker and wipe with a dry cloth.

9. Glass and Mirrors

And……. again, Dry Erase markers will be the best solution! Color over the permanent marker with your dry erase marker and wipe with a dry cloth.

10. Jewelry

Dawn may be the best solution for your jewelry.  It is gentle, but effective.  Please be careful cleaning your jewelry as some may be very sensitive to anything but jewelry cleaner.  But if you want to try this, you can soak in a solution of dawn with a bit of water or a spot of straight dawn and then gently rubbed away.

11. Clothes and Upholstery

Simply spray the marker with Aerosol Hairspray or hand sanitizer and let it set for several minutes (test a small spot for colorfastness!).  Then using a bit of classic blue dawn and water, scrub away with a toothbrush.  Rinse in cool water.  Wash clothing as usual and pat your upholstery dry.

Please note, if you have washed and dried the permanent marker stain on these surfaces – it will be more difficult and potentially impossible to remove.  It may be only lightened by this solution.

12. Carpet

A solution of white vinegar and classic Dawn may do the trick.  Similar to the clothing, spray vinegar and drop some Dawn on the carpet spot and let it set (again, test a small spot for colorfastness!).  Then scrub with a toothbrush. Rinse with a wet rag until it is removed.  Pat dry with a dry cloth.

13. Wood

Rubbing Alcohol or peanut butter may remove the Sharpie stain.  It will depend on your wood surface and the finish.  Peanut butter will be safer, but the rubbing alcohol may be more effective. Use your best judgment based on your wood surface and finish and test a spot. You can also try a Magic Eraser with caution!

You can always buy a marker that shares the same/similar color as your wood surface and just try disguising it by coloring over it too.

14. Walls

The success on this one will vary depending on how set the marker is, the color and type of wall surface.  But here’s the top successful ways to remove permanent marker from walls.

Toothpaste (classic Colgate has been reported to be the most effective).  Gently rub a bit of toothpaste onto the stain with your finger and then use a wet rag to gently rub the stain away.

In addition, some have had success using an Aerosol Hairspray by spraying the spot and then wiping away.

Finally, some have also had success with just using a magic eraser.

What have you tried that has been successful?

Do you have any tips to add to the above list?

Disclaimer: please note that the above are simply suggestions and are not guaranteed to remove the stain.  Use at your own discretion and test a small, inconspicuous area before full application of any of the above tips. In addition, your results will vary depending on setting time, exact surface, marker brand and environment. 

Alex & Cassie