I am starting with the laundry as that is an area I have been working on lately. I felt I had a few areas under control but not the laundry. This was two fold. Firstly in the supermarkets many laundry liquids are up to $20 a bottle. Then there are pods and powders... still expensive. So the cost of good clean and fresh smelling washing is a big factor. Second I felt that my supplies were low. They were mostly low because I really didn't want to pay those prices. Even at half price sales I was still seeing $8 to $10 a bottle. I would not last long at all if for some reason I could not buy laundry products.
I decided to stock up and get as far ahead as possible. And to do it without spending a fortune.
First of all I remembered how Nan loved her washing machine. She already had a twin tub machine by the time I can remember but I remember Mum had a machine where you fed everything through a wringer to get the water out. I could see this took a lot of effort even when I was little!
Nan seemed to always be washing. Things were always clean that was for sure. When she tucked you up into bed the sheets were crisp and smelled of sunshine. She tucked you in so tight your organs couldn't function but it was kind of reassuring and safe.
Because the machine was precious it was looked after. First you have to have a clean washing machine. How often do we forget to keep the machine cleaned, filters cleaned out and seals and inside fresh?
So lets start there! Before anything else clean your machine. Our washing machine is one of our hardest working handmaidens. Imagine not having it! I follow Cath's advice on this. Here is her simple step by step on how to have a fresh clean washing machine. Washing the washing machine.This makes a world of difference. It is basically a free way to get a cleaner wash, a longer lasting machine. Whatever products you are using will work better.
If you don't know where your filters are then your instruction book will tell you. If that is missing then google your machine model and you can download your manual. This all takes just a few minutes and whatever products you use will now work better.
This was a photo from Rachel of her own laundry liquid and knitting.
First of all I tried a couple of recipes for laundry liquid. I really like this one that Jane gave me. She says it is from Rhonda's Down to Earth blog. I made it up and am very happy with it.
This is the recipe.
1 cup Lux flakes. If you are in the US Ivory soap flakes are the same I think. Also Aldi have pure soap flakes in the baby section.
1/2 cup Borax.
1/2 cup washing soda.
Use boiling water to dissolve these ingredients well then add more water to make up a ten litre batch of liquid. I used my soap making pot in the stove.
Use a stick blender to blend it well.
Jane adds soluble lavender oil to hers for scent.
I used a large spoon or Eucalyptus oil. It smells heavenly.
Use about half a cup per load. It does separate in the bottle somewhat so you shake it before use. But it works and it smells wonderful.
I now use this for all work clothes, jeans and so on.
I have not worked out the exact price per bottle of this. But it is cents. The savings are incredible.
If you would prefer a laundry powder then try The Cheapskates Club recipe which is here. This works out at about $2 per 90 loads of washing.
I made myself up some Wool Wash. I use this for all woollens, quilts, pillows (even feather), blankets, underlays...
You can find this recipe here Wool Mix recipe. This is honestly the nicest thing I have ever used. Things become so so soft. And smell so beautiful. The feather pillows do need to go into the drier to be fluffed back up and throughly dried. But the other things like the quilt and underlay I just wait until hot days and they dry in the sunshine perfectly well in a day. There is no need to dry clean these things. This will clean them so well and kill all dust mites etc. People pay a fortune to have these dry cleaned!
With all of this and good results I have ended up with a cupboard full of ready made products and also the INGREDIENTS to make much more. If I run out of laundry liquid or there was some shortage/crisis then I have my easy laundry recipes printed on cards. They are stuck inside my laundry cupboard door. And I have the ingredients to make many many batches of products that could last me at least a couple of years. Suddenly my supplies have gone from maybe a months worth to maybe several years worth. For very little!
Ingredients I have on hand now are:
Lux flakes. Several boxes. (Ivory or other pure soap flakes are substitutes. So is grating hard pure soap bars) To store Lux flakes I transfer it into big jars. I have found long term storage in the cardboard boxes it comes in is not so good.
Methylated Spirits. In USA called Denatured Alcohol.
Washing Soda/Lectric Soda.
Lavender oil if preferred.
Collection of bottles, funnels and I have my soap making pot. This could also be used to boil things that need disinfecting.
Old wooden spoons.
Bars of velvet soap or Zote or similar if in US.
With all this you are set to be self reliant for laundry supplies for just ages. What a good position to be in! Game changer!
Now Nan had a secret weapon. A wonderful freshener, deodoriser and stain remover. It was called sunshine! This is where Nan was totally hip and cool, she had the latest technology of wind and solar power at her disposal. It was called the clothes line. haha!
The breeze is the best iron of all. Creases drop out. Sheets were folded carefully from the line completely crease free and smelling beautiful.
On washing day the bed was stripped and the window flung open. The bed was left unmade to air. It might be rotated or flipped also. But the room would be filled with fresh air for at least a few hours.
I notice so many of these things produce such beautiful results but they are all free!
Another is soaking. Things that were grubby or stained were soaked. I was blessed by a letter from Kelley. She told me her daughters both use my method of keeping baby clothes clean which is to have several little buckets in the laundry sink. As something gets a mark or stain treat it and then soak it immediately in a little bucket of its own. I use a good amount of detergent or soaker so the concentration in the bucket is high. Later put it through the wash with the white or lights or whatever colour it should go with. Soaking in a good concentrate works wonders! I like the Aldi stain soaker and stain spray. They are cheap and work miracles. I am working on a DIY substitute but am not quite there yet!
Another was boiling. When you needed to disinfect something it was boiled. If too big to boil an option was to boil the kettle and pour this into the wash to make the water hotter. Hot water kills germs and removes stains!
Nan (and Mum) always had Velvet soap. It was pretty much used for everything. From people to dishes to laundry this soap was wonderful. You can still buy it and grate it to make Cath's Laundry Powder. A great thing to keep on hand always it could replace many things if needed. Also cheap! I am investing in extra bars of this as a backup to my back up! I think in the US the equal would be Ivory soap in a bar? Zote would also be good to have a supply of however it is not pure soap and has many other ingredients.
Many homemade formulas do require grated soap. If this puts you off just just soap flakes where this work is done for you.
When weather was bad Nan had a clothesline under the veranda and a portable rack that could be placed anywhere. Mum always has had this too and in winter there are usually several things drying on hangers in near the fire somewhere.
If a drier is needed then drier balls are the best thing ever. I have pure wool ones and they really help get things dried faster. I add a couple of drops of Eucalyptus Oil to them and I never would need to buy either fabric softener or drier sheets. Everything smells so fresh and good. However good these are I still think you cannot beat sunshine for freshness.
I am really happy that in the space of a month I now have a couple of years of laundry supplies for so little. I do not have to worry about the high cost of products. If I see massive bargains I will pick some up otherwise I will do without.
Nature is your friend with washing. Aside of sunshine the breeze irons things! I dry all my tops and Andy's shirts on hangers in the breeze. They go straight into the cupboard from the line. Let drip drying and hanging do some of the work for you. Above all NEVER stuff clean dry laundry into a basket! Then it becomes all creased! This is madness. Fold at the line and put it away. It will be almost crease free.
Now to help each other. Please share any tips you have and recipes too! We can reduce costs in this area and have a long lasting reserve of supplies. And clean, beautiful smelling results!
Next week we will have How to beat rising prices (or shortages) with cleaning like Nana did.
Over to you... if you have a laundry problem please feel free to post that as the ladies here will help I am sure! xxx