The little birds...

If you watch little birds you will see they are busy and happy! Using whatever they can find they create the most gorgeous little nest.
I would be the little bird with some glittery thread in her nest!
We can be like this. Happily working away with the things that are available to us to create a beautiful and happy home.
All the while with a little song in our heart.

Banner by Free Pretty Things for You.

Monday, 12 August 2019

How to beat rising prices, (or shortages) in the laundry, like Nana did.

Last week I introduced the idea of a new series based on getting back to basics and doing things like Nana did.  You can find that post here.  Thank you all for your amazing comments and emails about how your own Grandparents made it through hard times.  We have so much to learn!

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.
Borax.
Eucalyptus oil.  
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



















28 comments:

  1. Great post - thank you!
    My Mom had a wringer washer until the early 70's. I wish I still had it. Loved the way it cleaned - yes, it was a lot of work - but it cleaned so well.
    I have 2 metal wash tubs on stands. Right now, they have large pots sitting in them in the garden - but they could easily used for laundry. I do have a 'real' washboard that could be used, as well as a new plunger strictly for laundry purposes. I also have a clamp on wringer that I could use to ring the clothes out. I have always had and used my drying lines outdoors.

    I have never made laundry detergent and appreciate the 'recipe'. I do keep lots and lots of Ivory bar soap on hand in case. It can be used in so many ways. Clothes, body, hair, even dishes.
    I keep vinegar for the rinse water as well.


    There are so many ways we could get around problems if we had too. I also have rain barrels for water. You just never know what to anticipate in a crisis.
    Love this series as it reminds and teaches things we all need to think about.
    Thank You

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Dear Cheryl, You have reminded me of a large wooden stirrer that Mum had. I must ask her about it! Something you said about the plunger sparked that memory! I think having equipment to wash if the power was out is necessary. It would be such hard work!
      Our version of Ivory, Lux flakes or the yellow soap bars is also so versatile. By having it you could get by in so many ways. Plus it would last ages.
      I am glad you have rain barrels. Back up water is an absolute must. Thanks so much Cheryl. With love Annabel.xxx

      Delete
  2. Great post, Annabel. That is wonderful that you were able to restock.

    My Grandfather was an appliance repairman. He often told of service calls on washers and dryers that just involved cleaning the machines to make them work again. He always said the quickest way to ruin a washer was to use too much soap/detergent. It corrodes the machine and shortens it's life. Homemade laundry soap does not work well here with our hard well water with iron so I am always on the lookout for a deal and we only use a tablespoon of detergent in a load. That's two loads per ounce so it goes a long ways. We have nearly total shade cover here so we do not dry on the clothesline because it takes forever for them to dry and we often end up with bird droppings on the fabrics. We do have a single pull out line on our deck where there is a bit of sunshine. We can hang a few items there as needed. We stopped using dryer sheets and softeners decades ago because of allergies and have not missed them a bit. We also try to not wash clothes that can be worn again. I actually enjoy doing the laundry. The stacks of freshly washed and folded fabrics make me happy.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Dear Annabe, we se sunlight or preferably the homebrand yellow soap as it still does the same job as the branded soap but is so much cheaper.
    We make at least12 months supply at a time, and doing this we only use our kitchen wiz to grate the soap and also t mix in the washing soda and borax. I use less borax as our washing machine water goes out into the paddock.
    Annabel, I am going into hospital on Fri to have an operation to fixmt Spinal Stenois, this is where my spinal column is very severely trapped in my lower lumber L1 -L5 where it is really bad, I have a lot of trouble walking and lots of leg and groin pain and also loads of pins and needles in my legs and feet. I saw my specialist a fortnight ago and he commented on the way I was walking as he rang the hospital for my surgery.
    Hoping everyone is well, and I am loving your posts, but have not been up to commenting lately.
    Love Lorraine xxx

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. My washing machine when we married in 1970 was a wringer model, you washed the clothes in it, put them through it's wringer into a tub of water and then put them back through the wringer, thus saving both the wash water in the machine and the rinse water in the tub.
      As a child my one of my many jobs was splitting the wood for the copper for washing and later for the bath after the chip water heater over the bath died (which I also split the wood for)

      Delete
    2. Lorraine, So sorry to hear of your pain, Prayers go with you for your surgery, and your recovery along with prayers for your surgical team. (((HUGS))

      Delete
    3. Rubies, Rosanne thank you so much for your lovely words
      Love Lorraine

      Delete
  4. Annabel this is how I make my laundry soap except I use Fels Naptha. I've made this since Todd was little and when Coty was working at a dairy farm milking cows it was the only thing that took the smell out.
    For stain removal the recipe I use is:
    Mix 1 part Dawn dish soap with 2 parts hydrogen peroxide. Then add a few tablespoons of baking soda to make a paste and store in an air tight container. I pretreat stains and it works really well.

    Then because we have hard water I mix
    1/2 pound of washing soda with 1/4 borax in an empty milk jug. Add warm water half way and shake to start mixing and then finish filling with warm water and shake. I use 1 cup per load along with soap or detergent and it really helps.

    For fabric softener white vinegar is excellent, but also epsom salts with essential oils for scent is a good alternative to things like Purex crystals or Downy unstoppables. Even Scentsy makes softener scent crystals now.
    XOXO
    Vicky

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Vicky, I find your stain removal recipe works really well to remove yellowed under-arm stains on my shirts and blouses.

      Delete
    2. Marie I find it does too. And grease stains on hubby's clothes.
      XOXO
      Vicky

      Delete
  5. A lovely post on a topic that we all have to do whether we want to or not. I use the washing liquid straight, onto the collars of work shirts and light coloured shirts in the summer. This is my stain remover. I also use some of the laundry liquid on a cloth and find it is the best stainless steel cleaner ever. If you add a small amount of the laundry liquid to some bicarb to make a paste, you have a fantastic tile and bath cleaner.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I have used the home brand variety laundry liquid direct on collars, under arms or spot stains for years too. It works really well. The tip about stainless steel cleaning is great. I will test it on my fridge door. Another stain remover that works well is equal parts cloudy ammonia and water with a dash of washing up liquid in a spray bottle. Anne

      Delete
  6. I've just made another bath of my stain removing soap. Best thing every for grass stains, graphite, grease, perspiration and so on. It makes a big batch, so I only need to make it every couple of years. I grate it down to make a "soaker" for tea towels and face washers, dissolve it in boiling water, add the tea towels or face washers and let them soak til the water is cold. Then tip the whole lot in the washing machine with the regular towel load. Easy and cheap and it works. I found the recipe online years ago and adapted it to work for me.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Hi Annabel. This takes me back to when I was very young. We lived on a camp centre come farm and Monday morning was washing day for the tea towels and other linen. Dad would light the fire under the copper and fill it with water when he got up at about 5:30am to milk the cows. The first lot of linen was put on to boil with shavings of sunlight soap and mixed with a BIG stick, while we had breakfast then the washing was lifted out of the boiling water with the stick into one side of a cement sink then fed through the hand wound wringers to the cold water rinse on the other side. Make sure the tray underneath is pointing towards where the linen is coming from or you will mess up the ringing water. While the linen is in the rinse water you eed to keep stoking up the fire under the copper and boil the next lot. Next the first load needed to be put back through the hand wringers (with the tray pointing the other direction), then loaded into the big wicker baskets and taken out to the clothes lines to dry. Later in the afternoon everything was brought back into the laundry and folded before putting each item through the big woollen mangle like a giant set of wringers to “iron” or rather press them. It is no wonder that mum slept well on Monday nights.

    ReplyDelete
  8. hello from the Netherlands.i like my white linnens to soak overnight in soda. put the washingmachine on for about 15 minutes and then let it soak overnight. use the centrifuge (is that a word in english?)and then use the 60 degrees program. i use vinegar to soften with some peppermint oil. like your theme and your blog. ciska

    ReplyDelete
  9. i use the same dish liquid i wash the dishes with in my laundry; just a couple of drops goes a long way; one day i will get back to making things again, like soaps, washing liquid/powder but for now it's less hassle to just use the dish liquid. don't own a drier so everything gets hung out on my old hills hoist, wish i had a straight line though.
    this is going to be an amazing series!
    thanx for sharing

    ReplyDelete
  10. Hi Annabel,

    Wonderful post. I use Rhonda's dry detergent, and have for over 10 years...it's the same ingredients, only not in a liquid form. I always run some hot water in the bottom of the machine and dissolve the soap in it for a few minutes before I load the machine with clothes. I discovered soaking as a great stain remover only recently. I was pleasantly surprised to find it works! :) That said, when the kids were little, we used cloth diapers and had a diaper pail with cold water and borax in it, into which went the soiled (well, solids swished off in the toilet bowl first) diapers. On washing day, my hubby tipped the diaper pail, soaking liquid and all, into the machine, and we spun out the liquid, then added soap (Ivory Snow laundry detergent) and put the machine on a hot water cycle. Never a stain and beautifully smelling when done!

    Are your wool dryer balls just big balls of felted wool? I've never heard of those! I have some dryer "sheets" that are fabric reusable ones, though they don't quite do the trick anymore after 10 years. :)

    I appreciate your listing North American ingredient names for Aussie ones! :)

    Looking forward to more in this series!

    xx Jen in NS

    ReplyDelete
  11. I linked to that post on my recent Saturday blog post. It is "Bluebirds at its' best!!!). Looking forward to reading more. There is always something new to learn.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you so very much Brenda that is such a nice compliment after following your blog for a long time and listen ing to your preparedness advice! Thank you! xxx

      Delete
  12. Dear Annabel, thank you for this topic. You are amazing in all that you do, especially by encouraging us all and reminding us that home made is best and cheapest. My contribution, not strictly home made but modified is: fabric softener. I buy the cuddly concentrate softner currently $1.80 @ coles, mix it up in a two liter container as directions. I divide it into another 2 lt bottle, half and half and then fill both bottles with white vinegar. I add to rinse water about a tablespoon for a regular load. The addition of the vinigar helps with lint removal and also helps with keeping machine clean. Cheers Kate

    ReplyDelete
  13. Loved reading this. Thank you. I am going to try making the wool wash as soon as I am well enough. You make everything look so pretty. Where or how do you make the decals for the fronts of your bottles. Nancy

    ReplyDelete
  14. Dear Annabel and Bluebirds,
    This series will be so much fun and full of wonderful information, so thank you!
    I will have to go onto Rhonda's blog and see if her recipe for the laundry soap can be used in an he machine, also. I would prefer to make my own, rather than buy Seventh Generation.
    When I turned ten (1959) I was responsible for all the laundry. We had a wringer washer in the basement because there was a drain down there. I, actually, loved using the wringer washer and looked forward to doing the laundry. Hauling the basket upstairs to hang the clothes on the line was not so much fun. My maternal grandmother (who lived with us) would help with the clothes hanging, but I did plenty of it. We never had a dryer.
    When I was even younger my paternal grandfather (lived across the street from us) did the ironing. He had one of the ironing machine that would steam the clothing and a person could sit down while doing it. It was quite large.
    Other than hanging the clothing out my parents didn't do much to save on laundry. They owned a grocery store, so whatever detergent they sold was what we used.
    Today, I have an he machine and would rather have a wringer washer machine. I don't think the newer machines do an adequate job of cleaning the clothing. However, even though we live in an area where line drying is prohibited, I wouldn't do it anyway. I know this will sound strange, but I really always disliked the smell of clothing that was hung outside. It might be that I have asthma and allergies; not sure.
    I do use vinegar in the washing machine in the fabric softener spot. I have found it does a wonderful job of softening the clothing, making them smell nice, and of cleaning my machine all at once. Twice a month I pour two full cups of vinegar into the machine and run it on a hot express cycle to wash it out good. I, also, spray down the glass (inside and out) - well, actually, the entire machine inside and out with an essential oil mixture spray. We always leave the door open on the washer and we have never had the smell people complain about with an he washer.
    Thank you, Annabel, for the wonderful post and the information.
    Sending all bluebirds a big hug,
    Glenda

    ReplyDelete
  15. I am really looking forward to this series! I remember my Grandmother having a wringer when I was little. I usually buy laundry powder when it comes on special but do have ingredients for making my own. Must do this again as my stockpile has been running low. I am interested in trying the eucalyptus oil in the liquid; my son suffers from pollen and dust mite allergies and one recommendation is to wash bedding etc. with this oil. Thank you!

    ReplyDelete
  16. What a helpful post! Thank you, Annabel, for starting this. I really appreciate the laundry list. I'm a list-lover, for sure. My best money-saver in the laundry department would be my two drying racks which I couldn't live without. I use them year-round for smaller items and hang linens out on a clothes line. I don't use my clothes dryer except for clothing that would otherwise need ironing. Then, I place them in the dryer for 10-15 minutes (depending on thickness), remove and hang them on hangers to finish drying. This removes most wrinkles. Saves on fuel but also a big time-saver. BTW, my drying racks fold up for easy storage. One is wood and one is aluminum, both lightweight and so handy.
    Pam

    ReplyDelete
  17. One more tip: To remove greasy spots from clothing, whether it is from cooking oil or grease on work clothes, sprinkle baby powder or talcum body powder on the spot and let it sit for a while. Brush the powder away and wash as usual and grease should be gone. Love all the great tips!
    Pam

    ReplyDelete
  18. Dear Annabel,
    I still think that is the prettiest clothesline I have ever seen!
    I managed to get some all natural laundry detergent on clearance a while back so cheaply, I bought enough that it will last me years. But right before that I was wanting to make my own. Once this runs out I plan on making some. I do need to make your wool wash soon though. I like the idea of being able to have ingredients from which many different things can be made on hand at all times. I think this could potentially take up less space too.
    Some more tips... I remember Rachel telling me that hanging your clothes on the line inside out will prevent them from fading so quickly. A lot of times I will wash denim inside out as well. My clothesline was taken down due to shed and coop construction, but I am hoping we can put it back up soon. Amazon also sells retractable clotheslines for indoor use. I want to get a few of those too for winter or other poor weather. And speaking of poor weather, I just read some good tips by Wendy from My Abundant Life on drying clothes indoors.
    Sewing a garment bag for delicates is on my list. The agitator on my washer keeps ripping the straps on my clothes.
    When it comes to ironing, I keep a spray bottle filled with water and a few drops of lavender essential oil as a linen/ironing spray. This smells so good as it is being used and I have seen it so expensive in the stores. I have not tried it, but JES has a recipe for spray starch on her blog Strangers and Pilgrims on Earth. It is just a mixture of cornstarch and water.
    I am really enjoying this series and reading all of the wonderful comments. Thank you so much for putting this together!
    Love, Kelsey

    ReplyDelete
  19. Dear Annabel, thank you for such a wonderful series.I love this post! That is the prettiest clothesline I have ever seen. I just love it. I would love to make some of your laundry liquid and wool wash. Both are on my list try. I try really hard to use the clothesline every day, as I also find it quite nice to hang out washing in the sunshine. Although, we did use our dryer so much in the wet season. I will have to get some dryer balls. I am hoping to put a little line in the garage for overcast days during the wet season and then can finish them off in the dryer. It should help cut the usage down. I loved Mimi's tip of no spin/low spin for no need ironing- I wash my husband's shirts like this and then hang straight on hangers. I also want to have hooks on the backs of all our doors, so our 'not so dirty' things can be hung up and re-worn. You always write so beautifully, Annabel, thank you. Lots of love, Bridget

    ReplyDelete
  20. Have you ever tried laundry balls? No detergent needed and they really work!

    ReplyDelete

I really appreciate your comments thank you! The aim of my blog is the be a place of encouragement and happiness. Very rarely is anyone rude. Actually only twice so far! If you post a rude or aggressive comment I will read it but not publish it, thanks for understanding.xxx

Spam is never published... if you are advertising a product or selling website your comment wont be published. I am inundated with stuff about drugs, horses and weird things! I am not going to publish this stuff! Thank you.