Sunday, May 06, 2007

Lessons from the Laundry Room

Just got done hanging out another load of wash on the line (it's not sunny, but it's not raining, either, so we'll see how it goes). Got me thinking about how I do laundry...

1. Instead of buying detergent, I make my own soap blend from three ingredients. In less than 10 minutes (15 if I don't use my food processor), I can have enough mixed up to last us a year, and it costs about $5.00. Here's the recipe (and you can get all the ingredients at Winco or Fred Meyer):

1 bar Fels Naptha laundry soap
1 cup washing soda
1 cup borax

Grate the soap (I use my food processor for this). Mix with the washing soda and borax. Store in an airtight container. Use one tablespoon per load (I use an old soup spoon), two if the stuff is really dirty.

I prefer to use Zote soap, which I've found at the local Hispanic markets. It's a bigger bar, so I use two cups each of the washing soda and borax when I use that.

I have a high efficiency, front-loading washer, and it works great in those. They require special, low-sudsing detergent. This recipe produces no suds at all.

2. Instead of fabric softener, I use plain old white vinegar. Some people put essential oils in it to make it smell nice, but I like my laundry to just smell clean. When I had my top loader, I put half a cup in the rinse cycle. My current washer has a fabric softener cup, so I just put it in that. The vinegar smell dissipates completely.

3. Things I've learned about hanging out laundry:
- turn colors inside out to avoid fading
- leave whites right side out to brighten and bleach out stains
- hang pants upside down so you can hang socks between the legs
- hang knit tops upside down so the shoulders don't get stretched out
- you don't have to wrap the fabric around the clothesline - just set it up next to it and the clothespin will hold it on there
- if, like mine, your line is in the "dog zone", scoop, scoop, scoop!

How do YOU do laundry?


MamaZuzi said...

You are so darn handy -- I think we'll have to keep you.

kbeeps said...

Aw, really? I get to stay? Yippee!

The Alt Martha said...

You mean you don't test it on animals? The horror!!

norma said...

I'm trying your recipes. I'm so tired of buying laundry detergent and our old piping doesn't like suds either so I have nothing to loose. Thanks for the clothesline tips. We're putting ours up this week and the info will come in handy. Gee you're swell.

kbeeps said...

Well, Elaine, I never said I didn't bathe the dogs in it too!