With a toddler in cloth nappies we do a lot of washing. A lot of washing. Although it’s more economical than disposable nappies I wanted to reduce that cost even more so I decided to start making our own laundry liquid. In Rhonda Hetzel’s book Down To Earth she crunches the numbers and estimates making your own laundry liquid costs $1.75 for 10 litres. Now that’s a big saving! It’s also a big saving for the planet as the number of chemical nasties used is greatly reduced (and you can tailor the ingredients to make it septic tank or grey water etc. friendly). Ingredients below (yep there’s only three!) plus water.
1 cup grated laundry soap or soap flakes (whatever you can find, I grate my own)
0.5 cup washing soda
0.5 cup borax (if you can’t find borax it will work without it)
1.5 litres water + enough water to dilute the mixture to make 10 litres
Grate your soap if necessary and dissolve in 1.5 litres of water in a saucepan on the stove
Remove from heat and add washing soda and borax
Once combined pour into a large bucket and top up with water to make 10 litres of laundry liquid
Stir while the mixture cool to ensure a smooth consistency then transfer to your storage bottles (any old bottles will do, I use old vinegar or milk bottles)
Use about 0.5 cup of laundry liquid for a large load, you may need to give your container a shake if it appears the mixture has separated
I’m not a big user of fabric softener, I generally find it unnecessary, but sometimes I want to make something extra soft and fluffy. When this occurs I turn to one of my all time favourite ingredients- vinegar! Fill the fabric softener dispenser with white vinegar and add a couples of drops of essential oil such as lavender (totally optional) and away you go! It works beautifully and again, it’s extremely cheap. It also means one less product crowding your shelves or the cupboard under the sink. Gotta love products that do double duty!
It still amazes me when I find out people dry 100% of their washing in a dryer rather than on a line. Why pay for a machine to do something that mother nature will do for free? A good dose of sunshine has the added benefit of sanitising and removing stains too. As we use cloth nappies I wash a load every second day and I love to see those clean fresh nappies pegged out on the line. Our backyard is typical of one in the inner city (read tiny!) but even the tiniest of spaces can accommodate a retracting clothesline. I tend to hang the washing on one side so the rest of the courtyard is still available for recreation and other activities. On a warm sunny day the nappies are dry before midday and the whole laundry business is completed with very little time or effort. And washing dried in the sun smells wonderful!
Nappy liners and boosters
One great way to simplify and save money is by making your own cleaners. Bicarb, vinegar etc are great however sometimes you want that little bit of extra grunt, and a lovely natural scent wouldn’t go astray either. That’s where this citrus cleaner comes in.
This is not something I’d buy citrus fruit specifically for, rather it’s really a frugal way to use every last bit of the fruit you can. My parents have an orchard so when I go up to visit them I often return with a load of citrus. We’re talking lemons, limes, navel oranges, blood oranges, tangelos, the list goes on and on. When we’re sick of eating them plain and baking them in cakes I will juice a whole bunch. Before juicing I peel the fruit with a vegetable peeler (I don’t want the thick layer of pith you get when peeling by hand) then immerse the rinds in a jar 3/4 full of plain vinegar. This simple concoction infuses for about 2 weeks and is then ready to use after being strained and diluted 50:50 with plain vinegar. The citrus oils smell amazing and have fantastic cleaning powers. It’s an effective all purpose cleaner that allows you to clean your home without chemicals and it’s oh so cheap!