a "been-there" mom of six offers encouragement
to wives, young mothers, and those not so young,
and simple common-sense approaches to
the "ings" of life:
child-rearing (hints and helps), homemaking (all areas),
cooking (simple, cheap, and do-it-yourself)
making (toys and gifts), preparing (for the unexpected),
maintaining (sanity and peace in this increasingly crazy world) and more---
all aspects of making the most of making do on little---
and having fun in the process.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Buyer be Wiser: The Latest Scoop

Dave captured a typical laundry day in Kiribati, an atoll in the Equatorial Pacific.

 A  bit of consumer savvy came from our daughter Heidi after she switched to an “Ultra” laundry product several years ago. Then the Ultra became Ultra 2 in a smaller box but, with the slogan “more powerful/use less” it appeared to equal out.  Then she discovered that the measuring scoop that came with the new product remained the exact same size as the old scoop. The marking lines for various load sizes were embossed lower on the side of the new scoop. Could this possibly be a well-calculated guess, on the part of the manufacturer, that the consumer's habits had been established? That not many would take the time to squint at the new markings? But would continue as they had in the past –thus using more detergent than necessary and paying more for it?

Plus, did you know that too much detergent is the leading cause of dingy clothes?

I read a study where plain water agitating in the machine will remove most of regular soil all by itself. The author says that plain water is mostly all she uses, but she keeps a box of detergent sitting in plain sight for anyone who might be appalled if they knew the truth.

Now---to make-your-own laundry soap, Sandy’s to be more precise, an excellent product. It is even user-friendly for a friend who is highly allergic to many soaps and detergents. It smells strong in its dry form but the clothes come out smelling only clean.  It does not suds, so don’t let that throw you.  (One friend’s husband kept adding more, waiting for the suds—oops! See leading cause of dingy laundry above.) 

Once you have the ingredients, each recipe will wash  72 loads at a cost of approximately $2.

Sandy’s Laundry Soap

One box of Arm and Hammer Washing Soda , not baking soda (this will be enough for 13 recipes)
One box of Twenty Mule Team Borax  (enough for seven recipes)
One bar of Fels Naptha soap for each recipe 

Finely grate the bar of Fels Naptha and thoroughly mix with 3/4 cup each of the two powders. Store covered. Use only ONE MEASURING TABLESPOON per wash load. You may find you have to adjust the amount a little according to the size of your machine, but I haven’t. Remember - it does not suds!

I know of some who have had success with “Irish Spring” and “Castile” bars also.  I stay with the Fels Naptha because it is also a good stain remover all by itself, as a pre-spotter.

Idea: Get together with a few friends and share the initial cost. 

In closing, another gripe of Heidi’s is the “new advanced dish washing liquids” that state you only need to use half as much. Since they boasted that you only needed one drop to begin with, just how do you squeeze out one-half of a drop? It’s a seemingly legitimate complaint with seemingly difficult compliance. We can pour half of our liquid detergent into a clean bottle and replace the top half of each with water. The manufacturers figure we won’t bother. I do!

A portion of this post was originally printed in October 2006 @ DesertSaintsMagazine.com

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