Category Archives: Cleaning

Launder for Less: Homemade Laundry Detergent

For the past eight months or so I have been making all my own laundry detergent from the recipe found on DIY Natural. According to DIY Natural, it costs $.05 per load whereas most other laundry detergents cost around $.20 per load. It takes less than 10 minutes, is super cheap, healthier for your skin, and more environmentally friendly than store-bought laundry detergent. Most store-bought laundry detergents contain petroleum distillates (aka naptha, linked to cancer and lung disorders), phenol (a toxic substance), optical brighteners (can cause allergic reactions), phosphates (stimulate the growth of certain algae that can create dead zones in water), and bleach (can cause skin, lung, and throat irritation).

The recipe is simple: 1 cup Mule Team Borax, 1 cup Arm and Hammer Super Washing Soda (found in the laundry aisle at some stores), and 2 bars of soap. I like Ivory because it is a little stickier and when I mix everything up in the food processor I am not inhaling washing soda and Borax.

Grate the soap. I did this in my food processor. Not to be confused with mozzarella cheese.

Mix all the ingredients together very well. I did this in my food processor using the blade attachment.

Pick a reusable container to keep it in, and add 1 tablespoon to your load of laundry for a low-suds, high-impact detergent. Since I cloth-diaper my one-year-old, I needed a natural soap with no fragrance or brightener to irritate her skin or compromise the diaper cloth. And with three loads of diaper laundry a week, I wanted to save on my detergent costs. This homemade soap has been the perfect solution as it’s cheap and irritant-free, and cleans all our laundry perfectly. I also love the fact that I’m minimizing the amount of waste from the large plastic containers used for liquid detergents. And that it looks cuter in this glass container than it would in an ugly plastic jug.

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“In every job that must be done, there is an element of fun…”

“…You find the fun and – SNAP – the job’s a game!”

I hate cleaning in nooks and crannies. The first five years after moving out of my parents’ house I vacuumed only as far as the cord stretched from the outlet. NOW I must say that I enjoy cleaning up the far-reaching corners. My new cleaning habit has turned cleaning from a chore to a game.

Desk Before

Desk After

GET READY

What room is the messiest/dirtiest? This is the room I attack. I kill it ‘til it’s dead – 15 minutes a day. I make sure my room has received its daily routine pick-up (toys put away, bed made, empty cups put into kitchen).

GET SET

I set my handy-dandy timer (something like this is perfect) and begin!

GO!

Now is the time to get out my cleaning supplies. It helps to mentally prep – what will I work on today? I always begin with decluttering. Then on to the windows, dusting, vacuuming…. The rule is, I STOP with the timer. The next day I pick up where I left off. Once that room is done, on to the next! It makes it easy to be detailed when I know there is an end in sight and I’m racing to beat the timer.

Rooms get used differently, which means they get cleaned on a different schedule. My baby’s room (slash guest bedroom) only needs deep cleaning every other week or less, whereas my bathroom needs it each week and a half with more frequent touch-ups.

I use this same method with organizing and home-office management. I set my timer for 10 minutes a day for these tasks – and they are the tasks that are first to go if I’m short on time.

Desk After

Desk After

Here are the things I attack in each room:

ROOM CHECKLIST:

Bathroom:
Clean sink/counter/soap & lotion bottles
Wash mirrors/picture glass/glass jars & trinkets
Clean toilet/t.p. holder
Clean tub/tile
Wash mildew/mold with bleach product
Clean floor
Wash towels/rugs
Wash tub toys
Wash toilet brush/plunger
Wash out cloth diaper pail

BEDROOMS:
Declutter
Wash windows/picture glass/surfaces such as baseboard heater
Dust
Vacuum (get in all those corners!)
Wash bed linens

LIVING ROOM/DINING ROOM:
Dust (dust each item & scoot things around to get everything!)|
Wash windows/picture glass/t.v.
Clean high chair
Vacuum

What cleaning ideas have you come up with to make it more fun and effective?