Sunday, June 30, 2013

Homemade Laundry Soap

I realize there are probably a million of these recipes for homemade laundry soap online now.  But I want to share what I do.  I am highly allergic to a lot of soaps and chemicals so most nearly all commercial detergents set me to itching like a crazy lady.  Fabric softener(liquid and dryer sheets) were the worst offenders of all.

Years ago I started doing homemade.  I initially learned from my dear friend Angie at Shepherds Hill.  Eventually I started doing a little twist on it.  Just to boost the cleaning power I add in the one and only commercially made laundry detergent that does not make me itch.  The one at Aldi in the blue bottle I can safely use.  You can completely leave this out and it is NOT necessary.  By diluting it with homemade, it is still very cheap and cost effective.

Some folks like to add OxyClean too.  (sodium percarbonate)  That is possible, I did it once.  I don't now because I find OxyClean works better via a long overnight soak when needed.  It seems to require time to do it's job.  If you have white coverings, it is a gentle way to clean them without using bleach.  Anyway...back to the homemade laundry soap....

You will need a large bucket with a lid.  These can be found at Walmart in the painting area for less than $5 if you don't have one.  Some people prefer the powder recipes so they don't have to store lots of liquid soap.  I didn't like the cleaning power of the homemade powder version.  I didn't feel like it done as well.  If you do use a powder version, be sure to start your washer and let some water run, then add your powder to dissolve before adding clothing.  That helps significantly.

I prefer liquid and I feel like it is also much longer lasting and more cost effective.  There is one MAJOR point of homemade laundry soap you need to know.  Soaps leave residue and are inherently different than detergent.  If you don't use and acid rinse to change the PH of your rinse water, you will get greying and buildup over time.  It will make you hate homemade laundry soap.  So if you don't use an acid rinse, please don't blame me if it fails miserably. 

The same can be said if you use too much soap and not enough acid.  You have to balance it well.  Most people use vinegar for the acid as it is cheap.  Lemon juice would work as well.  I  know some fear their laundry will come out smelling like vinegar.  It won't, unless you use a megaton of it, your laundry will smell very fresh.

Please, if you bother to make homemade laundry soap, please don't skip the acid rinse.  Ever wash your hair with a bar of soap?  It will leave it feeling quite nasty, right?  However, if you rinse your hair with vinegar, followed by plain water, it will feel awesome.  It will be soft, shiny, and do a better job than any commercial shampoo and conditioner could do.  My point is, the acid rinse really is vital to getting that residue off, just as with your hair.

If your machine doesn't have a special compartment for rinse aid or fabric softener, there is a cheap solution.  Buy a Downey Ball (a couple bucks) and use about the same amount of vinegar in the ball as you use in laundry soap.  For me that is about a 1/4 cup or so, if the load is terrible I use a bit more.  Just be sure to do more vinegar accordingly. 

If you commit to using homemade laundry soap, you will need to get over the idea of the strongly perfumed laundry.  I admit, I miss that too sometimes.  The huge amount of chemicals aren't good for us.  Fabric softener especially since it is in your rinse water and stays on your clothing.  I know it isn't great that I do add in a little of the commercial laundry detergent.  I reckon it is diluted with my homemade stuff, and the vinegar rinse takes away most of the residue.  Not perfect, but it is what I do.  You can absolutely leave that out and stick with the natural stuff only. 

Many say these homemade recipes are totally fine in HE machines.  Some just use a little less.

Anyway....enough blabbing...onto the "how to"

My recipe is:

1 bar of Fels Naptha (you can use whatever bar soap you want, Ivory, homemade plain, etc)
2 cups borax
2 cups Washing Soda (not Baking Soda, You are looking for Sodium Carbonate not Sodium BiCarbonate)
1 quart boiling water
2 gallons cold water
1 container your favorite brand laundry detergent (totally optional)

Use anywhere from 2 T to 1 cup per load, in proportion to the vinegar/acid you use. 
I use 1/4 -1/2 cup, depending on how soiled.
Your water hardness, may increase or decrease the amount you need, experiment accordingly.

First grate the bar soap on a regular box grater.  This is hard on your arm, but think of the cost savings.  :-)  You could get around this by slow melting a bar in a crockpot with the quart of water, but it would take quite a while. 

Next, boil a quart of water and pour over the grated Fels Naptha to melt it.  The point is to turn the bar to a liquid soap. 

I should say here, don't use a liquid high sudsing soap like shampoo or something.  The machine would overflow with bubbles probably.  You need low sudsing like bar soaps or homemade soaps for this.

After you melt your bar soap, put it in the bucket and add in the other ingredients, plus 2 gallons of cold water. 

Stir well.  It will be a tiny bit lumpy but mostly very watery.  You will be very unsure this will work.

The next day or two, it will gel and be more like what you are used to seeing.  It will need stirred a bit before each use as the borax tends to rise.  It may not be "pretty" but it works and works well.  You don't have to wait for it to gel to start using it.

Now some folks are uncomfortable with Borax.  I am not.  I use it and have no issues.  Once I was out and I left it out completely.  I kept all of the other ratios the same and it still worked perfectly.  In fact, "looks wise", it was better and gelled much nicer.  It seemed to clean okay.  So it is up to you if you want to use or skip the borax.  I don't think the Washing Soda is optional though.  You really need it and some type of soap.

Initially you might miss fabric softener, but it really is a terrible product.  It kills the absorbency of towels and cloth diapers too.  Between that and the strong chemicals, the horrid itching, it isn't worth it for me.

Final tip, if you really miss the perfumes, some people like to add essential oils like lavender to their soap mix or even to the acid rinse.  I do once in a while, but I often don't bother.  If you really love a wonderful scented laundry....nothing makes it smell better than hanging it outside if you are able to.

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Cleaning Stainless Steel Sheet Pans

Okay, I know if I kept up at this, it would be less of a problem.  But I confess, I am not good at that.  I have thus had many frustrating attempts at cleaning them due to my neglect.

This is one of the corners of gunk.

I have tried hydrogen peroxide, baking soda, cream of tarter, vinegar, lemon juice, dish soap, dishwasher soap (powdered and liquid), steel wool (aka Brillo), salt....etc.  I have also tried SAFE combinations of these.  (ALWAYS know for a FACT that chemical are safe before mixing homemade cleaners). 

Even with all of these, most have not had a significant effect on cleaning this baked on gunk.  Also, I do not use cooking sprays which make the problem much worse.  I still get some of it over time.

I do know putting a splash of ammonia in a bag and tying it up tight for a few hours, preferably in the hot sun will work well.  Commercial oven cleaner will work.  But I would prefer not to kill myself chemically.

Last night on a whim I tried rubbing alcohol.  Hello, new trick!!  It worked great.  It was not perfect, some of the worst areas still need a little more work.  But I suspect a little longer of a soak and it would be a non-issue.  When I put the alcohol on the pans, I let them soak for a couple hours at most.  So all in all, it worked well.  Some of the yellow gunk areas that weren't as bad, just wiped off fast and with little effort.  Other areas took more scrubbing.  I did still use the steel wool in combination with the alcohol. 

My arm and shoulder really hurt when I was done, but I had also spent a lot of time trying other methods which failed.  Once I started on the rubbing alcohol, the job was SOOO much easier.  Still not what I would call a total breeze, but a lot more manageable.  The more time you can soak them, the better. 

Also you can saturate a cloth in alcohol and leave it on a bad area so you can use less and focus your efforts if need be.

This is where is was trying cream of tarter and vinegar on the pan on the left.  The pan on the right had dishwasher liquid on it. (not the handwashing stuff, but the stuff for your actual dishwasher)  Both failed on this miserably.

This pic is where I first tried the rubbing alcohol and let it soak a few minutes.  That much came off fairly easily.  What is left behind was the meaner gunk that took more soaking and some elbow grease.

This was when I finished.  As you can probably see, it was not 100% perfect, but pretty good overall.  All in all, I would say rubbing alcohol rivals ammonia for cleaning pans.  It is still some powerful stuff and hard on your hands, but personally I feel safer with it.  Of course, do use it in a ventilated area as well.

I probably have a post later on cleaning stainless steel sheet pans...but really quickly here is another facebook cover picture I made. 
For anyone curious, this photo was taken in Chillicothe, OH in Yocktangee Park.  Every time I looked at it, that scripture popped into my heart and mind. 

Use or share as you wish.  Blessings!

Friday, June 28, 2013

Cleaning Copper Pots and Pans with Cream of Tarter

A tip I wanted to share with you all is I have been using Cream of Tarter for cleaning occasionally.  It is acidic and cleans well depending on the situation. 

Usually to clean my copper bottom pots, it takes a lot more hard scrubbing and a brand new green scotch brite pad or a steel wool. 

However if you make a paste with Cream of Tarter and water and let it sit for a few minutes, the job is much easier.  Add in some baking soda if you need more abrasiveness or use a scrubby pad of your choice.  If you let it sit for a few minutes, you will need a lot less "elbow grease".

All in all, this job went a good deal easier than usual.  I know some use things like tomato sauce(or Ketchup) overnight, vinegar, and lemon juice are good cleaning acids for this job too.  I am guessing Cream of Tarter isn't something a lot of people will think of using for a item to clean with.

So if you have a little Cream of Tarter, don't forget about it's potential cleaning power as well.

See the pictures of the process below.

To show the difference I applied some to half of the pot bottom and let it sit for a few minutes.

 Notice it working as it sits.  I gave it a light scrub so you could see through the paste.

I went ahead and done both sides and got them wiped off.  They are all finished and shining.  Now if I can just keep my daughter from swiping them and taking them to the sandbox.....

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Just thinking on the direction for this blog and youtube

I have been thinking.  I do believe I am going to post more often as time allows.  Sometimes it will be text, sometimes video. 

I often don't do various writings or "how to's" because it seems so many have been done elsewhere many times over.  However, something I want to do is create a way for my children to be able to learn about me, the things I know, the things I believe, the things I do.....from me.

If God forbid, the Lord would call me home while they are still young, then I want them to have a way to learn about who I was and the things I wanted to pass on to them.  My husband lost his Mama at a young age and has little he remembers of her.  He would desperately like to know more of who she really was.

In this day and age with the ability to video and photo things easily, I would like to prevent that from happening with my own children if possible.  I always kind of wanted to do that in a diary,  but I tend never to get around to it. 

I was thinking, why not incorporate that mentality into my blog and videos?  It also will be a resource for anyone who wants to read and share too.

So, you may see some seriously simple "how to's" come along.  I will still share on deeper topics too of course(as led).  I don't usually write 'just because'...I don't write to a schedule or to gain audience.  I do not blog or do videos for ad money.  (I briefly allowed them on youtube and I had to take them off as some were pro choice ads.  I was horrified when I seen that.  I took that down as soon as I learned about it.  Since that experience, I have no desire to do that again.  Anyway, I am rabbit trailing....)  My main purpose has been to share in the spirit of Titus 2 and as the Holy Spirit leads.  That will still be the same overall.

This blog is already such a mis-mash of different things(Christian writings, submission to husbands, weight loss, how to's, sewing, etc).  I hope it doesn't bother anyone with the varied topics and so forth.  If ya'll are willing to stay with me, then just skip over the ones that don't interest you.

This morning as I was working in the kitchen I shot pics of various things I was doing like making raw sauerkraut.  I also shot pics of making my homemade laundry soap.  I know there are many sites to discuss these things already, but I will still cover them.  I believe as go about my life, I will try to keep my camera with me more and shoot as I go, and hopefully thus teach as I go.  Hopefully, in the end other sisters will be able to glean something as well. 

In the past couple weeks, I almost stopped doing videos and blogging completely.  I let things bother me that I should not have.  Silly minor things in the grand scheme of life.  I felt like my videos and writings just were becoming too annoying, not relevant, not important, etc.  I felt like,"Who am I? Am I just yammering on about stuff with no one really caring?".  I absolutely felt injured after some really cruel comments on youtube recently.  I did turn off the comment function on youtube briefly. 

Then someone told me she watched my videos and changed to be a more submissive wife, and as a result, her atheist husband came to Christ.  That hit me powerfully and made me ashamed for almost giving up over such silly reason. 

I may not be nobody important.  I may not have a lot of unique or powerful things to say.  But I know God has used me in some small with a few people, and even one instance of Him using me in any way is worth continuing.  Writing and doing videos for my children's sake is a new way of thinking about all of this, but also worth doing. 

Anyway, for now, have a blessed day in the Lord.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

More Free Christian Scripture Graphics

Free Christian Scripture Images for Facebook or Sharing

Kind of a different post for me.  But I have been playing with making some images for facebook.  They are Christian scripture cover images and just general images to share to spread the word.  They are made using photos of mine (and a couple my mother took too). 

Right click to 'save as' and download.  Share as you are led.  If folks like them, I may make more as time allows.