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Topic: Laundry

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Subject: Laundry
Date Posted: 12/27/2008 5:20 PM ET
Member Since: 10/25/2007
Posts: 3,220
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#1 Use about 3/4 less detergent than called for if you are washing just to freshen your clothes.

#2 Cut your dryer sheets in thirds.

#3 Line dry, if possible. I made a rolling clothers rack out of a sturdy extra clothes hanging rack I bought at Wal Mart. I actually have three of these things. I use bungie cords to make places to hang my clothes. I am not sure if I am saving money right away because the set-up was expensive, but I like line dried clothes anyway. I will put a picture of what I call my rolling clothes drying rack in my siggie, below.

These are my ideas, they might not work for everybody, but they work for me!

Date Posted: 12/27/2008 8:08 PM ET
Member Since: 6/26/2005
Posts: 3,449
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Use 1/4 cup of white vinegar instead of liquid fabric softener.Your towels will be soft and absorbant.

I dont have a dryer so my clothes are usually line dried unless we have a lot of rain.

Date Posted: 12/29/2008 8:03 AM ET
Member Since: 1/10/2006
Posts: 1,069
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You don't have to buy fabric softener at all--just use a tennis ball in the dryer and your things comes out soft without softener. You can sometimes find them for a 1.00 for a package of two or three at the dollar stores. Also a repairman told us  not to use the dryer sheets because  using  them actually shortens the life of your dryer.

Date Posted: 1/3/2009 6:31 PM ET
Member Since: 6/11/2006
Posts: 12,826
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i live in apartment complex and dont have clothes line. anyway i can dry stuff with out put in dryer. i pay 1.00 a load here which isnt bad.

Date Posted: 1/3/2009 8:03 PM ET
Member Since: 6/25/2007
Posts: 222
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I used to hang dry clothes in an apartment -- I was paying something like 50-75 cents for 10 minutes of dryer time. I hung up a lot of things. I bought an adjustable length shower curtain rod and hung is up above the tub, a little higher than the rod that my shower curtain hung from. I had two rods to hang clothes (on hangers) from to dry. It did require that I not need to shower before the clothes were dry. I usually did my laundry at ngiht and the clothes were dry the next morning.

I make my own laundry soap -- it costs about $2.25 for three gallons of my laundry soap (I use about a cup per load):

1 bar Fels Naptha soap (found in laundry aisle)

2 cups WASHING soda (found in the laundry aisle -- Arm & Hammer makes it)

3 gallons boiling water (this is the fun part -- boiling water in lots of pans on my stove!)

Shred bar of soap (I use grater on my food processor) and melt with boiling water. Slowly and gradually add washing soda to water (it will bubble up, so be really careful.) Pour into a large plastic container. (I use an 8 gallong Rubbermaid container -- I often make a double batch.) Cover and let cool. It makes a kind of a gel-like detergent. (SUGGESTIon: Use a container that is at least a gallon or two more than three gallons so that if you have to make more you can just add it to the same container.)

I recently learned of a recipe similar to the above that doesn't use water.

1 bar Fels Naptha soap

1 cup WASHING soda

1 cup borax

Put the washing soda and borax in your food processor with the chopping blade. Use the grating disc to grate the soap into the soda/borax mix and then mix with the chopping blade. Let the dust settle. Store in a baggie or other sealable container. Use 1 tablespoon for normal and 2 tablspoons for large/extra dirty loads.

Happy laundry!

Date Posted: 1/4/2009 5:23 PM ET
Member Since: 12/30/2007
Posts: 1,739
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Use cold water

And Color Catchers !  No need to seperate laundry causing more loads.  I have used these since they introduced them. I love them.

Last Edited on: 1/4/09 5:24 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Subject: Laundry Soap
Date Posted: 1/6/2009 8:55 AM ET
Member Since: 2/27/2006
Posts: 1
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I just started using Charlies Soap, it takes out all odors and you don't need any fabric softener at all. You use just 1 Tb of powder per load.It works out to about 16 cents per load. Its kinda expensive to start with since you have to buy 2 bags in order to get free shipping.  Before I started Charlies I was using "Sport Wash" from walmart, in the sporting good section. My husband complains  about stinky clothes & towels all the time, so I went on a search and this is what I found.  Works for me!  www.charliessoap.com/products.asp

Date Posted: 1/15/2009 4:28 PM ET
Member Since: 8/14/2007
Posts: 1,469
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I am going to try Terri's detergent recipe!

And...I found that one can cut those dryer sheets in 4's instead of half's or 3rd's and it still does the job.

Date Posted: 1/21/2009 5:19 PM ET
Member Since: 7/28/2007
Posts: 88
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I was in walmart the other day looking for the soap and soda for the laundry soap amd could not find them can you get it anywhere my girls want to know if it has a pleseant odor?

Subject: Tennis balls in the dryer
Date Posted: 1/23/2009 7:32 PM ET
Member Since: 11/18/2005
Posts: 5,443
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Wouldn't they make alot of racket going around and around in the??

I might even give the laundry detergent a try.

Last Edited on: 1/23/09 7:36 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 1/29/2009 9:22 PM ET
Member Since: 1/12/2009
Posts: 74
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To dry clothes indoors, I put them on hangers and hang them in doorways.  My doors have molding around them and the top edge of the molding will hold hangers nicely.

Date Posted: 2/5/2009 9:29 AM ET
Member Since: 12/6/2008
Posts: 142
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And (on a side note), when you hang-dry clothes indoors during the winter, it actually helps to humidify the air and cut down on all that static that you get from the dry heat.  So if you have to use a humidifier in the winter (like we do at my house), hang drying can help out some, too.

Date Posted: 2/5/2009 2:19 PM ET
Member Since: 5/10/2005
Posts: 2,360
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I like hanging my clothes on a wood clothes rack inside in the winter. Helps humidify the house, and they dry fairly quickly if placed over a heating grate.  I miss my parents' old house with the floor grates--a couple hours those clothes were dry!

As for the tennis balls, we have similar but rubber balls w/nubs I bought somewhere or another.  We dry the sheets & towels--king size sheets can't hang on a drying rack & I hate scratchy towels.  There is a dull thumping as they go around but it isn't too bad. I don't really notice it anymore.  The main problem is finding them when the sheets eat them!

I had been thinking about making my own laundry soap.  Thanks for the recipe!   (I hope it has almost no scent--clean clothing should not smell!)


Date Posted: 2/5/2009 3:13 PM ET
Member Since: 7/6/2005
Posts: 404
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((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((use a tennis ball in the dryer and your things comes out soft without softener. You can sometimes find them for a 1.00 for a package of two or three at the dollar stores. Also a repairman told us  not to use the dryer sheets because  using  them actually shortens the life of your dryer.))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))

Wow!  Thanks!

Date Posted: 2/5/2009 4:40 PM ET
Member Since: 5/13/2008
Posts: 497
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I have never used fabric softner and never missed it!

My grandmother used to put conditiion on a wash cloth and put that in the dryer with her clothes. She swore by that.

Date Posted: 2/7/2009 8:10 AM ET
Member Since: 6/26/2005
Posts: 3,449
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Kayote, I have used the soap before. It doesnt have an odor to me but your clothes will be clean.I didnt make it myself. I ordered the grated Fels Naptha soap online from a  site called Soaps Gone Buy. I found Muleteam Borax and The Arm and Hammer Washing Soda locally.

Subject: Other household cleaners/uses
Date Posted: 2/11/2009 8:19 AM ET
Member Since: 1/28/2009
Posts: 1,247
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Sort of off topic, but was reading thread and we too are getting ready to start making our own laundry soap.

Some other tips I've picked up in my hunt for frugality. .. =)

1. Febreeze- I know alot of people use this to freshen up furniture. We do too, as we have two dogs.

Basically, all Febreeze (and the generic versions) are is fabric softener and water! For a cheap, homemade version:

Recipe 1. 1 cup fabric softener * 2 cups water

Recipe 2: 2 cups warm water * 1/4 cup fabric softener * 1 Tbsp. baking soda.

I have found others too but these were the simplest and least cost as well as being only ones without harsher chemicals added.


2. Homemade Air Freshener -

Vanilla & Cloves Air Freshener Spray:

1 cup water * 1 cup household vinegar * 1 tbsp. Vanilla extract * 1 tsp. cloves.

Bring all ingredients to a boil, then simmer over medium heat for 2 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool.. Strain cloves and then pour liquid into spray bottle. Shake well before using.

Obviously this is a preference type item. I personally prefer a little more vanilla extract to the mix. But this is a great alternate to sometimes costly air fresheners, as well as being easier on the environment as most of those air fresheners come in aerosol type cans.


3. Laundry Stain Removers:

Have found ALOT of homemade versions for this. My personal fave:

Lemon juics & baking soda. Mix to make a paste. Apply paste directly to stain. Allow to sit for 10 minutes. Wipe off. wash as usual.

A little less harsh than some of the other homemade concoctions I have come across. Plan on trying this one within the week. But have a friend who swears by it.


4. Laundry Soap-  (Powdered)

Recipe 1: 12 cups Borax * 8 cups Baking Soda * 8 Cups Arm & Hammer Washing Soda * 8 cups grated bar soap.

Mix all ingredients, store in sealed container. Use 1/8 cup per full load.

Recipe 2: 2 cups Naptha Soap (finely grated, or any unscented or scented (preference) * 1 cup Arm & Hammer Washing Soda * 1 cup Borax

Mix well, store in airtight container. Use 2 TBSP per full load.


Obviously some of these recipes can be reduced or increased based on family size/need.

I have been able to find Arm & Hammer Washing Soda in the laundry aisle at our local Walmart sore. Naptha soap should also be available at Walmart, although some do not carry, I have also heard you can buy it at craft stores?

Anyways, just wanted to share. =)



Subject: Reuseable Homemade Dryer Sheets
Date Posted: 2/11/2009 8:28 AM ET
Member Since: 1/28/2009
Posts: 1,247
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Forgot one! =)

Reuseable homemade dryer sheets:

4 flannel pieces  *  4 tbsp liquid softener  *  10 tbsp water

* Cut fabric strips from old flannel pjs or leftover fabric, etc. Cut into 3" x 5" strips (approx.)

* Stack flannet strips in a cleaned large margarine tub or baby wipe container. Mix the liquid softener and water together. Then pour evenly over top of stacked flannel strips.

* Seal container, shake well.

You can use several dozen strips with this mixture. Leave sealed for 2-3 days, then use one strip per dryer load. Squeeze out excess if. necc. (they should just be damp). Keep container sealed at all times. Wash strips after use, then use again to make another batch when needed.


Date Posted: 2/11/2009 9:06 AM ET
Member Since: 6/6/2007
Posts: 89
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here's a real simple one....

make sure your clothes actually NEED to be washed.  We are trying to train my 12 year old that he can wear his pjs and clothes more than once.  Hes' not a little kid anymore who spills (well, sometimes) on himself, etc.  but he automatically puts them in the hamper after only wearing them once and I'm realizing I'm doing a ton of unneccesary laundry.

Subject: Re: Here's a real simple one
Date Posted: 2/11/2009 9:12 AM ET
Member Since: 1/28/2009
Posts: 1,247
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I am struggling with the same thing, From both nine year old son AND husband! lol!

They both have this horrible habit that if they even try something on (and then proceeds to hit the floor or in husbands case laid across a pc of furniture or on shelf in closet) they automatically think the piece needs to be washed!

Drives me crazy!

Husband is getting better, his problem is he sometimes grabs wrong thing half asleep getting ready at 4am, but son, arrgghhh.

He will try something on, decide he doesnt want to wear and automatically bring into laundry room!

Working on that! =)

Subject: Laundry
Date Posted: 2/19/2009 6:34 PM ET
Member Since: 1/21/2009
Posts: 3
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Many years ago, I had a problem with my son throwing clean clothes in the hamper, I solved it by making him do his own laundry.  He soon realized that it was a lot of work and the problem went away!

Date Posted: 3/7/2009 10:04 PM ET
Member Since: 10/1/2006
Posts: 175
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i use cascade dishwashing powder when i wash my whites, makes them whiter!

Date Posted: 3/19/2009 7:34 PM ET
Member Since: 6/23/2005
Posts: 379
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The recipe that Misty posted is very, very similar to what we make with the scraps of soap when we make soap. Although there may be some fragrance in the washing powder, there will be none in your clothes. And it is CHEAP to make. I scaled it down, and bought a mini-food procesor at a yard sale that I use to powder & mix laundry soap. We haven't bought laundry detergent in a year!

Edited to add a note to JoAnn - have you had any luck getting to the Charlies Soap site lately?

Last Edited on: 3/19/09 7:38 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 3/20/2009 1:12 AM ET
Member Since: 12/20/2008
Posts: 1,417
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<<I found that one can cut those dryer sheets in 4's instead of half's or 3rd's>>

I must be sleepy, because I read that sentence a dozen times, trying to imagine how & why you would use a can to cut dryer sheets!

Yeah, finally realized "one can" did not mean "as opposed to 3 cans, or a dozen cans" but rather "one is able to"

Thanks for the tip! I also want to try the home-made soap recipe.

Out of curiosity, is it possible to add essential oils for fragrance? (I have a few small bottles & was just wondering.)

Date Posted: 3/22/2009 10:52 AM ET
Member Since: 6/26/2005
Posts: 3,449
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Yes, Melissa , you can add essential oil for fragrance to your home-made soap. I have no idea how much you'll need to add though.

There is a website I go to, and the woman who runs it has items she sells and she sells home m ade  laundry soap some of it scented with essential oil for fragrance.

Last Edited on: 3/22/09 10:52 AM ET - Total times edited: 1