Spring Cleaning

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Today I woke up in Spring cleaning mode. We have a guest coming this evening so I would have had to clean regardless. I have also been getting rid of some stuff that is no longer needed. I sent a load to the Salvation Army, posted a few things on Craigslist and already have someone coming for the sewing machine that doesn’t see eye to eye with me. Hopefully the mood continues so I can get more done. Happy Spring cleaning!

Household Chemicals

Today I was did my WHMIS refresher for work. It’s training for reading labels on hazardous stuff. It’s kind of a funny thing for me to have to do because I avoid hazardous chemicals by all means possible. The proper labelling aspect, however, got my attention. The past couple of weeks we’ve been having some labelling problems of our own. All of our homemade cleaning products are kept in clear plastic bottles. accidentally, the wrong things kept being mistaken for water and were sprayed in places they weren’t welcome (ie. vinegar on bread dough). So, because smelling things before spraying may seem laborious for some genders, I decided to label everything. I also had to buy a new water bottle, since we either never actually had one, or else it went missing.So, there you have it. Together with baking soda this makes up our cleaning arsenal. Thankfully, no ‘highly corrosive’, or other scary sounding warnings are needed.

P.S. I didn’t lay out a backdrop for the picture or anything. This is just the sheet we have covering the half-done puzzle on the kitchen table since Daisy loves chewing on puzzle pieces, especially when the puzzles are borrowed it seems.

Laundry Soap

For a few years now I’ve been making my own laundry soap. I love it. It takes very little time, works great, leaves my cloths with no scent (I hate smelling like anything), and it dirt cheap. Here’s how I do it:

I start with a great big pot. Add some water, I usually start with about 4 cups. Add half a cup of borax and half a cup of washing soda. Put it on the stove at about medium heat. Stir until the powders dissolve. Then take a bar of soap. I use Linda soap that they sell in the laundry aisle. I’d prefer to use something purer, like castile, but it’s so darn expensive. Take the bar and a knife and make a little mark where half is, then mark quarters. You will need a quarter of the bar for each batch. I usually grate the soap in with my mom’s old cheese grater. This is hard work. I think I read that some people use food processors, but I would look into that before doing it.

Anyways, grate the soap into the pot. Turn up the heat a little and stir once it a while until it melts. Add 12 more cups of water. It should get sort of clear.

Wait for it to cool a little then either pour it into whatever vessel you want to store it or, or using a funnel, put it into old, clean detergent bottles.

Leave it overnight to set. When you want to use it the first time you will have to shake the crap out of it because it gets a layer on top. Then use a quarter of a cup. Don’t worry if it is clumpy or gross looking. It’s homemade after all. I use it with a cold water wash and it works better than most store-bought stuff.

Under Attack: Part Two

Well yesterday it was the sock drawer. I didn’t want to bombard you with all of the my clothing problems all at once so I thought I would wait until today to tell you about my shirt drawer. Actually, this one wasn’t even close to the sock drawer. It was just the usual problem of me always grabbing the shirt that is on top, thus leaving the bottom half of the shirts unworn. The problem with this is that the shirts on top wear out much faster since they are worn so much and the bottom ones get all sad and wrinkly. The solution: rotating piles. Though it sounds complicated it actually simplifies things. At least in my opinion. So, hopefully, here’s how it will go: I have three piles of shirts in the drawer. The middle one is just tank tops I wear underneath, the other two are my regular t-shirts. When I get dressed I will take the shirt on top (switching piles each day). If I don’t want to wear that shirt it means I should get rid of it, because I shouldn’t keep something I don’t wear. When I do laundry I will put the clean shirts on the bottom of the piles, therefore ensuring equal wear. This seems brilliant to me, but most likely it is something that most people do already. I wish I could implement a similar system with my closet, but those are mainly work clothes, which I need to put more thought into. If only I could make getting dress completely trouble-free. Sometimes I miss my high school uniform.

Under Attack: The Clothes Monster

Today I did laundry. Nothing new. The problem came when I was trying to put away said laundry and I encounted a monster, and not the cute kind like below. My underwear and sock drawer was at maximum capacity. It just was not going to accept anymore. First world problem, I know. It is so sad that clutter and the over-owning of stuff is such a big problem, when for some people it is unimaginable. So, I needed a solution. The easiest thing seemed to be to go through my socks and underwear, choose 14 of each (in case I don’t do laundry for 2 weeks, which sometimes happens). These were given the privilege of living in the drawer. The rest were relocated to a plastic storage container. Whenever one pair wears out I can go to the bin and grab a new one. It will be just like shopping! Okay, not really, but at least it solves the problem for now. Until next Christmas when I am given 20 more pairs of socks.

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Dishwasher Detergent

When we first moved into our apartment for the first time in my life I was graced with a dishwasher. What a step up in the world! Especially when this fall there was a new one installed when the old wood-panelled one (seriously) that was originally here stopped working.  I really hate doing dishes, especially since we accumulate dirty dishes slowly over the course of the day, so we would either have to do one big wash at the end of the day or several small ones throughout the day. Anyways, here was this dishwasher all ready for me to use. So, of course my next step was to look at what green detergents were available in stores. Kurt wasn’t very happy that most of them seemed quite a bit more expensive, but we discussed the ingredients (or lack of) listed on the conventional products and how I did not want that awful bleachy smell every time we ran the dishwasher. In the end we picked up the cheapest bottle of environmentally friendly stuff. Sadly, it didn’t work that great. My next step (which really should have been my first step) was to research how to make my own. Turns out it is incredibly easy, I had most the ingredients in the house already, and it works great with absolutely no smell (which I did notice a little of even with our greener choice liquid).

So here is the recipe:

1/2 cup of borax

1/2 cup of washing soda

1/4 cup of citric acid

Put them all together in a container, then shake. Use a tablespoon each time.

I read through a lot of recipes online and the borax and soda seemed to be a constant. With just these two though, a lot of people reported cloudy dishes. This is what the citric acid is for. I bought mine in a glass jar at a bulk store, but it is much cheaper online through soap making websites. My dishes come out very clean, and it saves a lot of money.