Our dryer broke down around Christmastime, and laundry has been so much on my mind this past month. I actually didn't use the dryer that often, but when it's readily available, it's easy to become complacent about having it. And when it's not available, planning for laundry day is all-the-more-important.
Sometimes, the laundry gets forgotten about and snowed on. It happens.
And sometimes, it freeze-drys overnight in sub-zero temps. No big deal.
But, the real revelation of late is that we most definitely have hard water with a lot of iron in it. This is what causes my (blonde) hair to turn orange if left wet, and my laundry to appear a tad dingy. But it's okay, because my experimenting with different homemade laundry soap recipes has finally left me with one I can live with!
Backing up a bit, though...
As an experiment, I went out and bought that dang Tide from the store and used it until the bottle ran out. And you know what? It didn't work any better than my previous homemade formula! At all.
This was both depressing and revolutionary at the same time. I was hoping
the store-bought stuff would magically cure my laundry woes and give my
clothes a fresh start, so to speak, while I worked on the homemade
formula. But it didn't do a darn thing. No special stain-removing
powers. No brighter colors and whiter whites. No better than new. No
nothing (except for being ridiculously overpriced and overpackaged).
Here's the formula/process that's actually been working for me for over three months now. I really like the tutorial using this more concentrated recipe. No more mustiness, and a whole lot less dinginess:
1. At medium-low temperature, heat up a pot with 1.5 Quarts water
2. Add 1 bar of grated Dr. Bronner's castile soap, stirring a bit until fully dissolved
3. Add 1 Cup borax, 1 Cup washing soda, and 1/2 Cup baking soda
4. Stir again until dissolved and thick, then remove from heat
5. Add about 2.5 to 3 gallons of hot water to the mixture, and mix well. (I use a huge stockpot for this task, and then transfer the soap to smaller containers with a funnel. But, the tutorial I mentioned above uses a 3 gallon bucket with a lid instead, which I find very smart! I would do that if I didn't have to haul my soap down to the basement where my washing machine is).
Other things to note:
--In most full loads of wash I use a whole cup of the laundry soap.
--Occasionally, I'll use oxybleach with a white load, and with towels and cloth diapers, I always run the extra rinse cycle with a full cup of vinegar added to the machine.
Happy, happy laundry days these are!
**Oh, by the way, you can remove the orange from your hair by making a
paste of citric acid and baking soda, and allowing it to stay on your
hair for 15 minutes. The orange color then rinses away. To help prevent it in
the first place, I use white vinegar as my conditioner (diluted with
water to about a 1:8 concentration) and have to blow dry my hair after
showering. Dingy clothes and orange hair aren't really my style, but I suppose a
little dullness of fabric and slight bronzing of locks is okay; A small
sacrifice for living in a place where well water still exists!**