Saturday, January 31, 2009

Making Homemade Dish Detergent

The next step along the road of frugal living...homemade dish detergent! Honestly, I didn't really think this would work, since I looked at the ingredients list on the Costco soap and there were so many listed I had no clue. But I googled "homemade dish detergent" and got a few recipes. A main reason I wanted to try making detergent is that often the Costco detergent goobers into the many bottle and sippy cup parts after a wash/rinse cycle. Sometimes I can't see it, but I can tell it's there because it makes things slippery. It's probably not healthy if there's residue on the girl's bottles, and the homemade recipe has way fewer ingredients and ones I actually understand. So far it's going well!!

Here is the one I tried:
1 tbsp Washing Soda
1 tbsp Borax

Add the washing soda and borax in the detergent spot, and about 1 tbsp vinegar to the rinser. 

Here is the cost comparison:
Washing Soda (56oz, 112 tbsp): $5.99 ($0.05/tbsp)
Half box Borax (38oz, 76 tbsp): $1.49 ($0.02/tbsp)
Vinegar (128oz, 256 tbsp):  $3.19 ($0.01/tbsp)

Total per load: $0.08

Compare that to buying commercial dry detergent such as this on Amazon. Each box is $23.80, which makes 250 tablespoons. For a load, which would be 2 tablespoons as in my recipe, each load becomes about $0.18.
However, this is on sale at the local Safeway this week for $4.49.

For 75oz, that's 150 tablespoons, which make each tablespoon $0.03, so that makes it $0.06 per load (2tbsp). In this case, it's cheaper to buy it on special at Safeway. 

It's probably a wash (no pun intended!) as to whether making homemade detergent would always be cheaper for everyone, depending on where you buy detergent and what deals you can get, but it's probably always more environmentally friendly and less likely to leave bleach goobs in baby bottles. As well, the price of commercial detergent may go up without notice, but Borax and washing soda is less likely to do so. And probably I could get away with using half as much detergent if I wanted to, which would make the cost per use 4 cents. 
Anyway, it's worth a shot!! 
P.S. Am I off in my calculations? I flunked my math placement in college and got placed in Algebra 2, which I'd taken as a 10-grader, so I might be wrong. In my calculations, I used 1 tablespoon = 1/2 ounce. If I'm wrong, would someone please correct me? :)

It's an EVE party!

For Caley's birthday, she said she wanted an EVE party. (EVE is from the movie WALL-E.) And that's what she got! It's been like an EVE factory at our house for the last few weeks. For her party she invited three girlfriends over for dinner, cake and watching WALL-E! Then they had a sleepover! It's been really fun planning and preparing for this party.

The invitation
The practice cake...looks okay, tasted sickenly sweet.
The Rice Krispie treat cake we had at playgroup.
The biggest project by far was the EVE doll pillows. I got the idea from this website and adapted it based on the materials I could find. I'm not a seamstress by any means, so this was fairly challenging for me, especially since I hadn't used my sewing machine for over 2 years. Actually there are a lot of mistakes and if I were to make many more hopefully each one would look better than the last. But it's for kids, so who cares. For the body I used T-shirts. For the patches I used felt because it doesn't fray, and for her plant symbol I used iron-on patches for pants cut into the correct shapes.
The girls also made EVE puppets. I originally was going to have them stuff the dolls, but that'd be too much work sewing them back up on party night. They seemed to enjoy the puppets!
And finally, the last EVE cake!

They didn't sleep as much as I'd hoped, but it was still a really fun party!
"Thank you friends for coming to my party!" -Caley

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Happy Birthday Big Girl!!

Today Caley is 4 years old. Happy Birthday Caleyboo! We love you so much! Thanks for making the last year memorable.

Sunday, January 25, 2009


I recently went to the cutest wine bar in Edmonds for Karina's birthday party. (Happy Birthday Karina!!) It was awesome and is my new favorite place to go. It's literally a "hole in the wall" and our party of 7 barely fit in our "booth." It's a Paris theme with old time music, dim lighting, eclectic decorating, fantastic service and just a lot of fun. There only appeared to be one guy working and he asked what we wanted, "red or white." Whatever was chosen, he brought out two wine samples and we picked our preferred sample and got a glass of it. Actually it was more of a smallish pitcher and a big shot glass so we could serve ourselves. We also got a bread and cheese platter and some chocolate. 
It was a great way to spend a Friday night, and I highly recommend Daphne's!!

Reviews: Yelp, InsiderPages

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Making Homemade Laundry Detergent

I was recently researching about how to cut costs around the house and got turned onto making homemade laundry detergent. From the websites I read, it seems like a fair amount of homemakers do this, at least enough to warrant a try. I used the recipe from this website. Another good website I found is here.

The ingredients are:
2 bars grated Zote soap (or Ivory, or something called Fels Naptha)
Washing Soda (aka Oxy Clean or Sodium Carbonate, not to be confused with Baking Soda which is Sodium Bicarbonate)

I followed the recipe from the aforementioned website and changed the quantities to use what I had. Here's the updated recipe:

2 bars (12 cups) grated Zote (using a food processor would be better because the soap would be finer)
6 cups Washing Soda
6 cups Borax
Essential oil (optional, just for a scent)

One normal-sized load is 1 tablespoon, and the Washing Soda came with a little 2-tablespoon scoop for easy measuring. Since clothes get pretty dirty around here thanks to messy eating habits, snot explosions and walking in the rain, I use 2-tablespoons per load.
But does it really work? So far I've done about 5 loads and the clothes come out smelling fresh and clean and the dirt is gone. It also works on cloth diapers! I'm actually excited to do laundry now, because it's part of the whole experiment.

Does it really cost less? Yes, even when I factor in the time it took to make. Making it took less than 15 minutes! I spend that much time at the grocery store figuring out the best deal on detergent while managing the yelling children. Here's the breakdown of the costs:

Washing Soda= $5.99
Zote= $2.54 ($1.27/bar)
Borax= $1.49 (half of a $2.98 box)
Total= $10.02

The recipe made 24 cups, which is 384 tablespoons. 2 tablespoons per large load is 192 loads. 1 tablespoon per small/medium load is 384 loads.
Cost per (2 tbsp) load: $0.05
Cost per (1tbsp) load: $0.02

Compare that to buying a brand name detergent such as this. All Ultra makes 140 loads for $32.33. That's about $0.23 per load! Of course detergents may be found cheaper depending on where they're bought, this is just an illustration of how frugal making homemade detergent can be. Am I ever going to buy detergent again? Probably yes, but it's nice to know that there are other options. 

Hmm, what are we going to spend all that extra money on??? ;)

Monday, January 05, 2009

Things I Love

Running in the rain.
Coming home from running in the rain to a warm, clean house that smells like what I made for dinner.
When my house smells like meatloaf from this recipe.
When the kids sleep in.
When the kids sleep in and I get a few hours in the morning to blog.
Watching Friends.
Seeing my friends after a few weeks of not seeing them.
Playing with the kids in the children's ministry.
Watching Caley play with her friends in the preschool class at church.
When it rains.
When it's sunny and breezy.
Snuggling with my girls when they're not feeling too good.
Snuggling with Billy.
Listening to the girls play. Nicely.
Sunday naps.
Jesus, for all these wonderful things in my life.