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A few new faves…

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I picked up a new book at the library a couple of weeks ago, and finally had a moment to flip through it this weekend:

10,001 Ways to Live Large on a Small Budget was compiled by the writers of Wise Bread – a personal finance blog/community. I visited their website for the first time over the weekend and it was actually pretty decent. If nothing else, I appreciated the wide variety of resources that they offered. I also appreciated a few tips I picked up, including how to make my own hand sanitizer, linen spray and “body ointment” (similar to body butter).

I know the very idea of me making these products causes my hubby to cringe, but I just can’t help it! I’m inexplicably drawn to the idea of homemade household and beauty supplies. If you think about it, the vast majority of these types of products have only been in existence for the last 80 years or so. Which might sound like forever, but in the vast history of the world, it’s really just a drop in the bucket. Women have been making their own cleaning and beauty supplies for centuries. And don’t get me wrong, I am not at all opposed to modern day conveniences, and there are certain things even I wouldn’t attempt to make on my own (toliet paper, anyone?) However, when I research the basic ingredients of many common household products, I’m amazed at how many things we’ve become accustomed to purchasing under the premise of “needing” them, versus having them as a convenience. In a time when most people are pinching pennies and watching their budgets like never before, it just seems to be appropriate to question some of those practices that have become habit.

Case in point: I’ve been making my own laundry soap for about 6 months now, and I love it. It’s cheap, it’s easy and our clothes are still clean. What more can you ask for? Here’s how to do it:

Mix the following:

1 Cup Washing Soda (Arm & Hammer is the only brand I’ve been able to find locally)
1 Cup Borax (found in the laundry aisle – I generally buy 10 Mule Team brand)
½ to 1 bar finely grated soap (I use Fels Naptha, which is also found in the laundry aisle, but friends of mine really like Irish Spring)

You only need to use 2 Tablespoons per load!

Now there are many variations on the recipe above (including liquid versions), just do a search for “homemade laundry detergent” and find one that works for you. While the powdered works fine for me, I miss the ease of liquid detergent, and plan on trying that next. Currently we buy really cheap fabric softener, and as I’ve gotten a lot either free or for less than $2 a bottle as of late, I have no plans to make my own. Although I’m not ruling it out! (Sorry honey)

I’d be curious to hear from anyone else who has tried homemade products and their level of success.

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