Friday, April 5, 2013

Herbal All-Natural Home Cleaning Series - Part 4 - Fabric Softener

One way to save money in the spring and summer?
Hang out your laundry.

"The heart of her husband doth safely trust in her, so that he shall have no need of spoil."
~ Proverbs 31:11 ~
All of us in this economy are trying to find ways to pinch pennies, my latest thing has been couponing, although my latest guilty pleasure has been to watch one or two shows of Extreme Couponing on Netflix, I am not really an extreme couponer. Although couponing does get my adrenal glands pumping, it's not exactly what I call fun. So, the more I can keep from couponing the better off I will be (or let's just say, the better off my nerves will be). In today's post I am going to give you a recipe for fabric softener, but I am also going to give you mathematical equations for figuring out the exact cost of your own recipe, so you will know exactly how much you are saving.

 Since I started this series on Herbal All-Natural Home Cleaning, it really got me to thinking of all the endless possibilities for us to make ALL of our own products at home. So, since my last post, I have been scrambling and scrounging and researching trying to find out how and what I can make and trying those recipes out and figuring up the costs, so that I can give you a cost effective recipe.

 This one I got excited about because it's something that I have never made, but for the past 6 or 7 years I have used vinegar in my wash as the softener, and vinegar is one of the main ingredients! The number one reason I love this recipe is because it is (of course) all-natural. But, the other reasons are because the essential oils I used are anti-bacterial, anti-fungal and all around they are just good at cleaning, it's CHEAP, it's so easy to make, and it makes my clothes smell divine!!!

Beside the ingredients I have this mathematical equation:
 cost per oz of product  x how many oz of product you are using = cost of amount used
Let's get started, shall we...
So, you will need:
6 C. Distilled Vinegar (.008c oz x 48 =.42)
1C. + 6 C. Water (.005c oz x 56 = .28c)
1 C. Baking Soda (.78c oz /2 = .39c)
20-40 drops of Essential Oil (.35c lemon +.45c tea tree = .80)
Large Bowl
A Gallon Jug
A Funnel

Place baking soda in the bowl, add one cup of water and stir to dissolve the soda.

Begin adding the vinegar a cup or two at a time (if you remember from science class this causes a chemical reaction which is the reason you need a big bowl and patience).

After adding all six cups of vinegar, finish up by adding water and your favorite essential oil/s
 Stir the ingredients and try to dissolve all of the baking soda. Now, place the funnel in the mouth of the gallon jug, pour the mixture in. Label and add these instructions to that label: Add 1 c. per load.
Personal Experience
I personally used Lemon and Tea Tree essential oils (a half and half mixture) because lemon has a great scent as well as the ability to help remove grease and grime and be a great "extra" cleansing agent. I used tea tree because of it's anti-bacterial properties and it's ability to remove foul scents. But, most people use lavender and that is probably the cheapest way to go.

I used this in all of my laundry and to me it did feel like my towels were a lot softer, there was also less lint than normal. I am not sure, but I think that the vinegar helps with minimizing the lint, but please don't quote me on that ;)

Be careful with the mixture because it can be pretty drying to your skin. Although natural, the mixture of vinegar and baking soda is harsh on your skin, though it does not burn or do much damage (other than drying it out a little) please be careful, if you do spill some on you just rinse off and if your skin feels dry put some natural lotion or just some plain coconut oil on it.

Another caution that I would personally give...don't use on underwear if you have sensitive skin.
 I ALWAYS wash underwear in a separate load of clothes and I do not use anything but mild laundry detergent on them. If you must ask why, it is because some people can be very sensitive to something
as natural and good as vinegar or any kind of product that has strong scent, natural or otherwise (just like some people are lactose intolerant, that doesn't mean that milk is bad for everyone).

Just because it may irritate certain areas doesn't mean it is bad for all areas, so I use it in all other laundry loads just not underwear loads.

 If you and your family have never had problems then I would say it is safe for you to wash whatever you want with it.
The total cost of my recipe is $1.89 for 95oz, a bottle of name brand fabric softener at walmart of 90 oz  costs 6.97, which makes for a 75% savings and probably more if you don't use the exact same essential oils that I did.
Do the Math
Do the math for any recipe, so you know exactly how much it costs to make:
1 C. = 8oz (approximately)
16 oz = 1 lb
128 oz = 1 gallon
Divide the cost of product by how many oz are in your whatever you bought and you will get the cost per oz. then multiply by how many oz you used.
Distilled Vinegar
Cost: 1.20
1.20/128 = .008 x 48 = .42c
Here is how to do the math for your essential oil usage:
1 oz (essential oil) = 600 drops. Divide cost by 600 drop.
 Multiply by how many drops you use (in this case 20) and you have the approximate cost of oil.
Lemon essential oil
Cost: 10.80 for 1 oz
10.80/600 = .018 x 20 = .36
Wow, I hope you are enjoying this series as much as I am. I am so glad that I can share all these natural home cleaning solutions. I am so excited about bringing you next weeks post. Please feel free to adlib to this recipe and let us know how your recipe turned out and how it worked for you. I would love for you to post a picture to my facebook page of all of your natural home cleaning products that you have made so far.
Learning to be a Proverbs 31 Woman!