Don’t Use Homemade Laundry Detergent.

Years ago, I hopped on the homemade laundry detergent train.  I thought it was cheaper, more natural, and worked just as well as commercial laundry detergent.  I used it in my high efficiency front loading washing machine for years until we had Penny and then I decided to try a different laundry detergent on our cloth diapers.  I figured they were the dirtiest laundry I would probably ever wash so I wanted a heavy duty detergent (aka not homemade) to tackle the filthy diapers.  I bought liquid Ecos laundry detergent to try, as it is Earth friendly and claims to be “green”.  It didn’t work very well for cloth diapers as it’s a pretty gentle detergent and the liquid I bought didn’t contain enzymes.  At that point I decided to try to use it up on my regular laundry when the homemade ran out.
oilspots copyThat is when the oil spots started appearing on our laundry.  I would put in clothes that I knew didn’t have oil spots on them in the wash, and they would come out like this.  I can’t tell you how many hours of my life I wasted trying to figure out the cause of these oil spots.  I cleaned the filters to my machine, switched from powdered to liquid laundry detergent, switched back to liquid, tried scented laundry detergent, tried unscented laundry detergent, tried everything.  I noticed the worst spots would show up on dark clothing, usually cotton knits.  It wasn’t until I put in a navy pair of cotton jersey t shirt sheets and they came out with the spots on them that I knew without a doubt that something was wrong.  I called an appliance repair place and they told me that there was no way that the machine could be leaking oil into the drum of the washing machine so there had to be something else wrong.  They offered to send someone out to check on the machine, and I agreed because my next step was to take the washing machine outside and set it on fire.  I am not joking-I was so tired of dealing with washing laundry and it coming out worse than when I had put it in!

The repairman came out, took a look at the washer and was disgusted.  He said the machine was absolutely filthy and had a gunk build up around the rubber boot at the door and all around it.  He removed the rubber boot and scrubbed it with a brush in the sink.  He also scrubbed around the drum and where it met the rubber boot to remove gunk.  He ran two washing machine cleaning cycles with washing machine cleaner and told me that should help.  What was happening was the clothes would be washing and when they started to spin they would shake the rubber boot so hard that it was basically spewing the nasty gunk from around the rubber ring back onto the clothes.  Disgusting!!

He recommended we switch to a liquid laundry detergent and use washing machine cleaner once a month and we shouldn’t have any more problems.  We followed his advice and haven’t had any problems since! Whew.  I also have wondered if it was bad for our pipes and septic system as the homemade laundry detergent contains bar soap which is notorious for build up.  That is the main problem with the homemade detergent- all it is is soap, washing soda (a water softener), and borax (another water softener).  Good laundry detergent needs surfactants and sometimes enzymes in addition to water softeners.  Surfactants lift away dirt and enzymes eat stains.  The water softeners allow the water to be softened so that the detergent works more effectively.  We generally buy store brand free and clear laundry detergent now since I can’t stand scented detergents.  We’ve been very happy with it, and I am so pleased to not be dealing with those annoying oil stains any longer!

What kind of laundry detergent do you use?    

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Elderberry Syrup Recipe

elderberry

During the winter, my family takes elderberry syrup along with other supplements to boost our immune systems. Elderberries have been known to shorten the duration of illness, and it’s a berry so it’s generally considered safe for pretty much anyone including pregnant and nursing women. I personally have taken it while pregnant and nursing.  I really enjoy making and taking the elderberry syrup. If you don’t want to make your own elderberry syrup, you can buy it here.

Elderberries (sambucus nigra) grow in the wild, and you can harvest them yourself and make the syrup if you would like.  Some of the benefits of elderberries are: cold ad flu relief, blood sugar stabilizer, natural diuretic, good for allergies, and high in antioxidants.  They are also high in vitamins A, B6 and C, which helps them boost the immune system.

I purchase my organic elderberries in bulk from Amazon. They’ve always been great quality and I like buying in bulk so I don’t have to worry about running out when I want to make it.  Sometimes I also make elderberry tea by steeping 2 teaspoons of elderberries in 10 ounces of boiling water.  I add in some raw honey and it is delicious!  Here’s how you can make your own elderberry syrup:

Ingredients

  • 4 cups of filtered water
  • 3/4 cup dried elderberries
  • 1/2 teaspoon cloves
  • sprinkle of nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 Tablespoon dried ginger
  • raw organic honey to taste (we purchase from Costco)
  1. Add 4 cups of filtered water to a medium sized pot and sprinkle in elderberries, cloves, nutmeg, cinnamon, and ginger.
  2. Bring mixture to a boil and then reduce heat to a simmer. I let mine barely bubble and check it every ten minutes.  It smells so good while it is cooking!  When it looks like the liquid has been reduced and is a little thicker than it was, turn the heat off and remove it from the burner.
  3. Let the mixture sit for awhile to cool down. After this has happened, I take my potato masher and squish the berries to release the liquid.  When done squishing berries, strain through a metal strainer into a glass container.  At this point, you can discard your elderberries.
  4. When the liquid is just warm, add honey to taste. We add between 1/2-3/4 cup of honey.  Stir to combine!

We take 1 tsp for kids and 2 tsp for adults daily as a preventative.  When illness strikes, take that dosage every two to three hours until symptoms disappear.  I actually use the elderberry syrup added to my daughter’s cod liver oil since she prefers the flavor.  She takes it with no problem and actually reminds me to give it to her if I forget!

Make sure to consume elderberry syrup within a month or so.  I have seen it mold when not consumed quickly enough, and that is why I don’t make more than one recipe at a time.  I shake mine well before dosing to the family members. The last illness we had lasted about 2 days for us, and didn’t seem to be as bad as other peoples’ symptoms and I attributed that to the elderberry syrup!

What do you do in the winter to boost your immune system?

 

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Homemade Stain Remover Recipe

bottle
The other day I ran out of my normal laundry stain remover and had to make some with items I already had on hand. Here’s what I used:

-1 part blue Dawn (I used 1/2 cup of the original that I buy at the Dollar Tree. It is the non concentrated but any Dawn will work)
-2 parts hydrogen peroxide

I put it in my old stain remover bottle, which is dark blue, so that the hydrogen peroxide will still work when I use it on my clothes. You have to keep hydrogen peroxide in dark bottles. I used blue Dawn because it cuts through grease on EVERYTHING, and so far it hasn’t disappointed with removing oil/grease stains on our laundry! The hydrogen peroxide acts as a color safe bleach and helps remove stains. If you would like enzymatic action in your stain remover, you can add in 1/4 cup of Biokleen – Bac-Out Stain & Odor Eliminator. We keep this on hand always. It is very helpful in potty training accident cleanup, and will “eat” many stains.

I’ve tried this homemade stain remover on oil, grease, food, grass, blood, and other stains and it really works very well.  My daughter had a white sweatshirt that got some red juice on it, and I sprayed it with the stain remover and it took it completely away!  I’ve used it in conjunction with laundry detergent made from our laundry detergent recipe and it’s a great combination.

What is your favorite stain remover?

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