"$uper" frugal living. "$aving" money...one idea at a time.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Making Whites Whiter!

I'm here today to talk laundry....AGAIN!  Why?  Because, as a mother of 4 boys, my life revolves around laundry.  My life IS laundry.  Laundry...Period.  :)

As you can see, I've been putting it off for the last few days.  Instead I've been busy painting my living room, cleaning up after painting my living room, teaching aerobics, holding cub scouts, preparing meals, changing diapers.....

Well, when my two oldest came to me complaining for lack of clothing to wear to school I realized the job could be put off no longer.

Here's what I saw after #3 gathered all of the baskets...
And these isn't even all of it.  I already had a load in the washer and the dryer.


To make matters worse, I had just emptied my LAST cup of store bought laundry detergent into the washer.  Sigh....

Time to get back to FRUGALNESS!

Luckily I had all the ingredients on hand for my thrifty, nifty Homemade Laundry Detergent.  I tweaked it a bit this time (taking some tips from Why Not Sew).  We'll see if I like it better.

The REAL reason for my post today is because I am trying out a NEW method of making WHITES WHITER!  I found this little ditty on Pinterest (my new best friend) and am totally going to try it out.

In this house, NOTHING stays white for long.  Why should it when it can be stained with grass, dirt, and general muck, right?

Here is the "recipe":

HOT water
1 cup of laundry detergent (I'm using my homemade soap)

1 cup powdered dish washer detergent 

1 cup bleach (or color safe bleach if any color present)

1/2 cup borax

 Fill the washing machine with HOT WATER (you can even BOIL a gallon or so of water on the stove to add to the washer to make it that much hotter). Then add the "ingredients".  Agitate the machine for a few minutes (BEFORE ADDING CLOTHES) to allow dishwasher detergent to dissolve.  THEN add clothes.  Allow clothes to soak for as long as you can (overnight if possible).  Finish cycle.

Because I have some time restraints (aka a million loads to get through today) and didn't have time to allow the load to soak in the washer, I turned to the bathtub.  Yep...I said the bathtub (or a plastic tote would do).

I filled it with hot HOT water (yeah, we keep our water heater up pretty high), then added the laundry soap and bleach.

Next I filled a large pan with a gallon of water, set it on the stove to heat, and then added both the dishwasher detergent and the borax.  By the time the water reached a boil, the detergent/borax had dissolved.

I added the water/detergent/borax to the bathtub and stirred.  Now for the clothes.

(I would have taken a picture of this but I'd rather not post a pic of my unmentionables on the internet, thank you very much.) 

I let the load soak in the tub for several hours (5-6) and then transferred them, in a basket, to the washing machine. 

I ran them through a regular HOT cycle, with an extra rinse for good measure.

The end result was spectacular.

 It truly did make my "whites" whiter.

I think I will make a regular habit of this.  It's very nice to see things "glow" again.  :)

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

DIY Dry Erase Wall Calendar

I know, shocker...I am finally posting on this blog.  Gasp!

Remember when I said I was going to take a month break?  Yeah, well when that was over we found out we were moving....then we prepared for the move...then we moved...all the while, while I was NOT blogging I was, instead, obsessing over Pinterest.  Which is why we are here today.

I've started decorating my house.  $uper Frugal (Pinterest inspired) Style.

You see...while the house we bought may be new to us, it is definitely not new.  It was built in the late 70's.  I really don't mind that, except that in the foreseeable future it will need a few repairs.  (Starting with ripping out the nasty animal/urine stained carpet that was SUPPOSED to have been cleaned professionally.  Never happened.).  So...I need to be $aving money anywhere I can on more "frivolous" things. 

That's why I am ecstatic about today's project.  It didn't cost me a thing.  I had all the supplies already (that NEVER happens).

I have been scoping out Dry Erase Wall Calendars on Pinterest and found a few that I liked but didn't LOVE.  So...I used those ideas as a "guideline" and made up my own.  Now...before you all go thinking I am a creative genius, you are wrong.  This took me HOURS upon HOURS to think up...and it really only evolved as I got going.  I'm really surprised it turned out so cute...to tell you the truth.

Supplies used:
*Picture frame (I used an old one my mother-in-law gave me years ago...Walmart has them for cheap)
*Paint for frame (if you want to change the color)
*Polyurethane to seal paint (which I haven't actually put on yet because SOMEONE threw it away during the move....Roberto!)
*Strip of my new favorite fabric (Paisley Floral Cream -by Sophia, purchase at Jellys Roll 2 Go)
*Coordinating Scrapbook Paper
*Permanent Marker
*Wrapping paper (with grids on the back)

Honestly, the HARDEST part was trying to measure and evenly space the boxes.  I may, or may not, have sworn in my head (or even out loud) a few (many) times.  Seriously!  I ended up using wrapping paper that I (surprisingly) had.  I used the grids to help measure the two inch length (my boxes are 2.75 inches by 2 in) so at least a few of my lines would be strait.  :)

FYI...the days of the week ("Sunday, Monday, etc") and "notes" were written directly on the scrapbook paper, the boxes are drawn on the INSIDE of the glass (so the lines stay month after month), and the month ("May") and days of the month ("1, 2, 3, etc") are written on the OUTSIDE of the glass (so you can erase and change them every month).

I'm really REALLY happy with the finished product.  

It's to be the main focal point on the empty kitchen.  I was sure to incorporate all of the colors I want to use in the entire room to draw them all together. 
More $uper Frugal (Pinterest inspired) projects to come, I am sure.

Signing out,

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

How To: Clean and Deodorize Your Dishwasher

Does your dishwasher look like this?
(or some other nasty variation of it?)
Do you find little food particles stuck to your "clean" dishes?
Do your dishes smell "fishy", even after they have been washed?

Mine did.  And it was grossing me out.  Big time.   

So I did a little research (here and here) and set about fixing the problem. 

All it takes is a little vinegar.  Really!   

$uper easy....$uper cheap! (Commercial products can be expensive...and are not necessary.)

Step 1  Fill a cup or bowl with 1 cup vinegar (distilled white is best).  
Step 2  Place cup/bowl on top rack of EMPTY dishwasher.
Step 3  Run dishwasher through a REGULAR wash cycle, hot of water as possible (heat dry not necessary)

Not brand new...but a VAST improvement.
I even stuck my head in there and "took a big whiff".
Ahhh....fresh.  No more "fishy" smell.

For more extensive cleaning/deodorizing try these tips:
1.  Remove utensil holder and lower rack
2.  Use an old toothbrush or dish scrubber to clean around inside of dishwasher door (paying close attention to crevices and rubber seal) with HOT soapy water.
3.  Use a sponge or clean cloth to wipe down the entire interior of the dishwasher, including the bottom (pay close attention to the drain where food particles collect).
4.  Replace utensil holder and lower rack. 
5.  Repeat steps 1,2 and 3 from above, only pour an additional cup of vinegar over the bottom of the dishwasher as well.
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