Monday, August 22, 2011

Frugal laundry tips, along with homemade fabric softener sheets recipes!

I get so tired of folding laundry and finding 1-2 used fabric sheets in each load.  If it's a day they're doing many loads (I'm not able to do laundry, the hubs and girls are on 'laundry rotation' lol), then I usually end up with a pile of used fabric softener sheets, grr.  If they're using good quality ones (depending on what my coupons were for...we're not brand loyal, I have about 5-10 boxes of various brands at any given time in the laundry room), then they can be used again, but if they've chosen to open and use a box that's not such great quality, they're only good for dusting, keeping dresser drawers and linen closets smelling fresh, and whatever else I can think of, but not laundry again.

How about making your OWN fabric softener sheets that you can use over and over again AND save money while you're at it?  I figured you'd like that idear.  Try this:

Homemade Fabric Softener Sheets
Flannel fabric pieces
4 TBS liquid softener
10 TBS water

• Cut fabric sheets from old flannel pajamas, sheets, shirts, or leftover flannel fabric from sewing and cut into 3″ x 5″ strips (approximately).
• Stack flannel strips in a cleaned butter or ice cream tub (large in size) or another lidded plastic container (cleaned baby wipes container works well too). Mix the liquid fabric softener and water together, then pour evenly over top of stacked flannel strips.
• Seal container and shake well.  I like to open the container and move'em around a bit, squish'em and such, just to make sure each strip has been coated.  If you use a LOT of strips, you may need to use a 2nd batch of the liquid to ensure that all the strips are might need to 'eye' it.
This mix should make several dozen strips, (yep, that means you'll get several dozen loads of dried clothes just by using 4 tablespoons of store bought liquid fabric softener with some water...that jug'll last you awhile). Leave the container sealed for about 2 or 3 days before using any of the sheets...let it all soak in, then use one flannel strip per dryer load (you may need to squeeze out any excess that may have built up, if any, because the wipes should only be damp when you toss it in the dryer).  Keep the container sealed at all times, and I like to keep mine out of direct sunlight (it can actually kind of 'sour' the mixture and give it an 'off' scent). Wash the flannel strips after each use, and then use'em again to make another batch when needed.

How about THESE thrifty and frugal laundry tips?

1. Add 1/4 cup vinegar in your laundry’s rinse cycle.  NOTE:  do not add vinegar to a laundry load that has bleach in can kill someone with the fumes and gas it creates.  Someone actually suggested that you can add essential oil to the vinegar to help make it smell better, but I've found you need to use quite a bit of EO and EOs are not cheap.  Unless you're doing the vinegar choice due to health reasons or allergies or something, spending the money on the amt of EO you like may not be worth not actually paying for fabric softener.  But, for those that like soft clothes and no perfumes, this is a great way to go.  I don't know if it softens 'line dried' clothes though, cuz I don't have a way to line dry...but if anyone knows, can you let us know?

sponges are great fabric softener 'sheets'
 2. In a bucket that has a lid, mix 1 gallon of water and 1 cup liquid fabric softener.  Dip a sponge or washcloth in the liquid and squeeze out the excess liquid until it's just damp, then toss it in the dryer with your laundry. Keep the pail sealed and out of direct heat/sunlight when not in use.

3. Pour liquid fabric softener and hot water in a spray bottle (you can either do a 50/50 mix or I like doing a 25/75 just the same, but uses less) and either lightly mist (2-4 spritzes) the wet laundry pile after you load the dryer but before starting it, or spritz a clean washcloth or sponge and toss it in the dryer with your clothes.

4. If you're like me and have a good sized stockpile of fabric softener sheets built up, but still want them to last, then you can just cut your dryer sheets in thirds or halves (I use halves), use one strip per dryer load.

5. If you're out of fabric softener or allergic and still want the nice smell that vinegar doesn't give you, you can mix equal parts a hair conditioner (even the $1 store brand) and water in spray bottle.  Mist a washcloth or sponge and toss in dryer with a wet load.

6. My husband is a chemical engineer, so when he tells me something about a 'chemical' (which a liquid fabric softener is), I usually pretend I'm not listening, but secretly take note, lol (shh, don't tell him I said that, or else he'll be talking about chemicals all day, lol), anway he says that you should actually only use about 1/4 of the amount of liquid fabric softener that's suggested on the bottle.  They want you to USE it faster so you'll BUY it faster and more of it...try it, you'll see that it really is true, 1/4 of a cap will soften just as well as a full cap will.

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Liquid Dishwasher Detergent Recipe

1 part baking soda
1 part borax
1 part water
1 drop lemon or orange essential oil per cup of detergent (optional)

• Mix the ingredients thoroughly and store in a sealable jug.
• Use 2 to 3 TBS per load.

note: some people have told me they sometimes get some 'cloudy' dishes when they use this recipe, but it seems it may depend on the type of dishwasher and age of it, etc.  It's worth a try to see.


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