Cheap Momma'a guide to parenting
Entry #2 : Homemaking editition By : Liz Eagle
Cleanliness = Godliness.... Or something
If you have a television, telephone, radio transmitter, or any of a variety of technological devices, you are daily bombarded with ads. Drive in the car: ads. Pick up a newspaper: ads. On the door of bathroom stalls: ads. You can't really avoid it, given the push for big business and reliability of name-brand items. Buying what we're told we need is simply the acceptable norm.
But it doesn't have to be.
Though growing up withavariety of name brand items or their generic equivalent, I have slowly worked my way into the mindset of "if it's corporately advertised, don't buy it." Maybe it's because I enjoy being a rebel. But at least, in this case anyway, I can be a
rebel with a cause.
One of the first things off my to-purchase list was advertised laundry soap. Goodbye, Tide. Farewell, Gain. This Cheap Momma had better ideas, both economically and Eco-friendly. I would do what was to my previously-closed and hurried mind an unthinkable act: I would begin the journey to make my own.
The $8+ price tag was the first indicator that prices for pretty much any household item was not destined to lower at any time and caused me to cringe with each trip to Harris Teeter or any other retail outlet. Another was my quandary as to what, exactly, was in the household items I was purchasing. Sure, they smelled nice and were incredibly convenient. But to what extent?
So I did what any woman on a mission would do. I started with a google search. It started with recipes for laundry detergent, then snowballed into most every other household item, even purchases of books with recipes. It was so freeing to finally realize there were other options, to see i could breK away from the consumeristic society id been a part of my whole life, at least in one area.And now, fast forward a few years and babies later, I can truly see the positive impact of making my own detergent.
Feeling the connectedness to what you are using on an almost-daily basis and being mindful of the impact of these choices has far more rewards than mindlessly rushing to Walmart for a quick fix. It can been quite the understated addiction- but one that leads to sparking more good for the world. It's also great for the kids. When they see me taking ownership and initiative in my buying and household habits, they will, hopefully, implement forward thinking into their own lives. (And I'm sure they will only implement the good choices I make and forget the bad ones, am I right? Like "mommy,why does your orange juice have bubbles in it this morning?" 8am, 8pm. All is fair in love and mimosas.)
So, now that I've talked you into this glorious change, I'll tell you where to pick up the three, yes, only 3 ingredients, for your new detergent.
First, you will need Borax (coming in at around $5) Borax, marketed primarily by 20 Mule Team, is a sodium compound that was originally found on the bottom of dry lake beds in Tibet. It was the found to be useful and in the late 19th century was widely introduced as a common household item (thus safety the Wikipedia. Amen.) I assume it is less common now because of the push for ready-made items as opposed to items that require a smidge of work. But what do I know?
Second on your list is Arm & Hammer's Washing Soda (about $4). No, I didn't stutter. Washing soda, not baking soda. Every 15-year-old boy who vows to help you at your local grocer will inevitably take you right to the baking aisle. Every time. So, spell it out for the sweet little fella. It is typically on the cleaning aisle, though it can occasionally be found on the baking aisle. Weird, I know.
Last, but of equal importance, is soap. Just your run of the mill soap. I started out using Fels-Naptha(around $2) laundry soap and really like it. You can scrub out stains with it by simply dampening fabric and giving it the ol' what for. But I am not above buying a 3-pack of Ivory and calling it a day.
Borax, washing soda and bar soap. That's all. All will cost you about $11 but will last you over twice as long as tradtional detergent. I also am not above leaving out the soap. Which is why this recipe is my favorite: simple and cheap. And they can all be found at your local HarrisTeeter. If you want to spend double, though, you can hit up Blackhawk Hardware. Great local business but a bit overpriced for this project. And all projects. Anyway:
1 cup borax
1 cup washing soda
1 grated bar of soap
Combine all 3 in a large mason jar, reused detergent box, Tupperware container, plastic bag, whatever, and shake.
Use a "scoop", that being about 3 Tablespoons per load.
And there it is. And now, for your typical Cheap-Momma How-To:
1. Give up the old habits.
2. Decide to make small changes to better yourself, your family, the environment and your towels.
3. Head to Harris Teeter (Providence Road, Morrison, or Park Road Shopping Center are your best bets).
4. Know exactly what you're looking for, so as to avoid all awkward contact with adolescent males.
5. Grab your goods.
6. Get out. (Because other than purchasing these items, Harris teeter is incredibly overwhelming. Dont act like you don't agree.)
7. Follows the recipe above, perhaps even with the help of the kiddos, and never look back.
So there there you have it. A Cheap Momma's guide to a laundry re-do. Stay tuned. You never know where the cheapness will lead us.