Spring Cleaning in Summer: Day Four

In this series, I am sharing my progress of ridding my cabinets of all products that:
  • Are chemical filled
  • Have ingredients I can not pronounce
  • Do not promote self sufficiency
  • Have no value to me whatsoever
  • Just take up space  
It's day four and I am tackling one of my least favorite jobs of all time: Laundry! 

Here, not only do I seek solutions that take up less space and are free of chemicals, but also take up less time and stress. I do laundry for seven people in my house. I have a good system of two loads a day and the older kids really do their own for the most part. But still, it seems there is always a basket to fold and put away. As much as I love the idea of the simple times in the early 19th century, I can not imagine doing laundry by hand. It is actually what nightmares are made of. But I can keep it simple in a few ways.

1. Get rid of those giant jugs of laundry soap! Not only are they filled with toxic chemicals that leach into your ground and your skin, they take up so much space in the laundry room. I make my own and keep it in two mason jars. It is enough to last for months and takes up only a little space. My big jugs of vinegar do take up space, but they are used for so many things that they are worth it!

2. Get rid of some clothes! Yes, you can have too many clothes. When I grew up, I remember getting 5 pairs of jeans...all exactly the same and 4 to 5 shirts to wear. I had a dress for Sunday, socks, underwear and two pairs of shoes. Admittedly, my kid's closets are not so simple. But the point is, my husband, my kids, and myself, have more than we need. So does most everyone I know. Remember, we don't need bigger homes, just less stuff.

2. Some folks have a laundry day. To me, that sounds about as fun as having a weekly day to get a root canal. I will not be stuck all day washing, drying, folding, putting away. I personally prefer to concentrate on one bedroom per day. Everyone who lives in that room gets their laundry done one day. This is especially great where my oldest kids are concerned because I totally get a whole day off. I do not clean sheets every week. Call me crazy, but my kids don't usually sleep in the sheets anyhow. They plop down on top and use a blanket. For my sanity, unless a kid wets the bed, or we have company, honestly, once a month is plenty for us.

3. We wear clothes everyday. I hope you do to. So, it is important to me to keep our clothes free of toxins and junk that can end up on my skin. Plus, it is so easy to make your own, and more cost effective as well. I have a septic system, so need liquid soap. I have tried a few, but found that I like laundry sauce best. You can see a tutorial and recipe here. It only takes three ingredients:

This tutorial is great, but I was hot and didn't want to spend 15 min slowly stirring soap over a hot pot after a morning of sweating in the garden. So, I tried an idea. A wonderfully fast bright idea. I brought the water to a boil, grated the Fels- Naptha bar and just added it to the boiling water bit by bit and it melted as I did so. Took all of 1 minute! Brilliant, if I do say so myself. It smells good and the first batch I ever made lasted 6 months! A do it yourself dream!

Editor's note: One reader suggested using Molly's Suds. I ordered them right away. Wow. I love them. I am working on my own recipe with the same ingredients as one bag was $20! I will post when I have accomplished this.

For fabric softener, I use plain old white vinegar. Just 1/4 cup in your rinse cycle works great. I also add a few drops of essential oils, either lime, lemon, or orange for some wonderfully clean scent.

Stain remover: I am not an expert at this. In fact, in the area of talents this one falls right in there with plumbing and sewing. In other words, I can not get stains out to save my life. Especially out of white or yellow shirts. Any all natural ideas for red Oklahoma dirt and chocolate milk? I would love to hear some!

How do you simplify laundry day and how do you get stains out of your clothes...without turning to bleach! Blech!

Check out the other posts in this series!
Spring Cleaning in Summer
Day one
Day two
Day three

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  1. I used to use Fels Naptha, until I saw it rated a "c" on the EWG environmental working group website.
    I learned there was some concern for Asthma/Respiratory issues, Skin Allergies &
    Irritation, and cancer and the environment. It really isn't that friendly after all. I did my homework to find that it would be much better to use a bar of Dr Bronner's soap instead, if I wanted to make my soap. It is highly recommended by many bloggers. It also scored well on the EWG website. I also found that Molly's Suds Laundry Powder is rated an "A" and I purchased some on their website. I love it. A bag lasts me months because I only use a TBSP.

    1. Oh, very interesting, didn't think to do a search on EWG for fels naptha. I had wondered about using plain old ivory soap. I will try dr. Bronners next time and look into Molly's. Thanks for sharing!

  2. Here is an awesome stain remover, 2/3 cup dish soap, 4T baking soda, 2/3 cup ammonia, 2 cups hits water, combine in spray bottle, shake well. You can leave out ammonia too just add soap with baking soda, scrub with brush

  3. One part dish soap to two parts hydrogen peroxide makes a fabulous stain remover. I store it in the brown bottle with a spray nozzle from a spray bottle screwed onto it. If you use a thick dishsoap use the top from dishsoap bottle instead of of the spray nozzle. Let it sit on the stains for a few minutes to penetrate the stain. I have a houseful of boys and i swear by this remover.

  4. Hi,
    I love your blog! Thank you for sharing your life and knowledge with us.

    I recently discovered another site, (while looking for homemade detergent recipes), and found this one...


    What I think is interesting is that she says not to use any borax unless making liquid detergent. She's a scientist/chemistry major and was even on her way to her PHD. She has a lot of information on how and why. :)

    Just an FYI, and maybe one less thing to buy?

    Have a blessed day!

  5. Thanks for all the great tips ladies! Just when I think I have things figured out, I realize there is always more to learn! I appreciate all of your comments.

  6. It's cool that you always seem to be finding new ways to live healthier. Thanks for the motivation. :)

  7. I spread it out over the week and we love our Charlie's soap brand. Thanks for linking up on Tuesday Greens!

  8. We do our laundry over the week though I'm washing loads for a family of 7. In the summer, I tend to alternate laundry days because the loads are smaller. During the school year, I have to do laundry daily because each kid only has 3 uniform sets.

    Thanks for linking up to Fabulously Frugal Thursday!

  9. I have never tried the Fels Naptha soap, but I do like Ivory. It works very well. We do all of our laundry on the same day. Our children are older, so they are able to do the majority of the washing, drying, and folding.

    Happy Spring/Summer Cleaning,