Save like Nana did. Laundry.
Laundry is probably such a big subject that I am biting off more than I can chew in one post! I have covered this subject before and will link to those posts. The cost of laundry products has continually gone up and up. With food prices being higher and higher I hate to think of so much money going into laundry power or liquid, stain removers, whiteners, softeners, drier sheets and more. For the purpose of this post I have been getting an update on current products and prices. Laundry products are like toothpaste.... there are always newer, brighter, whiter, fresher products! It is all very alluring I have to say. We want clean and fresh results. Psychologists work with advertising teams to make things very very tempting! But my Nan had the whitest white sheets that felt and smelled like sunshine. I STILL remember the feeling of being tucked into bed at my Grandparents and how beautiful it felt, how things smelled heavenly. And Nan had none of these fancy products sold today. To top it off many of the ingredients used to scent things are actually toxic. All is not what it seems!
With high food, fuel, electricity and gas prices if we can save in one area we can channel that money to where it is needed more. This is one way to really save.
I will tell you what I do and what I have taught my girls to do. Most of this was taught to me by my Mum and her Mum. I have to add.... being an avid thrift shopper I have made it my business to be able to get just about any stain out! If anyone in the family has a stain they can't remove they send it to me. Once this happens I am going to get that stain out even if I have to use dynamite! 😊
If something is stained or heavily grubby it goes into a soaking bucket. I have several. Often it is just some laundry liquid dissolved in hot water .... but because it is in a bucket (or jar even) it is super concentrated. I also use stain sprays if needed. I like the Aldi one in a purple bottle. One of those lasts me a very long time. For grease or oil I just dab it with dish washing liquid and rub that in... then into the bucket.
When the girls had babies I taught them to have several soaking buckets. (Never on the floor!) As things get stained throw them straight in to soak and then into the wash later. Really most things come up beautifully. If all else fails with a stain I hang it onto the line in the sun for a couple of days. Many things magically disappear this way. It is quite amazing! This especially works with age and yellowing kind of stains.
Most loads of washing I use my homemade laundry liquid. It works, it smells lovely and costs just a few cents a load. You can find the recipe I use here. You can make it without any scent but I add Eucalyptus oil which boosts everything with such a fresh clean scent. Lux Flakes are now called Softly in Australia. In the US Ivory soap flakes are pretty much the same thing. You can grate hard soap and make your own flakes.... Vicky sent me some pink Zote... I grated that and gave my laundry soap a pink colour which I loved! If you have always wanted to make soap then laundry soap and wool wash are a great way to stick your toe into the water. It is additive!
For washing woollens I use homemade wool mix. The recipe is also there on the above link. This makes any wool item smell heavenly and feel so very soft. It can be used to wash wool underlays, pillows, quilts, blankets... etc. They come up just beautifully. I wash all of these items in the height of summer then line dry or set up a clothes horse so they can dry out in the sun. The pillows I feel do need to be tumble dried to finish them off and re fluff them. But all of these things come inside smelling of sunshine which is an impossible smell to describe but if you have ever slept on sun dried sheets you will know it. It is so fresh. With all the fancy things we can buy at the end of the day nothing kills dust mites like sunshine. Mum would always sun the mattresses. The baby mattress would be out in the sun then flipped for some more sun. The sun was used to fresh things up, deodorise, kill germs, prevent mould.
Many people tell me they are not allowed a clothes line. This is as terrible as not being allowed chickens. When we lived in the city we did have a beautiful clothesline but I noticed the lady over the road from us hung her clothes on hangers and hung them in the tree out the front. It looked beautiful to me. Clothes dried on hangers in the breeze don't need ironing because nature did everything for you. A good breeze is the best iron ever! I know it may not be possible for everyone but if I could not have a clothes line I would have a fold out rack in a sunny window, under the veranda, in the garage, under a tree where no one can see it. Some laundries have a hanging rack... I have a large portable line that I can set up anywhere... so when the sun moves I can move it. In winter I can set it up in the lounge room near the fire. Also I have a large clothesline between two posts in the back yard.
I never dry clean anything. The last time I did the dry cleaning cost more than the price of the dress so I have never been back. I am not sure if people still use dry cleaners? Many of the chemicals they used are not really something I wanted to breathe.
Nan did not wash clean things. This made no sense. It still makes no sense. Aprons were worn to keep things as clean as possible. There was also the "spot clean" where something was clean except for a mark. This would be spot cleaned. The side benefit was things lasted longer! A coat might be spot cleaned, hung up in the sun and the breeze and then good to go.
My whole family, Grandparents, Great Grandparents had rain water only. Water was (and still is) precious. You did not waste water!! Water was re used ie cold water that ran while you waited for hot water filled the kettle. Rinse water was poured on a plant. Clean clothes were re worn. Not underwear obviously! But perfectly clean things do not need cleaning.
On linen day, when the bed is stripped, the windows are flung open to air the room. The mattress is turned often too. I leave the bed like that for the day so it is properly aired with good fresh breeze. Later in the afternoon I will re make it and there is nothing as nice as hopping into a freshly made bed. I cannot really decide if the bed should be in the cleaning or laundry post. But airing the room is part of the laundry day.
Nan (and Mum) would bring their kitchen towels to the boil about once a week. If I cannot get a stain out I bring soap and water and the article to the boil in my soap making pot. I got this pot for $1 at a thrift store. It is used to make all my soaps.
This is so inspiring. It is winter here and very snowy. But I am looking forward to the spring when I can hang the laundry outdoors. Your advice about fresh air in the rooms is so good and makes sense to remember to do it on laundry day. I open the windows for a while even in the winter. I have never made laundry soap. But your jars and bottles of homemade laundry soap are lovely! I went to your link for the recipe for homemade laundry soap. I just have a question. What is a soap pot? What size is it?ReplyDelete
Thank you so much! I just keep a big old pot for all my soap making. Mine holds 10 litres.... a big old stock pot would be ideal. This is reserved for soap making only. Mine is always on the go for some kind of soap or another! xxxDelete
I can only agree Annabelle . Luxury is climbing into a freshly made bed with sheets that have been out on the clothes line all day in the sun. Nothing beats it. I have been following Shannon Lush’s idea of 1/2 scoop washing powder, 1/2 scoop bicarbonate and filling the softener tray in your machine with white vinegar. It cuts down the cost and washes and cleans beautifully.ReplyDelete
Lovely post Annabel. I have been making my own laundry liquid for 20 years now. I use Lavender Oil in mine. My daughter's husband doesnt think it gets the washing as clean as the commercial liquids. He is gradually coming around to accepting that my 'brews', as he calls them, are quite effective.ReplyDelete
Our son wants to learn to make the liquid, so that once he has his own home, he can continue to use this cheaper product.
I make my own laundry soap for stain removal. I save up the bathroom soap slivers and these all end up in the stain removing soap.
With Bluey having had a number of operations in the past two years, it is super important that he is sleeping in clean bedding, using clean towels and wearing clean garments. These homemade products have been wonderful in removing body fluids from wounds.
A number of years ago our Katie asked me what I wanted for my Birthday. I wanted a Hills Hoist clothesline. At that time I had a line that was attached to the house. In the summer this worked well but in the Winter clothes did not dry well on that line. Katie and Jared got me a Hills Hoist and they concreted it in for me. I love having my clothes and linens, that have been washed in my homemade laundry liquid, dry in the sunshine.
What a great gift that clothesline was! Once your son makes his first batch he will love it! xxxDelete
Line dried sheets remind me of my Mom. She always put her sheets out on the line to dry. They are so crisp and the wonderful scent is intoxicating. We don't hang outside because we have total tree cover and we end up with bird droppings on the sheets.ReplyDelete
Before prices started going sky high I really stocked up on laundry detergent and it will likely last a few years since we only use one tablespoon per load. Homemade and our hard well water results in dingy gray fabrics so we keep looking for the best buys and buy our detergent.
I wish I could have a clothes line here! I loved this post. I have been buying "pods" when they are buy one/get one free (so ,1/2 price). I do this because my dear husband thinks "more is better" and would use too much of the liquid soap. He is good with just 1 pod. :) I have watched him with the dish soap (which I secretly water down)...and also the floor cleaner he uses in the weightroom. I need to water that down as well!!ReplyDelete
I've tried different homemade laundry detergent recipes over the years. It's all I used when we were paying off debt. But I never found one I liked. No matter what I did, my laundry always had a musty smell. Towels would come out of the dryer smelling fresh with no scent really. But after one use after a bath...they smelled musty & had to be washed again. Clothing seemed to do better but all of my linens had such a bad smell that I was happy to be able buy detergent again. Even with inflation, I'm still able to buy detergent for well under $20 a year. I buy the huge jugs at Sam's Club (I'm in the US) & one jug lasts me over a year.ReplyDelete
The recipe I use with eucalyptus oil smells so fresh. I also could not cope with any musty smells. You get a great deal for under $20 a year. That is a great saving! xxxDelete
I have an outdoor line. I use metal chain for one line of it. The links are just large enough to put hangers through and they don't blow off. Living in the Arizona desert, I can dry clothes this way for all of the year and, in the summer, they dry faster than in my dryer.ReplyDelete
The chain is a genius idea!! Everyone complains how the hangers all end p together! I love this!! xxxDelete
I love the subject of laundry and stain fighting! It just speaks of a well ordered home! Thank you for mentioning the grease stain method you use. I need it to get out a stain from one of my husband's nice work shirts that he wore to work on the garage door! I agree on attacking a stain until it yields! Thank you so much for this post and for reminding me to boil my kitchen linens. I'm looking forward to putting more of these ideas into practice!ReplyDelete
Thank you Stacy! Yes good old dish liquid works well on oils and grease. Also an old toothbrush helps remove a stain if you gently use it to rub in the detergent. xxxDelete
With 10 of us in the house, and using rain water for 16 years, laundry was top priority. Because we lacked a well on our country property, I had to haul 5 gallon buckets to fill my washer. It was such a pleasure to hear the washer humming away as we ate breakfast!ReplyDelete
Now, I live in town and have running water. But I still start my washer first thing in the morning. We didn't have a dryer all those years in the country. We hung on the line outside and on lines that ran along our living room ceiling above our wood stove. I must admit, it is nice to have a dryer for towels and socks, now. The line dried towels were always quite stiff! :)
I have used homemade dry laundry soap for 24 of our 25 years of marriage. My husband has dry skin and didn't respond well to the harsh commercial cleaners. I do use a spot treater of one part dish soap to one part hydrogen peroxide. This works on most food stains as the peroxide attacks the protein. It works on blood stains marvelously. Thanks for the post, Annabel!
Thank you Leslie I love the spot treater you are using! Hydrogen peroxide is fantastic! xxxDelete
Your lovely post brought back memories for me too. Mum had a single clothesline strung between two posts and another post to keep it up high when it was loaded and she'd growl at us for running in and out of the washing :) I love doing the washing, and getting it hung on the line. It makes my heart happy to see it blowing in the breeze, I've even been known to burst into that Playschool song "wet washing hanging on the line" much to my neighbour's amusement. I have a soaking bucket and every morning it gets tipped into the washing machine, then refilled with hot water and my grated stain removing soap and through the day I add to it, give things a stir with my spurtle and sometimes a scrub, then next morning into the wash they go. When my tea towels and dish cloths start to look dingy I boil them with egg shells and they come out so soft and bright. I save all the egg shells, they are so handy around the house and garden. Thank you for mentioning my washing powder, I've used it for around 30 years and it's still the cheapest washing powder that doesn't make us itchy. xxxReplyDelete
I love laundry too. Turning dirty stuff into fresh, soft, good smelling items is very satisfying! Thank you for the eggshell tip! xxxDelete
I am an ace stain remover, too! Soaking works wonders! The best grease remover I've found is dish soap (I use Dawn) diluted with water. Just rub into the spot and wash as usual.ReplyDelete
I've never used homemade laundry products because they contain soap and I have very hard water. I used Costco detergent powder for years and it did a good job and was very cheap. However, I got a high efficiency washer a few years ago and the powder left white streaks on my clothes. About a year ago, I started using Costco washing pods. (I'm embarrassed to admit this, LOL). They do an excellent job and do not leave streaks. I only wash for 2-3 people and use about one container a year.
I love drying my laundry outdoors, but I'm not allowed to have a clothesline at this house. However, I have a folding clothes horse that I set up on my patio in nice weather. It's not ideal, but it works. I always dry blankets this way.
Your good post was about saving like Nana did. Well, I'm as old as Nana! I actually enjoyed washing. We had a wringer washer in the basement until I was in college. Water was drained into cement tubs and pumped back into the machine for the second load. We didn't have a dryer, but we had a clothesline in the backyard. Since we lived in a rainy climate, we also had lines stretched across the basement. This wasn't ideal if you needed something in a hurry, but it worked for us!
--Maxine, aka mikemax
Dear Maxine, My Mum had a wringer like that and I remember it well! A folding clothes horse is fantastic. I like that things can be draped over and dry flat. They dont stretch then! Thank you! With love Annabel.xxxDelete
I couldn’t agree more! I love the feel and smell of fresh sheets. I have a silly/funny habit of sniffing the freshly folded washing when I’ve just taken it off the line! 😂 It feels warm and it smells heavenly, I do it all the time and I love it!ReplyDelete
My nan used to do her washing in a copper with a fire lit under it. Always very hot water, I have no idea what she used for soap. Just thinking about it the sheets and towels must have been so heavy for her to lift out of the copper and take to the wringer, no wonder they were so healthy and fit in those days!
Thank you for educating me about soaking buckets, I do soak things from time to time, but I think I could use this technique a lot more often, especially on ‘teenagers’ shirts they can get rather odorous to say the least!
I’ve watched YouTube channels like Ivy Kitchen where she boils her T-towels and I’ve often thought I should do that, as sometimes they get a right Royal odour about them!
Lovely post Annabel, I have made that laundry liquid before, but I haven’t had the best results with it, I wonder if soaking would help this?
Dear Cheryl, The old coppers were fabulous! Boiling really works amazingly. I think soaking is very effective. I am strict on washing colours separately from whites and pastels. For smelly stuff... the soaking bucket has a much higher concentration of detergent and then it goes into the general washing... I do think it helps. It makes me laugh because stuff that stinks... well winning and having it smell beautiful again is especially satisfying! With love Annabel.xxxDelete
Dear Annabel, so many precious advice and ideas here in your post. I always dry out on the line the washings or a horse clothes (in the summer smells like sun and flowers but in the winter is that crispy fresh and frozen smell that I abolutely adore!) It is a constant game with the weather but it is worth it. I am not that good with the spots but I can manage. Also I maybe once or twice have been known to cover an ugly spot with an aplique and it was good as new.ReplyDelete
Lots of love from Laura_s_world in Romania
LOVED this post, Annabel!!! I learned all this from my Nana, and to this day, I still get a burst of joy on laundry day, and sweet delight climbing into a bed with fresh sunshine dried sheets. 🌷ReplyDelete
We always say the clothes "smell like sunshine" when they come off the line! Best smell ever when you get into bed. :) I don't know why I haven't thought to use soaking buckets; used to use one for diapers, but just never thought to do it with regular clothes!
Can you email me when you get a chance? For some reason an email I'm trying to send you isn't going thru. Thank you!
xx Jen in NS
Greetings from the Pacific Northwest, USA! Thank you for sharing such inspiring posts! I am so glad to have found you several years ago. My Granny was a nurse who wore the old style white dresses, caps, hosiery and polished white shoes. She always said the best way to get stains out of clothes (especially blood) is to lay the item out on the lawn while still wet from washing. She said it was the magic of sunshine and chlorophyll. Several years ago, I had some bath towels that I couldn’t get the musty smell out of, even with the stinky towel/washing machine treatment powder. As a last ditch effort I tossed them out on the lawn as it was a sunny day and I was absolutely shocked that it worked!!! I love picking up vintage cotton sheets at the thrift shops, nothing is softer than well-loved linens, the sun takes the dingy yellow away so much better than bleach!ReplyDelete