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Posts tagged ‘telling the truth’

Truth about Home Made Laundry Soap

Please scroll to the bottom for an update – 9/29/2014 – After using for almost a year…

Working from home gives a person much-needed time to take care of things around the house and sometimes, when business is slow it even allows for hobbies, crafts, or whatever you may choose to do in your spare time. I’ve so enjoyed working from home and here’s one thing I did with my spare time…

Last month I had a bit of down time and began to search on the internet again for DIY projects and penny-pinching budgeting ideas.  (I’ve always been a penny pincher, so this is nothing new for me. I’ve always been a couponer, but not to the extreme. I compare cost & value of the return before buying anything. I guess this comes from years of necessity and became a lifestyle overtime. I’m the gal that signs up to get free samples from various companies and will send out a tweet or make a status update to receive a free roll of toilet paper. It’s habit. It’s also saved me thousands of dollars over time if you add it all up though.)

My husband knew I was pinching pennies and saw a post on Facebook about making homemade laundry soap. He piqued my curiosity. After he left for his business day and I completed the necessary office work I needed to do, I began to browse the internet to learn more about this concept.

I kid you not, I found over 200 websites, articles, posts and write-ups about making homemade laundry detergent (soap) before I ever thought about going to Pinterest! I also found many articles indicating that people got upset when the word “detergent” was used instead of “soap”.  Amongst the many articles, I was able to identify a common trend. Although many people had written about this subject, there were only about 40 different recipes for liquid laundry soap and 37 for powdered. People were sharing the same recipes over and over again.

The reviews, comments, articles and posts were pretty straight forward. People either absolutely loved using this type of laundry cleaner or they hated it with a passion! The one aspect of this concept that captured my attention was the money-saving factor, so I wanted to put this theory to the test using my family’s usage and budget for laundry care.

Below are the results. It is important to know that at this time, I have only used the dry/powered form of home-made laundry soap. I opted for this method because it is more cost-effective and time-saving than the liquid recipe.

Our family unit:

  • 2 adults, 3 teenagers wearing adult sized clothing = 5 people wearing adult sized clothing

Our family usage/dirt/stain/category levels:

  • 3 teenage boys that are heavy sweaters, 1 of which plays football – uniforms and all 3 regularly have grass stains, ground in dirt, and are very rough on their clothing. Each of these 3 boys creates 1 load of laundry each per day for 5 days and 1 load for the weekend = 6 loads per boy per day. Together they create 24 loads of laundry per week.
  • 1 man who regularly comes home covered in grime from work. Grime is defined by (Tar, sweat, shingle dust, sawdust, dirt from ground, goo from gutter cleaning, bark, silicon – caulk – foam insulation, dust from drywall, paint: all kinds such as latex, oil & water-based, ink {lots of ink stains}, and all types of other junk that may cling to him from someone’s attic or crawl space. Plus…and this is a bonus: he also comes home with mystery stains!   Aren’t I a lucky woman? Although he is the most stained member of our home, he only creates about 2 loads of laundry per week.
  • 1 woman (we all know what types of stains those are…) I create 2 loads of laundry per week.
  • Bedding = I wash 1 set of bedding per week. = 2 loads (Comforter washes by itself)
  • Towels = With 5 people showering daily, we create 3 loads of towels to wash per week.

Total loads washed per week on average: 30 large loads and 3 regular loads = 33 loads

What I normally spend on store-bought detergents, stain removers, and additives= $40.96 monthly. Divided by 4 weeks = $10.24 per week.

$10.24 divided by 33 loads = $0.31 per load.

Home made laundry soap recipe and costs: (brand names omitted)

  • All Natural Super Washing Soda (NOT BAKING SODA) 55oz box powder = $3.53

    Washing Soda

    Washing Soda

  • All Natural Detergent Booster & Multipurpose Household Cleaner 76oz box powder = $4.32

    Detergent Booster

    Detergent Booster

  • 1 bar of Laundry Soap & Stain Remover (in laundry aisle of retail or grocery store) = $1.09

    Laundry Soap

    Laundry Soap

Make it – Mix in a large bowl (that you’ll never eat out of again) 2 cups of Washing Soda, 2 cups of Detergent Booster. Smooth and de-clump powder mixture. Getting all lumps out is important. Mix together well. (I used my hands). Last, using a cheese grater (that you’ll never use for food again) grate 1 entire bar of laundry soap into itty bitty flake pieces directly into the bowl of the powder mixture. This was time-consuming for me, so I did it while watching television with the kids. Stir to mix up the entire product when finished grating bar of soap. Store in an airtight container. This mixture makes approximately 1 quart of laundry soap. (I make 2 batches at one time so I only have to do this once a month.)

Usage: 1 tablespoon for small or regular loads. 2 tablespoons for large or heavy loads. Definitely use 2 tablespoons for very dirty clothes.

The Results

I read that this recipe would create enough laundry soap for 64 loads. I discovered that the 1 quart mixture listed above actually only washed 48 loads of our laundry. We do tend to possibly have more heavily soiled clothing than most people (description above).

The cost break out:

1 box of washing soda will make 4 batches. $3.53 divided by 4 = $0.88 per batch. 1 box of laundry detergent booster will make 5 batches. $4.32 divided by 5 = $0.86 per batch. Each batch needs one full bar of laundry soap. $1.09 per bar.

$0.88+$0.86+$1.09 = $2.83

$2.83 divided by 48 loads of laundry = $0.06 per load

So after doing the math, it truly is a cost saver!

But, how effectively does it clean?

Below are my ratings on a scale from 1-10. (1 = not effective at all  10 = very effective)

  1. Removing smells from clothing: 10
  2. Removing standard dirt and stains: 9
  3. Color fade: 7
  4. Whites: 1
  5. Whites after adding bleach: 9
  6. Hard to remove stains without pre-treating: 2
  7. Hard to remove stains after pre-treating: 8 (pre-treat by using left over bar of laundry soap rubbed directly on stain on clothing while dry)
  8. Fragrance: 10 (it has no smell after it comes out of the dryer!
  9. Softens clothes: 9
  10. Static removal: 0 – you’ll still need to use dryer sheets
  11. Skin irritation: 10 – No skin irritation detected after using for 1 month

Time and Effort

Making this formula did take a little time and effort but was far less effort than used in making the liquid recipes I found.

Was it worth it?

So far, I have already noticed a difference in our laundry care budget. But since using this method, I have also worried about our utility bill. I use to wash our laundry on the cold cycle when possible to avoid using our water heater, but used it on the warm cycle when needed for stain removal.

With this recipe for laundry soap, it is most effective to run hot water into the basin of the washer long enough to effectively dissolve the powdered mixture before adding clothing. Our utility bill actually came in a couple of days ago and it has not been affected. Actually it dropped down from what it has been, but I attribute this to the changes in the weather and not running the AC unit. Fall is such a lovely time of the year 🙂 So, I cannot truly calculate a cost analysis yet to factor in utility usage. However, things are looking good so far!

I plan on using this recipe and soap until I run out of ingredients. I have been told about some other great alternative products that are cost saving also and I want to try those too. I’ll compare the actual cost of those products after I’ve tried them and share with you.

If you’ve had an experience making and using homemade laundry soap, I’d love to hear from you. Many of my friends I asked about this (before I tried it) had very distinct reactions. They either loved or hated it…well, most of them hated it honestly.

I’d love to hear from you and what you think!

Love always

Chrissy 🙂

UPDATE – 9/29/2014

After using the homemade laundry soap for almost year, we have switched back to other commercially produced products. Here’s why: I noticed that even running a natural cleaning solution (such as vinegar) through the washing machine weekly, the homemade laundry soap caused a terrible build up of stinky scum in the washer. After resorting to the commercially developed washing machine cleaners, the scum and smell were successfully removed by running it through the machine 6 times. 

Did you read that? I had to run harsh chemicals through the machine 6 times (or washes) in a row to remove the build up!

So in the end, I like the homemade laundry soap, but it was a terrible mess in the washing machine and since I had to resort to running the cleanser through 6 times to get the machine truly clean somewhat defeated the purpose of saving money using this method.

I’m not going to say that I’ll never use this method again, but I am saying that I am no longer using this method primarily.

Brief Visit – Visible Improvement (O.D.D)

This article is part 7 of a series. If you have not read part 1, part2, part 3, and part 4 , part 5 , and part 6 – I urge you to do so if you are searching for help on this subject. If you’ve read along with me already, I want to welcome you into the next few weeks of our journey and Knight’s recovery.

Week 10 & 11 were awesome weeks for us. They were awesome (challenging) because we had set-backs & problems from Knight, but we also received some much-needed encouragement. He was doing well with the re-enforced structure we had put in place and with gentle reminders, was doing better. He’d only had a few outburst of massive anger, sever aggression, and extremely argumentative behavior. Each of these had been very trying of our patience and required much love and prayer to work through. But, in the end, we seemed to be on the right track. We constantly reminded him that he was loved, was receiving a lot of attention (that he desperately thought he wanted), and we were not going to give up on him.

During week 10 or 11 (I can’t remember which), Knight had a visit from his out-of-state mother and another relative. They remarked about how he’d grown and seemed like a totally different child to them. They were not excited about him aspiring to play football in the up-coming fall, but were happy he was involving himself in activities to use his excess energy. Their visit lasted a few hours.

Hearing from someone else who knew him well before, that they could see a noticeable difference in him was a happy moment for me. I knew his father was still frustrated with him a lot of the time, but he was improving and I could see improvements daily too.

Exchanging one behavior for another

Knight’s explosive outbursts were becoming less severe and were occurring far less often. As what I understand as an outlet for his tendencies, Knight began to be defiant in passive ways. Some of his passive behaviors including:

  • Chewing on plastic and spitting the chewed up mess in the floor – When asked not to chew on the plastic, he would remove it from his mouth and throw it in a sneaky way behind furniture instead of in the trash can.
  • Spitting sunflower seeds in the floor – I can’t remember who bought them for him, but somehow Knight ended up with what appeared to be an endless supply of sun flower seeds in the shell. As a passive form of defiance, he began spitting them in the floor in every room. When asked to clean up his mess and reminded to spit them in a trash receptacle, he would just walk away and leave the shells. I made a new rule: NO MORE sun flower seeds in the house! After we moved back home, it took me 2 hours to remove all the sun flower seeds from the rental we were staying in. They were under furniture, stuck between the base boards and the walls, inside the tank of the toilet, stuck in the garbage disposal, in the kitchen drawers, and even behind the refrigerator and stove! I still have a no sun flower seeds rule in the house now!
  • Leaving his shoes & clothing in the living room (stuffed under the couch) – again, it’s a more passive way of being defiant that he was aiming at mentally. When asked about why he did these things, he would answer, “I don’t know.”

His passive defiance was more tolerable than his earlier behaviors, so I had to pick my battles wisely and not overwhelm him. This meant that I had to live with the lid always off the toothpaste, a cereal bowl with milk in the bottom of it in the sink several times a day, sunflower shells, etc. These things were really just normal teenage boys type behaviors anyway, and that is what we were striving for – normal or average teenager behaviors – not perfect!

Every single day, we were continuing to work on our main plan:

  • Maintaining open dialog
  • Pointing out annoying behaviors
  • Bringing lies to Knight’s attention (Taking Ownership of his Words & Actions)
  • Structure in his daily life
  • Consistency in discipline

…and

it was working!

Structure & O.D.D.

This article is part 6 of a series. If you have not read part 1, part2, part 3, and part 4 , and part 5 – I urge you to do so if you are searching for help on this subject. If you’ve read along with me already, I want to welcome you into the next few weeks of our journey and Knight’s recovery.

One of the most important parts of our plan to battle this Oppositional Defiance Disorder was giving Knight some much-needed structure without smothering him.

In week 8 & 9 Knight was showing significant improvements. His outbursts, physical altercations, lying, theft, annoying behaviors, & and destructive inclinations were becoming less with more time between them. I was proud of his progress & reminded him daily that he was doing so much better!

Knight was growing closer to his brothers. Fights & arguments between them were less frequent & all the boys were much more tolerable of each other.

The structure we’d initiated in our home was helping. Before Knight moved in, I thought we had structure, but hadn’t really given it much thought. Turns out, we weren’t as structured as I thought we were. These are the things we changed:

1. We established regular meal times. (I thought we had regular meal times before, but really we were independently eating when each of us were hungry.) Dinner time/Supper was the most recognised meal time. We were all going in different directions during the day & had separate interests/hobbies/jobs. So, for supper, we all slowed down, came together and ate together. I credit Knight’s father for this suggestion. It wasn’t difficult at first, but after about a week into it, some of us had a hard time stopping what we were doing & coming to the table. Within 3 weeks, it was an expectation for most of us & if one of us couldn’t make it home, several of us would be bummed out. Now, a year later, everyone coming together for supper is still part of our daily routine and is a therapeutic part of our joint successful family unit.

2. We invited Knight to help develop a smoother morning routine. I’ve always had a hard time waking the boys up in the mornings. Knight was a huge help to the family with that! He woke up relatively easy & we put his “annoying” to good use. I told him I needed his help waking his new brothers up & that he was welcome to annoy them to wake them up & help me get them moving. He seemed happy & welcomed helping me. It worked!! He was & is the best alarm clock ever 🙂 At first, his brothers complained, but I explained that the annoying would stop once they complied, got up, & started moving. 🙂

3. A regular summer chore schedule was established. They already had chore expectations, but it worked better this way. Each of the boys jade specific chores on designated days.

4. Rewards and treats we regular as clockwork. Privileges such as mall trips, going to the movies, and other favorite things became rewards.

5. A decent bedtime was established.

6. Shower/bath rules were established so everyone wasn’t trying to jump in there all at once & arguing.

These things should have been in place already, right? The truth is they were, but we just needed to start all over again, make sure we had communicated them clearly, and place emphasis on this restructuring. Let’s face it, every family has rules, but after a few years, rules must be re-established as a reminder. Especially during the teenage years when not all of a family may be going in the same direction, with each other, or have separated interests.

By the end of week 9, we had all seen a significant change in Knight’s behavior & reactions to others. We were still working on every key step we had enlisted in previous weeks. I was proud of Knight & still am 😉

Oppositional Defiance Disorder – It’s Someone Else’s Fault

Part 3 (If you need to catch up,  you can read part 2 and part 1 in this series.)

Let’s Build Something

Please keep in mind that working with a child that has ODD (Oppositional Defiance Disorder) is like building a pyramid. While you are laying a foundation, you must keep working on the original cornerstone pieces as you continue to move forward – continuing to work on the next piece. If you neglect one of the cornerstones you’ve laid out before, your entire structure will tumble-down.  So remember as you read through these articles that each week we added 1 new item to work on as we continued to work on the previous things.

Three weeks into this new ODD journey, We had addressed open dialog and bringing annoying behaviors to Knight’s attention in a constructive way so we didn’t sound like we were all against him. On our third week we met an old friend, “Someone Else”.

Someone Else Did It!

No one in our house likes “Someone Else”. “Someone Else” was the most annoying member of the entire family unit. “Someone Else” kept adjusting the thermostat on the heating/air unit. He was always causing drama, defying the rules, and challenging authority. “Someone Else” was a huge nuisance! He was always making messes that everyone else was blamed for. 😦

Taking ownership of our actions and telling the truth are basic fundamentals that we teach our children soon after they begin toddling around and speaking. As parents we emphasis this more so once our children begin to intermingle with other children (Daycare, Pre-School or Kindergarten). It’s a continual thing that we all work on and hope we succeed at once our children have become adults.  I would be a hypocrite if I claimed that my boys were perfect at this when Knight came to live with us. They have and always will be (like everyone else’s children) a work in progress.

Children/teenagers with ODD have an exceptional case of  “Someone Else” though. They deny ownership of issues and actions so much that their reality becomes their lies and denial. After a time, they don’t realize their own lies. It becomes second nature and they incorporate it into who they are (their identity).

I spoke to Knight about the lies I noticed him telling. He denied them. He denied everything he did, everything he said, and everything he was caught in the act of doing. His responses were, “I didn’t do it. Someone else did.” 😦   He lied because he said he thought it was funny. He said he lied to be cool, to be accepted, to make himself feel better, and to annoy people. He said he lied so much even he was unsure how to stop. I offered to bring his lies to his attention as he was in the act of doing so, if it would help. He agreed. Once again, I found myself in a position where I was going to have to call out a negative trait to bring his denial into reality for Knight.

I wanted positivity to focus on though, so I had to search pretty hard. I prayed about it and the Lord planted the answer in my heart. I knew I had to pick my battles and not overwhelm him, but I had forgotten how awesome celebrating small feats with verbal rewards could be! Picking my battles meant that I could not expect him to follow the house rules just yet and I had to look the other way in many situations. My only exception to this was in the event of harmful or abusive threats or behaviors. Those I had to stop immediately. As for the putting the lid back on the toothpaste – that would wait. We celebrated an avoided argument, a door being shut instead of slammed, laughter & smiles, admitting faults, or owning up to truths, talking to his mother on the phone without yelling, speaking to his father without running away or raising his hands to hit. (I’m not saying these things didn’t happen. I am just saying that when a day went by without them happening – we celebrated ) 🙂

Make Every Day a Good Day

Every day we had, no matter how bad it began or ended was “A Good Day”. A good day for a child/teen with ODD may look like the worst possible day for any other child, but if you don’t celebrate even the smallest accomplishments, progress could begin to slide backwards. At the end of the day, I would congratulate Knight on a job well done and tell him it was a good day. At first, he looked at me puzzled (because he was becoming more aware of his behavior and lies). I would tell him that everyday is a good day because I won’t give up on you and you are trying 🙂 The first few days he heard this, he blew me off and went to bed thinking I was crazy. After the first week of hearing this, he began to believe it with me. He also began to look forward to hearing it before bedtime.

On the third week, I purposefully neglected to tell him it was a good day. He came to me and asked me if it was a good day. I answered: Yes honey, everyday is a good day… and he finished my sentence “as long as I try?”  🙂

Believe it or not he was getting better – still very very difficult to live with and be around, but he was healing!

So at this point, I had three major things I was focusing on:

  • Maintaining open dialog
  • Pointing out annoying behaviors
  • Bringing lies to Knight’s attention

To maintain fairness, I shared my plans with my other two boys so they would not feel as though they were being treated unfairly. They know me and their limits and I wanted them to be involved in Knight’s progress plan also. I never shared explicit details, just the basics and kept the conversations Knight and I had only between him, his father and I. My boys were happy to be included because they were feeling they were being treated unfairly.

If you have other children in the home, I would suggest sharing your progress plans with them also (if you feel it appropriate) so your family can grow stronger during this process and not drift apart.

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Manić Teodora

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