Tuesday, January 17, 2012

DIY Stain Pretreater & Other Laundry Tips

Funny story, a couple years ago our women's group at church was having a Saturday meeting and I was asked to teach a class on making your own cleaning products.  I'm not sure why I was asked as I had never done any of this before.  My mother-in-law was in charge of the meeting and I'm not sure if she thought I made my own stuff or what. lol  I had always wanted to make my own cleaners; I'd bookmarked (back in the days before Pinterest) several sites and recipes I wanted to try but had never gotten around to it.  So I did a bunch of research, tested out a few things, and ended up with a several page handout of awesome cleaning recipes. :)

Anyway, today I'll share my laundry tips and recipes.  Here is one of my very favorites:

Stain Pretreater
  • ½ c. vinegar
  • ½ c. ammonia
  • ½ c. Wisk
  • ½ c. water
Mix all ingredients and store in a spray bottle. Spray on anything with grease or food spots and wash as usual.  This is super cheap and will get out about anything.  It'll get out most food grease spots even after being washed and dried - you know, when the kids don't tell you or the kids themselves are doing wash and just shove everything in.  It's also really good at removing ring-around-the-collar.

I also found this recipe for laundry soap - it's all over the internet.  However, I've never tried it myself.  I already ruined a washing machine because I used too much soap and I'm not sure how "soapy" this is.  Plus, when we bought our same washing machine 4 years later, the sales lady told us to only use 1 tbsp. of soap at the most per load.  This has worked great for us, getting all our clothes clean.  I bought a HUGE box (I can't remember how many pounds) of laundry soap when our triplets were born and almost 7 years later I still haven't finished it yet, getting very close though. 

Liquid Laundry Soap- Front or top load machine- best value
- Grate bar of soap and add to saucepan with water. Stir continually over medium-low heat until soap dissolves and is melted.
-Fill a 5 gallon bucket half full of hot tap water. Add melted soap, washing soda and Borax. Stir well until all powder is dissolved. Fill bucket to top with more hot water. Stir, cover and let sit overnight to thicken.
-Stir and fill a used, clean, laundry soap dispenser half full with soap and then fill rest of way with water. Shake before each use. (will gel)
-Optional: You can add 10-15 drops of essential oil per 2 gallons. Add once soap has cooled. Ideas: lavender, rosemary, tea tree oil.

Yield: Liquid soap recipe makes 10 gallons.
-For Top Load Machine - use 5/8 Cup per load (Approx. 180 loads)
-For Front Load Machines – use ¼ Cup per load (Approx. 640 loads)
* Baking Soda will not work, nor will Arm & Hammer Detergent

TIPS FOR LAUNDRY SOAP: We use Fels-Naptha  bar soap in the homemade soap recipes, but you can use Ivory, Sunlight, Kirk's Hardwater Castile or Zote bars. Don't use heavily perfumed soaps. We buy Fels-Naptha by the case from our local grocer or online. Washing Soda and Borax can often be found on the laundry or cleaning aisle. Recipe cost approx. $2 per batch.

Fabric Softener for Dryer
  • 1 Sponge cut in quarters
  • 1 Cup Downy or other liquid fabric softener
  • 4 Cups Water
Cut sponge into 4 sections. Mix Downy and water. Store sponge in mixture; drain one sponge for each load of laundry. Put sponge in dryer with clothes. When load is done put sponge back into the mixture to use again.

If you don't like using fabric softener because it leaves a coating on your clothes i.e. your skin; because of allergies/sensitivities; or because like all of my husband's wrinkle-free dress pants say not to use fabric softener; I use vinegar.  I add 1/2 to 1 c. to the rinse cycle, just pour it in the fabric softener dispenser.  You can smell the vinegar when the clothes are wet, but when they're dry they have no smell.  Believe me, my husband with his "super-smeller" can't even smell the vinegar after the clothes are dry. I use dryer balls, like these, to cut down on the static electricity in the dryer.
 Here are a few more uses for vinegar in the laundry room:
  • Before washing a mustard, ketchup, spaghetti, or barbecue stain, dab with white distilled vinegar.
  • Remove perspiration odor and stains on clothing, as well as those left by deodorants, by spraying full-strength white distilled vinegar on underarm and collar areas before tossing them into the washing machine.
  • Get cleaner laundry! Add about 1/4 cup white distilled vinegar to the last rinse. The acid in white distilled vinegar is too mild to harm fabrics, yet strong enough to dissolve the alkalies in soaps and detergents. Besides removing soap, white distilled vinegar prevents yellowing, acts as a fabric softener and static cling reducer, and attacks mold and mildew.  It helps keep colors from running, and helps keep hair (pet or human) and lint from clinging to clothes.
  • Keep the steam iron clean and in good working order by getting rid of mineral deposits in steam vents and spray nozzles. Fill the water chamber with a solution of equal parts white distilled vinegar and distilled water. Set it in an upright position and let it steam for about 5 minutes. When the iron is cool, rinse the tank with water, refill and shake water through the vents onto an old cloth. Test before using.
Do you have any more great tips for laundry?  Please share them in the comments.  We can all benefit from being thrifty and a little more "green" health wise in the laundry room.

This post was featured by:
{Junk in their Trunk} 


Unknown said...

OK, I can't wait to try the pretreater. My favorite kind I've used for years and loved has changed formulas so I'm done with it & Hailey just got red koolaid on a white coat of Ashtyns & for her sake she really needs me to get it out. Ashtyn doesn't now about it yet. Hopefully she doesn't see this :-)

Fred @ One Project Closer said...

Definitely bookmarking this. I love create-your-own laundry detergent and pre-treatment ideas. We'll have to give it a try and see how it works.

Kate said...

I love that you have a pre-treater recipe. We have been using our own laundry soap for awhile, but I've been wondering what to use on food stains. With kids this will be great!! Thanks so much!!

MaryBeth said...

Totally stoked! I've been using my own laundry soap for a few months now and its amazing! Can't wait to try the other ones as well!!!

Unknown said...

Nice! This might help my red wine/tablecloth problem right now.

Thank you so much for taking the time to join our Pin'Inspiration party this week. I'm hoping that you'll pop by tomorrow and share at my "Beat The Winter Blues" party. :-)

Melanie @ bear rabbit bear said...

I always need laundry tips!! Glad to have you at Things I’ve Done Thursday!


momto8 said...

oh my goodness I could use all of these tips..I never heard of the sponge fabric softener! thanks...and they are all so much less expensive!! I am your newest follower..pls follow back if you can!

Alison @ Oopsey Daisy said...

Wow, great tips! I definitely need the recipe for the stain pretreater! Thanks for sharing at oopsey daisy!

camp and cottage living said...

I've been looking for 'homemade' laundry recipes. This is my lucky day-that I just happened upon your
blog at "Keeping it Simple'!

Christine said...

I use hairspray to remover pen marks. I spray it on the stain.. rub it a little and then I put it in the washing machine. Stains always come out :)

Check out my blog too:

Carmi Quillts said...

I could have used the pretreater last night. My DB had to mak and emergency truck repair and rubbed against the fifth wheel getting grease all over the arm of his carhart. I pretreated with a commercial brand and used my homemade laundry detergent, agitating, soaking for a couple rounds before actually washing. It's better and smaller but not quite out.
I'm making a batch as soon as I get home tonight.

Heidi said...

These are such great tips! This is being featured today at {Junk in their Trunk}. Thanks for linking up each week!!

Trish - Mom On Timeout said...

These look great! I can't wait to give them a try. Thanks so much for sharing at Taking A Timeout Thursday! Hope to see you again this week!

Brandy J. said...

I just found your blog and am your newest follower. This pretreater is genius! Thanks for creating such a fab blog full of inspiration.

Jami said...

Love the tip for the washed and dried grease stains! Can't wait to give it a try! Thanks for stopping by and linking up to the Tuesday To Do Party!

Unknown said...

Needed the grease removal tip, thanks for putting this together!

Melissa H. said...

Thanks, I'll have to try this, I'm always finding greasy stains after the clothes have already been through the dryer! Any idea if this works on non-food stains such as grass and mud??

I'm using up the last of my store bought laundry soap and can't wait to make the homemade stuff. I've been waiting for a couple weeks now.
I read that it is SAFE for HE washers because it has a low suds value, and you only use 1/4 - 1/2 cup. So I say try it if you want to! It's been very highly rated among everyone who has made & used it.
I, for one, can't wait! =)

Little City Farm said...

Great tips. I love a frugal cleaner recipe! Thanks for sharing at our party.

Unknown said...

One of my besties and I wanted to have a laundry soap making day and these recipes would be perfect!
Thanks so much for sharing with teh Pink Hippo Party.. can't wait to see what you share next.

Unknown said...

I LOVE this!! I am so going to try the pretreater. I make my own laundry soap but that is all so far. I really want to do more this year!

Unknown said...

Thanks for the pre-treater recipe - I will definitely be trying it out! I pinned it :)

Unknown said...

Great tips!

Would love for you to link it up at my new Empty Your Archive link party which is a chance to dust off great posts from your archive - there is a focus this week on laundry - would really love to see you there, Alice @ Mums Make Lists x

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