DIY Solutions for the Home

We are a family of allergy sufferers.  Alexis is allergic to shellfish (much to her dismay) and has minor reactions to things like dust, cats, dogs, mold and mildew.  Jarod reacts a little more severely to the dust, cats, dogs, molds and mildews but, so far, has not been diagnosed with a food allergy.  (After this weeks episode, that may change.)  I (Mistie) have asthma and am allergic to practically every grass, tree and weed you can imagine in this area.  I am also allergic to cats and dogs, though none of us are severe enough to look to giving our cats away.  My allergy list continues to include roaches (from working in the restaurant industry years ago), dust, mold, mildew and horses.  Now, since we don't own or ride horses, one would thing that was not an issue.  Not so, I tell you.  I am a woman that not only wears makeup, I sell it too.  And guess what most makeup brushes are made from.  Horse hair.  I also have medicinal allergies and an undiagnosed allergy to some food preservatives.  To top it all off, I have very sensitive skin that reacts to most detergents and cleansing agents.  As a result, I am always looking for ways to reduce our exposure to allergens.  

When I was still able to work outside of the home I bought laundry detergents that were name brand and were of the clear variety.  I had to use liquids because powder detergents left a residue on the laundry.  Laundry was also a hated chore so when Michael came into our lives and said he enjoyed doing laundry, I was thrilled.  The kids each do their own laundry and can use any cheap detergent on the market.  Michael can also use anything but if he is washing my clothes or the linens, he uses "my" detergent.  He has been keeping "my" detergent out of reach so as to stretch the laundry budget.  One day he discovered that I could actually use most detergents if he did at least one extra rinse cycle.  This is exciting news for our family since this now means we don't have to have two different detergents, one of which being more expensive than most.

Not to long ago I remembered that I used to make my own detergent.  I had been looking at places to stretch the now very tight budget (in the months that I have to have my prescriptions filled, money becomes scarce and groceries had better stretch for the month).  I was very excited to find that my favorite blogger has several versions of the homemade detergent and has tested them all and posted reviews.  (Please go visit her, she is my inspiration.  She was the very first blog I subscribed to and inspired me and Michael to create our very own blog for our crafting ventures.  Meet Jillee here.)  I am presently waiting with anticipation for Michael to run out of detergent so that I can make the powdered version.  (The gel version would be too heavy to move around for us.)  Here is Jillee's post and recipe.

Another thing that excites me is that she also posted recipes for homemade dishwasher detergent and dish soap along with just about every kind of cleaning product you could hope for.  Shame I had just bought a Sam's club size of dishwasher pellets.  Now I have to wait for those to run out before I can try that one too.  I will be sure to post updates about the household supplies that we make and how that goes.

I can tell you that the gel version of the laundry detergent is low suds and works well.  It doesn't smell great but Jillee has ideas about how to fix that.  The only complaint that I (and my mom who also used to make it) was that over time, the dark colored clothes seemed to get dull looking.  I think we may have been having an issue with soap residue.

Another post that Jillee made that saved my sanity was how to de-scent stinky (clean) towels.  Our towels had started taking on a sour smell straight from the dryer.  I cannot stand to use them like that because I can smell that odor on my body for the entire day.  I was on the hunt for ways to dry off out of the shower with paper towels when I saw Jillee's post.  I think I startled Michael when I gave a shout for joy.  I printed the "recipe" and Michael went straight to washing all of our towels (again, bless him).  It took two rounds to get most of the odor out.  Some towels were a bit more stubborn, but most were fine after two rounds.  Thank you, again, Jillee!

We are still on the lookout for ways to save money while doing as well or better than the store bought stuff.  Please feel free to leave your comments of what you use, tips, suggestions, questions, answers and other thoughts on the DIY Household Solution for the Home.

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