Wednesday, May 5, 2010

soap nuts, dryer balls, and such

When my first son was born (it'll be seven years ago on the 12th *tear*), I became a stay at home Momma. My husband was Air Force, we lived in base housing, had two reasonable car payments. We weren't doing too bad for ourselves. Four years ago, Toby got out of the Air Force, and I started working. I've done various things -job wise- since then. Just before I found out I was already pregnant with Jonyn, we decided to wait one more year before growing our family again. Well, we see how that turned out. My job was laying people off, and well, to spare you the details, it made my decision to stay home with baby number 3 an easy one :) SO happy about that! I wanted to stay home, but didn't want to leave either, in some ways.

Anyhow, friends of mine threw me the best baby shower ever (even though I have no pictures of said shower... ahem), and I got TONS of diapers that lasted us nearly three months after J was born. AWESOME! Had tons of wipes too that lasted even longer. I soon realized that I'd be spending 15+ dollars a week on diapering supplies and that just wasn't going to cut it. So I looked into cloth diapering and found 2 or 3 on ebay and decided to try before I committed to buying a whole stash. I fell in love with them! Cloth diapering ain't like it was when great-grandma did it ;) I've been using them for about a year now, and just ordered some more since I will soon have two in diapers.

When you use cloth dipes, you canNOT use regular detergents. So I looked into my options. The first thing I tried was Soap Nuts. I found mine on ebay for a really good deal. I have to strip my diapers periodically to make sure they keep absorbing and don't get that ammonia smell (which is caused by detergent residue). I soon started using them for all my regular clothes too. They are a nut that naturally produces soap, to put it simply. The berry grows on trees, and it is God's natural cleaning gift to us. If you start to use Soap Nuts, a few things to remember is DON'T OVER STUFF YOUR WASHER! Your clothes will NOT smell clean if you do. I learned that the hard way. Keeping my loads in check means my clothes always come clean. Also, a guide for how many to use is 2 nuts for a hot wash, and 4 for warm or cold. They are activated by hot water, but I wash most of my stuff on cold and haven't had any problems. You can always throw them into an empty washer, run the hot water til it reaches the nuts, let it set a minute, then turn your cold on if you wanted to.

Instructions come with the Soap Nuts, and a little wash bag, too. Here's a few site references for you:

If you want to try them before you invest in them, you can find trial sizes on Ebay and on those sites. I did that before I committed to an entire huge bag. Plus I'm sure you can type Soap Nuts into your search bar and find more places to purchase and more info about them. I just trust these two sites.

About the time I started using Soap Nuts, is when we were trying to figure out how to cut our budget and save money. It's also when my heart had a desire to live more naturally and rid our house of harmful chemicals that are now the standard in households. The guy giving out sample laundry soap at Sam's one day looked at me all crazy when I politely said, "No thank you, I don't use laundry soap." For one, there are tons of chemicals in these soaps, and the use of them, plus fabric softner, plus dryer sheets wear your clothing out faster, it breaks down the fabrics. To tell you the truth, I can't even stand the smell of detergents anymore. Way too strong of an odor. My clothes have no distinct smell, they just smell clean. I love that! And using these have saved me a TON of money every month just by NOT buying laundering supplies that are the norm these days. Also, I don't buy stain removers because I am a Mom who is just not that worried about stains.

Wool dryer balls... I made my own, but you can find them on Etsy. If you have NOT heard of Etsy, oh my, you'll love it!! I'm always happy with my purchases. Anyhow, these dryer balls are a natural way to keep your clothing static free, and also to make your drying time faster, saving you money in the long run. We were having major static issues when I quit using dryer sheets, so I went in search of a natural remedy, and these work! Use  3 or 4 at a time in your dryer. Doesn't hurt your clothes one bit.

Links:   Just do a search for Dryer Balls, or Wool Dryer Balls. Simple instructions on how to make your own. You can do this when you're catching up on your favorite shows :)

One other thing I have rid my house of is chemical cleaning supplies. I make my own. I use a lot of vinegar and baking soda, and have recently found an all purpose solution I really love. I even make my own wipee solution for my CLOTH wipes. I make my own glass cleaner, and also my own furniture polish. ALL from things I already have at my house. I'll do a separate post soon for all my solution recipes. I just don't like the idea of all those chemicals getting on my kids from everyday items like the floor, tub and toilet, sink, get the idea ;) Also, I despise the smell of chemical cleaners now, I never realized how strong the odor was. I don't even have bleach at my house!

Also, if Soap Nuts don't appeal to you, my friend has a recipe posted for homemade Laundry Detergent HERE. It's for sure worth a look :) She's had much luck with it and really likes it!

All in all, I save money by: cloth diapering, making my own cleaning supplies, using dryer balls, using soap nuts, and making my own wipee solution. And soon, I'll be out of shampoo, and I'll be washing my hair withOUT shampoo. I'm excited to try it! More money will be saved!

ps... sorry for the longest post EVER!!!

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