Monday, March 5, 2012

Refill Your Swiffer!

So I found this thing on Pinterest yesterday. It was an article on how to refill your Swiffer Wet Jet. I was actually just about to stop using my Swiffer because I prefer to use more natural cleaning products nowadays. I had about four squirts left in my Wet Jet, so I emptied it and went to work on getting that darn cap off!

Here's what you do.

Boil a small pot of water on the stove, and dip the cap part of the Swiffer Wet Jet bottle into the water for about 90 seconds. Then simply twist the cap off. The heat helps soften the plastic enough so you can just give it a good twist and it will come right off. But make sure to use a towel or something because that cap gets pretty hot.

The cap has these little flaps inside that catch on the bottle so that you can't open it again. Your next step is to cut those off. The article I read says to use a finger nail clipper to just snip them off. I actually made James do this part. Well, I didn't so much make him, as he just took over this part. He loves stuff like this. He said a sharp knife and a steady hand worked way better than a finger nail clipper. Anyway, now you can screw and unscrew the cap at your leisure - no boiling required!


I decided to use my favorite all-purpose cleaner. I'm pretty much in love with Mrs Meyer's basil scented stuff. It smells so fresh and wonderful! And this bottle is super cost-effective. It's about $8, and it's concentrated, so 1/4 cup makes a gallon of cleaner. This bottle lasts a looong time.

So I mixed up a half gallon of my favorite basil scented cleaner and I refilled my Wet Jet! I was SO super happy about finding out this wonderful little tidbit. I really like my Wet Jet, and the fact that I can now use it with my favorite kind of cleaner (that's more healthy for my dog and my kids) really got me excited. I know, that's pathetic, but I try to find joy in the little things. :) 

Aaaaand, I had some cleaner left over, so I poured it into a handy little spray bottle. I only have a little bit left of the all-purpose cleaner I keep in the bathroom, so this will be a great replacement for that.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Homemade Laundry Detergent

I've been toying with the idea of making my own laundry detergent for a while now. I was hesitant because I have an HE washer, and I wasn't sure if it was okay to use the homemade stuff in it. But everything I've read says it is. So I decided to trust the interweb and go for it. There are several different recipes out there. They mainly have the same ingredients, just different measurements. This is the one I used.

First, you need an awesome washer and dryer in a cool color. Okay, you don't need that, but it sure makes doing laundry more fun! And I just wanted to show off my new washer and dryer, which I love.

Now here's what you do need.

Fels-Naptha (this is soap) - 2 cups, finely grated
Washing Soda - 1 cup (note: this is NOT the same as baking soda)
Borax - 1 cup
Oxygen stain remover, like Sun or Oxyclean (optional) - 1/3 cup

You can get all of these things at Wal-Mart in the laundry aisle. They are pretty easy to find. And they're very inexpensive, which is a plus. I used about 2/3 of the bar of Fels-Naptha to get two cups, so if you want to make a bigger batch, you should get a few bars. The rest of the stuff will last a while, which is why making your own laundry detergent is dirt cheap. Haha, dirt. Get it? Laundry gets rid of dirt? .... tough crowd.

I always feel weird when I say Fels-Naptha. Like I'm trying to say Napsa, but I have a lisp. But I digress...

First you want to grate the bar of Fels-Naptha with the smallest holes your grater has. The smaller you grate it, the better it will blend with all the powders you mix it with.

Then you want to let it sit uncovered over night. I used a couple of plates to spread it out so it would dry out faster. You could use a baking sheet, or whatever strikes your fancy. Just keep it out of reach of kids (or husbands) because it looks a lot like grated cheese. Once it has dried out a bit, just crumble it with your fingers and it will almost turn to powder. This way it will mix better with the other ingredients.

Put all the ingredients into a container.

Then mix it all up. I just put the lid on and shook it. Then I took an old measuring spoon (1 tbsp) and put it in the container for... well, measuring.

Use one heaping tablespoon for normal loads, and two tablespoons for more heavily soiled loads. This has worked out well for us.

I ended up paying around $12 for all these supplies. If you want to do more batches, you'll need to buy more Fels Naptha, but that's cheap, so no big deal. I would guess that all the laundry soap I can make from these supplies will probably last me about six months. That's six months of laundry detergent for the price of one bottle of Tide. Awesome!