A few years back, I started making my own laundry liquid. Inspired by writers such as Rhonda Hetzel who showed me a new and more self-sufficient way of living, I learnt that the expensive commercial washing powders and liquids I had been using might be causing some of our mild skin problems and affecting the environment. And I was tired of feeling my hands stinging slightly each time I came in contact with the liquid or powders.
After some months of experimenting with homemade laundry powder with good results in our top loader, I decided to try the liquid. I followed the instructions on this post, which are also available in Rhonda’s inspiring and informative book. Soon I had several months worth of laundry liquid, made for just a few dollars! I felt proud of my efforts and the results. I had joined the ranks of frugal ‘simple living mamas’ at last! Life could only get better from here on in.
For a few years I kept making the laundry liquid, producing those bottles of frothy liquid, and feeling that sense of satisfaction each time I loaded the machine. But over time, I began to notice some things that didn’t make me so happy:
- My washing wasn’t so white as it used to be. Rhonda had prepared me for this, and at first it didn’t bother me, but over time the whites in my summer wardrobe became greyer and dingy. I could have used some oxygen bleach along with the liquid, but that was an extra step I wasn’t prepared to do each time I washed.
- The equipment needed to make the liquid (large bucket, large funnel, saucepan, stirrers and 8 x 2l milk bottles) took up so much room in my tiny laundry, and I really felt it in recent times, while trying to declutter the house.
- The hassle of making it every few months (trips back and forth from laundry to kitchen to backyard, measuring powders in the kitchen, needing a second person to funnel the liquid into the bottles etc) made me procrastinate – sometimes I would revert to buying a commercial product because it was too wet/hot or I was too lazy/busy to make a fresh batch.
I realised that what was supposed to be simple was feeling anything but that.
And finally, the last couple of batches of liquid I made just didn’t work properly. In fact, I had to throw a whole batch out when the liquid solidified to the point of not pouring out of the bottle! With my collection of recycled milk bottles sitting full of white gunk in the bin, I made the decision that enough was enough, no more making laundry liquid for me at this time. (However I do believe that if I had persisted and been a little more careful I could have gone back to making great liquid as I did early on. At the time it wasn’t an option to start a fresh, we needed another 6 empty milk bottles first).
These days I select an environmentally friendly but not too expensive liquid at the supermarket. I’ve created more space in the laundry by removing the equipment I’d been storing and the multitude of full or empty bottles, and I’m convinced it was a good decision for us at this time in our life.
Have you ever found something supposed to be simple actually made life more complicated?