08 January, 2015

What`s it like Living in Mexico? - Laundry

Life in Mexico is like hanging the whites on the line in the sun.  The billowing of the sheets is only matched by the puffy clouds, reminiscent of last nights storm.  We hang the clothes on the line not because it is a third world country and we don`t have dryers.  We do it because for one it is the ecologically correct thing to do.  And two, because there is something so beautifully calming, so right about watching the clothes soak up the sun and the smell of the fresh clean air wrapped around your body.  From my roof I can see that Tuesday is Laundry day in our neighborhood as the rooftops and gardens come to life with fluttering laundry on the line.

People around the world are becoming more conscious about what they put in their body.  Where their food come from, Water conservation, upcycling instead of throwing away... the list is growing and we should be proud!  Few are starting to think beyond what goes in the body and starting to think about what we put ON or wrap ourselves IN.  DIY Laundry Detergent is growing in popularity not just because it is better for our health but also better for the wallet.  I researched and read up on the differences in recipes, asked a lot of why and narrowed it down to two posts.

Homemade Laundry Detergent by Ask Anna HERE
Homemade Laundry Detergent by Jillee HERE
I set out in search of the ingredients and ended up bring home items that have been used in Mexican homes for decades (since 1920 to be exact)!  It makes me bang my head against the wall when I spend all this time researching things like this and then come to find out from my husband "we have been doing it like that in Mexico for YEARS!"  I combined the Mexican available products with the ideas from these two lovely ladies.  I bet you could find some of this stuff in your local Mexican Store in the states (and probably even Walmart), they are well know products (as my husband so kindly pointed out) that have been produced in Mexico for years.  Just for fun, I will list the cost as well.  Most DIY Detergents cost around $30 USD for a year supply... let`s see if I can beat that!

Here is my rendition recipe:

Mexican Homemade Laundry Detergent
4 Cups Roma Biodegradable Soap
1 Cup Borax
4 Cups Washing Soda
2 Cups Oxi Clean
1 1/2  Cup Baking Soda

Note: I like to mix this up a few times a year because it is easier to pull together and it fits perfectly in the reused pretzel container I have to keep my soap in.  If you want to mix this up just once a year follow the portions in the cost section.

Mix all the ingredients together very well.  Make sure that there are no clumps, especially of the Borax!  Store in an airtight container.

Start the washing machine and allow it to start to fill.  Sprinkle in 2 TBSP of Detergent.  Allow it to dissolve before adding in the clothes.  Pour Vinegar Based Fabric Softener into dispenser.  Run the full cycle.  Line dry clothes.  Enjoy the fresh clean smell of guilt free clothing.

DIY Fabric Softener 
Now if you are like me and poked around the internet in regards to Laundry Products you will have been scared to death about PERFUMES and other non-labeled chemicals.  One of the alternative suggestions is to use Vinegar.  Now I wash the Chefs clothes so that it DOESN`T smell like he has been in the kitchen all day, so the thought of our laundry smelling like a salad dressing had me second guessing.  That is until we went to Costco and I saw the price of the monster sized Vinegar, just $15 pesos for 1 gallon.  Price won over care of the smell!  I still had a little fabric softener left so I mixed 1:1 White Vinegar to Distilled Water, then for every two liters of watered down vinegar I added about a cup of fabric softener .  You could also use essential oils, or orange or lavender water.  Amazingly the clothes smell cleaner, they do not smell like vinegar AT ALL, and the washing machine is brighter too.  There is no gunk built up around the sides, which I discovered was from the Fabric Softener!  Not to mention the clothes and towels are incredibly soft and the towels never smell mildewey anymore...even the kitchen rags! My worst nightmare in the laundry room!!!

Best of all these laundry products are safe for your grey water system (if you omit the cup of fabric softener and use essential oils instead)!  No worrying about what you are putting down the drain.  The detergent listed in this recipe is also great for washing the dishes and is used in restaurants all over Mexico. You would be surprised at the chemicals in dish soap, so this is a great alternative. At $1 dollar a pound it makes for an economical choice also.

The Math:
According to the Consumer Energy Center the Average US Household washes 300 loads of Laundry per year.  Which I find pretty generous considering we own a bed and breakfast and I only wash 5 loads per week = 260 loads per year.  In order to achieve this I would have to prepare the recipe 3 times during the year. I am rounding up because no one ever fits within an average...  Preparing this recipe 3 times makes enough for 336 loads.  Here are the costs listed in Kilos and Pesos (because we live in Mexico). I will do my best to translate the total to compare with the $30 USD per year cost from the other recipes. Tip: There is 8 cups in a Kilo and 16 cups in a gallon.

Cost of Laundry Soap for a Year
1 Kilo Baking Soda          $17 pesos
1 1/4 K Oxi Clean             $60
2/3 K Borax                      $60
2 1/2 K Roma Soap          $17.50
2 1/2 K Washing Soda     $39
                                         $193.50 / $13.50 = $14.33 USD
Cost of Fabric Softener for a Year
3 Gal. White Vinegar       $45
3 Gal. Distilled Water      $25
1 sm Fabric Softener        $20
                                        $90 / $13.50 = $6.67 USD

Grand Total $283.50 pesos / $20.99 USD for more than a years supply of laundry.  With the money you save you and use the Roma and mix with Borax to make your own dish soap.  Check out this recipe from DIY Natural HERE.

For these and other Home related Posts follow me on Pinterest HERE.

I love these 10 Remarkable DIY Cleaning Solutions from Picklee check out the full post HERE

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