Ready or Not #184: Making Laundry Soap – NOT!

I’ve been getting e-mails and reading blogs that give the recipes for laundry soap and dishwasher soap.  Hmmm.  I’m thinking why do I want to make my own laundry soap?  (Unless of course it is for medical reasons) Or even dishwasher soap?  The senders of these e-mails and the blog writers suggest that you do this so that you can be prepared in an emergency. But in order to make these items you still have to store the ingredients – and then take the time to make them.  Why?  Why are we trying so hard to make being prepared so hard and so scary?  And so labor intensive?

Instead of making your own soaps, why don’t you just store your preferred laundry soap, dishwasher soap, hand soap, cleaning supplies, or anything else you use on a daily basis?  (If you decide to make these harsher homemade soaps, you might want to be careful because they can cause havoc with your clothes washer and dishwasher seals.)

Making designer soaps and lotions for your face or body is great if you have the time, the inclination and the SUPPLIES!  It is still all about the supplies, the things that we have stored AHEAD OF TIME.  My neighbor makes her own soaps and lotions (she is also a gardener, a painter and sculptress and is incredibly smart and resourceful).  I buy mine.  She does not make her soaps out of thin air; she has all of the ingredients on hand and then creates magic.  I really admire her, but I still buy my soaps and lotion.

I will continue to figure out how much my family uses in a year with my food storage worksheets, buy all of my cleaning supplies and food stuffs, and then store them and then when I need them, in an emergency or just my everyday life, I will have them.  I won’t have to use my time measuring stuff or cooking things, and then waiting for them to set up before I can use them.  All I will have to do is just open a package of stuff I already like and use what I need.  I like things simple and easy.  Remember; just store enough of what you need – and don’t forget your water! (Two gallons per person, per day, for a two week period.)

Now I’m not saying that there isn’t going to be problems along the way, or that we will always have access to our washer and dishwasher (Aghhh!), and so we should prepare for that possibility.  It is a pretty much a given that we all know how to wash dishes by hand (If not, give it a shot and please learn how), and we should have dish soap and rags to wash with (these are good items to have in your storage – ahead of time), but I would also suggest that you buy two fairly deep plastic bins, one for washing and one for rinsing in case you don’t have access to a sink.

plungerI have also taken the precaution of being prepared to wash my clothes without the aid of my electric clothes washer.  Before I found the hand held clothes washer I wanted, I bought a new toilet plunger.  I know that doesn’t sound right to use a toilet plunger, but it works – just call it a “plunger”.  I used a permanent marker stating that the new plunger was for “clothes only”, as a precaution.  Actually a broom handle will work, but a plunger works better – anything that you can use to make the clothes agitate.

I got the plunger idea when I visited an old time pioneer house that had been turned into a museum.  The woman of the house had the latest washing implement which was a metal plunger looking tool with a couple of different coned shaped levels.  She had a large metal tub (you could use a clean five gallon bucket), where she would place the dirty laundry and then pour the hot water on it after having shaved the hard soap over it first (you can use your favorite laundry detergent – that you have in your STORAGE).  She would then take the washing plunger and agitate the clothes up and down in the water while the water would easily push through the plunger and make it not so labor intensive (pushing against the water) and it also helps to develop the suds that helped to clean the clothes.

mobile washerI have since found the plastic modern version of this early tool and it was less than ten dollars; a very good value and a very useful tool – in an emergency, or just up camping.  I have since retired my toilet plunger, but I will never have the desire to make my own soap.  Really.

The blue, plastic hand operated clothes washer is called “Mobile Washer”. I checked it out on-line and there are a BUNCH of distributors and the prices are as varied as the vendors. I would suggest that you check them out and then make a decision as to the best option for you.

The friend who called wants to give one of these to each of her kids for Christmas. What a wonderful idea! She’s a thinker!

You can watch this demonstration of this nifty little Mobile Washer to see it in action.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t11WC1lG_Po[/youtube]

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