DIY Laundry Detergent Powder

Laundry Soap

I used to be the type of person who just grabbed whatever the cheapest cleaning supplies and laundry detergents at the store. When I learned that the village we were moving to in Alaska didn’t have a traditional grocery store, and that the nearest dollar store was in Anchorage over 400 miles away I admit that I panicked. I didn’t know what I would do. But then I jumped on over to Pinterest and found a plethora of different DIY recipes for cleaning supplies.

Specifically, I found this really great laundry detergent powder recipe from the Liz Marie Blog. It was all dry ingredients that I could ship in and supposedly lasted a year! It was the perfect solution. With a little work, I wouldn’t have to worry about paying over $20 for a bottle of liquid detergent several times a year.

I made only two small changes to Liz Marie’s formula. I could not find the fels-naptha laundry soap bars, and ended up with some pretty fabulous bright pink Zote Soap and it has worked great! I also decided to forego any scented crystals. The formula is as follows:

1. Three bars of Laundry soap. I used the pink Zote Soap.
2. One four pound, twelve ounce box of Borax.
3. One four pound box of arm & hammer baking soda.
4. One box of arm & hammer super washing soda. (Large box- one size only)
5. Four pounds of Oxy Clean.

Grate the bars of laundry soap (careful not to cut yourself- I scraped myself on the grater a couple times!) and then mix all of the ingredients. I used a really large trash bag so that I could mix it well. It is very heavy and difficult to mix in a container.

After everything was mixed I put it in a container with an airtight seal to keep out moisture. About half of my mix fit into the jar, and I clipped the trash bag closed and I stored it in a small trashcan.

I did my shopping at Sam’s Club in Anchorage, and was able to find all the ingredients in bulk. In fact, the box of Oxy Clean was even more than four pounds, so I have extra left over.

Laundry Soap2

Six months later of using the soap I still have just over half left. Each load I use half a scoop (I got the scoop from the large Oxi-Clean box.) I have a frontloading HE machine and it works fine. Once or twice I found a sliver of undissolved soap, but 99% of the time it has dissolved completely and cleans great. I’m very happy with it. It is great on my sensitive skin, and I plan to make more next year when this runs out.

Have you tried a DIY Laundry Powder? What about other cleaning supplies? How did you like it? Let me know in the comments below!

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Flying by the Seat of Our Pants

lessons-learned

If I have learned anything by living out in the bush, it is that mistakes are expensive, and by golly you are bound to make mistakes. Traveling home for Christmas wasn’t a mistake, but I sure learned some important lessons that will hopefully help me save some money in the future.

Lesson Learned #1: First of all, if you plan on moving to Alaska (and I might have said this before, but it begs repeating) get the Alaska Airlines Credit Card. You will be flying a lot, and the points and miles add up. There are also a lot of other benefits if you have the premium card like companion fares, etc. Okay, now that I have made my little advertisement (I swear I’m not getting paid, but wouldn’t that be cool) let’s move on to booking flights.

Lesson Learned #2: In October there are PFD Sales all throughout Alaska. The PFD is the Permanent Fund Distribution, or oil dividend money that every resident of Alaska receives if they have been living in the state for more than 1 calendar year (Jan-Dec) and have the intention of staying. Because of this money being injected into the economy, everyone is vying for a piece of your PFD and the sales abound. We were given a heads up about these sales and that they were the perfect time to buy your tickets home for Christmas.

Lesson Learned #3: The time of day you fly out of your hub DOES matter. I scheduled our Christmas flights for just whenever, and it ran into some expensive problems. To get from the village to Bethel you have to travel by frozen river or plane. The planes only fly at specific times, and the first flight out of Bethel from Alaska Airlines is scheduled before any of the small charters can get you into town. So I had to travel in a day before and get a hotel room. Which of course was about $200 for a single night, and the only place in town that would accept my dog. Like I said, expensive mistakes. At least with the extra time I was able to get my Alaska driver’s license! Looking on the bright side of life!

Lesson Learned #4:This one only applies if you are flying with a pet, but it was an expensive mistake. If you book multiple airlines (a common thing when going from AK to the East coast) you have to pay EACH airline’s pet fee. So we paid Alaska Airlines AND Delta BOTH WAYS to take our puppy for the holidays. She is wonderful and we love her so it was worth it. (and would have cost the same to board her in Anchorage or Bethel) From now on, we will fly into a different airport on the East Coast in order to stay on Alaska Airlines the entire trip.

Lesson Learned #5: You will rationalize overspending when visiting the Lower 48. Grocery stores and the mall were dangerous, sneakily expensive places over the holidays. Prices looked so good in comparison to Alaska that I didn’t keep track of spending like I would have normally. It adds up.

Life is about the adventure, and hopefully you can learn something along the way. I am already planning a trip to Tampa to see my sister’s Master’s Thesis Defense, and have made much better choices in my flights- hopefully saving time, money and a little bit of my sanity!