We don't need no soap!!
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Well, well, well. Will wonders never cease. I just logged into yahoo and found this article. What an eye opener.
While having clean clothes is obviously both hygienic and neighborly, how they get that way may be more open to imagination and experimentation than you may have considered. And consider you should, because as it turns out, the companies supplying the soaps you use to make your attire springtime fresh may be doing little more than taking you to the cleaners.
According to soap super-seller Proctor and Gamble (their Tide label alone accounts more than 40% of all laundry detergent used in the U.S.) Americans are doing 1,100 loads of laundry every minute of every day. And it's certainly possible that, thanks to new concentrates, many of those loads feature too much detergent.
As you've probably noticed, the latest twist in detergent is to sell us less product at a higher price with "ultra-new-and-improved" concentrates. "Use less soap, save the planet" is the basic idea. But smaller quantities mean more precise measuring is needed: fail to pay attention and you'll pour too much, which doesn't help the earth or your budget ... but does benefit Proctor and other purveyors of these products.
To read more about the conflict over exactly what kind of green concentrated laundry detergents are really designed to produce, check out this article from the Wall Street Journal.
Then consider this dirty little secret the suds salesmen don't want you to know: Some people get by with no detergent at all. Many others save 90% of the cost of store-bought by making it themselves.
I recently did a TV news story showing people how to make their own laundry detergent for a fraction of the cost of store bought. (It's right here on Yahoo!: check it out.)
As I said in my story, while it may sound impossible, laundry detergent may not even be necessary at all. The blog Funny about Money decided to forgo it completely as part of an experiment. Here's a quote:
"By and large, all of the freshly washed clothing came out with an odor: It smelled of clean water!"
You might be surprised to learn that, while clothing has been around since the fig leaf, laundry detergent is relatively new. And yet, ancient people were presumably able to make their clothing at least somewhat clean. How?
As it turns out, something that may be even more effective than soap is agitation. Ancient people used rocks and rivers, but your modern washing machine can clean lightly soiled clothes by just pushing them around in water.
In other words, people actually do get away without using detergent at all. But if the idea of using nothing more than water to wash your gym socks sounds a little scuzzy, not to worry. You can still wring significant savings from your laundry money by making your own detergent. It's not hard.
A quick search online will show you that there's no shortage of homemade laundry soap recipes: Here's one from The Simple Dollar. And we've got 10 more at Money Talks News. But below is one that seems to work pretty well. You'll need:
• 4 cups of water.
• 1/3 bar of cheap soap, grated.
• 1/2 cup washing soda (not baking soda).
• 1/2 cup of Borax (20 Mule Team).
• 5-gallon bucket for mixing.
• 3 gallons of water.
First, mix the grated soap in a saucepan with 4 cups of water, and heat on low until the soap is completely dissolved. Add hot water/soap mixture to 3 gallons of water in the 5-gallon bucket, stir in the washing soda and Borax, and continue stirring until thickened. Let the mix sit for 24 hours, and voila! Homemade laundry detergent.
Of course, who'd post a recipe without trying it out first? I made and washed several loads of clothes with the homemade detergent. And I, like many before me who've traveled this road, couldn't tell the difference between store-bought and homemade.
Total cost per load? In the neighborhood of 2 cents. Store-bought detergent, depending on what you buy and where you buy it, can cost about 20 cents per load -- 10 times more.
So, there are at least two alternatives to the agitation of paying too much for laundry detergent: Ditch it altogether and use nothing more than water in your washer, or save to 90% by making your own laundry detergent.
And here's a final idea for those who, like me, are unlikely to choose either of those options. Since doing this story, I haven't started making my own laundry detergent. I still use the same store-bought concentrate I started with. But I've started using half the amount. Result? No difference at all that I can detect. Now we're really talking green.
Maybe it's time we all laundered a little money!
- Hi Gene,
An interesting note on Proctor and Gamble urban legend that many still believe today. I know i for one always thought that it was true. Having grown up at the time the rumors were floating around!
This logo is on every product that Proctor and Gamble makes. It was rumored that it was symbolism to the satan.
P&G logo, which featured the man in the moon in a circle along with 13 stars. The stars and the circle were an outgrowth of an old symbol that was used to identify cartons of Star Candles, an early P&G product. There were 13 stars to symbolize the 13 colonies. The man in the moon was added around the turn of the century for no better reason than the fact that it was a popular symbol at the time.
Somehow people made the leap from this to satanism. Some said that if you held the logo up in front of a mirror, you could see "666" (the "mark of the beast," symbolic of the Antichrist) in the swirls in the man in the moon's beard. Others said you got 666 if you connected the stars with curving strokes.
According to Legend:
The President of Procter & gamble appeared on the Phil Donahue Show on March 1, 1994. He announced that due to the openness of our society, he was coming out of the closet about his association with the church of Satan. He stated that a large portion of his profits from Procter & Gamble Products goes to support this satanic church. When asked by Donahue if stating this on t.v. would hurt his business, he replied, "THERE ARE NOT ENOUGH CHRISTIANS IN THE UNITED STATES TO MAKE A DIFFERENCE."
This is false and the president never appeared on Phil Donahue. For which several law suits were against Amway Corp for supposedly starting the rumors.
Just a little fun fact of urban legend!!
- This legend should be true!
The existence of Evil (i.e. Satan) is necessary to bring on the Good in all of us, even the washing machines. By this there is no more need to heat up the water in the washing machines, because it would be already boiling (doesn´t get hotter in hell for water).
NOW: You do not only save energy, get the cleanest (cooked) clothes but you could also save the planet. Team up with satan, connect a turbine to your washing machine and start to produce energy. Think of this: Millions of micro power houses. Who would we need oil, gas or nuclear power anymore?
Let Satan and P+G do the (clean) dirty work!
- I heard that rumor as well, and spent part of my life staying away from Proctor and Gamble products, i was told they were evil and trying to spread it, to keep it out of your house. If you had it in your home you were inviting evil. I did finally get over it and did realize.. but i still to this day always have that impact in the back of my mind still deciding am i doing the right thing..
Making your own soaps is good, i used to do it.. my daughters father did to, i used to think he was such a cheapie, but in alot of ways he was really smart. he'd make all kinds of cleaners, furniture polishes, carpet cleaners all from scratch..
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