Today’s tip is one that is gentle on your washer (HE and regular), but most importantly it will save you money! If you’ve ever looked at the cost of laundry detergent, you may have choked at the cost. I have a wonderful recipe to make your own Liquid Laundry Detergent for only $1.25 per year! And the detergent is low suds and low residue which will keep your washer and clothes cleaner.
How to Make DIY Laundry Detergent
If you think this detergent couldn’t possibly work on dirty clothes, think again. I can tell you that in addition to our regular clothing, I’ve been using this recipe for 9 years on my boys’ clothes, on my own work clothes, and my husband’s karate clothing. And it really works. Whatever stains don’t come out in the wash are no match for my DIY Miracle Stain Remover.
The ingredients for the laundry detergent are simple and can be purchased at your grocery store. Just look on the high or low shelves in the laundry detergent aisle. If you can’t find them there, you can also look at your local hardware or home improvement store.
To make the detergent, you only need about 15 minutes and then let the detergent sit overnight. The next morning, you stir, add more water and you are done! Do you think that’s too much time to devote to making laundry detergent? What if I told you that this batch lasts our family of four (did I mention two of them are young boys) six months or more.
Optional: Essential Oil for Scent (see below for scent ideas)
Cut Fels Naptha Bar in quarters. Grate one quarter of the Fels Naptha Bar using a fine cheese grater.
Boil 1 cup of water. Pour grated Fel Naptha into pan of boiling water. Stir continuously until the soap has dissolved. Meanwhile, pour 2 1/2 quarts (10 cups) of water into a large container or bucket. Pour dissolved Fels Naptha into the bucket of water. Stir.
Add 1/4 cup Super Washing Soda and 2 TBSP Borax to the bucket.
Add 2 1/2 quarts more water and stir.
Cover the mixture and let is sit overnight out of reach of pets or children. Uncover the bucket and stir the gelatinous mix.
Add 5 Quarts (20 cups) of water to the bucket. Stir.
If your clothing gets stained, try soaking in this miracle stain remover a day or two before laundering. You’ll be amazed how the stain lifts out effortlessly.
How did I figure out my cost per year?
I had to do a little guestimating to figure out my cost. In the nine years I’ve been making this recipe, I’m only on my second box of Borax and Arm & Hammer Washing Soda.
Each batch of DIY laundry detergent consists of at least 4o cups. If you use the required 1/4 cup per load (do not use more, as more detergent won’t get your clothing cleaner) you can easily get 160 loads from each batch.
All this to say, I came up with a very conservative estimate that I pay $1.25 for laundry detergent per year!
Storing Your Laundry Detergent:
When I first started making this recipe, I used my empty laundry detergent container. But, it was often too small for the batch size. Next, I used an empty 2.5 Gallon Water Jug. But, several years ago I bought a big glass drink dispenser and a smaller bottle with a flip top stopper. The smaller bottle is filled and used for dispensing detergent into the 1/4 cup measuring cup and then added to the washer. The large drink dispenser holds all the excess detergent. This is a prettier solution to storing all the detergent.
Once you try this DIY laundry detergent, I know you’ll love it. And then you’ll want to share this recipe with everyone you know! I like to share the recipe with a small sample amount in a laundry themed basket.
https://prettyhandygirl.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/diy-laundry-detergent-on-dryer-scaled.jpg17072560Brittany Baileyhttps://prettyhandygirl.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/07/PHG-logo-tagline-2020-1030x211-R.jpgBrittany Bailey2020-05-01 07:00:002020-05-02 21:31:12How to Make DIY Laundry Detergent for Only $1.25 per year
When I first walked through the Millie’s Remodel house, I knew I had to do two things to the home. First, I needed to add a doorway for the laundry room inside the house. Second, I really needed to add a second bathroom. Believe it or not, I was able to accomplish both goals in one room. Come see my design plans for the shared powder room and laundry room.
If you remember, Millie’s laundry room was only accessible from the back deck. You had to walk out the back door, make a U-turn and go into the laundry room. I’m certain it was a major inconvenience doing laundry if it was raining, snowing, or just plain cold outside.
To remedy this situation, I had my masonry contractor brick up the door and we put a transom window at the top of the opening to add some natural light into the room.
But, I got ahead of myself. Did you remember what I found under the laundry room floor and door?
ROT! Lots of wood rot and a fungus growing on the floor joists. My framers came in and replaced all the damaged joists and put down AdvanTec material for the subfloor. This is my new favorite material for subfloors. It’s moisture (and therefore mold) resistant. AdvanTec has tongue and groove edges so there’s virtually no movement or squeaking in the floor.
A new door opening has been framed into the house. The doorway may seem extra wide, but that’s because I still have to install the pocket door frame there.
Now that the subfloor and framing is done, it’s time to focus on making this room beautiful again. Here’s my design board for the shared laundry and powder room.
(I’ve included affiliate links for your convenience. I earn a small percentage from a purchase using these links. There is no additional cost to you. You can read more about affiliate links here.)
This bathroom has to do double-duty as a laundry room and powder room. For this reason, I opted for a vanity with storage inside. I can’t wait to see all these elements installed in this room. Personally I like the classic navy and white color palette.
What about you? Do you like the design choices I made for this room?
A special thank you to the Millie’s Remodel Sponsors:
The Millie’s Remodel project sponsors have donated materials for the Millie’s Remodel project. As you know I am very particular about the brands I work with and recommend. As a general contractor, I choose the products used on my projects wisely to make sure they last a lifetime. Therefore, I have no reservations putting my name behind each and every one of these sponsors.
How to Install Cement Tiles and Achieve Professional Results
If you’ve been browsing Pinterest lately or flipping through the pages of your favorite home design magazine, you’ve probably seen (and likely fallen in love with) real cement tiles. Cement tiles are trending, so much so that porcelain and ceramic lookalikes are popping up at most tile retail shops. The first thing you’ll notice about real cement tiles, is the price tag can be steep. What you probably don’t realize is cement tile can be a bit trickier to work with than standard ceramic or porcelain tiles. Don’t let this dissuade you, because today I’m going to show you how to install those beautiful authentic cement tiles and achieve professional results. Plus, because we’re friends, I’m going to share with you my affordable source for real encaustic cement tiles!
Seeing those beautiful cement tiles and a great price prompted me to contact my friend at The Builder Depot and ask him about being a Saving Etta sponsor. He agreed but on one condition; he asked me to write a tutorial on How to Install Cement Tiles and discuss the pitfalls and risks associated with improper installation techniques. Apparently customers were unaware of the proper way to install cement tiles. In fact, even seasoned tile installers were making costly mistakes because they were treating cement tiles like ceramic and porcelain tiles. There is a big difference between them.
What’s the Difference Between Cement Tiles and Porcelain or Ceramic Tiles:
Ceramic and porcelain tiles are slick (often shiny) and aren’t absorbent on the surface.
Encaustic cement tiles are highly porous and absorbent from the surface to the base.
Porcelain and ceramic tiles can be grouted immediately after the thinset mortar has cured.
Cement tiles must be sealed before grouting or you risk the grout staining (or permanently sticking to) the surface.
Porcelain and ceramic tiles do not need to be sealed.
Cement tiles need careful handling to avoid staining and scratching the tiles.
Porcelain and ceramic tiles are forgiving and can stand up to a lot of abuse.
Encaustic cement tile patterns are created by pouring different colored clay baked into the tile. It’s not merely a coating.
Porcelain and ceramic tile patterns are applied in the glazes (painted on top of the tile).
Here’s a beautiful video showing exactly how encaustic cement tiles are made:
Now that you know more details about cement tiles, you can have a beautiful cement tile floor. But, you need to follow this tutorial closely. (Almost all these instructions will apply to installing cement tiles on a wall, so keep reading.)
When you receive your cement tiles you’re going to be tempted to rip open the box and rub your grubby hands all over the smooth tiles (or am I the only weirdo that likes to stroke tiles?) Regardless, before you open the box, wash your hands. Cement tiles are EXTREMELY porous and will absorb oils and stain easily. Until you get to the sealing step, you’re going to have to handle these tiles with care (kid gloves wouldn’t be a bad idea.) Lest you think you can seal the tiles before installation, don’t try it. The tiles have to be porous to release moisture while the mortar is curing. If you seal it ahead of time, there’s a good chance your tiles will develop a ghosting appearance.
Cement tiles can scratch easily. Keep the packing material between the tiles until you are ready to install them. Don’t mark your tiles with a pencil or pen for cutting (unless you will be cutting off the marks.) Even faint pencil lines can’t be easily removed from the tile surface.
How to Prepare Your Floor for Cement Tiles:
(I’ve included affiliate links for your convenience. I earn a small percentage from a purchase using these links. There is no additional cost to you. You can read more about affiliate links here.)
Just like when you paint a room, you’ll get the best results if you take the time to prep your space before you begin.
Before laying tiles on your floor, you must put down a substrate to prevent future flexing that can lead to cracks in your grout or worse in your tiles. Typically tile installers will use cement backer board. But, because the cement tiles are so thick, I chose to use an uncoupling mat to reduce the finished floor thickness.
Measure and cut your mat (or cement board) with a utility knife. Dry fit the mats (or boards) before proceeding.
Next find the center of your room and mark perfectly perpendicular guidelines to use as a guide when laying out your tiles.
Dry fit the tiles with spacers in your room before you begin. Make any adjustments to the tile layout or pattern before you begin.
How to Install Cement Tiles:
With your substrate installed, it’s time to install your tiles. Before we begin, make sure you have these tools and materials. A quick note on cutting the tiles. You can use a score and snap manual tile cutter for straight lines, but nothing beats a wet saw for angled and more complicated cuts. If you don’t want to buy a wet saw, you can rent one. Tile setting is a one person job, but it helps to have an assistant to speed things along by making cuts and mixing more mortar and grout.
Here’s a video I made to help you learn how to install cement tiles properly and keep them looking beautiful!
Mix your thinset mortar according to the package directions. (I usually try to achieve the consistency of peanut butter.)
Prepping Your Cement Tiles:
One of the most important tips for working with cement tiles is to soak them in water before installation. Allow them to soak for at least 30 seconds before laying them into the mortar. If you don’t soak them, the tile will absorb too much moisture from the mortar.
Starting from the center of your room, apply the thinset mortar to a small area and use your 1/2” notched trowel to comb the thinset. Lay your tiles down. Lift one tile to check and see if the mortar is completely covering the back of the tile. If not, your mortar consistency may be too dry.
Avoid the temptation to lay more than a few tiles at a time.
After your first small group of tiles are set, insert spacers. Check to make sure the tiles are level and the same height. Then immediately clean any and all thinset off your tiles using a damp sponge.
After all your tiles are installed, block off the room and keep off the tiles for at least 24 hours while the thinset hardens.
Sealing Cement Tiles:
We’ve arrived at the most important step when installing cement tiles! You must seal the tiles before grouting them. Use a penetrating sealer made for porous stone or cement tiles. Before sealing, make sure your tiles (and the thinset for that matter) are completely dry. You can test the tiles for any remaining moisture by laying down a piece of plastic on the tiles after installing them. If there is moisture the next day when you lift the plastic, they aren’t dry enough. Wait for them to dry or you could risk discoloration of your tiles.
Clean the tiles by sweeping off any debris and clean with a ph balanced cleaner (a bucket of warm water with one drop of dish soap is a good cleaner.) Let the tiles dry. Wipe or buff with a rag.
Pour the sealer into the dish pan. Dip your pad applicator into the sealer liquid. Squeeze off excess sealer against the edge of the dish pan.
Apply the sealer in thin coats working in one direction. Remove any excess sealer from the tiles BEFORE it dries. (See the streaks below? Those streaks and any puddling needs to be buffed off to avoid uneven drying.)
Let the first coat of sealer dry completely. In fact you may want to take a break for 30 minutes or so between coats.
Be prepared to apply many coats before your cement tiles are fully sealed. (My tiles needed 5 coats to seal them. Then I had to wait another 24 hours for the sealant to fully cure before grouting.) It may seem like a long process, but this insures the tiles will withstand regular use and resist stains.
After each coat of sealant dries, you need to test to see if the cement tiles are completely sealed. Drip water onto the tiles. If the water beads up, they are sealed. However, if the water absorbs into the tiles, add another layer of sealant and try the water test again later.
Once your tiles are fully sealed, wait 24 hours before grouting.
How to Grout Tiles:
Because I work alone, it takes me a little longer to grout. To prevent my grout from hardening too quickly, I like to float my mixed grout container in a bucket of ice water to slow down the setting action.
Load up your float with fresh mixed grout. Holding your grout float at a 45 degree angle against the floor, spread the grout over the gaps between the tiles in a diagonal motion. Work in small 3 – 4 square foot areas. Then scrape any excess grout off the tiles using a clean grout float.
Immediately wipe off any excess grout using a clean damp sponge. Ring out and refresh your sponge with clean water frequently.
It is imperative to get all the excess grout off the tiles or you risk the grout staining or settling into the tiles. Go ahead and move on to the next section, but go back to the previous tiles and buff off any haze with a dry rag.
After the grout has cured, clean your floors with a pH neutral mild cleanser. Then apply one final coat of penetrating sealer. A new coat of sealer should be reapplied every 6-12 months for floors, and every 2-3 years for wall tiles.
Cement Tile Maintenance:
To protect your beautiful cement tile floors, clean up any spills immediately. Never leave anything sitting on the floor that could stain or scratch your tiles. If your tiles get scratched or stained, you can use a fine grit sandpaper to sand off the stain. Just be sure to re-seal your tiles after sanding.
A big thank you to The Builder Depot for providing the laundry room tiles for the Saving Etta project and for giving me excellent instructions for installing the cement tiles. What do you think? Do you love the cement tile look?
I hope you found this tutorial helpful. Happy tiling!
Disclosure: The Builder Depot is a proud sponsor of the Saving Etta project. I was provided with materials for this project. I was not told what to write. All opinions and ideas are my own.
https://prettyhandygirl.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/01/grouted-cement-tiles.jpg487730Brittany Baileyhttps://prettyhandygirl.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/07/PHG-logo-tagline-2020-1030x211-R.jpgBrittany Bailey2019-01-28 10:00:002019-02-25 18:10:30How to Install Cement Tiles and Achieve Professional Results
It’s been a decade since we bought our front-loading HE washer and I’ve managed to keep it smelling clean for 10 years! With just three simple steps, you too can banish the funky, mildew, and moldy smelling clothes washer. Here’s How to Keep Your HE Clothes Washer and Laundry Smelling Clean!
How to Keep Your HE Clothes Washer Mold Free for 10+ Years
We all know the HE (High Efficiency) washer uses a lot less water than the old top load clothes washers. And, they cut down on drying times with a super spin cycle that leaves clothes damp not wet. With all those positives, you’d think everyone would be clamoring for an HE washer. Unfortunately, HE washers can start to stink if they grow mold or mildew inside. What would you say if I told you that after 10 years I’ve cleaned the inside of my clothes washer twice? It’s true, the only times I had to clean it was once when the washer sat in our garage for over a month closed up during renovations. And the second time is when we had a house guest who didn’t know to do three things to keep the washer clean and smelling fresh.
Do These 3 Things After Every Load of Laundry:
Wipe out the gasket
Leave door open to dry
Open detergent drawer (or remove to let it drip dry.)
Here’s how to keep your HE front loading washer clean and fresh like the day you bought it:
1. ALWAYS wipe the door off after each load.
2. ALWAYS wipe out the gasket (top to bottom) to remove any water and moisture. This is the main area that will get mildewy first. Gently pull the gasket toward you to wipe inside and behind the gasket. Wipe especially well around the drain holes at the bottom.
3. Leave the door open after your wash is done to thoroughly air out your washer. Obviously if you have a closet instead of a laundry room, this can be a problem. Your best bet will be to invest in a top load HE washer when it comes time to replace your washer. Until then, try your best to keep the washer open about 30 minutes after you’ve washed a load.
4. Open or remove the detergent drawer to allow it to air out.
If you still have odors or smelly laundry, try some of these remedies:
Inspect inside and around the gasket for signs of mildew (usually black spots.)
Mix a small amount of bleach and water in a container. Dip an old scrub brush or old toothbrush into the mixture. Scrub mildew spots with the brush. Wipe clean with a clean rag dipped in water to remove the bleach mixture. Repeat as necessary. When the mildew has been removed, wipe dry with a clean rag.
Does your washer smell like a locker room. To eliminate smells, pour 1/2 cup of baking soda inside the drum. Add a cup of white vinegar into the detergent dispenser. Press start to run the washer empty on the hot water setting.
If this doesn’t eliminate all the odors, you can run the washer empty again but this time put 1/2 cup of bleach in the detergent dispenser.
Remember to open the washer immediately, wipe out any moisture, and leave the door open to air dry. (I can’t stress how crucial it is to do this after EVERY LOAD.)
Do your clothes, or more likely your towels, come out of the washer smelling like a locker room? Believe it or not, you could be using too much detergent. Liquid detergent is often the culprit. Particles from the soap don’t wash out of your clothes completely and bacteria from sweat and more end up sticking to the fabric. Try switching to a powdered detergent or use this DIY laundry detergent which is low sudsing (and also costs pennies). You can also try this Smelly Towel Cleaner(affiliate link) additive to your laundry, that I use when our towels start to get a little funky (especially the dog towels.) It helps get the odor out.
Remember: Never use more detergent than is called for (even if the item you are laundering looks like this jacket.)
https://prettyhandygirl.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/01/pull_open_washer_gasket.jpg427640Brittany Baileyhttps://prettyhandygirl.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/07/PHG-logo-tagline-2020-1030x211-R.jpgBrittany Bailey2018-08-29 07:00:402020-05-01 17:40:50How I Kept my High Efficiency Washer Mold Free for 10+ Years
Hey there, everyone! It’s Katie from Addicted 2 DIY again. Today, I have a project that is not only quick and easy to put together, but it’s also made of scrap wood! My lumber rack is getting a bit full, so I’ve been on a scrap wood purge kick lately. If you remember, last month I shared a tutorial for how to build a rustic wine holder out of scrap wood. This time I wanted to make a project that would solve two problems. The first being my growing scrap pile, and my second being that I hate not really having a good space to store my ironing board. I came up with a solution that took care of both of those problems and it was so fast to put together!
1×8 scrap wood (or purchase a 6′ x 1″ x 8″ pine board)
3/4″ square dowels (I used leftover scraps from some wood I ripped down)
1 1/4″ pocket screws
1 1/4″ brad nails
two 1/2″ steel pipe flanges
two 3 1/2″ steel threaded pipe sections
two 1/2″ steel pipe caps
oil rubbed bronze spray paint
3/4″ wood screws
D ring photo hooks
STEP 1: Dig through your scrap pile or head to your local home improvement store to gather your wood pieces together. I used 1×8 pieces of pine and rather than purchase 3/4″ dowels, I used 1″ scrap pieces that were leftover from some boards I had ripped down from another project. Cut the 1×8 pieces to 12″ long. Cut one 3/4″ dowel to 12″. Cut two 3/4″ dowels to approximately 6 1/2″. You’ll want to measure the exact length as not all woods are created equal and sometimes the thickness varies slightly.
STEP 2: Choose the board for the backing of the ironing board rack and drill 3/4″ pocket holes into the long edge of the piece. Apply glue to the square dowels to attach to the piece that will become the shelf.
STEP 3: Line the dowels up flush with the edges of the shelf and nail into place using 1 1/4″ brad nails.
STEP 4: Attach the back to the shelf with wood glue and 1 1/4″ pocket screws. Read more