1. Fabric softener sponges
So, for a while, it seemed we were going through a lot of fabric softener. The liquid kind, mainly, but I also liked to have the sheets on hand, in case I forgot to put the liquid in the load when the rinse cycle started. Which, for me, happened quite a bit. Holly and I both shopped for an affordable brand that still did its job, and we found a couple.
But then I saw a little video on Facebook on simple ways we could use sponges. And one of those ways was for fabric softener.
Here's how it works. Cut a couple sponges and put them in an air-tight container so that they stand upright. Fill the container halfway with fabric softener. Take a sponge, squeeze out the excess, and pop it in the dryer with every load. And that's it! The fabric softener lasts forever this way, saving us money in the long run. And it works.
Now, nothing's perfect, and even this method has a couple quirks you have to watch out for. We found that one sponge is not enough for a big load of towels, blankets, fleece, or heavy clothing like hoodies. The solution? Put two sponges in. Problem solved.
Also, be careful when you put the sponge in with light-colored clothes, that you don't let it set, or it will leave a spot the same color as your fabric softener. Again, though, we found it not to be a big problem. Throwing the spotted item in the rinse cycle takes away the "stain" and we just make sure not to let it set on the clothes next time.
2. Reusable napkins
So, in another attempt to save money, Holly went searching and rediscovered something that was once used in days past. Reusable napkins! We made our own out of flour-sack towels. We simply cut them into smaller sections. Affordable, easy to wash, and reusable! We haven't bought any disposable napkins since. We still keep a roll of paper towels on hand, but we don't have to buy one but maybe every couple of months.
To keep our fresh and white, we hand them out to dry on sunny days. The sun is a natural sanitizer and bleaches stains out just as good (or better) than laundry detergent.
I've always loved honey. But Holly recently started using honey as a facial cleanser. She tended to be prone to breakouts and was determined to find something that worked. She instantly loved it. And her bad breakouts have stopped. Her skin looks healthier.
I was a little slower to try it. I'm not big on stickiness. But, I found what Holly likes about it so much. It rinses off easily and it leaves my face feeling so clean and fresh!
Just a note, in our research, we've found the suggestion to use raw honey on our skin, rather than regular honey. I think any honey would do the job, but raw honey is a bit more pure.
4. Coconut oil
I have fallen in love with coconut oil. The smell is amazing. And it's also a great moisturizer. Yes, it's oil, so it goes on oily. But once you rub it into your hands, face, arms, etc. it feels so soft. I've always felt I had oily skin, but even I love how it makes my face feel.
And did I mention it's a great facial cleanser as well? It even removes eye makeup! Mix a little baking soda in with it (about 1 teaspoon of soda, and 2 teaspoons of oil; there's no exact science) and rub right on your face. It's best if you can leave it on for a few minutes. Then rinse. And because the oil is so moisturizing, there's no need for lotion.
You may not want to use the baking soda/coconut oil combination every night. The baking soda can be harsh on your skin if used too much and may dry it out. We use it every other night, and fill in the gaps with the raw honey.
5. Reusable sandwich bags.
Remember our first review? (Refer to "Our Review" link for the whole conclusion) We're still not regretting this bag. So easy to wash and use. And it saves on the sandwich bags and the plastic piling up in our landfills. The only drawback here? We haven't gotten more yet!