Remember way back when, at least a year ago now, I said I was going to try my hand at cloth nappies? A year on, I'm really happy to say that I didn't give up. Little Monster has been in cloth for (most of) his 18 months. I really wondered how it would turn out. Would they be less effective? Would I cope with the washing, especially after returning to work? I actually found out that the washing wasn't too bad. Even when I had to send Little Monster to nursery in disposables on nappy wash day, it still meant he was in cloth most of the time. And, for us at least, I found that we had fewer leaks with cloth than we had with disposables - especially in the earlier days before he was on solids.
When we decided to try cloth it was really to save money and because the pictures of the amount of non-biodegradable landfill from a year's worth of nappies were a little terrifying. I'm not perfect, we still use disposables when we need to, but...eek...it's a scary picture.
Anyway, my U.S. friends have introduced me to the delightful expression 'crunchy'.
Crunchy. Adjective. Used to describe persons who have adjusted or altered their lifestyle for environmental reasons. Crunchy persons tend to be politically strongly left-leaning and may be additionally but not exclusively categorized as vegetarians, vegans, eco-tarians, conservationists, environmentalists, neo-hippies, tree huggers, nature enthusiasts, etc.
I don't think I could ever be described as politically strongly left-leaning..or vegetarian, vegan or eco-tarian...but I guess I have the odd crunch now and again and, ultimately, I'm a mum, and every penny counts. Which brings me to my latest experiment, homemade washing powder. I've been trying to figure out ways to cut back on our monthly spending recently and I've read really good things about homemade washing powder, especially for a family with a history of skin issues like we have with eczema.
After a lot of reading, I've purchased soda crystals, vegetable soap and borax replacement and produced two tubs of powder. (Really easy - grate soap, mix in the rest of the ingredients, voila!).
1kg Soda crystals - £1
1 bar of vegetable soap - 60p
1kg borax substitute - £5.27
Total - £6.87
These ingredients have made enough powder for about 70-75 washes. An example own-brand pack of non-bio washing capsules is £4.80 for 24 washes, so £14.40 for 72 washes.
So...I guess the proof of the pudding is in the eating. Watch this space! And if you have any other miraculous money saving ideas, let me know!