LAUNDRY SOAP, PLUS
Having a regular following ( not flash in the pan, fair weather readers ) of new minions ( new dudes-”loyal minions” has been your moniker for almost two decades. No offense is intended, so friggin relax already, Francis ), I thought I'd rehash a few old off grid subjects. There seemed to be an interest. That, and I don't think even with my gift of blarney I'd be able to fill an entire article with just homemade laundry soap. So, I'll add solar toilets and rudimentary PV power, with hot water bonus. All on the extreme frugal side, naturally.
A few days ago I got one of my “holy friggin Schnitzel, the apocalypse is almost here and I need to do a project or two to delude myself I'm ready” moments. I took my new front sight Lee-Enfield tool ( they make new ones-HERE ) and the laser bore sites I just got on sale at Sportsman's and made sure my two good rifles were ready ( I knew the one needed just a smidge adjustment and luckily came across the tool to order. Over twenty years a Smelly owner and embarrassingly I hadn't thought of this tool. The other sight was right on ).
My other two rifles are more parts back-ups. The one was sporterized ( which, again, I didn't realize until recently is NOT a good idea on certain military rifles such as the Springfield and the Enfield where the barrel is supposed to be under tension. The one thing I'll miss most about ScrewYouTube is the Forgotten Weapons channel. He has taught me more about guns than forty years of reading. Luckily, I can Patreon him and watch vids HERE ) and the other is beat to crap and I'm not sure I can fix the loose front sight.
But that wasn't enough. It was time to finally stop stocking the ingredients to make homemade laundry soap, and actually make some. I would have normally kept putting it off, as Dollar Tree and Family Dollar have half gallon jugs of laundry soap for a buck. Homemade costs about one quarter the cost. Since one jug lasts me four months, I'm saving less than two bits a month. Why worry, right? Well, the only thing lighting a fire under my ass was I was almost out of Shout. Family Dollar no longer carried the generic for a buck.
So I had to start making THAT. But there was no way in hell I was going to pay the retail for dish soap the recipe called for ( recipe HERE ). I had been pretty peeved about the cost of dish soap anyway, which to my mind was unreasonable for what you got. So, the laundry soap was also going to be dish soap. At first I worried, no chemist I, but then I noticed most homemade powder soap for machine dishwashers mimicked the homemade laundry soap ( before water was added ). If it disinfected the dishes in the machine, it should be fine in the sink.
The laundry soap was much easier than I thought ( I knew it would be easy, I just thought the Pain In The Ass factor would be higher ). You need one cup Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda, one cup powder Borax, and a grated bar of Zote ( all available at Wal-Mart in the laundry isle ). Melt the soap in some water, add the soap and powders into a five gallon bucket and fill with hot water ( in the tub/shower is best ). Leave to set up for 24 hours. The one thing I noticed was the soap wasn't dissolving well in the boiling water by stirring.
A whisk works MUCH better. Also, I added the powders to the boiling water once the soap dissolved. Why wait to add it to the bucket? I think all that helped it set up less clumpy ( you'll have an end product that is almost like cream of wheat or tapioca ). I didn't have a full five gallons-more like four to four and a half, so I could stir at the beginning and the next day when done. I had been saving trash dived laundry soap bottles and dish soap bottles for two years, so I had plenty of dispensers.
I got 500 ounces of soap out of the deal, for about $2. More important than the five containers of laundry soap, I had three huge containers of dish soap. At twenty five cents each, versus the stores $2 ( I buy brand name dish soap, and it STILL isn't all that great ). And here's the thing. Lately I had noticed that the Palmolive dish soap wasn't very sudsy, AND it seemed to leave more of a ring in the sink than I'd ever noticed before. Which is exactly what the homemade dish soap did.
Almost as if Palmolive was using much cheaper ingredients similar to what I just used! I don't think a nice smell and a weird color is worth an extra $1.75, Sam I am. Well, and suds. No suds with the homemade. And Palmolive was the least worst of the brand names ( there might be better, but I'm not spending even more ). Sigh. Does it ever end, the breakdown of the Industrial Economy? Don't answer, that was rhetorical.
Okay, that almost made the minimum article word count ( again, to the new minions-yes, I'm anal about word count. Without discipline you don't write a daily blog for fifteen years, and a minimum word count is critical in that ). But being the Prepper Author Hero you've all come to expect, I have to implore you to WAIT! There's even more. It seemed I'm not alone in enjoying discussing Off Grid/Post-Apocalypse Turd Disposal. This is even easier than making homemade laundry soap.
Sawdust toilets. They make great composting toilets. Remember decades back when you first heard about those? A company in-if I recall correctly-Sweden was selling a giant two story fiberglass composting toilet. Poop above into sawdust or similar medium and it slowly slid down to the lower chamber and was ready as compost by the end of its journey. But obviously they were not cheap. Which lite a fire of innovation under many off-gridder asses. There are many alternatives now. The book “Humanure” is available free online, or in book form, but I must warn you most people long ago surpassed his research ( I bought the book-he deserved support for his work, and it was all I knew of at the time ).
The best idea I've seen is the solar composting set-up. I mean, an outdoors humanure compost pile-why? It might not smell but it just seems a bit gross. Use your indoors bucket for solid only waste disposal, a floor of sawdust and then sawdust sprinkled over each deposit. When the five gallon bucket is full ( I would advise a trash bag lining. The bag can join the city dump full of baby and adult diapers and dog crap ), dump the turds, TP and sawdust into a outdoors buried large trash can. Cover the top with a pane of glass.
Boom, solar composting. When full, leave the glass on and don't touch it for a year. Have another separate can you are filling. It should be safe enough for tree fertilizer and such. It MIGHT be safe enough for all but root crops, but I guess that depends on how desperate you are for fertilizer. There is also methane manufacture, which is now just as easy as buying a 300 gallon tote and some PVC pipe. There are plenty of JewTube video's on that one if you are so inclined.
I'd rather not deal with filling and emptying it, but free cooking gas is nothing to scoff at, either. Moving on to hot water, it amazes me how when long ago I tried to share this, nobody wanted anything to do with this. Their high class bitches wanted hot running water. Out in the boonies. Off grid. Living cheap. Screw them! You want running hot water? Lift the container and pour it out. There is your running water. I think folks might be more receptive now that Crap Be Getting Realz, yo!
Take an old sturdy box-I prefer a plastic cooler ( Styrofoam if you are in a hurry now and will replace it in a few years ). Bury it at an upward angled southern exposure ( north for you, Dingo ). Line inside ( all outsides are covered with dirt on your little hill ) out with tinfoil, with the inside foil painted flat black. Place covered Mason jars half full of water inside. A sheet of glass covering the whole thing. Hot water in a few hours ( not hot enough for a solar oven. Those need four sides of reflectors ).
Want a cheap and simple solar power set-up to start? You just need lights to begin with. You can expand later. Your cheapest solar panel, 100 watts ( HERE )( do NOT buy the poly panels, only the mono ones. They are more efficient and about the same price ), is right now $85. A sealed 36 amp battery is $65 ( HERE ). A battery controller is $13 ( HERE ). The light fixture ( HERE ) is $14, and only uses 6 watts for 300 lumens. Total, $177.
Throw in a bit of wire if needed and a couple of fasteners ( the panels now come with very short wires and weird plug-in fasteners for an extension. If away from water, I'd just cut the panel plugs and twist to some standard wire ). $180 all in. Figure out how many watts you can draw and still stay over half full, and keep track of your use. Recharge before it gets below half full, for best lifespan. Double check my math ( seriously ), but I think you have about 200 watts to use to half full on the above battery. At 6 watts for light, eight hours a day in the winter, you'd get about four days use and it should recharge in four hours of good sun.
Simplified, but it just gives you an idea. Think of the system as being in a car engine ( with the panel as the engine ) and wiring is simple. Keep track of your usage. Add batts or panels as needed. That is more than enough today-I'm easily 30% over what a normally long article is. Happy off-grid living.
( .Y. )
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In Eugene Oregon, we recycle everything. I collect empty laundry detergent jugs from laundromats.
Red jugs go to elderly diabetics to use as Sharps container.
Other Colors™ go for varied storage around the farm. Why? The jugs are tough; warehouse and store people can't afford to clean-up after a split seam or busted cap from a fall.
Aren't bleach jugs about as tough? Not sure-haven't messed with them for years. Just another possibility.Delete
Speaking of loud noises...ReplyDelete
Can any of our esteemed panel imagine a use for such devices? And you can 3D print them 'in the comfort of your own home'.
Hmmm-the comments seem to nix that idea, if I'm reading correctly.Delete
Great post. Definitely appreciated the extra 30%. Forgotten Weapons is the only gun vlog worth my time, and the only vlog I contribute to.ReplyDelete
It is so rare to see a business run off of someones passion that is as bright as a thousand suns. Forgotten Weapons is one of those. I can only hope to be half as talented and passionate. I like to write long articles. I'm just not sure most readers appreciate that. In the past I tried two articles a day and most comments described a lack of time.Delete
Sounds like a sad excuse.Delete
Only takes 5 minutes to read your regular length article.
Well, I appreciate the extra length. Concur on 1 article/day being enough. I'm bookmarking this one for the links to the solar power stuff, & also appreciate the suggested upgrade to the Humanure Handbook method.Delete
Just passing on what those smarter than I came up with. :)Delete
2:48-most folks don't read for entertainment or as a hobby. So I can understand this is somewhat of a chore. Now, if I was on ScrewTube with semi-auto's and FLIR scopes ( and freeze dried taste tests ), they'd sit there an hour. And bitch if I put up one fifteen second commercial :)Delete
The 7 ampere charge controller you linked to (7 Amps x 12 Volts = 84 Watts) is undersized for a 100W panel. Perhaps this 10 amp (120 Watt) unit for around the same price? - https://www.amazon.com/HQST-Regulator-Charge-Controller-Display/dp/B01F5WFK5CReplyDelete
Recall that the rule of thumb for minimum charge controller sizing is 125% of the maximum current output rating for the panel.
Good save-I forgot I was operating a 75 watt total set-up. The ones I used were prior to the cheap $1 a watt ones. I'll add this to the notes in tomorrows article. You MIGHT be safe as no panel ever gives full performance ( I forget the figure-perhaps 10% less at max summer exposure? Too long ago ), but no sense burning through the things either.Delete
“It MIGHT be safe enough for all but root crops, but I guess that depends on how desperate you are for fertilizer.”ReplyDelete
Years ago I worked at a landscape supply center (Worst job I ever had by the way) and we used to sell the sewer sludge, under the brand name of “Comp Gro” I believe. It was recommended that you only use it for flowers, shrubs, grass, etc, not for vegetables, due to its heavy metal content.
I know that many asian countries use the “night soil” and seem to get away with it. As I recall, the humanure dude used it as well for the garden. I seem recall that he said something to the effect that the compost pile must reach an internal temperature of around 180° F for a minimum of two weeks, in order to kill off all harmful pathogens. Even then, it was a 2 year affair before it was fully composted enough to be used. Probably should be looked into in more depth, if planning on using for a vegetable garden. Otherwise that would be some pretty shitty advice :D
Har, har! :) If I recall correctly the Humanure dude had an exposed above ground pile. The solar pile should cook better, especially in colder weather. To be safe, perhaps the end of the "leave alone to cook" cycle should end at the end of summer so the end of the year cycle is three months of really hot.Delete
One of my composting toilet setups (which I haven't used yet) involves galvanized steel buckets from Home Depot. I know that chicken poop on galvanized feed cans rusts through the steel too quickly for my preference. I figure human poop would be the same in corrosiveness. On the inside of my buckets I put a thick coat of epoxy paint to hopefully isolate the steel from the poop. I'm thinking that after filling the bucket with "deposits", I can then leave it out in the sun with the glass over the top to have a quick turnaround time for dumping and reusing the bucket. Of course the buckets won't go through ultraviolet deterioration like the plastic ones will.ReplyDelete
Any thoughts about that?
Do you think the high temperatures in the bucket would cook the deposits too much where it would ruin the fertilizer value?
What about simply lining with the thickest trash bag available? You won't be able to lift out whole to deposit as the top of the plastic got too much sun, so just empty and toss the tattered bag ( in theory it lasts long enough to protect the metal ). I wouldn't know for sure about accelerating the process-I wouldn't mess with it unless you find someone you has tried it. I'd go safer instead of sorry.Delete
For the people out there looking for offgrid solar panels in bigger than one or two panels.... please check out these two different vendor sites. Call them for the best and current deals.ReplyDelete
I have used both and have had a great hassle free experence. I got about 20Kw in panels. Haha I am on my own grid... I think I paid about seven grand for all the panels after delivery. I have seen 24 cents a watt offered from them before delivery. I got some of those, It cost me a little less than $400 for delevery with a short truck lift gate to my house. That is any where a pallet jack will go,
Lighting is very doable on solar cheaply. So much so, that I highly recomend people do this, Heating and cooling not so much with out a serious investment. Lighting the whole house for 1000Wh per day use. An airconditioner might use 700W per hour! So you can use an aircon for a hour and 15 minutes or lights for the whole house all day. Same system, Just thoughts.
Damn, I thought just 85 cents a watt was a steal. But, seriously, 1k watts a day just for lighting? Are you growing pot, or just live underground without windows?Delete
Which shows just how much an AirCon uses for power. I am realistic when it comes to power. Trying to get get the wife and kids to turn a light off is just not goning to happen no matter how much I scream. A 10 watt LED light bulb left on for 24 hours is 240 watt hours. That is just one light and it took up damn near 1/4th of that 1000whrs. Every time my wife's sister comes over she leaves the guest bathroom light on. If i am off working out of town... that little light can stay on for days or weeks. It is the little things that kill yah on a solar system. Parasitic load are the same. Then you got this years weather of overcast for a week at a time making recharging the batters a little harder.Delete
Wow. And these are the people you are going to try to help survive? I had a few wives with that mentality. Well, the kids also to be honest. I have no idea how people can't grasp the most rudimentary concepts. I keep meeting people like that, yet still cannot understand. Sad Panda :(Delete
Lord Bison, I've shared this book link before but just for new minions:ReplyDelete
"Farmers of Forty Centuries..." by F.H. King
Early 20th C. recap of journey to Far East and long term ag culture there. Many references to how/why of humanure. Quite the travelouge to boot.
As for your brief mention of methane production... Not so much unless you have large volumes of material. Either batch or continuos process works.
I did quite a bit of research on this years ago in regards to application in large dairies and electrical generation.
I wouldn't count on a viable operation if fewer than a 7-8 people contributing all wastes from kitchen & toliet. A big negative is filtering the off gas componenents including CO2 and hydrogen sulfide.
Another issue is maintaining high enough temp for fermentation for you cold weather denizens.
Methane production may be limited to warm weather.
I've messed around with hot water production a bit, forget the mason jars and hot boxes....go with a 100+ ft coil of PEX plumbing tubing, it's practically indestructable. Potable too. Just use 1/2 in. spacers between tubing to facilitate heat transfer.
You can dribble cold water in at top and have the coil between 4 sheets of scrounged corrugated roofing steel. Orient coil like a solar cooker. By time water travels 100 ft...Guaranteed continous hot water.
Heck, just throw the PEX coil atop an asphalt roof in southern areas. Don't even need the steel material. Plenty hot for 5 months a year.
Granted, I might have taken the frugal too far on the hot water. In my defense, I was really poor and was going all out prepping which meant 100 feet of pipe was a luxury. And no Net, so no YouTube. Or time to watch at work ( twelve hour day after bike rides ). So, had I known about the pipe I still would have stayed salvage cheap. I'm just saying, appreciate the upgraded knowledge. I was stuck back in low tech for a reason, but no excuse now ( if I go back off grid, I'm spending a few bucks here and there to radically upgrade. Stuff like a gallon of white paint to cheer up the underground lair. A ferrocement floor in the entrance for dust control. And now, PEX hot water ).Delete
When I built my AR I found out that all 3 of my brand new laser sighters produced 5 or more inches of diameter at 70', the length of our front porch. The AR was installed on a tripod with the laser in the chamber and the beam was focused on my office door 70 feet away. I measured the "dot" with a tape measure and all 3 of them were larger than 5". At 70 feet. That is what I trained my hard sights on, then I went to the neighbors range and set them up accurately at 100 yards. Then I moved onto the scope. If you rely on the laser without doing the manual correlation you will be disappointed (or dead) when go time comes around.ReplyDelete