Newsflash: Babci uses Tide

by Sandy L on October 5, 2011


Based on yesterday’s ASK BABCI series, a few folks were interested in what kind of cleaning products Babci uses, so I will do my best to give a rundown of her favorite products.  Don’t be surprised if some of them are modern.  (This is in no way a paid for or sponsored post.  These are the actual products we use.)

First a little history. When Babci came to this country in the 60’s, one of her first purchases was a Washboard.  Once she could afford to upgrade, she bought an ancient washing machine with the rollers on top.  She used that thing until the drum rusted out (I was about 15).  Finally, when I hit my teen years, she bought what most of us would call the modern washing machine of today.  With each of these phases, Babci never looked back and embraced the change.   When you live the simple life by necessity and not by choice, you are okay with a little lifestyle inflation. Would Babci go back to hunching over a tub and scrubbing her clothes with Naptha soap?  Hell, no, especially not after her knee replacements.   She also has no problem using electricity instead of candles or lanterns (as it’s much much cleaner), and she LOVES indoor plumbing.

Our Washer Growing Up

Laundry Products

Growing up, Babci worked in a factory doing piecework. She assembled tools for what’s now Stanley Tools.   She always reeked of grease when she came home.  Whenever I go into see a mechanic and they smell of motor oil, it still  reminds me of how Babci smelled growing up. If you combine the grease monkey she was during the day with the green thumb gardener she was in her off hours, you can imagine how filthy everything she wore was.

Babci never made homemade laundry detergent.  It just wasn’t as good as the store bought stuff. At first she used Wisk, but then determined that Tide worked even better.  She really needed heavy duty cleaning for the type of dirt she was tackling.

For really tough ground in stains, she would rub them down with Fels Naptha soap and give the stains a few scrubs on the washboard before throwing them in our ancient washer.  She doesn’t have to do that nowadays as garden dirt generally doesn’t need any pretreatment to come out clean with the use of a normal washer. I’m a big fan of Zout for pretreatment. It works much better than shout or oxyclean for those ground in grass stains, dirt and grease.  I also use Tide free as my kids have super sensitive skin and it cleans much better than Purex. I used purex on my baby clothes, but once the kids start getting grimy, I had to upgrade to the tougher stuff.  Babci also loves using baking soda in her laundry. She adds a 1/4 cup to every load and claims it makes the clothes softer (because she line dries) and takes the odors out of the clothing.


Babci uses Dawn and Comet.  She does not have a dishwasher but she recently discovered that if you soak caked on dishes in a tub of hot water with dish washing crystals, it melts caked on stuff off of pots and pans.   She tends to wash some dishes with just water to use less soap, but that’s just really gross when you pick up a greasy spoon that’s supposedly clean. My aunt and uncle used the water method too. I guess growing up dish soap was a luxury and a certain amount of filth was okay.  She washes everything thoroughly now that my kids are in the picture which is nice.

For Everything Else

For everything else, she either uses a window cleaner like Windex or a smelly floor cleaner like Pin Sol or Mr. Clean and Comet in the bathrooms.  She likes the “clean” smell of these products vs the eye watering smell of straight ammonia or vinegar.    She uses vinegar more to disinfect herself than her home. Whenever she has a cut or some kind of skin issue, she covers herself with Vinegar and Garlic.  She smells like a dill pickle half the time but hey, at least she can also repel Vampires at will.

Yup, I’m sure you wouldn’t have expected it, but Babci is a modern gal when it comes to cleaning products.   Do you think less of her knowing that she’s not mixing up a big vat of strange ingredients on a regular basis for her cleaning needs? It’s not to say that Babci wouldn’t go back to those methods if money got tight, but for now, it’s something she’s willing to splurge on.




{ 25 comments… read them below or add one }

Molly October 5, 2011 at 8:15 AM

When I started making my own laundry detergent I compared it to Tide. Tide it the standard, man! In all my ‘homemade’ research I have never found a dishwashing product that compares to Dawn. It’s a great pre-treater for oil stains on your clothing too.


Sandy L October 7, 2011 at 1:05 AM

Molly – great tip with the Dawn.


The Biz of Life October 5, 2011 at 10:00 AM

Your washer looks very similar to the one my grandmother used to have. She had no dryer and would wring out her clothes by hand before hanging on the line.


Sandy L October 7, 2011 at 1:06 AM

Biz – I remember when my friends used to come over as a kid they’s want to play with the wringer. It was cool.


Megan D October 5, 2011 at 10:01 AM

Get Babci (and yourself) some Barkeeper’s Friend in place of the Comet. We were living in an old house that had a permanently stained tub…I thought. I got some Barkeeper’s as recommended by a friend and when I used it all the stains came out. I had a perfectly white tub. I had used Comet, Bon Ami, and a variety of other products.

It’s great stuff. When I told my mom about it she said that’s what my grandma always used too.


Sandy L October 7, 2011 at 1:07 AM

Megan – I think the only reason we haven’t tried barkeeper’s friend is that they don’t sell it in the local stores. Okay, I’m mail ordering a pack. Great Christmas present idea. I have these little antislip things in my tub that are a bear to clean.


Kellen October 5, 2011 at 12:42 PM

Haha, I think people are always on the lookout for super secret home recipes that’ll work better than the real thing, but hey, Tide pays a lot of people a lot of money to develop a product that will get clothes as clean as possible. It may not be as “all natural” as some people may be looking for, of course.

@Molly – thanks for the Dawn pre-treatment tip! I never seem to be able to get stuff clean once I stain it!

We also used Dawn on our dogs when they got fleas this summer – it kills and brings them to the surface all at once. Just gotta give the dogs an oatmeal or aloe bath after to counteract how Dawn will dry out their skin.


Sandy L October 7, 2011 at 1:08 AM

Kellen – thanks for another good Dawn tip.


shanendoah@Baking the Budget October 5, 2011 at 10:45 PM

Yay, someone else who doesn’t think I should be making my own cleaning products! I do use a baking soda paste to clean the tub, and it works as well as anything, though when it came to cleaning grout on tile floors, Barkeepers Friend was the stuff to go with.
Otherwise, we pretty much use Simple Green for everything. The hubby has sinus problems, and most traditional cleaners can lead right to infections for him. Simple Green has a nice smell that doesn’t aggravate him. We can also use Hexol, but that smells too much like a hospital to me.
As for Dawn- we always use that on the dogs, though we get the sensitive skin version and that seems to prevent the major drying out of their skin.


Sandy L October 7, 2011 at 1:10 AM

Baking the Budget – Yes on Simple Green. It’s my favorite product to clean my stovetop. It’s very aggressive on plastic though so you have to be careful on cleaning certain things like coffee makers, etc.


Nicoleandmaggie October 6, 2011 at 8:14 AM

Zout is now on my grocery list. I have some clothing I would very much like to reclaim if I can just get the stains out.

Also second barkeeps friend.


Sandy L October 7, 2011 at 1:12 AM

Nicole – Zout is awesome. It has even taken out some baked in stains that I accidentally dried in with the clothes dryer. Spray it, leave it overnight and then wash. It may take 2 or 3 times through the washer but it works great. When my son started skidding across the grass on his knees I tried just about every product out there. Barkeeper’s friend is now on my shopping list too. I’m psyched to get a new product to try.


Money Reasons October 7, 2011 at 7:44 AM

We’ve mostly used Tide too. Growing up, my mom used Cheer for a while, but then eventually went to Tide too when I was still in high school.

I’ll have to look into “Zout”, currently we use oxyclean…


Sandy L October 10, 2011 at 6:22 AM

MR – I have oxyclean too. The spray stuff isn’t worth it, but the powder stuff may be a better value if you’re say presoaking a tub of white socks, but I’m usually too lazy to do that, but for spot treating a big spagetti stain on a shirt, I use Zout. If it’s been soaking on there for a few days, it might take a couple tries.


Kris @ Everyday Tips October 7, 2011 at 8:39 AM

Tide Free is the only thing we use.

If I have a pyrex dish or something that has some baked on grease or something, I soak it in dishsoap and also pour some baking soda in the water. Somehow it seems to loosen things up a bit, or maybe it is just psychological.

I ahdn’t thought about Fels Naptha in ages. My dad was a big fan.


Sandy L October 10, 2011 at 6:23 AM

Kris – my mom would use naptha on my hair in lieu of shampoo as a kid. Wouldn’t recommend. It felt like dolls hair.


Jackie October 7, 2011 at 9:29 PM

Strangely, I have never tried Tide. Do they make an unscented version? If so maybe I’ll give it a shot.


Sandy L October 10, 2011 at 6:19 AM

Yes, Tide Free is unscented.


101 Centavos October 10, 2011 at 7:08 AM

“She smells like a dill pickle half the time” —- LOL!
Hadn’t heart of Zout, thanks for the heads-up.


Kay Lynn @ Bucksome Boomer October 10, 2011 at 8:07 PM

I can vouch for Zout as well. It’s amazing how people get tied to certain cleaning products. I’ve switched many over to the Costco brand over the years. I secretly think they’re all name brand, we just don’t know which name!


Little House October 11, 2011 at 9:56 AM

I’ve been using a really inexpensive laundry detergent and a 1/4 cup of vinegar. As long as I use Shout on dingier clothes, they come out pretty clean. I’ve never heard of Fels Naptha. I’ll have to look into that.


Squirrelers October 11, 2011 at 10:59 AM

That’s a great testimonial for P & G….someone who’s practical and not a spender like Babci will still shell out money for Tide!


medical transcriptionists October 26, 2011 at 7:12 AM

It’s great stuff. When I told my mother about it she said that’s what my grandma always used too.When I started making my laundry detergent I compared it to Tide. Tide it the standard, man!..


business analyst salary December 9, 2011 at 9:48 AM

Thanks for sharing this information..this is such a great post..yes nowadays most used detergent in laundry is tide for it has a better ability to clean strong stain..!!nice image..!!


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