Thursday, March 18, 2010

Frugal Friday

With spring just around the corner, I'm dreaming of hanging my laundry outside. I love the simplicity of fresh laundry swinging in the breeze. There's something endearing and sweet about seeing baby girl dresses hanging next to little boy pants (often without knees).

Throughout my life, I've grown up using unscented laundry soap. My mother was always highly sensitive to scents. Often times, something as simple as laundry soap could put her into bed with a migraine. I've carried that with me over into adulthood. On occasion, I might wear some perfume. But I'm still very aware of the cleaners and soaps that I use in my home.

It's become increasingly less and less common to find unscented products on the market. Everything from baby wipes to hand soaps have been invaded by some kind of scent. Often times, every type of scent you can imagine. So last fall I took the plunge and decided to start making my own laundry soap.

My biggest fear was that it just wouldn't work. After all, what did I know about making laundry soap? So I looked up a few recipes, found one I liked and went shopping.

I first thing I realized was that store stockers were going to look at me like I was really crazy. When I explained to them what I was doing, they would help for a few minutes, but ended up shaking their heads. The hardest thing for me to find was the Arm and Hammer SUPER WASHING SODA. You don't want baking soda (which is what they all wanted me to buy). I finally found it at my local grocery store.

This is the recipe I use:
Powdered Laundry Detergent - Top load machine

1 Fels-Naptha soap bar
1 Cup - Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda*
½ Cup Borax

-Grate soap or break into pieces and process in a food processor until powdered. Mix all ingredients. For light load, use 1 Tablespoon. For heavy or heavily soiled load, use 2 Tablespoons. Yields: 3 Cups detergent. (Approx. 40 loads)

TIPS FOR LAUNDRY SOAP: You can use Ivory, Sunlight, Kirk's Hardwater Castile or Zote bars. Don't use heavily perfumed soaps.

I use Ivory 'cause I found a good deal on a large box of it. I have a friend who uses Fels-Naptha, but has read reviews that it could gray your laundry after several washings. The Ivory has a slight scent to it, but it's very hard to smell.

The only equipment I had to buy was a cheese grater (I wanted on especially for laundry soap) and a rubbermaid storage container with a snap lid. I found both at the Dollar Store. Minimal price to pay to get started.

If you're looking to be even more frugal, you can use this recipe for liquid laundry detergent:
4 Cups - hot tap water
1 Fels-Naptha soap bar
1 Cup - Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda*
½ Cup Borax

- Grate bar of soap and add to saucepan with water. Stir continually over medium-low heat until soap dissolves and is melted.

-Fill a 5 gallon bucket half full of hot tap water. Add melted soap, washing soda and Borax. Stir well until all powder is dissolved. Fill bucket to top with more hot water. Stir, cover and let sit overnight to thicken.

-Stir and fill a used, clean, laundry soap dispenser half full with soap and then fill rest of way with water. Shake before each use. (will gel)

-Optional: You can add 10-15 drops of essential oil per 2 gallons. Add once soap has cooled. Ideas: lavender, rosemary, tea tree oil.

-Yield: Liquid soap recipe makes 10 gallons.

-Top Load Machine- 5/8 Cup per load (Approx. 180 loads)

-Front Load Machines- ¼ Cup per load (Approx. 640 loads)

I've been leery to try this one because I didn't want to buy a bucket to store it in. I recently spoke to a woman who washed out and used an old kitty little jug. So that's an idea as well.

I hope you enjoy these laundry tips. Tell me, have you ever considered making your own laundry soap? What motivates you?

*original source of recipes: Duggar Family Website

Linked to:
Frugal Friday @ Life as Mom

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I make my own laundry soap too, but I've been using 1 c of borax. I just made a double time I'll have to try decreasing it to 1/2 c and see how that goes.

I just thought I'd add that I only air dry and use white vinegar as a laundry softener. I add it to my wash when I would add commercial softener. I have a front loader, but I use about 2 tbsp vinegar and 2 tbsp water. Works well enough for us! - Kimberly

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