Saturday, September 11, 2010

71 cents for 10 Gallons

Oh how I WISH I was talking about the price of gas. Unfortuntaely, I am not, but the price of TIDE does not seem to be too far behind!  Laundry soap is expensive and doesn't last too long around here, with the amount of laundry I seem to do.  Last spring, just because I could,  - a friend told me about it and showed me how - I made my own laundry soap, and have used it ever since. I actually JUST ran out, and in thinking about the fact that I am now in need of more, it means I am at a crossroads, of sorts.  I either have to go back to BUYING laundry soap, or I can make up another batch and continue using the homemade soap.  I have decided to just continue to make my own.  It's cheap.  It gets our clothes clean. I can add essential oil to give it some scent, if I choose. I usually add lavender oil to loads of shirts, sheets, towels - those things that I like a little scent on, and I've been adding sweet orange oil to the loads of my son's grease-monkey jeans, and I like how those come out as well.  It's cheap. It only takes a little bit of time to make up, and all you need is a 5 gallon bucket with a lid to keep it in. I use a clean, rinsed out, gallon milk jug to keep it in for daily use. I use a measuring cup with a lip (like the pouring lip) to pour the soap mixture from the bucket into the gallon jug.  Fill the jug HALF full of soap mixture, then add water to fill the other half. I keep a plastic cup on top of the washer that has a line marked at 1/4 cup with a permanent marker, so I can just pour from the gallon jug to that cup for each load.  Then, if I'm going to, I add drops of essential oil to that 1/4 cup, and wash. I don't add the oil to the whole gallon, or to the 5 gallon bucket, because it is the most expensive part of making your own laundrysoap, it isn't necessary, and there are some loads of laundry I don't care if they smell extra nice or not. Like really, do I care if a load of our socks and underwear smell like lavendar, or am I ok with them just being and smelling clean?!  And if I throw in a load of miscellaneous things, like kitchen potholders, the dog towels, etc. I really don't need to waste the essential oils on those loads.
So, all in all, one small way to lighten my $$ load at the grocery store that has worked out well for us. Plus, I read someplace recently, can't remember where, that using TOO MUCH laundry detergent, of commercial detergents, contributes to wearing our clothes out much sooner, and actually making them dingier. I think it mentioned that if you use commercial laundry soap, that you really only need to use about half of what the directions on the bottle recommend, and much of it is water, also, as it is in the homemade soap. The consistency of this took me awhile to get used to. It isn't thick like commercial detergents, but, like I said, the proof is in the wash - it works just fine. And for 71 cents for TEN GALLONS, I can - and DID - get used to it. Oh, and did I mention? It's cheap!

Grate 1 bar of Ivory soap and add to 4 cups water.  Stir continually over medium heat until melted.

Fill 5 gal bucket 1/2 full of hot water. Add melted soap, 1 cup washing soda and 1/2 cup of Borax. Stir well until all powder is dissolved. Fill bucket to top with more water. Stir let thicken over night. Cover.

Fill a laundry bottle 1/2 full with soap and fill the rest with water. (This is where I use a clean gallon milk jug, but you can use an empty laundry detergent bottle, or almost anything else you want.) Shake before each use.

Add enough drops of essential oil to each individual load to scent your laundry, if you wish. If not, leave out.
(I got my 5 gallon bucket, and a lid, at a hardware store - I think it might have been some place like ACE Hardware, but any place that sells paint, or similar things, would have them. I know Tractor Supply carries them, also.  The bucket and lid cost about $5.00 together.)


Little Messy Missy said...

Thanks for sharing I will give this a try!!!

Allmycke said...

I've been using a washing ball for the last 2 years almost - and I love it! It paid for itself during the first year - and it feels good to not add to the pollution of the one Earth we have.
Here's a link:
I think I'll try and make my own detergent though - just for the fun of it!

Dog Hair in my Coffee said...

If anyone needs any of these ingredients - Borax, Washing Soda or Ivory, let me know and I can mail you enough for a batch or two.It's cheap, and easily found here - so just let me know if you can't find one of those items.
And thanks for the link - I haven't heard of a washing ball, but will go check it out!

Jennifer Montero said...

Genius and thrifty. I'm really grateful for the recipe. I just bought a box of detergent (enough for 20 washes) and it was £5 ($7.50). The way we wash clothes around here I think it's cheaper to buy new clothes. I hope I can get the ingredients in the UK.

I did just make another laundry discovery: if your tshirts hold underarms smells (ahem...), spray the area with straight white vinegar and throw them in the wash. It really works.

Dog Hair in my Coffee said...

Vinegar in your wash water also acts as a softener, apparently, and negates the need for Downey or any other fabric softener, or drier sheets. I haven't tried this, because I don't really care if I have soft laundry or not, but my friend who gave me the laundry soap recipe also uses 1/4 to 1/2 cup white vinegar in her wash loads. So now, in addition to making laundry soft, we know it's apparently a good, um, smell remover too! Maybe I WILL start adding/spraying some!
Also, I, too, am not sure what's available in the UK or in Sweden, but if either of you wants me to mail you a cup or two of the ingredients, or the Ivory soap, if they are NOT available, let me know and I would be happy to do so. Really. Just send me your actual mailing address and a note to my email, and I'll eventually get them out to you.

Cathy said...

I still have the ingredients that you sent me. When I run out of the regular detergent I already have I am going to make a batch of the homemade and quite buying laundry soap.