Thursday, December 8, 2011

Getting my inner Ma Ingalls On

This is how I feel about doing laundry:

And with 5 kids, I do a lot of it, both laundry and the laundry crying. You know what hubby's advice is? "Do a little every day and then it won't be so overwhelming." Well, let me tell you (and him) that at 30 years old, I do, in fact, know how to do laundry. But that doesn't mean I like it.

I dislike it for several reasons: I hate folding it and putting it away, it kind of seems a worthless step since we go through it so fast, and I hate how much that stinkin' laundry soap costs. We use Purex, which used to be like $6 per bottle and is now $9. More kids, more laundry, more laundry soap, more money. I can't imagine how much it would cost if I used Tide, which by the way is my favorite laundry smell, but I can't bring myself to buy it because it costs so much....

So I got the genius idea to google laundry soap recipes. And I found one which seemed good. Here it is:

• 1 bar bath soap, grated (your favorite brand, fels naptha is great)
• 1 cup arm & hammer super washing soda laundry detergent (a laundry booster)
• 1/2 cup borax
• hot water
Place grated soap in a pot.
Cover with water and simmer over medium heat until all soap is melted, stirring occasionally.
Pour into 5 gallon bucket.
Add washing soda and borax.
Add enough hot water to fill the bucket.
Stir (I use a long measuring stick, but any long stick will work).
Let sit overnight to gel.
Use 1 cup per load.

Everything you need is in the laundry aisle at your local Walmart. The soap was $.97, washing soda $3.27 for 55 oz. and the Borax I already had but I think it's like $3 a box. The hardest thing about this recipe is grating the soap, which isn't that hard at all, although I did have to keep Kembia and Moyz from trying to eat the yellow pieces that shot out of the bowl and onto the floor. I stirred it up with an actual stick from my yard. And sure enough, it gelled right up.

This morning I did a load to see how it went, and it's worth noting if you try this that it does not bubble up in the machine. I waited for it to do this when I poured it in, and then I decided I better wait to put the clothes in until it starts to agitate to see if it bubbles, it never bubbles so don't let that alarm you. After it was done, I did the "Sniff Test". You should all instinctively know what this test is, but if you are wondering what the heck I am talking about, grab something that would normally smell bad, socks, underwear, and smell it to see if it is clean. So I did. And they were. Clean that is.

The recipe makes 5 gallons of soap, at probably around just over a dollar for 5 gallons. This is much cheaper than any store bought soap you can get. Of course, the gel is kind of gross looking and no pretty bubbles to make you feel good about it, but considering how much money you save and how fast it is, I have doubts that I will ever go back to store bought soap.

I was feeling very 1800's as I stirred my homemade soap with my stick. Very Ma Ingalls- ish to me! And probably the recipe would be considered "green" if you are in to that thing. I didn't make it for that reason, I made it solely to save money, but the greenness is a bonus.

Quick update: I just did another load using warm water and this time it did bubble. I also scooped a little lower where it wasn't so gel-ish. Bubbles or not, it's getting my clothes clean.

1 comment:

  1. Good for you! I've always wanted to make laundry detergent (green and cost savings reasons)... but then found soap nuts. AH MAY ZING. Love them! Missing the smell... mind you. But they clean well and I just rely on my drier ball to make the clothes smell nice!

    PS - if your looking for more cost savings... I've also gone to homemade shampoos and toothpaste - and much prefer it! ;)