Thursday, January 20, 2011

Homemade Laundry Soap

With a family of five, laundry is a big part of my life. I'm doing an average of two loads per day. So when it was time to trim the fat from our budget, laundry soap was one of the first things I looked at for savings.

I found several recipes, and most sounded pretty messy. As much as I want to save, I have no interest in standing over a stove stirring big batches of soap (But I've tried it, lol!).  But finally I came across this recipe that sounded pretty easy and decided to give it a try. I'm happy to report that I've been using it now for 9 months, and I give it a two thumbs up!

Here's what you need:

2 Cups finely shredded bar soap (about one 4.5 oz bar)
1 Cup Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda
1 Cup 20 Mule Team Borax

Each batch makes 4 cups laundry detergent and costs approx $.95-$1.00 to make. I use 2 tablespoons per load - yielding me 32 loads per batch ($.03 per load). This is for a super capacity washing machine!!! I make about 8-10 batches at a time so I don't need to bother with it very often.

- Stock up on bar soap when it's on sale. My favorite is the Walgreens Gentle Bar. This goes on sale occasionally for $.25. It shreds nicely and doesn't have an overpowering scent. I have also used Ivory and Fels Naptha.
- The Washing Soda and Borax are usually found on the top or bottom shelf in the laundry aisle (never at eye level). In my area, Washing Soda is $2.99 for 55 ounces. Borax is $3.59 for 76 ounces. I find both at Wal Mart.

Many of you have contacted me to let me know you've had a hard time finding the ingredients needed. Well here is your reason for joining if you haven't already! Each of the three ingredients are available on Alice for a great price - and always with free shipping. Plus when you sign up HERE, you'll get a $10 credit in your account once you've reached $50 in purchases.

Here's how the pricing breaks down (as of 4/10):

20 Mule Team Borax 76-oz $3.50
Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda 55-oz $2.76
8-pk Jergens Mild Bar Soap $2.49 (that's $.31 per bar!)

My 5 year old was put to work today shredding soap! This is the most unpleasant part of the process because it can be a bit messy. It also produces a strong soap smell - don't worry, your clothes won't smell like this. Luckily this detergent lasts so long that I only need to make it every 3-4 months.

Find a plastic container with a tight-closing lid to store your detergent. This one use to hold my household file folders!

If you try this, I'd love to have your feedback! I don't miss the store brands at all!
Although I must confess that I do miss the smell of Downy Liquid fabric softener. So I've started watering it down in a spray bottle and spray 5-10 sprays into the dryer before starting it.  Because of this step I've quit using dryer sheets!

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