Sunday, February 13, 2011

Homemade Laundry Soap

The hubs and I have been taking a look at finances, what comes in and what goes out each month. It can get depressing when you start to look at how much of your hard earned cash gets spent on things like paper towels, laundry soap, household cleaners and Kleenex. Now, I'm not crazy- there is no way I'm giving up the Scott Extra Soft or the Anti-viral Kleenex, but I did decide to look into making household cleaners and laundry soap myself. Not only are they better for the people and pets in the house, but they're better for the environment and my wallet. Score! One of the first things I attempted was laundry soap. I got to googling and came across the Duggar Family's recipe for homemade laundry soap. It got rave reviews, and I figured that if it was worth it for one of America's largest families it could be worth a shot. One batch of this stuff does 180 loads for a top load machine or 640 loads in a front loader- where a normal container of Tide only does about 92 loads. It was super easy to make, took almost no time and works AMAZINGLY well. My husband works construction, and this stuff takes the cement and paint out of his clothes better than any soap I've bought in the store.

So here goes- we started by spending $5 on a new 5 gallon bucket from Ace Hardware. I could have used one from one of the husbands projects- but I wanted one that was clean.
I also purchased most of the other ingredients at Ace- Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda, Borax, and a bar of Fels-Naptha Soap. I picked up a small jar of essential oil from Michael's in a scent called Clean Linen to make it smell like real laundry soap.

First, you have to grate the Fels-Naptha soap up. I used a simple box grater and the hubs muscle to make quick work of the bar.

Then, using an old pot that I had in the pantry I melted the grated soap into 4 cups of hot water over Medium Low heat stirring frequently until I was sure there was no lumps of soap left. It took about 5 minutes total.

While I was waiting for the soap to melt I filled the 5 gallon bucket half full with hot water. Once I was sure there were no more soap lumps, I dumped the soap mixture into the bucket. To that I added the remaining two ingredients. One cup of Washing Soda and 1/2 cup of Borax.

Then I stirred everything together until all of the powder was dissolved. Then I filled the rest of the 5 gallon bucket up with more hot water and set it aside to cool. Once it was cool I added 40 drops of essential oil to make the whole batch smell like fresh linen. Then I covered it up and let it sit overnight to thicken up. In the morning I stirred the batch and filled a clean, empty laundry soap dispenser 1/2 way full with soap and then filled the rest with water. Just make sure you shake the container before use, because it will gel up a bit.
Now- was it worth it cost wise.
A normal bottle of Tide costs 22.82 at Wal Mart and does 90 small loads. Cost- about $.25 per load.
My homemade version-
Bucket- $5.00 (a one time cost, but I still factored it in)
Fels-Naptha Soap- $1.98
Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda- $4.49 for a 55 oz box (I used one cup)
Borax- $2.29 for a 76 oz box (I used 1/2 cup)
Essential Oil- $1.64 at Michael's with a 50% off coupon.
Total for Everything- $15.40
In my machine it will do 180 loads at 5/8 cup per load...meaning my total cost is $.08 cents per load.
Not too shabby...especially when you consider the next batch will cost me $1.98 for a bar of soap, since I will still have the rest of the ingredients on hand.
Now that's my idea of saving some money.