Tuesday, November 3, 2009

You could make that, Lee

*edited 7/21/2010:
After using the following recipe for awhile, I have fiddled around and improved it. I found the ivory left a residue, so I switched to fels naptha laundry soap. I LOVE it! It rinses so clean, I noticed an immediate difference. Here is my new adjusted recipe. All directions are still the same, and I now use this as my pre-spot spray too.

1/2 bar fels naptha
1 C borax
1 C washing soda
HOT water

My Grandmother lived with me until I was 9, which I consider a wonderful privilege. She taught me many things, one of which was that there are many things I can do myself and it's not sensible to always be paying for them. Sometimes my mother and I have found this humorous however, because we draw the line in some areas. (While we very well may be able to do that, it's hard to beat buying something for $5 that would have taken us 5 hours to make and probably wouldn't have looked as nice.) That being said, what her generation knew is that it pays to be frugal, self-sustaining and to live with some just plain common sense. Such as, if I can make laundry soap myself, in 20 minutes, and it costs me less than 1 cent a load, why would I pay over 50 cents a load at the store? That one is definitely on my side of the line. And, quite frankly, I think my homemade baked goods and my mother-in-law's bread are better than anything I can buy in the store. Plus, they're so much cheaper!

I was making a new batch of laundry soap for my dad this morning and I was thinking how grateful I am for this small blessing in my life. Sometimes the daily rhythm of chores is very comforting to me, and this was one of those times. The following is the recipe I use for laundry detergent (courtesy of my wonderful MIL). I really love this stuff and feel it is every bit as good as the store bought, with the exception that it actually has less chemicals and my nose doesn't run because it's not filled with perfumes. Oh, and I use it as a concentrated presoak too and it hasn't met a stain it couldn't best.

1 bar of ivory soap, shaved
1 cup of washing soda (not baking)
1/2 cup of borax

  1. Bring a pot of water (2-3 quarts) to boil.
  2. Reduce to medium heat. (Boiling makes the soap foam.)
  3. Slowly sprinkle shaved ivory soap until completely melted. Take your time. Dumping the whole pile of shavings will actually take you longer.
  4. Add about 4 gallons of HOT water to a 5 gallon bucket.
  5. Pour pot of soapy water in the 5 gallon bucket too and stir well.
  6. Add washing soda and borax to hot water mixture and stir well.
  7. Put lid back on bucket and let sit overnight.
  8. Stir well the next day.
*Use 1 cup for regular washers, 1/4 cup for high efficiency front loaders.

Also, you can pour the soap in half gallon jugs if it's easier to measure and handle. However, if you have enough room in your laundry room, I recommend just keeping the bucket right beside your washer. I keep a 1 cup measuring scoop sitting right on top of the lid. Whenever I'm washing I use the scoop to swish the soap around, scoop it out, and rinse it off in the running washer water and set it right back on top of my bucket. This works best for me and I haven't noticed it ever separating badly. If your water is hot enough when you make it, your soap should be pretty even, but kinda goopy. So, if it's goopy, you did it right. Just make sure it's evenly goopy and there's not a lot of water sitting at the bottom or top of your bucket.

I plan in the near future as I run out of my soap stock to try some other money-saving recipes I've researched. Dish washing detergent, dish soap, hand soap, shampoo and body wash reviews will hopefully be appearing soon...

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