Sunday, March 04, 2012

Laundry Soap

It's expensive to live.  

Profound huh? 

I am constantly looking for ways to trim our budget.  There are certain things that can't change, the check to the mortgage company each month, the cost of our health insurance, the fact that we must drive our Suburban and this requires filling it with expensive gasoline.....the list goes on and on.  

There are things we can control, how much we drive, how much and what we eat, if we eat out, how many "things" we purchase, if we allow the kids to be involved in a million activities.....again the list goes on and on. 

I came to the profound conclusion about 3 years ago that food is not the area to be cutting back the budget--INSERT LOUD GASP-

I know, I know, from all of you coupon mamas out there I just spoke some sinful words.  Now, let me explain, I used to coupon and hunt down the bargains with the best of them.  That was before I started learning what it means to eat traditionally.  Since then I have made desperate strides to eliminate packaged, processed, sugary, preserved foods from our diet.  Guess what....there aren't a lot of coupons for the foods or the places that I purchase my food. more trimming the budget in the food category.

I have been making my own laundry soap for about 3 years.  It is pennies for a load and if you ever come to our house on laundry day you will see how that savings works itself out exponentially.  I have always made the liquid laundry soap.  For this soap you grate and then boil down the Fels Naptha, then add in some other ingredients--the end result being a gloppy, snotty looking soap.  Great description huh?  Seriously, I have been pleased with it, I used it for over 3 years after all.  I will admit that I miss the smell that a load washed in Tide produces but for a penny or two a load I got over that really quickly.

Recently I came across a recipe for a powdered soap.  I was elated!  Why?  I couldn't ever find a container to store the liquid in that was overly convenient.  I also thought that the liquid was kind of a pain to mix up, easy-yes, but I just didn't like cooking it, waiting the day and then it was in a five gallon bucket that sat on my laundry room floor.  

I have been using this powdered version for several months and I am VERY pleased with the results.  I also feel that it is somewhat better at stain removal than the liquid, probably the added oxi clean.  It still isn't the best at getting out pesky stains, you will want to pretreat!

Here are the players:

One       4 lb 12 oz box      Borax                                                      found in the detergent isle
One       4 lb box               Arm & Hammer Baking Soda                 found in the cooking isle
One       55 oz  box           Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda    found in the detergent isle
Three       bars                  Fels-Naptha soap                                     found in the detergent isle
   ( I realize there are only 2 pictured...I think I had already grated one)
Two     3.5 lbs total          Oxy Clean or store brand Oxy Clean       found in the detergent isle
   (The Oxyclean is optional)

Start out by grating all of the Fels Naptha just like cheese.  This will make your kitchen smell really, really clean!

Next, place all of the ingredients in a 5 gallon bucket or other large container that is lined with a garbage bag.

If you have a small and adorable helper, let her help mix it up.  Just be sure you have it nicely secured and don't let her little fingers punch holes in the sack.  Not that I would know about either of those scenarios.

Last, have your assistant help you pour the soap into a container.  I made mine with stickers and a glass container from Walmart.  The soap filled up this container and I had 1/2 of a garbage bag left.  You could easily put it in a tupperware.  I wanted something that looked a little nicer since my washer is in an open closet by our back door. 

I made this months ago and I don't remember the cost of the ingredients.  I am estimating that they were under $20 total.  Not bad for months and months of soap!