We’ve become conditioned to believe that we have to buy everything we need. That’s not very frugal, now is it? And not very sustainable. In reality, it wasn’t that long ago people made everything they needed. They cooked from scratch. They whipped up a batter from scratch for waffles and pancakes. They made their own bread (I just did last week). And they sewed their own clothes, napkins, curtains, etc. (I’m working on this one.)
So as part of our experiment, I’ve started making my own laundry detergent.
Here’s the recipe that I used:
½ bar of Ivory or Fels Naptha soap, shaved (you can use a cheese grater; I used Ivory this time, but I’ll try Fels Naptha next time)
¼ cup Borax (20 Mule Team)
¼ cup Washing Soda (Arm & Hammer-DO NOT use Baking Soda. Be sure you get the right thing.)
4 qts. of water (1 gallon; 4 cups=1 qt)
Optional: 5-10 drops of essential oil per gallon for adding a scent. Add once soap has cooled. Ideas: lavender, rosemary, tea tree oil.
Boil the water in a large pot. Stir in the soap shavings and stir until all the shavings are melted. Stir in Borax and Washing Soda until dissolved. Allow to come back to room temperature. It will become milky white as it cools. Store it in a plastic container with a lid. If you don’t use it frequently, this can separate so you might need to stir it once and awhile. (But, really?!? WHO isn’t doing laundry like a mad woman, on a regular basis?!?)
This makes 1 gallon of detergent. I have a front-load washer and used about 1/4 cup for each laundry load. Use less if you have a top load washer.
There are a lot of recipes available online. Other liquid recipes like this one. And even some dry powder recipes.
The savings here is pretty phenomenal. If you buy one family size bottle of clothes detergent, you will most likely pay about $13.00. The cost for these ingredients will also be around $13.00. But the difference is one of those store-bought detergents bottles will wash approximately 32 loads. While these ingredients will wash well over 100 loads. Obviously, that’s a big difference. And of course, helpful to my frugal lifestyle!
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