Thursday, January 17, 2013

Cheer and Tide Are Just Too Expensive!

Okay, folks, here you go! As promised, today's bonus post will reveal my super-saver secret to clean clothes.
We're making our own laundry detergent, kids!
Shut up, hold the phone, that sounds hard.....
It's not.

Much credit for this idea goes to my fabulously thrifty sister-in-law, who told me this was possible. A little research, trial & error, and a few personal tweaks, and here it is: my version of the best-kept secret in home-making, shared just for you!

This will cost you less than $1 per gallon. Don't believe me? Hear me out.

The Players:
FELS Naptha Soap
20 Mule Team Borax
Arm & Hammer Washing Soda

You can see how much of this puppy I used for one batch.
These come in nice, big boxes and don't spoil. Winning.
That's it. Total cost for these bad boys of stain-lifting will run you between $5 and $8. "But Gillian, you said less than $1!"  Keep your pants on (unless we're gonna wash them). We'll get there.

Grab a 1 or 2 gallon bucket with a lid (for 2 gallon, you'll need to double all the quantities in the recipe).

Here we go!
Step 1) Grate 1/5 of the FELS Naptha soap bar into a medium sized pot with 3 cups of water. Heat on medium/medium high heat until the soap is completely melted, stirring occasionally.
Step 2) Add 1/4 cup each of the Borax and the Washing Soda, and stir until completely dissolved. Remove the mixture from the heat.
Step 3) Put 2 cups of HOT water into your bucket.
Step 4) Add your soap mixture and stir (I like to use a whisk here - gets the incorporation process moving along nicely).
Step 5) Add 11 cups of lukewarm water and stir/whisk until fully incorporated. The mixture will probably start to thicken on you - this is what we want.
Step 6) Put the lid on the bucket and let it sit for 12-24 hours.
Step 7) Re-whisk the detergent to evenly distribute the texture (optional, but I do this).
Step 8) Use 1/2 a cup per load (you can use a little more or less depending on load size and soil level, just don't exceed 1 cup).

The final product - I saved the cap from my old bottle and use it to measure.
Your final product (if whisked post-setting) will very much resemble liquid detergent, if slightly thicker. If you don't whisk it, it will be closer to runny gelatin - semi solid, but still useable. Either way is fine, as long as you stirred it well before you let it sit. If you prefer to re-use the bottle from your old (and CRAZY expensive) detergent, make it in a bucket first, then whisk after setting and funnel into your old container.

You can use this with whites, colors, delicates, ANYTHING! It even works in HE machines. Also, notice how much of each ingredient you have left over - therein lies the "less than $1 per gallon;" you can make plenty more of this. You can add fabric softener when you use this, but you really don't need it. FELS Naptha also has a very subtle, light, clean scent, so your clothes will smell very fresh without being over-fragrant. AND, this soap is A-OK for little ones - my nephew is proof!

Happy Washing, y'all!

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