Laundry Soap, Dishwasher Detergent and…Pads?!

Laundry Soap

I finally, FINALLY got around to making laundry soap this weekend. Thanks to the simple and straightforward video by the Urban Farming Guys and it was a snap. Seriously, this was so easy that for the life of me I cannot understand why I waited so long to do it.

I highly recommend the video, but here are the written instructions as well…

Ingredients;

  • 1 cup Borax (look in the laundry section)
  • 1/2 cup Washing Soda (NOT baking soda – also in the laundry section)
  • 1 bar of Fels-Naptha soap
  1. Grate the entire Fels-Naptha bar into a large pot. I used a small canning pot I haven’t used for years.
  2. Add about 1 quart of hot water and heat over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, until the grated soap has dissolved.
  3. Fill a five-gallon bucket halfway with hot water.
  4. Once the soap has dissolved, pour the contents into the five gallon bucket, along with the Borax and washing soda.
  5. Stir until fully dissolved and add more hot water to the five gallon mark. Cover and set aside for 24 hours.
  6. After 24 hours, open and stir to break up any of the globules that have formed. Fill ten 1 gallon containers halfway full of the mixture, topping each off with water.

At this point it is important to take a photo of our new foreman, catching a snooze on Dave’s chair…

After the 24 hour period we opened up the five gallon bucket and discovered…gooey gel. “It looks like snot!” my husband exclaimed.

And then he put his hand in the ‘snot’…

It was crazy thick and rather…icky. It took quite a bit of stirring to loosen it up. Once we did, it flowed freely through the outlet at the bottom of the bucket.

We didn’t measure the amounts exactly, just kind of eyeballed it and put in the detergent halfway and added water the rest of the way, so we ended up with nine gallons of finished product instead of ten.

Dave eyed it all nervously. “Why don’t we wash your work towels in it first?” he suggested.

It so happened I had a load ready to be washed, so we threw it in, poured in 1/3 cup of the laundry detergent and ran a load. It worked out fine and the clothes smelled great.

I have a front-loader and use about 1/3 cup per wash load. For a top-loader you should probably use around 1 cup of the detergent. I’ll keep everyone updated on how that works for my clothes. So now, let’s talk price points, shall we?

  • The container of Borax was just over $4.00, call it $4.50 and I used perhaps 1/5 of the box so 90 cents.
  • The washing soda was under $2.00 for the box, so maybe 25 cents worth of product for this recipe.
  • The Fels-Naptha bar was…what…under $2.00? I bought it a while ago, can’t remember the total for sure, but we’ll just call it $2.00.

At 1/3 cup per washer load full…and 16 cups per gallon…and 9 gallons made, that’s 432 loads of laundry for…wait for it…$3.15.

Oh my…now that’s a price comparison I like to see! Instead of $3-$8 per box or jug of laundry soap, with 80-100 loads of laundry possible, I’m going to be washing my clothes for less than one cent per load.

That is AMAZING!

Dishwashing Detergent

This got me so excited that I started Googling homemade shampoo, which led to Instructables, which led to Pinterest, where I found dozens of recipes for dishwashing detergent. Holy cow! I slapped one together from this site. I can’t wait to try it out!

One of my 2012 goals was to reduce our household spending by 1/2. I was horrified to discover that our general household spending was $175-$200 each month. Everything from personal care items to replacement speakers for my husband’s computer rang in at over $175 last month.

My focus on frugality, DIY and cost reduction is now laser-sharp. So I put the following ingredients together…

Homemade Dishwashing Detergent
1 Cup Washing Soda (*make sure it is WASHING soda, not baking soda)
1 Cup Borax
1 Cup Salt (Optional-it depends on how hard or soft your water is.)

I ended up omitting the salt and just using the Washing Soda and Borax. This made two cups of dishwashing detergent, or 32 dishwasher loads (enough to last a full month). Price point comparison?

Ingredients cost: 90 cents for the Borax, 50 cents for the Washing Soda = $1.40 total, or 4 cents per wash load

vs.

$4.00 per box of dishwasher detergent 32 ounces, or 12 cents per wash load.

Menstrual Pads

Men: It is okay to walk away from this post RIGHT NOW.

Okay, all the men gone?

Great…

So that time of the month is looming and I got to thinking about making my own pads once again. There is only one product on the market that works for my heavy flow…those purple Always with wings. The problem? I get a rash.

Yeah, a rash. So I’m grumpy, bleeding, and uncomfortable…it isn’t a good combination.

So I bought some flannel…

And some nice soft cotton batting and used one of my Always pads as a template…

While we watched the new Muppet movie I sewed one up…

“What is it for?” Emily asked.

“Well, when I have my period, I’ll use it to catch the blood”…

“And then I’ll rinse it out and hang it in the shower to dry…”

And with that project fully in process my job of horrifying my family is complete for the evening.

Now I think I’ll head back to DIY shampoos and body wash products. Stay tuned!

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