I'm frugal.Some may call me down right cheap.
That's ok. When you have a family as big as ours you have to find ways to be creative. When Bear bought me a new washer and dryer set, we stocked up on Arm and Hammer liquid laundry detergent. I like it, it works and it's pretty cheap too.
But this month, our budget took a major hit. Big Blue, my '98 Suburban blew the engine. She was very sick. So, her new heart is costing us this month's grocery budget and then some. I had to find ways of cutting corners.
We have been living off our food storage this month and doing without the "fun stuff" in order to pay for the "heart" transplant.
I thought that since my laundry detergent supply was getting low I would save my pennies and buy the ingredients to make my own.
I've done this before, and made the liquid kind but I really didn't care for the gloppy goop that I came up with.
I have no place in my laundry room for a large 5 gallon bucket to sit, and I didn't like having to shake and shake the smaller jugs in order to get it to congeal. When I would melt the soap on the stove, it would bubble up and once it boiled over and created a gross, soapy Mt. Vesuvius, not unlike this mishap.
After a recent discussion on one of my quilt groups I decided to give the dry version of laundry soap a try.
It couldn't be any easier!! Finding the ingredients was the difficult part. I couldn't find washing soda at Walmart, though other bloggers say it is there--neither is the fels naptha bars. I found them today at the Ace Hardware store, all three simple ingredients, right there on the same ailse.
I had quite an interesting convo with the lady at the checkout. The guy behind me called me Betty Crocker, though I prefer Holly Homemaker, or Becky Home Ecky, I'll take what I can get.
One bar Fels Naptha soap
2 c. Borax
2 c. Washing soda
1/4 Purex Color Safe Bleach (totally optional!)
I came home and grabbed my empty ice cream bucket and lid. Inside I found the trimmings from our home schooler's Ivory carvings from our "trip to India" last fall.
I threw them in the food processor and the new bar of Fels Naptha and set it to pulse, and pulse, and pulse--then I just turned it on and let it process for about a minute.
Next time I'll grate the Fels Naptha soap first and then pulverize it with the cutting blade.
I dumped the washing soda in and then the borax. I also added a couple of scoops of Purex Color safe bleach powder because I have boys. You mothers with boys will appreciate that.
This is what my mixture looks like. You can see some little chunks of the fels naptha bar, but it is mostly a fine powder--sort of like cornmeal.
I use an old medicine cup to measure, it's about 1 1/2 tablespoons of soap. I have a top loading Whirlpool HE machine, and I poured it into the soap dispenser on the top of the machine. It runs water through it as the machine fills. I did notice the bigger chunks of the fels naptha bar stayed on top of the grate/screen portion of my washer. That might be a problem later.
I did read on a blog that if you leave your soap unwrapped in a warm dry place, (top of the water heater, on a sunny windowsill) it will help it to dry out and the soap will be more crumbly and less moist.
I'll update soon with a cost analysis. That is the point here isn't it?