Over the last several months, my hubs and I have been trying to figure out small ways to save big bucks. We aren't big spenders and consider a splurge to be Publix subs for dinner with Cape Cod kettle cooked chips AND icecream, and mayyyybe blueberry scones for breakfast...nothing too major, though. But, we found that we were spending more money than we really needed to and could cut things without compromsing our quality of life. One of those "projects" became laundry detergent.
I started researching how much we spend on laundry detergent and if it would be cheaper to make it myself. The answer: we spend a lot and I can make it for pennies!! Yes! I was on a mission! The best, and easiest, recipe I found was from the Duggars...you know, the family with 19 kids! If it works for them, well, surely it will work for my household of 3! Best part...the recipe I found is extremely gentle. I decided to give it a try and haven't looked back!!!!
Here's the recipe courtesy of the Duggars:
1 Fels Naptha soap bar, grated
1 cup washing soda
1/2 cup borax
(I bought Borax at Target, but had to order the Fels-Naptha and Washing Soda off Amazon. Story: I wanted the best deal and got a case of EACH of the Fels Naptha and Washing Soda! Crazy idea! When the box came in the mail, I couldn't even move it! HA! My husband came back and said that if we do laundry EVERY day, it would be enough to last our manwich through high school! He's 1. Good thing we love it! LOL! )
1. Grate the soap bar into a small saucepan. Cover with hot water. Cook over medium-low heat, stirring continually, until the soap completely dissolves.
2. Put washing soda and borax in a 5-gallon bucket.
3. Pour in the hot, melted soap mixture. Stir well, until all the powder is dissolved.
4. Fill the bucket to the top with more hot tap water. Stir, cover securely, and let set overnight. (**I did this in the bath tub and then just left it there overnight.)
5. The next morning, stir the mixture. ***Mix equal amounts of soap concentrate and water in a smaller laundry-detergent dispenser or container. Shake before using.
For top-loading machines: Use 1 cup of the soap mixture per load.
For front-loading machines: Use 1/2 cup per load.
***I skipped this and halved the amount that I put in the wash so that I don't have to fill up my container too often. Just an option!***
NOTE: The 5-gallon bucket apparently lasts the Duggars 2-3 months. We are on month 2 and you can see below how much we've used...
I forgot to take pics of the "cooking part" but after it gels, it looks like this:
I had a melting mishap (well, I forgot about it on the stove...), so mine is a little chunkier than it's supposed to be, but works fine. The consistency should be similar to egg drop soup.
My make-shift container.
Supplies for filling...I just keep these, along with a big spoon, with my 5-gal. bucket.
Fill 'er up!
Also, here are some fabric softener tips:
-If you use softener sheets, fill a spray bottle with diluted fabric softener (1 part softener to 2 parts water) and spray onto an old towel or soak it to use as the softener sheet. Re-use the towel for this purpose next time, just respray.
-If you use a Downy-type ball or put your softener in your washer, use white vinegar instead. You won't smell it and does a MARVELOUS job! And, you guessed it, SUPER CHEAP! Woot Woot!
Let me know what you think or if you have suggestions!! Ever buy in bulk and overwhelmed with the supply?? I'd love to hear about it!!