I have a lot of mommy friends that are loaded with good money-saving, organizing and cooking ideas. Occasionally I am going to feature one of those mommies in the form of a guest post.
Today A. Mikula has written something for me about making laundry detergent- something I've always wanted to try. A. Mikula is a stay-at-home mom of three lovely little boys. I met her on a bulletin board, where she always offers support and thoughtful insight. She is also a Pampered Chef consultant, and you can find her webpage here. I hope you enjoy this and am as inspired to try this as I am!
Making Your Own Laundry Soap
Having recently become a SAHM we have been searching for ways to cut back and save money. Since we were already living on a tight budget there weren't many things we could eliminate...no fast food allowance or movie night money to take away. So we had to dig deeper. One thing I started researching was making our own laundry detergent. My husband was skeptical at first...how could a home made detergent really clean as well as Tide or All? I did a LOT of searching online for recipes and found this one that made me feel confident in giving this a try.
As you can see this gives detailed, step-by-step instructions as well as photos on what your detergent will look like. I am very much a visual learner so this was a wonderful find for me! I showed my husband this link and he agreed to give it a try...he especially liked seeing how cheap it was! We already had bar soap (some recipes call for particular brands of soap but we used what we had on hand-Lever). I found the Borax at my local Walmart in the laundry detergent isle. The ingredient that gave us a little trouble was the washing soda. It's very important to get washing soda and NOT baking soda. It was a little confusing because in the laundry detergent isle near the borax was a large box of baking soda. So when you go hunting for this be sure to read the box carefully. Unfortunately our Walmart didn't have washing soda so we shopped around...we checked our local chain grocer, the Doller General, a Dollar Store, KMart and still no luck. Then it hit us...we have a little corner market about 6 blocks from our house...you know the kind, locally owned, been here for years and years....the little markets that are usually run out of business by the big guys. Well, wouldn't you know, there it was! Washing soda, right on the shelf next to the laundry detergents. (If you don't have one of these little corner markets nearby and are having a hard time finding washing soda I know you can also buy it online.) The last thing we bought was a 5 gal bucket with a lid. We bought ours at Lowes...it was hanging on an end cap near the front of the store...grey bucket, grey lid, with the Lowes logo on it.
Once we got home I got right to it! I couldn't wait to get started! I pulled out our old cheese grated and grated a bar of soap. (Be careful! Because the soap is slippery you can easily grate your knuckles!) Once my water was boiling I added the soap a little bit at a time while I stirred. One unexpected bonus to making our detergent was how wonderful the house smelled after! So clean and fresh! Once the soap was dissolved I continued to follow the directions on the link and before I knew it I was finished. Within a half hour I had made a large bucket of laundry detergent.
When we opened the bucket the next day (it has to sit for 24 hrs) we were curious. It looked a little funny...had the consistency of runny loose gel with clumps in it. We were anxious to try our first load. Rather thank putting our clothes in the washer first we started to fill it with water and put in the recommended amount of detergent gel. My husband was concerned because it did not produce any suds like the store bought detergent does. I told him not to worry because the directions had mentioned that specifically. We threw in the load of dirty clothes and crossed our fingers. After they had been washed they seemed clean so they went into the dryer. Once dry they looked just as clean as laundry washed with store bought detergent. They smelled clean too...notice I said they smelled clean...not fragrant. Store bought detergents put a lot of perfume and smells in their detergents and I think it has led us to think that unless our clothes smell like Tide or All then they aren't clean. If you want your clothes to still have that familiar smell just throw in a dryer sheet. Now the real test would be stained clothes. For these I still use a pretreater spray and let it sit a little while before washing. After pretreating I let the clothes sit in the wash water a little while before running it. Only a couple times have I had to re-wash stained clothes but honestly they were very tough stains. I would also recommend this for families who have members with sensitive skin or allergies to certain detergents. If you use a soap that you know they are tolerant of then there is no reason the detergent shouldn't work for you as well.
All in all we are VERY happy that we gave this a try and now we will never buy detergent again. My husband has mentioned so many times that he can't believe how great our home-made detergent works and how much money we've saved! In a house with four boys we do a LOT of laundry...at least one load every day...the savings add up fast!