Thursday, July 22, 2010

Homemade Laundry and Dishwasher Soap

So, one of the first things I decided to try was to make some homemade soaps. Our son has sensitive skin which has forced me to look for alternative laundry and soap options. When using regular chemical filled soaps, even those for sensitive skin, he would get a rash. As a mother, I had to find something that would stop it. My search began for natural products, chemical free. I found a laundry soap called Nellie's Laundry Soda. It cleared up his rash, so I knew that naturally it was a good product, which made me happy. Although, I started to have some trouble with it not getting all of my kid's stains out of their clothes and even things that usually wouldn't "stain" weren't coming out. As a mother of two toddlers, I needed something with some strength to get all kinds of "treasures" out of my kid's clothes, so another search began! My girlfriend, Sarah, was telling me about her homemade laundry soap, which was an intriguing idea so I explored it further. While on vacation with them, she let me use her soap to do our loads and all our clothes came out perfectly clean! There were no more stains left on items and my son did not break out in his usual rash from the soap. Then she told me it only cost pennies a load to make this great stuff and I was hooked! Amazingly enough, as soon as we got home I used up the last of the soap I had and it was time to make some of my own. I needed a recipe and nowadays where does one go for such information--online, of course! I ran across this amazing website that I'm sure I'll use a lot. It's called Tipnut and it is full of helpful tips on cleaning, DIY projects and household items to name a few. I, naturally, saved it as a favorite on my bookmarks, because a site like that is bound to come in handy on a regular basis! Anyway, they had a list of 10 laundry soap recipes--beautiful! They have ideas for powder and liquid and with a variety of ingredients so you can chose the one that fits your household needs the best. I chose option number one for a few reasons:

1. It included a bar of soap and I wanted to use Fels-Naptha (a stain removing bar soap) for extra stain removing power for the above noted children's clothing! ;)
2. It made a large enough batch that I wouldn't have to keep making it frequently.
3. It only used 1/4 C per load, so it would go further.

So, here's the recipe I used with the break down on products, pricing and some helpful tips.

1 Qt of boiling water

1 Bar of  Fels-Naptha Soap- about 2 C (you can use others like Ivory)
Here is the product description I found online at "The Fels Naptha 5.5 oz. Soap Bar from Dial Corporation is a powerful laundry soap, used for over 100 years, that takes out any kind of stain simply, safely and completely, including grass, grease, oil, wine and more.  Just wet the spot, rub the bar on it, lather it up, and throw it into the wash. Also used as a poison ivy home remedy!" 
It can be found at some local stores for cheaper, but I ordered mine online (because I was having trouble finding it) through Amazon for $4.11 (which included shipping, it can be found for around $1.20 + shipping).  This does increase the overall price of the laundry soap, but it still ends up being much cheaper than the alternative store bought soap.

*Directions say to grate the bar of soap and melt it in the quart of water. This was the part of the process that took the longest and seemed to be a little troublesome. Instead of grating, I chopped it into small pieces, it doesn't grate well. Also, due to the bubbling effect of soap, I would recommend using a large pot for the melting. I had a spilling over episode because I didn't think through the bubbling of soap! :( 

2 C of Borax 
This stuff is awesome! According to the box it can be used for all kinds of household cleaning and for only $2.98 a box, I say that's a great deal! I found mine at Walmart in the laundry aisle.

2 C of Washing Soda
Another great product to help with stain removing. This one was a little trickier to find around here. According to some posts online some people have been able to find it at Walmart and at Ace Hardware. I didn't find it at either, but finally found it at our Kroger chain, called King Soopers for $4.99 a box. It's also in the laundry aisle. 

2 Gallons of Water

*After the soap is melted, pour it into a large container (I used a 5 gallon bucket) along with the borax and washing soda. Mix it all together and then add the water. You should end up with over 2 gallons of prepared laundry soap, which I figured out to be about 280 loads! So for our family (we do about 4 loads/week) that equals about a years worth of laundry soap. How exciting is that?! 

Finished product-one of the gallons. Does anyone know how to rotate these? In my photos it is rotated, but on here it only shows up flipped.

I also figured out the price break down for each batch and load. It ended up costing me about $6.17 for the years worth of laundry soap, the most expensive ingredient being the Fels Naptha because I had to get it online. Even with that extra expense, it'll only cost me $0.02 a load! :) 

So here's to that great find! A chemical-free, natural soap for pennies a load--simpler on the budget, the earth and our skin. Give a try and let me know how it goes. 

Now, if that wasn't exciting enough, here is my other soap recipe for the day!

Powder Dishwasher Soap, which I also found on Tipnut. This was even easier then the laundry soap. 

The recipe called for 1 C of baking soda and 1 C of Borax. Sift it together, store it in a container and use about 2T per load. I don't think it could get easier then that! They also recommended using vinegar in the rinse cycle to keep from getting a cloudy residue on your dishes.

So the breakdown for that recipe is $0.52 for the batch and about $0.03 a load. BTW, this price does not include the vinegar in the rinse cycle because amounts are harder to measure.

I think I'll double or triple this recipe when I make it next time just so it'll last longer. If you use the 2T per load, that'll equal one ounce a load so you'll have 16 loads per batch.

Happy Cleaning! Let me know how it works for you!

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