Tuesday, May 13, 2014

My laundry soap may be pretentious; A laundry soap DIY

Laundry day is almost every day here. I don’t know if it’s the amount of people (4) or the type of people (children and adults that like to be outside & active) but there is always a pile waiting for me in some corner of the house. Loading the washer is automatic. If I even go past the basement door and have 1 minute to spare I will run down the stairs and put in a load. If there is ever a question of my whereabouts, look in the basement. I’ll be doing laundry.

On a good day I’ll get all the laundry washed, dried and to it’s designated basket where it can be hauled upstairs. Then the freshly laundered clothes can be put neatly into drawers where they wait to be worn again or sometimes forgotten forever. Then there are days that I am so scattered I forget to put the wet clothes in the dryer and unefficiently I have to wash them again . Or the times when a daughter cannot find anything to wear - pause for the dramatic sigh - and she proceeds to throw the clean, folded and sorted clothes to the floor - all of them - along with the dirty ones. This is a fun game where I get to guess which items need to be laundered. Understandably this is a pet peeve of mine. Really, I want to scream and curse and often I do. Of course this is only when I’m alone and there’s no proof it ever happened.

While I can’t offer any suggestions to reduce your laundry load, other than to wear your clothes longer and don’t spill things on yourself, which in my experience is harder than it looks, I can however, offer some suggestions to reduce the amount it costs your family to do laundry.

First, there is the washing:

It seems simple enough. Just a few ingredients mixed together. I enjoy a short list of ingredients for obvious cost & health reasons and who really wants pretentious laundry soap?

Here are a few versions I’ve collected for you; a liquid, a powder version, and fabric softener.
Grass stains, be warned.

Liquid Laundry Detergent Recipe 

- ½ cup Borax
- ½ cup Arm & Hammer super washing soda
- 1 bar washing soap shredded on a cheese grater. Fels-Naptha or your favorite bar soap.
- Essential oils; tea tree oil, lavender. etc)
- Water
- 5 gallon bucket
1.) Heat  2 cups of water in a pot on the stove.  Add your shredded washing soap bar.  Stir until all your soap shreds are dissolved in the water.

2.) Add Borax and Super Washing Soda to the mixture. Stir to combine.

3.) Pour mixture into a five gallon bucket.  Add water until the bucket is three-fourths full. Stir together. I have hand mixer I use for soapmaking which I used but the old fashioned way of hand stirring works as well.

4.) Add essential oils. One recipe I saw suggested 10 drops of tea tree oil and 10 drops of lavender oil.

Use about ½ cup per load for laundry, or more for heavily soiled loads.

Powder Laundry Detergent Recipe 

- 4 lb of Borax
- 3 bars of Fels-Naptha soap or other bar soap of your choice.
- 4 lb box of arm & hammer baking soda.
- 1 box of arm & hammer super washing soda
-4 lbs of Oxy Clean
- Laundry softener crystals
- Large container(s) to hold detergent
- Scoop
- 5 gallon bucket


1. Grate the Fels-Naptha or bars into a 5 gallon bucket
2. Add all ingredients to the bucket. Shake or use a paint stick to blend.
3. Place into container of your choice or keep it in the bucket. 

Use 2 tablespoons per load

Fabric Softener

- 2 cups Suave conditioner (scent of your choice)
- 3 cups white vinegar
- 10 cups water
- Container

Mix ingredients trying not to shake . It will foam.

Use 2 Tablespoons per load in dispenser.

Now to the drying:

In the past I’ve had an outdoor clothes line that I use when the weather is nice. Last summer we put one up across the back yard. Fortunately, the neighbors that can see my backyard could care less what I have hanging back there. Not that it was a top concern but I don’t want to get on their bad side. They’re kind of awesome. These particular ones give me great advice and goats milk.

Anyway, we put up this line thinking we could use the hot Colorado sun to our advantage to dry the clothes. This did not go as planned. The clothes ended up on the ground when the line gave (grumble) I had to wash most of the clothes again.

This year we will be putting up a laundry line in a better location and we’ll make sure it’s strong enough to hold a load of laundry. You’ll be amazed at how quickly things dry using energy from our own personal star.

One note: I find that if you let your clothes hang on the line too long they will be able to stand up on their own. It helps to shake them out before you fold them and put them away. You’ll save a considerable amount of money and energy by drying your clothes this way.

Here are the links to where I saw found the recipes.
* Liz Marie Blog  - Does a really great powdered version and makes it look good to boot!
* The Elliott Homestead - Has the liquid version and lots of great pictures.


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