I moved up another notch on the scale of Little House on the Prairie-ness. (My goal is to be halfway between an Ingalls and a tech-savvy woman of the 21st century. How eclectic!)
This morning, I made my own laundry detergent! Yes, you all know I'm cheap. You also know that I am lazy. Adding up the pros & cons, I decided that I can do this once or twice a year to save some big bucks. I must say, it wasn't that hard.
I have a friend who always smells so clean and fresh. Finally, I asked her what kind of laundry soap she used. She replied that she makes her own! She said it saves her lots of money. I was immediately on board! I hounded her until she gave me the list of ingredients and went to a couple different stores to find them.
1 bar Fels Naptha
1 C Super Washing Soda
3/4 C Borax
Optional oil for scent: Tea Tree Oil, Lavender, Lemon, etc.
5 gallon bucket
I found the Fels Naptha at the grocery store. I found the Borax at my alternate grocery store. I had to look around for the Super Washing Soda, but finally found it at Target. I also got generic Tea Tree Oil at Target. That was a year ago. I finally came down to having 1 load of detergent left and the refusal to buy more. I hounded my friend again for the exact directions.
Son #2 was my assistant. He is both the best in Science and Cooking, so he was the obvious choice. He was off school today, his brother is on a trip, his sister was at a friend's house, and his other sister was sleeping. So actually, he was the only choice (and the photographer).
Here's what we did:
1. Shave the bar of soap into a pot. (I used my vegetable peeler. Hope it doesn't make my potatoes taste like soap next time!)
2. Add 4 C hot water to the soap and melt on the stove, stirring continuously.
3. Once it's completely dissolved, remove from heat and add rest of ingredients.
4. Pour into a 5 gallon bucket and fill with warm water 3/4 of the way.
5. Add your scent. I used Tea Tree Oil, because that's what she uses. I added 20 drops. Also, did you know that Tea Tree Oil deters lice? When someone had it in my daughter's class, I added a couple drops to her brush and combed through her hair. My friend adds a few drops to her shampoo. Just a nice, little tip.
5. Let sit several hours, preferably overnight. This is where we are so far. I'm going to let it sit overnight. (I need to buy a funnel first anyway!)
6. The next day, stir mixture. Pour the concentrate into jugs, filling halfway. Fill with water. (I saved my empty laundry jugs for the last year or so. My friend uses milk jugs.) Shake well before each use. My friend uses 1 C per load, but others who make this use 1/2 C per load. Make your own judgement call there.
Also, this is safe for HE machines. These products do not create a bunch of suds, which makes it OK to use in your high efficiency machine.
Hopefully I'll be smelling clean and fresh from now on! (Actually, I hope I always have been, but you know what I mean!)