Thursday, March 22, 2012

The Changing of the Tides...

I have used Tide laundry detergents for years, so I've been hesitant to make my own laundry soap for fear that it just won't stack up to my high expectations.  But,  hey, I'll try anything once; especially if it means saving a few bucks.  **updates in Red.

I followed the recipe/directions from this blog here.

Basically, it contains the same three ingredients as most homemade laundry recipes:
Super Washing Soda (not to be confused with regular baking soda)
Naptha soap (bar)

All of these items I found in the laundry section at Wal-mart.

1/2 cup Borax
1/2 cup Soda
1/3 bar Naptha (grated)*I now use 1/2  of a bar
5 gallon bucket (much easier than her 2 gal.)
Immersion blender

**You can also add any sort of essential oil that you would like.  Just be careful about confusing essential oils with fragrance oils.  Essential oils are made from natural resources such as plants, while fragrance oils are synthetically constructed.  If you or others in your family have sensitive skin, you'll want to be careful about which you add, if any, to your laundry soap.  Personally, I like the fresh, clean smell of the Naptha bar.  **I ran out of my homemade stuff and used some Tide that I still had until another batch could be made, and I really thought the smell of Tide was way too overpowering.  My clothes don't smell perfume-y with the homemade soap and I prefer that!

Okay, so before I even started making my first batch of laundry soap, I gave thought as to what sort of container I would be storing the soap in.  One person online specially bought a beverage dispenser for about $8.00... I wasn't about to do that, so I bought some cheap gallon sized beverages and saved the containers after the drink was finished off. (It was Sunny Delight, which I never usually buy, but it was the cheapest drink and on sale.  My kids were ecstatic.) **Arizona Tea containers are very strong as well.

Melting the grated Naptha with water.
Then added the Borax and Soda.

Grated, melted and thickened.
More water added then poured into the 5 gallon
bucket to sit overnight...

Results after being left overnight.
 Sort of a gelled thing going on here.

Broke it all up using my immersion blender.
I love this thing!

Filled my jugs in the sink... bubbles!
**Leave enough room in the bottle for that first initial shake.  Otherwise you get clumpies.  I now use 3 jugs and don't fill them all the way full.

Finished product: Sallie's Homemade Laundry Soap

My results:

So, I have been using the soap for a week (1/2 cup for each load) on several different kinds of laundry.  I've used it in hot water, cold water, on delicates and on jeans.  Basically, it does the job as far as I can tell.   I reserve the right to go all "gung-Ho" until I have used it for a few months.    One thing I notice is that my clothes don't seem to have that mildewy smell when I forget about them in the washing machine overnight.  They still smell.. like soap, or clean clothes.  It might have something to do with the homemade fabric softener I've been using which contains vinegar... not sure yet. ( I'll let you know about the softener in a later post.) **Stopped using the homemade softener.  Mostly because my husband is an avid runner and I can't use softener on his running clothes, and I don't separate them out.  So I just use generic softener for towels and sheets.  I wasn't fond of the vinegary smell anyway.

One note: you'll need to shake the bottle before each use.  This might annoy some, but it doesn't bother me at all, especially when you look at the following numbers.

At any rate, I give the homemade laundry soap a cautious thumbs up.  But of course when you compare the costs between homemade and Tide... well, that thumb gets a little more enthusiastic.

Financial Breakdown:

Cost of supplies:
One box of Borax   .............................. $ 3.38      per 1/2 cup................$  .18
One box of Super Washing Soda.......$ 3.24      per 1/2 cup................$  .23
One bar of Fels Naptha Soap ............$   .97      per 1/3 bar ................$  .32
TOTAL                                      2 gallons of laundry soap       ...............$   .73
                                         Per load (using 1/2 cup measure) ............$   .01

So, you can see how this is pretty exciting.  These are the kinds of results I am really looking for.  Like I said, we'll see if it holds up in the long run, but even if it doesn't, I think I would be more likely to tweak the recipe more to my liking... i.e. add more soaps...**I have increased the amount of soap...   than scrap the notion of homemade laundry soap altogether.  Well worth the time and effort.

Success :)

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