Friday, June 5, 2009

Frugal Family Laundry Fun....well the laundry part isn't fun, but saving money is

Laundry is not my forte. I really struggle with keeping up with it. Sometimes it gets the better of me, but one thing is for certain it never ends.

On average I tend to do 10-12 loads of laundry a week, and there are only 3 people in our house. The cost of laundry detergent seems to add up quickly. I finally did it and switched to homemade detergent and have been very pleased. I have not noticed it discoloring of any of our clothing and our whites are still looking great.

Inspired by Gayle I made my own detergent using her basic recipe, but I decided since we have a messy toddler on our hands I wanted all the stain fighting action we could get so I added Oxy Clean to the mix. It's a cinch to make and I was able to fill 3 bottles of laundry detergent by this recipe.

Join me in making a batch.
This is what you'll need (fyi I've only found Fels-Naptha and washing soda at Dillons)

1/3 bar of Fels Naptha soap, or other laundry bar Soap (Stain remover)
1/2 cup Borax powder (cuts grease, deodorizes, disinfects and softens water)
1/2 cup Arm and Hammer Washing Soda (cuts grease, deodorizes)
1/2 cup Powdered Oxy Clean (or generic equivalent) a bucket water (stain remover, whitener)
empty detergent bottles
large bucket (5 gallon works great)
1. First, grate 1/3 of the soap and put it into a saucepan.
2. Add 6 c. water to pan.
3. Heat until soap dissolves and then turn heat off. (it's important to turn off the heat, don't ask me how I know this, let's just say we had a volcanic explosion of laundry detergent the first time I made it.)

4. Add 4 cups hot tap water to your bucket and then add the dissolved Fels Naptha mixture into the bucket
5. Add Borax, Arm & Hammer Washing Soda, and Oxy Clean to bucket and stir until dissolved.
6. Once everything is dissolved add 22 c. water and stir to combine.
7. Let set for 24 hours. The top will gel and the bottom will be liquid. It's the same stuff so don't worry about it. Give it a good stir.
8. Use a liquid measuring cup and add to your empty bottles of detergent. (The next time I make this I'm going to do this step once everything is dissolved and the 22 cups of water are added. I'll let it set in the containers.)
9. When ready to do laundry Add 1/2 c. per load. I usually give it a good shake before I pour it and I use the cap to measure it. My caps are about 1/2 c. so it works out perfectly. You'll have to add two caps if you are using bottles from concentrated detergent. I love the savings I get when I make my own detergent. One bar of Fels Naptha will give you enough detergent to make this three times before it's time to buy a new bar. You'll be able to use the washing soda and borax to make a lot of detergent. Gayle estimates that this costs her about a penny a load, but since I added the Oxy Clean let's just say it cost about .02-.03 a load. That's awesome. This is a detergent produces very little suds, but it gets things very clean. I have a husband who comes home with very dirty clothes and I've never once thought it didn't clean it well.
Homemade Dryer Sheets
I was looking for ways to save on dryer sheets and I saw where you could fill a container with 1/6 of fabric softener and the rest water add a few sponges or rags and you've got your own homemade dryer sheet. You'll need to squeeze them out a bit before you throw them in the dryer.
I used this method but I hated getting my fingers wet. So I decided to use a spray bottle. I use the same concept 1 parts softener to 6 parts water. It's so easy and I love it much better than using the homemade sheets.
Add a bit of fabric softener in my squirt bottle.
Fill the rest with water. You'll need to dilute it well so that it will be able to create a midst.
When it's time to dry a load of clothes simply give your clothes a nice mist. I like to lift up the clothes and try to get most of them.

When I do buy dryer sheets I cut them in half to make them last longer. Since my son has very sensitive skin we don't use dryer sheets but I love the smell, so I tend to add them to our drawers to give us that "clean laundry" smell.
Happy Laundry Savings!

1 comment:

  1. Looks like you are doing really good. I've been wanting to try the laundry soap for awhile, but haven't yet. I use wash cloths soaked in fabric softener for dryer sheets. I get about 25 loads before I have to add more softener.
    Thanks for stopping by my blog!


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