Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Cheap laundry soap, better than Tide

Got this laundry soap recipe from Winona ECFE. A friend made up a batch for me last October, and it has lasted until now -- nearly ten months. Total cost of the ingredients for that batch (about 5 gallons of laundry detergent) was $10 or so. Works great -- a number of moms in my ECFE class swear by it, say it's better than Tide. Even a couple moms who say they're picky about their laundry, which I am not. And you can't beat the price. The only issue I've found is that when storing it in a five-gallon container, it needs to be stirred occasionally to prevent settling. (You can also store the concentrated form in empty laundry detergent bottles.) Here's the recipe, written up by the inimitable Jenah Hensel:
1 Fels Naptha bar
1 cup washing soda
1/2 cup borax
1 five gallon pail with a lid

All those weird ingredients are available at Hy-vee, or any other major store in the laundry detergent aisle.

Grate the Fels Naptha bar up. It will look like shredded cheddar cheese. In a sauce pan, melt together the bar and 4 cups of water. Stir, and it takes awhile, 15 minutes or so.

Fill the five gallon pail half full with hot water. Mix in the washing soda, Borax, and the melted Fels Naptha water mixture. Fill up the pail with more hot water. Allow sitting overnight, to gel.

The next day, mix up the stuff. I actually did it with my hand/arm. Just dig right in there! Spoon or even a joint-compound mixer would work well). Looks like egg drop soup, the picture is what is looks like at this point. Now use an old Tide container, or Snuggle, or whatever, fill it half with water, half with the soap mixture. Shake it all about.

For standard washing machines, use 5/8 cup. For high efficiency (HE) use 1/4 cup. Hot, Cold, Warm, whatever you wanna use for water, that is up to you. Use cold, it's cheaper.

Here is the breakdown:
Makes 10 gallons of laundry soap
180 loads for standard
640 for HE
Costs around $2 to make this much
No real smell after the clothes are washed, but smells like my grandma (which is nice) when making it