The laundry has never been one of my most favorite jobs. Luckily, I pretty much wear the same outfit every day so it has never been really difficult for me to wash out my day clothes when I put on my night clothes, but when you're made a wood it really doesn't matter does it?
Anyway, the family here at the Cuckoos Nest has for a months worth of laundry spent:
$18.00 for the laundry soap
$ 6.00 for the dryer sheets
$ 2.50 for the bleach
$ 4.00 for stain remover
$30.50/month for a family of 5 to just wash the clothes.
So upon my suggestion, by doing it the "new" old fashioned way,
$5.00 for the 5 gallon container to mix the ingredients (a one time expense)
$1.00 for Fels Naptha bar of soap
$3.00 for Borax (but you only use 1/5 or 1 cup of the box) = .60
$3.00 for Washing Soda (not baking soda) (but you only use 1/5 or 1 cup of the box) = .60
.00 for 4 1/2 gallons of water
$14.00 for the initial start up and that makes 5 gallons of laundry detergent = between 32-48 loads of laundry per gallon bottle (we have saved bottles vinegar, tea gallons etc)
That means 240 loads of laundry......about 3 months worth or longer, at less than $5 for the detergent.
So there ya go.
The recipe is for a regular liquid detergent.
Here's the recipe:
8-12 cups of water
1 Bar of Fel Naptha soap (or Ivory or any other brand you would like)
1 cup of Arm and Hammer washing soda
1 cup of 20 mule team Borax
4.5 gallons of water
put finely grated soap into large saucepan with 8-12 cups of water.
heat on med high until dissolve but do not boil the mixture.
add 1 cup of washing soda and 1 cup of Borax and mix well.
make sure all ingredients are dissolved well.
put 2 gallons of hot water into bucket, then add soap mixture.
stir to combine well.
add remaining 2 gallons and stir to mix well.
allow this mixture to cool overnight as it will thicken.
pour into 5 one gallon jugs. if you spill some on the floor, oh well....it also makes a great general cleaner too. (we had a paint stirring attachment for the drill and use that the next day to whip our soap before jugging it. A lot of fun)
The only warning I have is please do stick to the order in which the ingredients are added. It is after all a chemical recipe. We had the unfortunate first experience of adding things rather willy nilly and the ingredients separated badly. You will need to shake the contents of the bottles before you use them or you might have glumps (that's the technical term) come out of the bottle rather quickly.
You need only use 1/2 to 1 cup of water. We have actually found that we only use less than 1/2 on a medium load.
Next Monday I will have the recipe for our favorite Fabric Softener and Homemade Bleach and Stain removers.
Actually we used to take our clothing down to the river bank and beat them on rocks to get the dirt out, but this "new" old laundry detergent is so much better than the store bought and actually in combination with our fabric softener leaves the clothes with no residue. The towels are fluffier and the whole of the wash is cleaner with no soap odor. Just CLEAN.