Saturday, September 20, 2008

Going Frugal!

I'm relatively new to the Blogosphere.
I regularly read a few blogs and I occasionally visit a few more.
I've noticed that a lot of Christian, home school, mommy blogs are also Frugal Blogger blogs.

I'm not naturally frugal.

My mother is not naturally frugal.

But we don't like to waste things either. It's very strange.

Anyway, this is a very long introduction merely to say I've done something rather extreme for me, frugally speaking.

Last Saturday, I whipped up a batch of homemade laundry detergent.

I didn't say anything then because I wanted to use it first and see how I liked it.

I'm sold.

With so many of us having allergies and the price of detergent getting crazy in my opinion, I went for it. I love it!

Our clothes (The Captain especially noticed it on our sheets) feel really, really clean. There's no coating on them. They smell nice and fresh without being overly perfumed.

I found the recipe on this site and here is the step-by-step how to.

Take a bar of Zote soap (*** 6/09 I just tried Fels Naptha-- love the smell... but I didn't think it cleaned as well as the Zote)

(which I found in the laundry aisle at Target for, get this, $.97).

Grate 1/3 of a bar per batch of detergent.

Put it into a pot with approx. 3 pints of water and heat it on very low heat until it dissolves.

This is what it looks like at first-

And here it is after it dissolves (approx. 10 mins)-

I LOVE that it's pink!

While you're heating it up, measure out 1/2 C of Borax (available everywhere-I picked mine up at Target for $2.59 per 55 oz box).

and 1/2 C of Washing Soda-not Baking Soda (found at Fred Meyer for $3.19 per 55 oz box).

Mix these dry ingredients together well to make a nice texture later.

Make sure you break-up the Borax which has a tendency to clump.

Add those two ingredients to the dissolved Zote soap (or Fels Naptha) and stir until it thickens (just a few minutes).

Remove from heat.

Put 1 quart of hot tap water into a bucket, add soap mixture and mix stir.

Fill the bucket up until there is about 2 gallons total. Stir again.

Then let it sit for 24 hours.

It will be a fun, funky goop.

Since I have a bad shoulder and avoid lifting and pouring as much as possible, I transferred goop to plastic, lidded, shoe bins.

I use a 1/2 C scoop to measure it into the washer.

Most people use a funnel and pour into an empty detergent bottle to reuse it.

The scoop has worked out great and my shoulder is very happy.

I also added 20 drops of Tangerine essential oil that I found on sale at Whole Foods.
Essential oils can be very expensive but because you use so little they last a very long time.
This step is totally optional.

I haven't finished an entire batch yet but I am keeping track of how many loads I get out of one.
From what I've heard, you can get around 34 loads of laundry from one batch.

**edited to add: we washed 80 loads with this first batch**

I don't know if you've been doing the math on this but according to my calculations one batch of detergent is costing us $.71 not including the essential oil*, water and electricity to heat the water.

$.71 per batch or $.02 a load! **edited to add: it ends up at less than $.01 per load**

Double check me on this.
1/3 of a $.97 Zote bar = $.32 per batch
1/2 C of Borax ($2.59/76 oz box)=$.14 per batch
1/2 C of Washing Soda ($3.19/55 oz box)= $.25 per batch

I come up with $.71 and a half an hour of time to make detergent for approximately 34 loads of laundry.

Because of preference, I used to buy All detergent (the small and mighty kind because of Mr. Shoulder Problem) for $3.99 on sale. $4.something not on sale. One bottle would wash 28-32 loads of laundry. Let's say it's 32 loads and I get the detergent always on sale.

I am going to assume we wash 32 loads per month for one year. That's one bottle of detergent a month or $47.88 per year.

Since I'm not going to make a partial batch of detergent, I am going to compare the above to making 12 batches of detergent for the year at $.71/batch or $8.52/year.

That is a savings of $39.36 over the year, minimally.

Like I said, I'm sold.

[edited to add: I forgot to mention, the formula is virtually no suds so it's perfect for "he" machines.]

I'm also collecting "recipes" for home made cleaning solutions.
I think I'm going to dig this Frugal thing.

*The oil was on sale for $7.99 for a 5 ml bottle. I used twenty drops and I can't even tell since the bottle still looks full. I'll try to measure it out. Maybe 20 drops is 1/16 to 1/8 of a teaspoon (5ml is one teaspoon).
That would be $.50 to $1.00 added to the cost per batch.

I'm still saving!

**I no longer add oil to detergent. Our clothes just smell really clean and not perfume-y Occasionally, I'll add some diluted essential oil to the rinse cup as a final rinse**


Kim said...

Oh, that's cool! What a huge savings, and if it gets your clothes clean then why not? Very good info Miss Lainie!

Abby said...

Hi Lainie!
I don't know if you remember me but I met you years ago when we went to Athey. You came and talked at our "baby group" at Alice's house. Anyway I like your blog! I have one too if you want to check it out. We have 3 little girls now and a little boy coming from Haiti. Abby Hoefer

Anonymous said...

My blog address-

Anonymous said...

The laundry soap is so cool. It's pink! I like pink. Pink rocks! I am hoping to try making the soap.

Sarah, fellow home schooler.

Christine said...

Thanks for the linky love!

Glad it's working for you!

Kim (aka- Kanga-mom and sometimes Rabbit-mommy) said...

Hi Miss Lainie Pants!

I wanted you to know I just finished making my first batch of homemade laundry detergent. It was pretty fun to make too. The only thing I noticed is that I do have some suds floating on top. It still has to sit for 24 hours so I was wondering if you had that and if so, did the suds go away, or should I just skim them off the top.

Thanks and have a wonderful day,

Anonymous said...

thanks for the great pictures of the process and final product. Since i cannot find the washing soda where I'm at, I've been looking for other options. I'm still looking, but I did find out that you can use this same recipe in a dry/powdered state using only 1 or 2 Tbsp per load of laundry. I thought I'd mention that to you since you metioned shoulder issues.
--Fellow MFW user :)

Lainie said...

Hi Anonymous fellow MFW user!

Thanks for the tip on the dry form and thinking of my shoulder! I had heard that dissolving in the load is better if you put it in liquid form.

I did what to tell you that if you contact Arm and Hammer they can tell you the store closet to you that sells Washing Soda.

margaret elaine said...

I love it! Rick and I are going to try it... thank you so much for the info..... I LOVE THE PINK TOO! It reminds me of the pink ring in the bathtub in the Cat in the Hat! Love ya Mustard!

Redwine said...

I'm so glad Ifound your site...I was just remembering you made homemade soap! I'm going to give it a try. Thanks.

Punta Gorda Stampers - Trish said...

I make a very similiar recipe, I got it from the Duggars Family Blog. Mine makes 10 gallons that I keep in a 5 gallon bucket concentrated. I am still using the same batch made in June and I love to brag that my detergent bill for the year is way under $10. I clean clothe diapers and everything else. I now add an extra 1/4 cp of borax to every other load because my HE is smelly. Washing Soda is available at our Publix. I had mine ordered from the local hardware store, because I didn't now about Publix. I plan to use your type of soap, if I can find it. I had used Ivory.

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