Thursday, February 3, 2011

Saving Money on Liquid Laundry Detergent

Saving Money – and finding new ways to economize. 

Home made Liquid Laundry Soap
1 cup washing soda (I use Arm & Hammer)
1/2 cup borax (20 Mule Team)
1 bar soap (I use whatever’s cheap unscented)
Approximately 3 gallons water

You’ll also need a plastic container of some sort to mix this in (I use a five gallon bucket with a lid), something to stir it (I use a large wooden spoon), another pot to boil soapy water in and something to cut up the bar of soap (I use kitchen vegetable grater). 

First thing, put about four cups of water into the pan and put it on the stove on high until it’s at boiling, then lower the heat until it’s simmering.

While it’s heating up, take a bar of soap and cut it up into little bits. I found a lot of success using our box grater, which resulted in a ton of little soap curls.

When the water is boiling, start throwing in the soap. I recommend just doing a bit at a time, then stirring it until it’s dissolved. Don’t make the mistake of just tossing in all of the soap at once, which wasn’t particularly helpful:

Stir the soapy water with a spoon until all of the soap is dissolved. Eventually, the water will take on the color of the soap you added, albeit paler. I used Pure & Natural soap for this, which was a white soap that looked a lot like a bar of Ivory. In the end, you’ll have some very warm soap soup:

Next, get out your large container and add three gallons of warm tap water to it. I’m using a bright orange five gallon bucket that I had lying around:

To this bucket add a cup of the washing soda and the soap solution you made and stir. The borax will do a good job getting clothes clean and fresh smelling, so I recommend adding a half cup of borax to the mix. After stirring, you’ll have a bucket full of vaguely soapy water:

At this point, let the soap sit for 24 hours, preferably with a lid on it.

When you take off the lid, you’ll find any number of things, depending on the type of soap you used and the water you used. It might be firm, like Jello; it might be very watery; it might even be like liquid laundry detergent. Just stir it up a bit and it’s ready to be used.

You can transfer the soap to empty milk plastic bottles or other bottles that will be easier to store.

Shake or stir before each use.

Don’t worry about the texture – it’s completely fine. Just use a one cup measure of the detergent per load of laundry. If it’s got “globs” in it, get a mix of the water and of the globs – it’ll break up very quickly in the washing machine and wash your clothes well. If you have a front load washer only use one half cup.

My next post will be an easy to make and easy to store - - Dry mix for Laundry Detergent.

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