Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Make Your Own Laundry Soap & Tips for Diapers

How much do you spend on laundry soap? $5 per month? $50? My favourite soap is Persil but even getting it at cost like we do, it's super expensive. And while it does a good job it costs me about $1 per load. Which is terribly expensive so I just use it for those special things that you want to keep looking good. For everyday laundry, work clothes and the kids stuff that's going to be worn out quickly I just use cheaper stuff. So, would you believe me if I told you that I could make your own laundry soap for 2 or 3 cents per load. Here's what you're going to need:

Arm and Hammer (or other) Washing Soda $6.00 per box
Available at Sobeys, WalMart, Foodland, Superstore etc.

Fels Naptha soap (or other) $2.00
Sometimes found in hardware stores but hard to find in stores these days so you can buy it online or substitute any soap you like including your homemade soap though Sunlight bar soap is great for cleaning clothes and hard surfaces so I usually have that on hand and it smells nice.

Essential Oils. Your choice of scent though a nice smelling soap eliminates this step.

Borax, 20 Mule Team brand is great. $6 per box
Found in the laundry aisle at pretty well all grocery stores. A good deodorizer. It's also useful to increase the size of sunflower seeds when spread on your row before planting because it's a naturally occurring source of boron.

And now you know what to's the recipe.

Homemade Laundry Soap

1/2 bar of Fels Naptha, Sunlight or other soap. Grated.
3/4 cup Washing Soda
3/4 cup Borax
A 2 gallon bucket with a lid or some empty laundry soap jugs with lids.

Directions. Boil a full kettle of water.
Place the grated soap into a very large pot, add 6 cups of water and slowly heat, stirring occasionally. The soap will melt. Add the washing soda and borax and stir until dissolved. Remove the pot from the heat. Add 4 cups of the boiled and still hot water from the kettle and stir to mix thoroughly. Add another gallon plus 4 cups of cool water, stir to completely mix. Pour into a plastic bucket for storage or into plastic laundry soap bottles if you have those available. Let sit undisturbed for 24 hours. The soap will be sort of gelled. I've had it almost jelly like at times and sometimes runnier. Either way, the consistency doesn't matter (unless yours really gels inside a bottle) :)

The usual measure of soap per load is 1/3 c. for a frontloader and 1/2 c. for a toploader. Extra dirty clothes can use upto double the amount. It's a low-suds/no suds formula depending on the soap you use so it won't harm your 'he' machine. For greater washing power for greasy mechanic husbands you can make this recipe with twice the soap. Depending on your level of dirt and the hardness of your water, some experimenting might be worthwhile. I love experimenting but forget to take notes sometimes so take my advice...make notes!

Bearing in mind that the recipe uses only 3/4 c. of borax and washing soda which is a fraction of the overall cost...this entire batch of soap would cost approximately $1.25-$2.50 and would wash 60 loads of laundry at 1/2 cup per load or the normal amount for a toploader. Or 90 loads for a frontloader. This recipe makes almost 7.5 litres of soap or 30 cups or 60 loads and works out to approx. 3 cents per load. If you can get your ingredients on sale or cheaper than I've listed then it's possible to make soap for a penny per load. Also, the easiest way to cut down the price is to use less expensive soap. I've known people to use Irish Spring, Ivory or zest and that's about 35 cents per bar instead of $3.00 so it makes your 60 loads of soap for just under a dollar 1.5 cents per load. And it colours your laundry soap a nice colour. A penny and a half is certainly better than Tide on sale for 15 cents per load. This soap is also safe to use on diapers.

We all know that cloth diapers are the way to go. They can save you loterally thousands of dollars and tons of disposables going into the landfill. I realize that they're not for everyone but almost all people who use them say that after a week to get used to the system, it's nowhere near as bad as they thought it was going to be. I'll make a post about it tomorrow.
How to wash cloth diapers. I recommend soaking your rinsed diapers in Amaze and enough cold water to cover them for 24 hours. Dump the whole bucket into the washer and run through a quick cycle or pre-soak. Add laundry soap and wash on hot then add an extra cold rinse. Line dry outside in the
sun when possible. Even in the winter you can freeze dry them to some extent and finish in the dryer to completely dry them. The sunlight helps kill bacteria and bleach them naturally. If your diapers are getting stained you can use lemon juice on the stain and then leave outside to dry in the sun for 24 hours then re-wash. But if it really bothers you that your diapers are looking grubby just dye them using the best professional dye you can find (not the stuff in WalMart or other regular stores, it fades and bleeds). I tie dyed my diapers using Procion dye and after hundreds of washes the colours were still vibrant. You can buy it here. Make sure the diapers are as clean as you can make them before dyeing and baby clothes with spit up stains need to be grease free. Nothing hides unsightly spit up stains or poop marks like a dye job! And they look so cute!

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