Thursday, July 24, 2008

For Jackie, especially!

Yesterday was the great Laundry Soap experiment! I have been reading a number of frugal sites (google for homemade laundry detergent and the vast number of recipes will amaze you), and I settled on a variation of the one that seemed to pop up the most. This one called for 20 Mule Team Borax, Arm 'n Hammer Washing Soda and either a Fels-Naptha bar or the easier to locate (sometimes) Zote bar. I assembled my "ingredients."

First I cut the Zote bar into thirds. My recipe only called for 1/3 of a bar.

It cut very easily, and then it was grated into a sauce pan.

6 cups of water was added, and it was heated until the Zote had melted/dissolved (after first clumping up and defeating the purpose of the grating!) At that point, I added 1/2 cup (heaping) of the borax and 1/2 cup (heaping) of the washing soda. This was stirred in until it disolved. It was removed from the heat.

I poured 6 cups hot water into my bucket, poured in my hot soap mixture, stirred it up and added an additional gallon of water. I ignored it the rest of the day.

It did indeed develop a sort of egg-drop soupy/half-melted jello salad consistency. Actually, it had a firmish layer on top, and thinner liquid layer below, but when I stirred it, it broke up easily into the half-melted jello consistency.

This was poured via a funnel into containers I had saved from the last several laundry detergents I had purchased. I filled them only 2/3 full, so that we can shake the container (that layer reforms each time it is left alone) before pouring half a cup into a load of laundry.

I tried it on a load of kitchen towels, sox and undies..... The scent is a nice clean scent, and it did a very good job. I actually think it may have done a little better than my Kirkland brand did on my sox. I wear little footies around the house all the time, because diabetics have to be careful of their feet. So, my sox are a challenge, and while NOTHING gets them white (including bleach), I felt this detergent did a bit better job than my usual.... Yay!

I had not done the math for this yet, but the site I copied it from stated that the writer had recently bought ingredients and made a batch and determined how many loads she could do per batch, etc. She estimated her cost per load was one cent.

I tried to follow her math, and with me paying 99 cents for my Zote bar, and $2.99 for my washing soda, and $3.49 for the borax, I came out to a total cost of 70 cents per batch. (tons of ingredients left over for next time!) The 70 cents divided by 64 half cups (makes just shy of 2 gallons) equals indeed, just over one cent per load.

ONE CENT! Whoo hoo! Even at two cents a load (if my math is off, or the amount it makes is off a bit), the Tide at Sam's today is $19.06 for 110 loads (17 cents a load) and the Kirkland Brand is $13.73 for 110 loads (12 cents a load) so I am saving money! (for not much time or effort either!)

I realize this is old news for many fans of frugality, but I'm loving it! I have this recipe stashed with my "glass cleaner" recipe! It's a keeper. Mr. B is scheduled to do his work clothes tomorrow - I'll let you know what HE thinks!

I was so stoked about the detergent (which only took me 20 minutes to make and get into the bucket!) that I had time to make my Ranch Dressing....

These, became this! In about 5 minutes!


And for those of you keeping up with TuffBoy's practice regimen...

He continues to strive to become a True Tuff Boy.... Today he managed to nail Sadie's leg (more often than not, it's the other way around!)

(click pix to enlarge their teeth enthusiastic efforts!)

But she retaliated with an excellent "head lock"!



Jackie said...

That is really cool. I am happy to hear that it works well, too - let me know if Michael's stuff gets clean, and that will tell me for sure, right?!! :) Now you have to let me in on the ranch dressing recipe; we go through tons of it here.....
Love you lots!

jdc said...

Hi - could you tell me where you found the washing soda? Are you in Los Angeles? I'm in the Silver Lake area and have had no luck finding it - and can only find it for $4,50 + shipping online!!! Thanks for your help in this matter. - Jennie

Joy said...

Hi Jennie!
I called our local Albertsons store and the manager was very helpful. He ordered an entire CASE even though I only wanted one to try this initially! I have plans to go get several more boxes from him really soon. It cost in the neighborhood of $2.75 to $2.99. Perhaps you could try that with your local grocery store? If you don't have any luck, contact me at joybmts at yahoo dot com and I would be happy to send you a box or two by snail mail - would save you a few bucks!

I'm having so much fun walking RIGHT BY THE SOAP AISLE at Costco every two weeks. I now make my own glass cleaner, laundry detergent, hand soap dispenser refills, and am trying to perfect dish liquid for the sink! Leaves me more money for QUILTING FABRIC!!

(I'm not sure that's really the goal, but it's how I like to look at it!)