Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Saving by Making: Laundry Detergent!

You have no idea how excited I am about this post!  I have been wanting to tell you about my latest experiment for a long time but had to wait to see if it actually worked first. ;)

As I have mentioned before, I am doing an extended study on what it means to be a godly woman and wife.  I have been tremendously rebuked as well as encouraged by the description of the virtuous woman in Proverbs 31.  I have learned that part of God's role for me as a wife is to be a helper to my husband and a guard over my househould.  That is a huge responsibility.

Proverbs 31:27 says, "She looks well to the ways of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness."
I have begun asking myself everyday if I am pleasing God in the way I am managing my home, because I will be held accountable for it.

Home management obviously encompasses many areas including but not limited to: planning, organizing, preparing, cleaning, and caring - and those few areas are simply umbrella terms for all the responsibilities that God has given me as a homemaker!
In our home, one of my responsibilities is the planning for and purchasing of groceries and items that keep our home running efficiently.  You know, those things you don't think about buying until you've run out?  (ie. Paper towels, toilet paper, napkins, laundry detergent, dish soap, etc)  One way i try to "look well to the ways of [my] household" is by saving money in these purchases.

Recently, I learned that I could make my own laundry detergent to save us money, so I decided to try it!  I love watching the Duggar Family on TLC, which is where I first heard about making my own laundry detergent.  They have a family website that includes a section of some of their favorite recipes.  I went on, found the "recipe" for laundry detergent, and set out to make it myself.  Let me tell you, it was SO easy to make, WORKS, and will definitely save us money (even if it is just in a small way).  Here's how you make it:

Homemade Liquid Laundry Soap

I purchased all the items for under $7 and made 10 gallons of detergent.  That's a great deal!

4 cups hot water
1 Fels-Naptha soap bar 
     Note: I couldn't find this particular brand, but did research and found that you could use any of these other brands: Ivory, Sunlight, Kirk's Hardwater Castile or Zote bars.  Just don't use perfumed soaps.  I used Ivory in my "batch")
1 cups Arm and Hammer Super Washing Soda
     Note: This is NOT the same as arm and hammer baking soda.  You can find super washing soda on the laundry detergent aisle.  It was right next to the Borax when I got it. 
1/2 cup Borax

  • Grate your bar of soap and add it to the 4 cups of hot water.  Stir continually over medium-low heat until dissolved.
  • Fill a 5 gallon bucket half full with hot water.
  • Add the dissolved soap mixture, Super Washing Soda, and Borax.  Mix well until dissolved.
  • Fill the bucket to the top with more hot water and stir to combine.
  • Cover and let sit overnight to thicken
  • Fill an empty, clean laundry dispenser halfway with the laundry detergent.  Fill the remainder with water.
  • Before use, shake well since the laundry mixture will settle and thicken up.
  • For top load washers, use 5/8 cup per load
  • Front load washers, 1/4 cup per load
  • This recipe makes 10 gallons of laundry detergent.
  • If you prefer scented laundry detergent, you can include 10-15 drops of essential oils for every 2 gallons of detergent.  Add it once the soap has cooled.  I didn't try it this time, but I would like to next time.
  • It only took me slightly less than half an hour to make this first batch and most of that time was devoted to grating soap. :) 

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