Monday, January 07, 2008

The Price is Right

It was such a busy weekend. I always feel behind and I hate it. I was grouchy and so was Eric. Fun times.

Winter increased the laundry exponentially which just compounds the behindedness. (I want someone to explain how I can go from 1 load of darks in the summer to 4+ a week in the winter. I realize that jeans and sweaters/sweatshirts take up more room, but this is ridiculous!)

At Christmas, my SIL gave me a recipe for making laundry detergent. I’ve waited to post it here because I wanted to see how well it worked for myself.

The very first load of laundry I did was towels that had been used to sop up spilt coffee. They were filthy. I figured it would be a good test load, if it could get the towels clean then there wasn’t much it couldn’t do, especially as the towels had sat for a couple of days before I got a chance to wash them. And if it didn’t work well, then, it was just a bunch of towels.

They came out from the wash without a spot of coffee on them. Pale blue towels, no less. The only other concern I had was fading and while I’ve only washed each article of clothing a couple of times, I haven’t noticed any so far.

Honestly, I am a convert; at this point, I can’t image buying detergent again.

Here is the recipe:

1/2 cup washing soda (not baking) (Arm and Hammer) (~$2.99/box)

1/2 cup borax (~$1.99/box)

1/2 bar of Fels Naptha soap grated ($1.09/bar)

Heat 1 gal. of water on stove. Grate the soap into a 5 gallon bucket. Add the boiling water and stir until melted. Add the washing soda and borax stirring until dissolved. Let cool for 1 hour then add 2 gallons hot water to bucket*. Pour into old milk gallon jugs with a funnel.

Use 1/3-1/2 cup per load
Makes 3 gallons

So, the first batch cost right around 6 bucks and made 3 gallons. (I was able to nab 3 empty laundry detergent bottles from our upstairs neighbor and filled those. The cap is a ½ measure. Milk cartons would work as well.) The next batch will be free because I already have the other half of the Fels Naptha. After that, each batch will only cost 55 cents because I already have the washing soda and the borax.

The only down side that I have notice so far is that when the detergent sits for more than a few minutes, there is a gloppy something that rises to the surface. A quick shake of the bottle takes care of it, so it falls under minor inconvenience rather than deal-breaker.

I have been doing some knitting on the Ribbi Cardy and am about halfway to the armhole shaping on the fronts. I’m still doing both of them at the same time which makes for slow going. I will most likely do the sleeves the same way. I really don’t want to cast on for something else until I get something off the needles. Even though it is the same project, I need to have the feeling of accomplishment when I bind off something.

*I have to admit that I was impatient and didn’t wait an hour for the mixture to cool and added lukewarm water to cool it off enough to bottle it.


Jenn said...

Wow, homemade laundry soap. I must try that!

KnittinDeb said...

I think my grandmother used to make her own. fels natha bar is wonderful
spot remover.