Friday, September 3, 2010

Dirty Laundry

Well hello!

I am making sure and steady progress on my projects, but today I am going to divert us to a new one. The other day I was balancing the Quicken files and reconciling receipts. I noticed that the last time we bought laundry soap, it cost us $13! Apparently Tide has gold flakes in it or something. I was instantly motivated to get going on learning how to make our own laundry soap. At least to try.

We bought an HE washer before Ava was born. Partly because we wanted to cloth diaper, and partly because we needed a new washer anyway and there really is no comparison between top loading washers and HE washers when it comes to water efficiency. Seriously. We love it.

So after browsing some tutorials online, I decided on liquid soap. It can just go in the regular detergent drawer. This recipe is supposed to be low-sudsing (which is apparently why you need to buy special HE soap in the first place) which will also make it great for washing diapers. If diapers get soap built up, they won't absorb. If they don't absorb, they leak. If they leak, I cry. (Just kidding. Mostly.)

I used this tutorial (which is fabulous.) It really has all the info you need, but here's my step-by-step. First I grated some Ivory soap with a cheese grater: Put about four cups of water in a kettle. I was feeling really hard core and used a stock pot. Turns out that is totally unnecessary. You can just use a regular pot. Little by little put the soap flakes in and stir until it gets nice and soapy.
Put 3 gallons of water in a container. In case you were wondering, a gallon is 16 cups. I used my 4 cup measuring cup, so 12 of these puppies: (right? I hope so. Math is hard, let's go shopping.)

Add your soap soup from the pot to the water in the bucket. Then you add a cup of washing soda. (Yes, that's right, Walmart employee who tried to sell me baking soda instead. I want Washing soda.) Turns out washing soda is hard to find. But a friend of mine tipped me off that they carry it at a local grocery store (County Market, but I've also heard they carry it at IGA). You can also order it at Ace Hardware and they'll ship it to the store for free.
Oops, my bad. It's "super" washing soda.

Then a half-cup of Borax. Borax is a little easier to find. We got ours at Target or Walmart or something.

Then you stir it all up in your container and let it sit for 24 hours. From what the tutorial says, we should enjoy a significant cost savings. $.03/load as opposed to something like $.20/load. That's pretty serious! We will miss the gold flakes in Tide though. :0)

I read on the tutorial that you can often get buckets like this at delis, so I tried at a grocery store. And they gave me one! AND the lady saw Ava and asked if she could have a c-o-o-k-i-e. I said she could and they gave us a free cookie too! It was quite a haul at the grocery store today.
So there you have it! It was really easy. I hope it does the trick.


  1. I make a very similar laundry soap and have a front loader too. Works great, and put the clothes outside to dry and you feel very CHEAP and proud of yourself! Downright Laura Ingallsish without the washboard...

  2. Very cool! Please share how the wash turns out. I'm a bit of a laundry snob, so inquiring minds want to know. It seems like it's totally doable, and what a savings.

  3. Beth--I'll have to ask you some questions!

    Kim--So far so good. It has a great smell to it. The only concern I have about it is how it treats our washer in the long run and how it affects Ava's skin. She's really sensitive.

  4. A word of caution: I just made this and my daughter, who has mildly sensitive skin, had a nasty, inflammed, bumpy skin and all.

    My suggestion: Try it on only one piece of clothes first. Then, you'll learn from my mistake and not have to Rewash every item she owns!

    But, so far my skin is doing just fine!


I'll take a comment with a side of comments!