Sunday, February 14, 2010

Making our laundry soap

We've been making our own laundry soap for a whole year now.  We learned how to do it from reading it on the Duggar family website.  The Duggar family has 19 kids and, of course, has found many ways of living frugally.  We love to find new ways to live frugally.  Making our own bread, couponing, cooking at home instead of eating out, and more. 

Here are the crazy calculations that I've come up with.  I used All laundry soap, or Arm and Hammer laundry soap.  Each of these costs about $8-$12 per large container depending on whether you get them on sale or with coupons.   These are the really large containers-usually with a spout on them.  I forget how many ounces they held and how many loads they said they would wash.  But I learned that the number of loads they say on the container is only if you use half the cup and for "average" loads.  I do larger loads and they are often very dirty ie: muddy, sweaty clothes or soiled sheets or white clothes.  So I obviously used more soap.  We typically used 2 1/2 of the large containers every month.   So this cost us between $25-$35 a month.  We used about 7 of these over a 10 week period so, it was about $70 for a 10 week period.  Even if we got amazing deals and were able to get these with coupons, it would still cost us at least half of that.  So, for argument sake, we'll say the cheapest we could get that amount would be $40 for 10 weeks.

Making laundry soap generally gets you about 160-180 loads of laundry per 'batch'.  These batches (we have learned) will last our family about 10 weeks.  Each batch averages out to cost about $2 per batch.  The soap cleans very, very well and actually smells wonderful.   It is also SO very easy to make.  I followed all of the directions on the Duggar's site.  Here are the ingredients you will need:

The Super Washing Soda is NOT the same thing as regular baking soda.  This is sold in the laundry aisle and must say "Washing Soda".  It costs between $2-3 a box.  Each box contains enough powder for at least 10 batches of Homemade laundry soap.
The Borax costs the same: $2-$3 a box.  Each box contains enough for at least 10 batches of soap.
The Fels Naptha is sortof hard to find, but you can  usually find it at Grocery Stores (not Walmart) and it is $1 a bar.

When you follow the instructions for Liquid Laundry soap on the Duggar's site, here is what it looks like when it's finished:

Recently, we decided to make the powdered laundry soap and see how long it would last us.  We are using it right now, so I will have to let you know how long it lasts.  You use the same ingredients, only a friend of mine adds some regular baking soda to the mix.  So, we assembled the ingredients and Nathan decided he wanted to make the soap himself.  I thought it might be a good idea to show you how easy it was, since a 7 year old can do it.

(Notice Nathan's monkey hat?  I made that for him and he hardly takes it off-even to sleep!)

"Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me"
Psalm 51:10

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