For over a year I’ve wanted to make homemade laundry detergent, especially after learning it can be used in front loading machines. Yet time and forgetfulness (mainly forgetfulness) won out month after month.
Two weeks ago I determined to take this project by the horns and once-and-for-all plunge in. Watching youtube videos, hearing the praises of others, and looking at the super-simple recipe by the Duggar family, how could it not work?
The final soap bubble to pop was considering the $20 a month (average) my family of six spends on a name-brand detergent. Twenty dollars per month for instant convenience is not bad for any harried mom. Spending less than $20 and a hour of my time every six months for laundry detergent blows convenience out of the water in my book. Not only will I save $100 in six months ($200 year), there are time savings of always having detergent on hand.
Variations on the basic recipe abound. For those with sensitive skin, those who want more scent (the basic recipe has little to no smell), for babies, and those wanting to boost whiteness (my mother-in-law adds a bar of Zote soap). My first batch uses the Duggars’ recipe which has now been accepted and family approved in my home. I may play with scents a bit in my next batch, although my husband and three boys have stressed they do NOT want to smell like flowers.
The first step is to grate a bar of FELS-NAPTHA soap. It will resemble stiff cheese. Forgive my pictures taken with my phone, I have a habit of starting projects late at night, thus the low light.
Once grated, add to 4 cups of hot water in a saucepan. Stir over medium to low heat until all of the grated soap dissolves.
Next, fill a 5 gallon bucket half full of hot water (from the sink), and stir in the melted FELS-NAPTHA, 1 cup of Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda, and a 1/2 cup Borax. Stir until dissolved. It will look like this:
Cover, using the bucket lid or plastic wrap, and allow to sit overnight. The mixture will thicken considerably.
Now comes the fun part! Stir the thickened mixture until it breaks up. Fill your container of choice half full of the laundry soap and half full of water. I have chosen to use milk jugs to avoid additional costs. I clearly marked the containers to avoid anyone thinking it is something drinkable. In addition, I wrote ‘Shake Well’ and ‘1/4 cup’ to remind everyone of the process. According to Michelle Duggar I now have enough detergent to wash 640 loads of dirty clothes. Currently I have six milk jugs filled with plenty more waiting in the bucket.
Be sure and read the helpful tips from Michelle Duggar about using the laundry soap. For those interested, she has a powder version (for front loading machines too) and homemade fabric softener.
This laundry soap would be good to make and give to families in need and college students.
Do you use homemade laundry detergent? How have you adapted the recipe to fit your family?
Reading God’s Story Schedule today, 9/13/13: Daniel 4-6.
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About Kellie Renfroe
Kellie and her husband Greg have been married 32 years and have four children ranging in age from 17 to 28. She co-founded Mentoring Moments for Christian Women in 2005. Kellie is a homeschooling mom who enjoys reading, studying the Bible, writing, photography, and learning how to cook.
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