Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Twenty-one Days Until TEOTWAWKI - Day 14 (Laundry)

I make my own laundry soap.  I started eight or so years ago. 

Then, I got out of the habit, because I started doing some volunteer work (in addition to the home-based business and homeschooling and homesteading ...) that became all-consuming, and it was easier to just buy it.  Our laundry wasn't any cleaner and didn't smell better with the store-bought stuff. 

So, I started making my own again, with the help of Precious, who is my soap grater.  Using our cheese grater, she grates the bar of soap.  I mix the rest of the ingredients.

Homemade Laundry Detergent

1 bar of soap, finely grated
1 c. Borax
1 c. Washing Powder
1 c. Baking Soda

Mix in a container.  Use approximately 1/5 c per load.  Good for about a month's worth of laundry at an average of one load per day. 

For a long while I was using Dr. Bonner's peppermint scented bar soap for our laundry detergent.  I never did the numbers, but each bar costs around $4.  I guess it was costing close to $0.25/load for laundry if I was paying $4 for a bar of soap.
The thing is, with that recipe, one can just about use any soap.  It didn't have to be Dr. Bonner's, but I liked using Dr. Bonner's for eco-minded reasons.
Part of the reason I wanted to make my own laundry soap was the hope of being more environmentally friendly and conscious. 
Part of the reason had to do with cost savings.
The other part of why I wanted to make my own laundry soap had to do with preparedness.  So, I could  save up coupons and stock-up on bottles of laundry detergent when it goes on sale.  I could.  But then, two things have to happen. 
1.  I have to have a place to store all of those bottles and dispose of the plastic after.
2.  I have to calculate how much I'm going to need ... forever ... so that I never run out.
My mantra has always been, And then what ...?
We can store canned food - enough for four people for three years, but what do we do when we run out? 
And so my advice is not to store the product, but rather the ingredient.  I don't have a stock-pile of canned peaches.  What I have is a peach tree and lots of jars (with extra lids).  I will still have canned peaches, but just not cans (which are questionably safe anyway, unless they state they are BPA-free). 
In short, I don't store up laundry detergent.  I store up ingredients.  
First, the ingredients actually take up a lot less room than an equal amount of laundry soap, which is especially important when one is storage space-challenged. 
Second, many of the ingredients have multiple uses.  So, I have the baking soda for my laundry soap, but I can also use the baking soda to make deodorant and gluten-free Buckwheat pancakes.
When things started to look scary for us, financially, I knew that I couldn't use Dr. Bonner's soap anymore - not for laundry, anyway. 
(and as an aside, we actually found a new body soap that costs a quarter of what we were paying for Dr. Bonner's, and which we like just as much). 
In the laundry section of the grocery store, I found a bar of laundry soap.  It's a stain remover bar, but it's also great as the soap ingredient for my homemade laundry detergent.  I'd heard of it before, but I'd never looked more deeply into it, because, you know, Dr. Bonner's. 
A bar of Fels Naptha is less than $2 at my grocery store, which is much less expensive than purchasing Dr. Bonner's soap bars.  I bought two bars for less than the cost of one bar of Dr. Bonner's.  That's twice as much laundry for half the price. 
We've been adding Fels Naptha to our homemade laundry soap for a couple of months, and the laundry is just as clean ... and I actually prefer the smell.
I was somewhat concerned about the ingredients, because they aren't listed on the packaging.  I found this site, which gives Fels Naptha bars an overall C rating, because some of the ingredients are non-specified and therefore, the reviewers can not know with certainty that the ingredients are safe.
What was comforting, though, was that MOST of what's in Fels Naptha are very simple ingredients, and pretty much what I put into my soap when I make it myself:  lye, fat (they use plant-based oils; I use rendered animal fat), water, and fragrance (I use an essential oil).
I already wash all of my clothes in cold water (which saves money on the cost of heating the water) and I line dry my clothes all of the time (I don't have a clothes dryer), and so I was already saving a lot of money in that way.
Finding a way to save even more money by changing just one ingredient in my laundry soap was actually pretty cool.  And did I mention that I, kind of, prefer the Fels Naptha? 
Disclaimer:  Some links are affiliate links, that is, if you click on the link and purchase an item using that link, I will receive a commission.  It won't cost you extra to purchase an item using my link, and in doing so, you help me fund this blog.  Win-win.  :)  I don't link to things that I don't also use.



  1. Great idea about storing the ingredients since I never had much luck with homemade soap. I think probably with are very hard water it just wasn't a good combination but a good idea to keep on hand...

    1. I guess we have good water here, but I'm also not terribly particular. My family has learned that the best color for us to wear is black ;).