Sunday, December 21, 2008

Do we need all those varieties?

Honestly, sometimes I think I should have been brought up with Little House on the Prairie! Well, I AM on the prairie, and enjoy my life, but wouldn't our lives be less complicated with LESS! Have you ever studied the varieties and options of laundry detergents? Laundry Detergents take up many shelves in the store, each one with another version of 'latest and greatest', this fragrance, that freshener! And each one is getting more costly than the last. My 32-load Tide is now at $10.00 adding a good chunk to my grocery bill. What I really DETEST is that the marketing folks MAKE us think all this variety is important, and we KNOW that the better products pay for those that are less-profit producing. So, OK, I reached my limit - this is my own way of protesting, and I MADE MY OWN DETERGENT!!!!! My friend Sue says she's been making hers for years, so I gave it a try.
Sue said their are various recipes, but this is what I did. I'm not giving the recipe, just telling you about what is what.

First, I spent about $10.00 for 1 huge box of Boraxo, 1 huge box of Washing Soda, and 1 bar of Fels Naptha.

I used 1/2 cup Boraxo, 1/2 cup washing soda, and 1/3 bar of Fels Naptha. There are instructions about cooking, mixing, etc., but I'm NOT going to post that yet. You may want to try other recipes, which are on the Internet. It took me about 1/2 hr. to make the whole batch, cooking adding water, etc.

From this I ended up with 1 and 1/4 gallon of detergent. It gelled up after I put it in the milk containers, (I preferred liquid but dry is available) so I need to find another container but ... I used 1/2 cup per load. Today I washed one load of white laundry and it was just perfectly nice. Smelled good, no suds, white, clean, and I didn't use bleach. I DO think it was whiter than bleach - am I imagining?

So, lets figure this out. 16 cups per gallon, and I use 1/2 cup per load, so I get 32 loads from one gallon, and I have MORE than one gallon. OK, I still have 2/3 bar of fells naptha, and a LOT more of the other two products. So, for $10.00 I have 32 loads x 3 = 96 loads per what I spent $10.00 on, and I still have gobs of the two products, so when I need more I'll buy another bar of Fels Naptha.

I had to actually cook it, mix it, and the first time it was fiddly, a little messy, but all the pans washed up nice (no odor). These ingredients are not in every grocery store - I bought mine at a serious, farmy-type coop store.

Additionally, I have a feeling that all the tips on the back of the packages might be just the ticket for other cleaning jobs, thereby eliminating other expensive. projects.

I must admit, I had my doubts, was scared of having something horrible happening to my stuff, but the load turned out just fine. Why not give it a try - there was not too much of an investment!

20 comments:

jovaliquilts said...

Very cool! Feels great to do something like that. I hate the odors of regular detergents and always get the odor-free stuff, but it sounds like yours is naturally that way.

dot said...

I have be thinking about this myself. I am going to have to give it a try now that you have posted about it. I saved a copy of the recipe not to long ago. I will let you know when I try it.

Vicki W said...

What a great idea. I already make soap and lotion. I should give this a try too. I'm allergic to any laundry soap that has perfume - this would be even better than the Free and Clear varieties!

Owens Family Adventures said...

That's such a good idea! There are some brands of laundry soap that I can't use cause the kiddos will break out in hives. yuck!
dawn

Joyce said...

I'll have to look for Fels Naptha. Maybe it has a different name up here. I use baking soda and vinegar for most of my other cleaning. Baking soda is the best cleaner for my glass stove top and a lot of other things.

Quiltin' LibraryLady said...

I hope you will post the recipe. It sounds like something worth trying.

The Calico Quilter said...

I know I went through Chemistry class at one point in my life, but I can't figure this out - what does the Fels Naptha do?

This kind of appeals to the Luddite in me! (As well as the person with sensitive skin - you will have to tell us if it's at all irritating.)

Patti said...

Do you have hard water, soft water, or something in between? That's what I'd be worried about. I used Fels Naptha flakes for about 5 years after we were married. When we moved here to Vancouver I switched to detergent because the hard water causes the soap to leave a scum all over everything. I bought water softener so I could still wash diapers and baby clothes in Ivory Snow, but it was WAY too expensive to buy for all the laundry. I'd be afraid the same thing would happen with something like your concoction.

Evelyn aka Starfishy said...

Well, I LIKE variety - for example - my own local store does not carry basmati or brown rice (only white), no couscous, no dried pinto beans, etc. etc. I always keep a shopping list and when I go 3 hours away to a big store I come home with lots of staples! Household groceries and cleaning products are very expensive. I buy alot of dry goods (like flour) by huge bags from a restaurant supplier. Cleaning products you can usually buy in bulk from hotel suppliers. For the cleaning supplies you usually have to provide your own spray bottles and do a certain amount of mixing. All that being said - I think your laundry detergent experiment is great! Sometimes it is the most basic things that work the best.
Cheers!
Evelyn

Gail said...

I wouldn't mind giving this a try. Since two grown sons have returned to the nest, I've noticed my laundry detergent disappearing much too quickly. My washer uses that High Efficiency stuff, though. Any idea about how that factors in?

BUMBLE BEANS said...

I've been doing this for years too. I gave a recipe book to all my friends this yer trying to convert everyone. its so EASY top make, and so much cheaper. I make all my own household cleaners, and it all takes only minutes. "Convenient" products are a waste of money and a rip off.
ALSO: All those with allergies, you will notice a hugs difference with all the chemicals out of your house.

thanks so much for sharing this Elaine!

Other great tips. Vinegar as fabric softner, counter cleaner, window cleaner & Castille soap with water for general household cleaners. Make WOOL yarn balls, and felt them, for dryer sheets.

SORRY! I can go on an on about this stuff!

Fabulous post!

paula, the quilter said...

I haven't made my own but I should. I gave up the liquid softener years ago and have recently given up the dryer sheets and started using vinegar. There are way too many scented items around that just overwhelm and give me allergic reactions. Thanks for the tip.

meggie said...

This sounds a great idea. I always go for perfume free. I think the less chemicals we have the better. I also swear by vinegar & baking soda as cleaners, & fresheners.

StitchinByTheLake said...

Elaine I'd like to knwo about the high efficiency washers too - if you know. blessings, marlene

SueR said...

Wish we could get back to more of those good basics. I have a friend who makes creams and lotions at home like VickiW, and I love her stuff better than the stuff I buy at the grocery store. A good thing to try!

Nola G said...

Great idea Elaine. I feel the same about a lot of pharmacuticals. The big drug companies have a vested interest in getting us to buy the latest and greatest but a lot of grandmas simple remedies worked just as well. Hydrogen peroxide is an antiseptic with hundreds of uses apart from dyeing hair such as treating cold sores, and Mylanta takes the sting right out of insect bites and rashes.

Pat B said...

Lot of info and recipes on this website. http://down---to---earth.blogspot.com/

Nanette Merrill and daughters said...

I've always wanted to do this. Maybe I will now. I also want to make a counter top spray. I found one that smells like peppermint at Williams Sonoma - but way too expensive to be practical. I have granite countertops so I can't have anything acid based for the cleaner. I have googled recipes for countertop sprays but haven't really found a formula I am set on. I know they just put peppermint oil into a weak cleaner for the spray but I still am scratching my head on what to put in it. I haven't given up yet. If I figure it out I'll post it. I should ask people on my blog what they use. I know old fashioned soap and water is best. But I can't get my kids to do that and they help with the dishes/clean-up.

MARCIE said...

What an interesting topic. I didn't even know you could still buy Fels Naptha!

Nanette Merrill and daughters said...

printing the instructions, I'm giving them to mr. hive to cook for me. he's excited to make it. thanks again.