That being said, I am cheap. Incredibly cheap and laundry detergent is not cheap. At all. So that was the initial appeal.
Then I read about how lots of people see an improvement in their eczema when they use home made laundry detergent. Since both of my rugrats suffer to varying extents, that was another appeal.
So, right after Christmas, I made two gallons of laundry detergent.
And now, I'm hooked. I've just made two batches, so I'm still perfecting my recipe, but here's how it stands now.
Jessi's Laundry Detergent
(Based on Jillee's Laundry Detergent)
1 bar Fels Naptha
1 bar Yardley Lavender soap
1 cup Washing Soda
1 cup Borax
Approx. 2 gallons of water
Start by grating your soap bars. I do mine in the food processor. See above re. slacker. I use both Fels Naptha and Yardley because I think Fels Naptha does a better job, but I like the smell of the Yardley. Empty soap shavings into a large pot and add 6-8 cups of water. Place over medium high heat and stir intermittently until soap is completely dissolved. Add washing soda and Borax, stir until combined. Remove from heat and allow to cool partially. Pour evenly into two one-gallon containers. I'm using orange juice bottles, but someday I'm going to buy something a little sturdier. See above re. cheap. Add water to within one inch of lid and shake. Allow to cool completely and preferably to sit overnight. Use approx. 1/2 cup per medium to large load of laundry.
So, then there I was, quite enamored of my detergent and I saw a recipe for Fabric Softener. I am using Heidi's version exactly (well, except for scent) so I won't bore you with the recipe. I love, love, love the smell - especially that I can have such a wide array of smells. I am washing everything in coconut this summer, I swear. But I also love the feel of the clothes when they come out. No static and towels are just amazing with the fluffy.
And then, this weekend, I was prepping for Lilybugs and I was separating out everything that needed to be ironed and I thought, wouldn't it be great if I could afford enough Wrinkle Release spray for this? And then, lo and behold, Jillee thought the same thing. Sort of. I tried to pull this up on my phone at home and ended up with a recipe that didn't call for the vinegar.
I used a spray bottle (the kind you get in the cleaning aisle). Mine is marked with ratios (1/1, 2/1, 3/1, etc.) I wanted a 4/1 ratio, so I filled the bottle to the 4/1 line with my homemade fabric softener and then topped with water. I have to tell you that I think this stuff is better than what I've bought in the store in the past. And smells like heaven. And is way quicker than ironing.
Cheapie McCheaperson and Her Cheaptastics:
Laundry detergent comparisons:
$16.75 - 100 oz. bottle of popular name brand "free and clear" type laundry detergent
=$0.17 per ounce
$1.59 - 1 bar of Fels Naptha soap
$1.00 - 1 bar of Yardley lavender soap
$6.99 - 55 oz. box of Washing Soda (used about 1/8 box)
$9.49 - 76 oz. box of Borax (used about 1/10 box)
= $4.41 for 2 gallons of detergent
= $0.02 per ounce
Fabric Softener comparisons:
$7.49 - 34 oz. bottle of popular name brand fabric softener
=$0.22 per ounce
$2.99 - 34 oz. bottle of bottom shelf super generic fabric softener I've been using
=$0.09 per ounce
$1.99 - 22.5 oz. bottle of Suave conditioner (I used about 1/2)
$5.29 - 128 oz. bottle of white vinegar (I used about 1/5)
=$2.05 - 88 oz. of home made fabric softener
=$0.02 per ounce
Wrinkle Releaser comparisons:
$5.75 - 17 oz. bottle of popular name brand wrinkle releaser
=$0.34 per ounce
$0.04 - 1/4 cup homemade wrinkle releaser - dilute to 1 1/4 cup
=$0.004 per ounce - practically free
A Couple of Things:
- Diluting fabric softener apparently makes the cost increase by 12 cents an ounce - according to the major name brand I used for my comparisons
- My fabric softener is so much better than the cheap stuff I've been using, I'd be okay if the cost breakdown showed mine was slightly more
- Since even my skin (which is made of steel, people) is better since I started using this stuff, I can't imagine that it's not way better for those with skin conditions. Brynna's eczema has gotten better and Maren's has disappeared.
- There's a million tutorials, recipes and everything else on-line so even if mine don't sound so great, there's something out there you'll love.
- I spend about one hour every two months making laundry supplies. Understand that I've only been doing this for three months, so that may alter slightly, but my point is it isn't as time consuming as you might think, because you make so much at a time.
- We are getting ripped, people.
Have you ever made your own cleaning products. What were your results?