Monday, March 19, 2012

If you first don't succeed try, try again (especially if it is as cheap as laundry soap!)

After seeing three different people on Facebook make laundry soap, I decided that I should give it a try. The money savings is crazy; it costs about a penny a load. (For reference Gain laundry soap costs $0.29 a load.) I could save between $2-3 a week. I read a lot of reviews, and people seemed really positive about its effectiveness so I got excited to start.
The Duggar family laundry soap recipe seemed to be an online favorite so I decided to use that one.  (Laundry soap recipe) I figured that if it worked for their family-money saving, lots of active boys and a fancy laundry room-it would be good enough for our family. I found Borax and washing Soda (different than baking soda!) at Hy-Vee, and then made a fatal error. I had read in one place that I could use any soap as a base. I had some great smelling natural soap at home so in the name of being frugal, I went off recipe and decided to use that instead of the Fels-Naptha soap bar. I grated the natural soap.  I realized that while Orange Clove smelled lovely, I was going to have actual cloves in this laundry soap. I should have scrapped the batch there, but I decided to strain out the cloves and carried on. (The picture below shows my little brown clove specks!)

The whole process is really simple.  The longest part was dissolving the soap.  I did read about a dry detergent option, but after seeing how long it takes to melt down the soap on the stove, I don't think that I would try it.  I wash a lot in cold, and I don't think that it would break down. 
I strained out my cloves and added the Borax and the washing soda.  The next morning I checked it, and it hadn't gelled like it was supposed to.  I used it for a week before surrendering to the fact that I needed to just make another batch, this time with the correct kind of soap!  Fels-Naptha is only $.99 at Fareway so I was sad that I wasted my $5 pretty smelling natural soap. I couldn't just throw it down the drain so we washed bikes, swings and the lawn table and chairs with it.  (This was probably still a waste, but it just felt better to me than tossing it down the drain!)
Here is what the Fels-Naptha soap bar looked like right before melting and a picture of my 5 gallon bucket of soap before letting it sit over night. At least the laundry soap is cheap enough that making a second batch still saves me money, and the whole process took less time than sitting down to watch an episode of 19 Kids and Counting
The new soap is great.  It congealed over night and was super thick.  I am impressed with this soap.  One batch makes enough for 320 loads so a little time equals great, money saving results!

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