Monday, July 30, 2012

Well, You Gotta Start Somewhere

Today I want to give you some recipes for making your own detergent.  I will include powdered types and liquid or gel types.  I also want to give you some laundry ideas for times when the power might be out for extended lengths of time.  I know, that doesn't happen where you live.  That's what my girlfriend though last month when the power went out in her entire city for 2 weeks... Thankfully her daughter lived in a neighboring city and she went there to stay but she worried for 2 weeks about the safety of her home. 

Ok, these detergent recipes will save you money and your clothes will be just as clean as the fancy name brand detergents and without the unpronounceable ingredients.  It will cost you pennies on the dollar !
Homemade Gel Laundry Detergent Recipe
  • 1 bar of Fels Naptha soap, shaved or grated
  • 4 cups of hot water to melt the soap
  • 3 gallons of hot water
  • 1 cup of  20 Mule Team Borax
  • 2 cups of Arm and Hammer Washing soda (this is found in the detergent isle and looks like a giant box of baking soda)
  • 1 cup of baking soda
  • 1 large Rubbermaid container about 4-5 gallons size
Here’s what you do:
Grate the soap into a saucepan. You can use either a box style cheese grater or a food processor for this. I recommend you do not use whatever tool you use for grating soap with food.
Add 4 cups of hot water to the pan. Simmer on low until the soap melts completely into the water.
Add borax, washing soda and baking soda to the hot water. Simmer on low until it desolves with the soap. If the mixture is not melting, add more water if needed.
Add 3 gallons of hot water to the large container. Add the mixture to the hot water. Mix with a large spoon until it completely dissolves.
Let cool overnight. You will notice that it turns into a thick gel. Use 1 cup of this homemade laundry detergent per load of laundry

If you want a floral smell or extra suds add a bar of regular bathing soap like Yardly Lavender or Kiss My Face.  Suds is added to soap as a sudsing agent, it does not do anything else but add bubbles. You should know that bubbles do not clean your clothes or body, soap does.

Powdered Laundry Detergent

1 Bar shaved or grated soap (Fels Naptha, Ivory, Zote, 123, or Kirks Castile (Ivory is much easier to find, my detergent below though is yellow because I used Fels Naptha).
1 cup of Borax
1 cup of Arm & Hammer Washing Soda
Stir the ingredients together (after shaving the soap) and use 2 TBS per load of laundry. This method should work well in HE front loader washers as well since it is a low-suds formula.
I always keep some of this on hand, I primarily use detergent that I've been able to pick up for next to nothing with coupons but when I run out, I grab my homemade detergent. It's great if you have any skin sensitivities too!
How much are you really saving? Well, I'm glad you asked! I checked out the Tide prices at Walmart and compared them to my homemade detergent recipe. Check out the breakdown:
Tide per load cost .23
Homemade Detergent cost per load .07
40 loads of Tide $9.24 at Walmart
40 loads of Homemade Detergent $2.80
We are talking MAJOR savings just by making your own detergent! It takes about 5 minutes to make and can be easily stored in a Mason jar on the shelf or put it into your old detergent box.

Ok what are you going to do when the power is out?  Haul water in from some source and wash clothes in the tub?  Sink?  Holy Cow not me...

Ok, I know...what's up with that?  Welllll, here's your new washing machine!  All you really need is a janitorial mop bucket with a squeezer or one with a wringer. Either one will do just fine.  Then you need a toilet plunger, a clean, new one.  In the plunger you will cut 4 round holes in the rubber about the size of a quarter, in fact use a permanent marker and a quarter as your template!  Fill the mop tub about half full of water and a bit of your favorite laundry detergent (it's probably) your homemade one)  add your clothes.  A couple pairs of levi's or a few shirts, don't over stuff.  Then using your plunger start plunging your clothing.  It doesn't take long to do the job.  Then either squeeze out the clothing using the mop squeeze or rollers and toss it into a bucket or tub of clean water to rinse.  Use the plunger again and squeezer to press out all the rinse water.  Hang it on your solar dryer (clothesline) and you are finished!  Of course its not as easy as using your electric or gas washer/dryer but if there are no alternatives this is a life saver. 

These mop buckets are expensive new, anywhere from 70.00 to 120.00 but sometimes you can get them free from a school or commercial janitorial service when they have in someway broken.  If you can cannibalize a couple of them you might end up with one good one!  Just clean and sanitize them prior to use.  However I would advise getting a new toilet plunger as they are only about 7.00-9.00.

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