~Laundry Soap Update~

Two years ago I made my first batch of homemade laundry soap. I felt so good at trying to save our family $$ by making a product that is quite pricey. The first batch I added an essential oil to help with the scent. After the first, I didn't add any because I loved the clean scent from the Fels Naptha. The last batch I made in January, I added Purex Crystals. You can read about it HERE. Two weeks ago, when we had temperatures hitting close to the 110 mark, my husband asked me about the weird smell in his work clothes. At first, the thought crossed my mind was the possibility of them souring in the washer within just a little while after the wash cycle was over. I checked the clothes in the closet, thinking that I was going to smell it. Actually, it was the Purex Crystals scent. I checked my bucket and found where the crystals had settled at the bottom and since I didn't think to stir the last little bit, the liquid crystals overpowered the soap. If you've added any scent booster to your liquid soap, be sure to give your bucket a stir every once in a while.

Within the two years of making my own soap, I bought detergent one time. A local grocery store had a huge sale on detergent. I was able to get 2 (100 oz) bottles for $6.00, which was cheaper than buying the Borax and Washing Soda that I needed at the time. I knew as soon as I started using the store bought detergent, I was not happy. Needless to say, as soon as I used up all the store bought, I quickly purchased my Borax and Washing Soda and made a batch.

There are tons of reviews on the internet about homemade laundry soap. Many are good, while some are bad.  Funny, how a lot of the bad reviews are for recipes that call for baking soda and using any bath soap. Leave the baking soda out! You don't need it. Bath soap has added oils and moisturizers for the skin. Really, you don't want to add any oils or moisturizers to your clothes. I highly recommend using a true laundry soap like Fels Naptha.

We have been on well water for just over a year and honestly, I believe our clothes are holding together longer than when we were on city water. I also think the well water washes a lot better. For now, homemade laundry soap is where the savings are for our family.

~Laundry Soap Update~

I wanted to write a quick update on my laundry soap. (This is UPDATE  #3)

I received an email about a post that I wrote reviewing Downy Stopables.

"I am getting ready to make homemade laundry soap and I love the Downy Unstopables, but  they are pricy, I was wondering if you have tried pouring the Unstopables in your soap as the scent?"

Here's my answer ~ The Unstopables are expensive. I searched the isle to see if there was another brand of scent booster that I could use and came across Purex Crystals which were three dollars cheaper for a larger container than the Unstopables. It was easier for me to swallow $5.00 on an experiment that I did not know how it was going to turn out, so I bought the Purex and made a batch of soap...

(You can find my original soap post HERE with updates HERE, HERE )

I've been using this batch of soap for about a month. In this batch I only used one cup of the Purex Crystals, the next time I make it I'll be adding another half cup maybe even a whole cup. Since I only use Fels Naptha in making my soap, the lemon scent is a little stronger than the Crystals, so it boils down to ~ MORE SCENT? - MORE CRYSTALS! For the Unstopables ~ I would probably go with the one and a half cups, just to be happy!

I put the crystals in the pot of soapy water to dissolve, after the soap has completely melted.

I personally like my soap without the scent and will definitely finish up the bottle of crystals on our towels and wash cloths. I like knowing that our clothes are clean without having a strong, artificial scent. That is what I like about the Fels Naptha. I don't have to worry about a lingering smell ~ everything comes out with a clean smell, nothing more.  I have a fear of scents in our clothes. Have you ever smelled someone who wears a scented deodorant? That smell clings to the fibers in clothing. Sometimes it is so bad that after a while it begins to leave a funky scent ~ a scent that smells "unclean" even after it is washed. Don't believe me?... iron the underarms of a shirt and give it a whiff. That weird underarm scent is from all the scented deodorant, even when the shirt is clean. Do you really want the smell lurking about when you are warm and stressed and under pressure?  I don't know about you, but I don't. You have probably guessed, I wear an unscented deodorant. ;)

I also wanted to mention that I've cut back on the TSP. In fact, I don't put it in the soap any longer. I use about teaspoon in the washer for very dirty jeans and work clothes. My husband noticed irritation around his neck and where his sleeves hit on his arms and thought it maybe from the TSP. I'm thinking that it may not have dissolved completely and settled at the bottom of the bucket, since it was in the last of the soap when we started seeing the irritation.

Hopefully, this helps anyone who is thinking about homemade laundry soap.

~A Laundry Soap Update~

I've been making our laundry detergent for one year, now. (This is UPDATE #2) I have to tell you that I still love the idea of how much money we are saving. But... For about 6 months, I've noticed one or two pieces of clothing becoming gray and our clothes not keeping their colors (fading). I began searching for any information as to why and how to stop it. It wasn't until about 2 weeks ago when I googled homemade "laundry detergent graying clothes"  I came across this POST from a fellow blogger.  Before I continue, let me explain something... Our family is on a mission of becoming as self reliant as possible without becoming back woodsy, tree hugging hermits. I honestly believe that there is the possibility of facing a time in our future where people are going to need to know how to do "old fashioned" things. Making laundry detergent is one of those things and I enjoy it.Being able to make laundry detergent and keeping our clothes looking good for as long as possible is a big deal to me. Why save money on laundry detergent, but then have to buy new clothes every few months? I don't get that!

After reading Hillary's POST, I began searching and reading what I could find regarding TriSodium Phosphate. It seems, that I'm not the only one looking for brighter, whiter clothes. There are tons of sites where people are looking for help in getting their clothes clean. The funny thing about this is,  people are not only using homemade detergent but many are using store bought. If you did not read the link that Hillary posted, you really need to read it. You can find it HERE.

I talked with friends of ours that owns a feed store. This family run store is not like the big box stores. They run their business the old fashion/retro/vintage ~ whatever you would call it, way. The older men in the area stop by every morning to sit in the rocking chairs around the wood burning stove to enjoy a cup of coffee while catching up on all the news that comes from the farms around the area. The shelves are stocked with  a small amount of a product and the family knows everything about those products. While I was in there I asked about TSP and the response I got was enlightening. I was told that it use to be in our detergents, but the gov't stepped in and had it removed since it promotes the growth of algae in our streams. The gov't is more concerned about small aquatic animals than they are about the lives of innocent unborn babies, abused children and elderly people. He continued to tell me that it is a strong cleaner and it would take care of the problems with my detergent and that many, many people used it for years without problems. I was also told to try it in a small amount of detergent and watch for any reactions, especially in our under clothing.

So what did I do after reading and listening about TSP? I bought a small box! I thought I could lose $3.00 a lot easier than it would be for me to start spending $10 or more a month on store bought detergent. Actually, I wouldn't be losing the three dollars, since I can use the TSP for cleaning the carport, walls, etc. I came home and poured about two quarts of my detergent in a pan and warmed it up and mixed four tablespoons of TSP in until it dissolved. (Tsp will not dissolve in cold water) I washed clothes for a week and could not believe how our whites were so W-H-I-T-E when they came out of the washer.

I've been using it for almost two weeks. So far, no one has complained about any itchy, rashy areas. I have about 1½ more quarts of laundry detergent before I have to make another batch, so I'll just keep adding the four tablespoons until I'm finished with this bucket.

Reading Hillary's recipe and reading the box of TSP (7.3% or 8.5 grams phosphate in a ½ cup), I've not changed anything in my detergent recipe except for adding the TSP. Here it is...

4  cups - hot tap water 1  Fels-Naptha soap bar 1 cup - Washing Soda ½ cup Borax ½ cup TSP

Grate bar of soap and add to saucepan with water. Stir continually over medium-low heat until soap dissolves and is melted.

Fill a 5 gallon bucket half full of hot tap water. Add melted soap, washing soda, Borax and TSP. Stir well until all powder is dissolved. Fill bucket to top with more hot water. Stir, cover and let sit overnight to thicken.

*** I'm not telling you that you should use TSP and it is illegal to sell laundry detergent with it.  But if you are having the same problems with discoloration in your clothes, it maybe worth a try. I know many people are concerned with  phosphates and adverse reactions so use your discretion.

~Laundry Detergent Update~

If you've been reading my blog for a while, then you know that I made my first batch of Laundry Detergent back in the summer. (UPDATE #1) laundry soap 2

I have not used anything else on our clothes except for this detergent. Let me tell you... I LOVE IT! I have not had any problems with weird smells, stains, etc.  Boy howdy, the fabrics are very soft. I will say that they are not as soft as using a good fabric softener. But that is an expense that I just don't see the need for, right now.

I normally do not wash my husband's dress shirts, they go to the cleaners. Anyway, I have had to wash one or two, because of time restraints. I used a bar of Fels-Naptha with a little water around the collar. This stuff is a great stain remover. As for the shirts, they did not have any adverse effects by using this detergent. ** When I bought the soap back in the summer, I bought two bars. I couldn't remember how many the recipe called for. I have a new stain remover!!! Everything that I have used this other bar on... COMES OUT of the clothes. ~YEE HAW!!!~

I had posted about this here and on Facebook and receive a couple of comments about the ingredients that are in the Fels-Naptha ~ 1. It is a LAUNDRY SOAP. It is not meant to be used as a bath and hand soap. 2. For a one five gallon bucket of detergent, you are only using one bar of soap. 3. We are exposed (daily) to things that are mind boggling. So use caution!

I Finally Did It ~ Laundry Detergent

Several weeks ago, I was given a jar of homemade laundry detergent.  I was a little excited about it, since I have wanted to try some. I had posted that I was giving it a try on Facebook. I had several comments that were encouraging me to make my own. Then there were a couple that were not so encouraging, with their not so good experience with homemade detergent.

I made it anyway!

I can't believe how easy and quick this process is and I can choose my own scents, if I want. For this batch, I bought soft scented oils ~ Honey and Almond.  I'll tell you about that in a minute.

Now for the items that are needed in making your own detergent:

The  Washing Soda (not baking soda)  and the Fels - Naptha maybe a little difficult to find ~ At least they are here. I finally found them at my local Publix grocery store, all on the laundry aisle. If you can't find them, ask your store to order them.

Here's how I made the detergent:

4  Cups - hot tap water
1  Fels-Naptha soap bar
1 Cup - Washing Soda
½ Cup Borax

Grate bar of soap and add to saucepan with water. Stir continually over medium-low heat until soap dissolves and is melted.

Fill a 5 gallon bucket half full of hot tap water. Add melted soap, washing soda and Borax. Stir well until all powder is dissolved. Fill bucket to top with more hot water. Stir, cover and let sit overnight to thicken. I added about 60 drops of the oils the next morning.

Stir and fill a used, clean laundry soap bottle.

I have to be honest with you... I'm a little skeptical on just how clean my laundry was going to be, so I added another 1/2 cup of the washing soda and the borax.

This detergent turned out to be a gel. You can see here ~

When I put this in an old detergent bottle, I added about a cup of water and shook it, so some of the gel would break down and go through my HE washer without any hang ups.

Now back to the oils ~ The Fels-Naptha has a lemony scent, so the softer oil scent does not come through as well as I had hoped.  I can still smell it and it smells wonderful, when the dryer is opened after running. But after that the Honey Almond scent is gone. But there is a fresh clean smell.

The cost of this detergent is amazing. I paid $ .99 cents for the bar soap and $2.29 for the washing soda and $5.00 for the oils. I already had the Borax, so the cost is not included.  For this batch I paid $8.84 for the needed items.  When you break down the cost:

5 gallons = 320 (1/4 cup) loads

Washing Soda= $.63 cents (1 1/2 cup)

Bar Soap = $.99 cents

Essential Oils = $2.50 (half a bottle)

Total = $4.12 divide this by 320 loads

Total cost per load = $.013  ~ Yep that's less than 2 cents a load

This cost, does not include the Borax, since I already had a box. But it won't change much when a new box is bought.

Also, I have noticed that my laundry is softer since using the homemade detergent. I can't wait to see how it does over the next couple of weeks.