In a homeschooling house full of 7 kids & 3 guniea pigs....there is never a dull moment! A lot of people show genuine concern for us and want to know how we are doing, as the road we've left behind was not a pleasant one. So, here I am, to tell some of our stories...share some of our days...and open up a part of our world to you! Come join us on our journey so you won't miss the moments that take our breath away!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Homemade Detergent

After everything we have been through, I have been so fortunate to be able to continue to stay at home with the flock!  We live on a very limited income and we have learned to be very frugal!  People are always asking me how we do it and I'm always eager to share a frugal tip.  Things that we take for granted, others are glad we shared, such as our Uncrustables and our homemade Lucky Charms Treats!

I have made our own laundry detergent for the past 2 years.  I've used different recipes and finally found one I like better than all the rest.  Having a large family myself, I am a Duggar fan and I love their recipes!  Now, when I first started making laundry detergent, I turned to their website and made a 5 gallon bucket full of their liquid laundry detergent.  After this formula sat overnight, I found myself with a 5 gallon bucket full of detergent that had set like a bowl of jello :/ it ended up getting dumped outside!  I then turned to their powder recipe for laundry detergent and I used this for about a year.  I was then given a different recipe from a friend and while I was never really happy with the consistancy of that formula, I used it for about 6 months.

The other day, I decided to compare the ingredients of the recipe I was using and the recipe that the Duggar's use.  I was surprised to see how similar the recipes were.  Basically, the amount of Borax (Duggar's recipe uses 1/2 cup less) and water (Duggar's recipe uses more) and the way the detergent was prepared were the only differences!  Also, the recipe I used was only yielding about 2 gallons of detergent and the Duggar's recipe claimed to yield 10 gallons.  WOW!!! What a difference in quantity!!!  Who wouldn't rather get 8 more gallons when using the same amount of soap, washing soda and less borax!

So, I decided to give the Duggar's recipe one more try!  Here is their recipe:

4 cups water
1 bar Fels-Naptha Soap
1 cup Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda
1/2 cup Borax

I didn't have a 5 gallon bucket, so I used a clean, empty garbage can instead.  This is how I made mine...

Grate soap in a saucepan with 4 cups of water.  Stir until soap is disolved.  In my garbage can, I added 2 1/2 gallons of hot water, washing soda & borax and stirred until powder was disolved.  I added my disolved Fels-Naptha mixture and stirred well.  Then I added 2 1/2 more gallons of hot water and stirred.  Instead of leaving it sit overnight to thicken (since this did not work well for me last time), I allowed it to sit until it began to set.  Then, I filled my containers (empty 1 gallon Hawaiian Punch containers, 1 gallon milk jugs, empty laundry detergent containers....).  I filled them half full with the soap mixture and the rest of the way with water, shook them up and sat them aside. 

I am so much happier with the consistancy of this detergent!  The other stuff I was using was sometimes so thick, it wouldn't pour out of the container!  This recipe turned out with about the same consistancy of store bought liquid detergent.

I love this detergent not only because it is CHEAP, but because contains no dyes or other irritants that we can not use due to numerous family members who suffer from eczema, and in our house it serves as a multi-purpose detergent, as I also use this in my Rug Doctor (not sure if it's good for my machine, but it works).  In our cloth diapering days, this made a wonderful detergent for our nappies! 
This recipe yielded about 6 1/2 Gallons of ready to use detergent and 4 quarts of concentrate!  If we bought this amount (aprox. 1088 oz.) of Tide Free and Gentle we would have spent approx. $176!  To make this detergent, we spent about $2.00!
I love being FRUGAL...and that my friends is one way that I "do it"!

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