Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Confessions of a Frugal Mama

On Sunday, I had to make another batch of laundry detergent if I wanted to have clean clothes to wear. As I was creating my little concoction, I thought to myself how much I appreciated Laura Welty for sharing with me the recipe.  You see, I have a confession. I...am frugal. Not in all aspects. I'm not one of those crazy people that won't spend money on anything. I just don't like wasting my money on items that aren't going to be around for a significant amount of time. Hence, the laundry detergent debacle. Let's face it, detergent is expensive! To get a brand that smells good, you pay a hefty price. If you wash as many loads as I do, buying detergent can easily increase your grocery bill by $20-30 or more a month! Crazy, right?!?

So, when my friend, Laura, first told me that she made a batch of homemade laundry detergent to try, I was intrigued. She told me she used the Duggar family recipe that is available on their website.  Needless to say, the next weekend, I looked up the recipe and added the 3 ingredients (Fels Naptha Bar, Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda, and Borax) to my shopping list. All together, this cost me less than $10.

That was a year and a half ago. My life is forever changed! The recipe is easy:

1 Fels Naptha Bar (shredded)

4 cups of hot tap water
1 cup of Super Washing Soda

1/2 cup Borax

First, you add the water and shredded Fels Naptha bar to a sauce pan. It should look something like this:

Bring the mixture to a medium heat. Stir frequently until the soap is melted.

Next, fill a 5 gallon bucket half full of hot tap water. Add the melted soap, washing soda, and Borax. Stir well until all powder is dissolved. Once dissolved, fill the bucket up the rest of the way with hot tap water. Cover the bucket and let sit overnight to thicken. 

You now have 5 GALLONS OF LAUNDRY DETERGENT! Here's mine all beautiful and ready to use.

But, wait! It gets better! This mixture is a concentrate. Therefore, you won't need hardly any at all. The Duggars suggest using some kind of jug, filling it half way with the detergent, and filling it the rest of the way with water to dilute. I skip that step and just use half the suggested amount. Seems easier to me to do it that way. The suggested amount to use per load is 5/8 cup per load in a top load machine and 1/4 of a cup per load in a front load machine.  If you use the suggested amounts, the 5 gallons of detergent will yield 180 loads of laundry in a top load machine and 640 LOADS in a front load machine!!!! Is that not amazing!?!?

Still not convinced? Let's do the math. Guess how much this 5 gallons of laundry detergent just cost you...$1.99! That's 39 cents a gallon!!!! Beat that, Tide!  How does that calculate out per load??

Top load: 1.1 cent per load of laundry
Front load: .003 cents per load of laundry!! 

Like I said, my life was forever changed when I found this recipe. Thank you Laura Howe Welty!

Now, get off the computer, grab your grocery list, add these ingredients, and make a plan to leave those expensive, store bought detergents for some other person!



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