Have no anxiety at all, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, make your requests known to God. Then the peace of God that surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.
Phil 4:6-7

Thursday, January 31, 2008

Dirty Laundry

Jennie has quite a discussion going on over laundry. This is the stuff women used to talk about -- before we were supposed to be like Desperate Housewives. I like laundry talk much better than trash talk.

When we began home schooling five years ago, a friend and I (who had been homeschooling for one year) laughed at how far we were from the stereotypical homeschoolers. No denim skirts, no Birkenstocks, no breastfeeding babes (no babes all). And though I did make bread from scratch, that was the only similarity between me and "all those other homeschoolers."

Well, now that I'm "an experienced" homeschooler, I realize that there are as many types of homeshoolers as there are moms. But, I've also adopted a few of those "sterotypicals practices."

One of those is my love for the clothes line. Another is making my own cleaners. I've talked before about using vinegar and making hand soap. Recently I crossed over to making my own laundry soap. At first I was very skeptical, but as with all things, time always tells. I've been doing it for about three months. I've tweaked my "recipe" a bit, but I am very satisfied with the way things are working out. I am amazed at the money saved.

But, it's not really about the money saved, although we can all use a few extra pennies here and there. It's about the money that P & G is not making on me. What a racket laundry soap is! I've been plunking down $9 for bottles of Tide for many years. I used to use a cheaper brand, but when we bought a top-of-the-line-sure-to-save-money front load Maytag, the cheap soap didn't cut it. The cheap brand didn't have an he (high efficiency) version.

Front loading machines can't handle bubbles. Bubbles come in regular laundry soap. When too many bubbles build up in my front loader, it just stops turning until the bubbles settle down. When the machine stops turning frequently, the agitation stops and the clothes are less clean. So, I switched to Tide he and spent oodles and oodles of money for clean clothes.

But then, I learned about homemade laundry soap, a very simple thing.

My Recipe
1 bar Fels Naptha Soap, grated (I do this in the food processor)
1 c. washing soda
1 c. Borax

Mix and use 1 -2 Tbs for medium load.

My discount grocer doesn't carry the washing soda or Fels Naptha. I found it, of all places, at the high-end Kroger in town. The Fels Naptha runs only about $1.29 a bar and the washing soda is about $3 a box (enough for about four batches of detergent).

I use 2 T. of the detergent and I use Oxi-Clean spray on stains. I also use about 2 t. fabric softener, just for the subtle scent, since the laundry detergent does not leave a scent. I'm planning on adopting Jennie's method of using tick marks so I can keep track of how many loads I get from one batch. I'm due to make a new batch any day, so I'll start keeping track then. I'll keep you posted.



  1. I'm going to try your laundry soap recipe....I love how Tide cleans, but find it too expensive. I've written down the recipe and now need to find the Naptha soap...the other ingredients are easy to find. thanks. :)

  2. Make your own laundry soap??!!

    Where have you been all my life??!!

    Out to buy washing soda and fels naptha...

  3. Well...I'm back five stores later...there is no washing soda in my town :((( I thought for sure I saw in a certain store last week..I must have been seeing things. :) I'll have to try and order some. I'm still determined :)

  4. I couldn't find Fels Naptha anywhere when I tried this, so I just used regular ivory, which I'd read was okay. It sure didn't cut it for the diaper test, though! I'll have to keep my eye out for Fels Naptha again. Our Kroger didn't have it then, but maybe they do now.

  5. Oh, and these laundry posts seem to be among my most popular. :-)

  6. Jennie,
    I too have heard you can use Ivory, but Fels Naptha is laundry soap, so I don't see it as an equal substitute.

    I'm not washing any diapers, so I don't know if my detergent would measure up. My guess is, no. We don't have dirty work clothes either since Doug has a desk job.

    The dirtiest we get is mud and food stains (although we get a lot of those!).

  7. I'm going to try this, if I can hunt down some Fels Naptha. I used to buy it years ago when we lived in another town. I didn't use it for laundry soap, but for the Best Stain Treater Ever. I kept it near the sink with a toothbrush, and when I had a stain I would just wet the brush, load it up with soap, and scrub the stain before washing.


I appreciate your comments -- sometimes I feel like I'm talking to myself!