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.
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.