Yesterday, aka Day One of our experiment was a success. It’s easy not to shop when it’s a holiday. Still, we did need to stop for some items to make it through the next few days. I had to pick my son up from a town about an hour north of here as he was with his father for the last few days of Winter Break. The town we meet in has a privately owned grocery store and we headed there for some produce and the like.
The Max knows all about the resolution and has agreed to cooperate with our scaled back way of buying. Of course, when faced with all the impulse items a grocery store offers, he had a little trouble. The town we were in has a large Native American population so when he mistakenly exclaimed, “I want a Lunchable! I hate the reservation!!!!” my face did turn all sorts of red while I tried to shush him and let him know it was a resolution, not a reservation.
Max calmed down, we finished shopping, and our total bill ended up under thirty dollars. It is amazing how little you spend when you don’t buy what you don’t need. Though understand we have saved in the freezer a good amount of meat which helped as well.
Now let’s talk about laundry, nothing could be more fun. I don’t mind doing laundry, I only have an issue with it when I haven’t kept up on laundry and I know I must do twelve loads to catch up. For two years while I was living in an apartment building without a laundry room, I washed my loads by hand in a bucket and dried them on a makeshift line in my bathroom. Ewwww.
Now I have a washer and dryer in my house and it feels luxurious. Mr Pilver loves the non-scented detergent made by companies who don’t use yucky toxins, but I stopped buying those to save money. We were using whatever was the cheapest on the shelf any given week. So, I decided to see if I could make some. Turns out it is crazy easy and enormously economical. Here’s a diagram:
I tried this last week with skeptical predictions. The idea that I could use inexpensive commonly found items and create detergent that would save me a bundle seemed as possible as getting a free ipod if I clicked on the pop up ads on my computer screen. But, it works. It works well. Considering how elementary it is, I wondered how we became to be a nation of convenience to the point we waist THAT much money on something we use so often. And considering the extra toxic ingredients your national brands provide you with and I am convinced aliens are controlling the laundry detergent market and eventually, will add nasal probes to the mix which will suck out our brains.
You just want the recipe, so I will get to that. But not before I mention that I posted that I made laundry detergent on facebook via my all-important-status-update feature. I cannot believe the amount of people that responded.
OK, here we go. You need:
1/2 bar of laundry soap grated with a cheese grater (roughly 1-1 1/2 cups) I used Fels-Napthia
1 cup of Borax
I cup of Washing Soda
Clean Empty Jugs (Old milk jugs, old detergent jugs, 2 liter soda bottles etc)
a one gallon pot for the stove
a 3-5 gallon bucket, very clean
Step 1: Boil 4 cups of water on your stove, turn heat to low and add all the grated soap. Stir until soap dissolves.
Step 2: Pour hot soapy water into bucket. Add Borax and washing soda and stir until they have dissolved.
Step 3: Add one gallon hot tap water and stir.
Step 4: Funnel your hot and sexy detergent into your clean jugs and containers. Fill only 3/4 full, you will want to be able to shake jug before each use.
This recipe makes about 1 1/2 gallons. Use 1/4 cup per load.
I have been using this for about a week now. Haven’t had any troubles, I love it. If you’d like, add essential oils to the mix to make it smellerific. Without oils, it has a faint soapy smell which you cannot really notice. So, if you like a fragrant load of wash, you might want to pick up some lavender oil or something similar.
After talking about this old school laundry phenomenon with a few folks, I found out I was not alone in my thrifty laundry soap adventure. If this one is not your bag, search online for more recipes. There’s plenty out there!