Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Store Bough vs. Home Made - Laundry Detergent

As stated, tonight we're talking laundry detergent.  Now, before we go further, let me put up this Disclaimer:  This is not my recipe.  For that matter, honestly, this is not the recipe of any blogger out in blog land.  If they tell you it is, well...........they are not being 100% honest with you.  See, this recipe has been around a long long time because the company that developed it has been around for about 85 years.  It's Fels Naptha.  They used to have the recipe up on their site but I haven't been to the site in a while to know if it is still there or not.  With that said, let's move on.

This recipe has stood the test of time for one reason and one reason alone.  It works!  Here's some food for thought, have you ever heard of Fels Naptha before?  Do they make anything other than soap?  I honestly don't know and would have to check out their website to see, but I know they make soap and I know their soap works because I have used it and I do use it. Their claim to fame regarding their soap had nothing to do with laundry detergent.  They made soap.  That's it.  But their soap became known for getting sweat stains and baby spit up stains out of clothes.  They used to have a video on their site (they may still have it up) that would show a lady in a lab coat take a bar of their soap, dunk it half way into water and then rub it on the sweat stain or baby stain and then they would tell you to wash as normal.  Some where down the line they came up with this recipe.

3 Ingredients:
1 Bar of Fels Naptha
1/2 cup of Borax
1/2 cup of Arm N Hammer Washing Soda

The toughest part of this is grinding up the soap.   I use my food processor.  Remember I have two.  I didn't get rid of my old one.  I decided to keep it so that I can always make my soap in it and now I don't have to worry ever again about the possibility of my food having a soap taste.  You have no idea how much I worried about that every time I made laundry detergent.  I would soak, clean, rinse, soak, clean rinse, praying I got all the soap off.  Onward. 

The best thing,literally, is to do it in your food processor using both your chopping attachment (the big thing that fits in the bottom with 2 blades) and your shredding attachment (it fits on top).  The key is that you are feeding your soap through the food tube and shredding it and the chopper is cutting it up smaller in the bottom while you are gently pushing the soap through the shredder part. 

Now, point here.  Go slowly.  You can't push the soap through the food tube too quicky or it will stop your shredder from turning.  I know because I did it (Remember Chef Gimpy).  Just go slowly.  Figure that it is going to take you about 3 to 4 minutes to do this.  After you have shredded the soap in the top, let your processor run for about a minute longer to really grind up the bits in the bottom.  Here is the finished product:

Now you need to get a spoon or spatula and dig the soap out of the container and into a bowl.  It will be clumped up in their a little bit and you don't want to leave any behind and I find a spatula works the best.  Be sure and get into the crevices around the container and get all of it out.  No waste!

Now the ratio here is 2 to 1.  The ground up bar of soap is going to give you approximately 1 cup + 1/8th cup of ground up soap.  So I add 1/2 cup of Borax

And 1/2 cup of Arm N Hammer Washing Soda

Pour all of this into a bowl and get your whisk and stir it around really well.  Mix it up very well.  Pour it into any type of container with a lid that you want.  I use a Quart Canning Jar and it fills it about half full. 

Now I know that you are thinking, that's not a whole lot of detergent there De.  You're right but here's the thing.  If you are doing a regular load of laundry, the recipe called for  two LEVEL (in other words scrap off the top until it's flat with the spoon) tablespoons or 1/8th cup of laundry detergent.

Now here's the price breakdown.  I bought this bar of soap last year when I bought 12 bars on sale for $1.29/bar.  The bars are 5.5 ounces.    The Borax is a 77 ounce box and that cost $4.59 which is roughly $.05/ounce.  You use 4 ounces so that is $.20.  The Arm N Hammer was $3.79 for 55 ounches which is roughly $.06/ounce.  You use 4 ounches so that is $.24.  So for a complete batch the cost is $1.29 + $.20 + $.24 = $1.73

Now here's the funny part.  I have used this for a couple of years and I have found, along with some friends of mine, and several bloggers and followers out there that you really only need 1 tablespoon of this stuff for a regular load of laundry.  I get 30 loads out of a batch and here's the math on that:  $1.73 divided by 30 = roughly $.06 a load.  Now compare that to what you pay at the store.  Take the cost you just paid for your laundry detergent and figure out how many loads you get out of it and do the math. 

If you have very dirty laundry to do, I would use two tablespoons and that still comes out cheaper than what you pay at the store. 

With this said, I still use Bleach for my whites and not because this detergent doesn't work.  I am one of those people that comes home from work or wherever and changes clothes and puts on footies.  I run around in my footies when I am home both inside and outside.  So my footies get pretty dirty.  There isn't a detergent on the market that makes them look brand new.  I tried the best of the best just to see.  This stuff works as good as any of them so why bother paying a fortune when you don't have to.

I'm certain there are people out there who do not like this detergent but I can honestly say that every one I have gotten to try this stuff has started making their own and still does.    Try it for yourself and see. 

Here's something to think about.  With all of the detergents out there, this company is still in business.  While everyone else is coming out with "New", "Improved", "Better", etc. they are still making the same product the same way they have for over 80 years.  The reason is simple.  It works!


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