Laundry. Oooooh, laundry.

Tom and I go through clothes. I don’t know how, but we seem to wear a LOT of clothes each week. I usually do about 5 loads of laundry a week. Maybe it’s because I am all particular and sort them all out according to water temperature and how they need to dry. (The cold water/ low heat load gets spilt in two because of how many dark items will be sneaky and get dye on my white stuff.)

I’m starting to think that when we have a baby, I’m just going to be dumping the child’s clothes all into one load and be done with it. I mainly think that because it’s what I do when I help out with Will’s laundry. His clothes always turn out fine.

And then I start thinking that maybe I’ll just do that with our clothes too, eventually. Because laundry day is a marathon event in this house. Sorting takes a while, then washing, drying, folding, hanging. Then, after all of that, the last thing I feel like doing is putting it all away again. Which makes no sense by the way. It’s like giving up after you’ve done the hardest part. But for me, it’s like unpacking after a trip. It’s just the last thing I feel like doing.

But, there is something I’m actually looking forward to in the next few weeks. I’ve just ordered the ingredients for home-made laundry detergent. I’m planning to make some as soon as it arrives (and after I’ve bought a big ol’ bucket to store most of it in). It’s a recipe I got from the Duggars. Apparently, it lasts them a few months per batch, and they have a huge family. Each batch is a fraction of the price of a small container of laundry detergent. I’m so excited about having a new way to save money! If we have to do laundry, at least we won’t have to pay ridiculous amounts of money for the soap anymore.

If you decide you want to make some, you’ll need these ingredients:

Fels-Naptha Soap Bar. I looked this product up, and it has a ton of uses. I decided to order several bars, just in case I wanted to use it for other reasons than just laundry later. I couldn’t find it at any local stores, but it was sold for a good price here.

Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda. You have to use this kind, not baking soda or Arm & Hammer detergent, for it to work, apparently.

And Borax. That’s the final ingredient. Besides tap water.

And here’s the recipe:

Homemade Liquid Laundry Soap- Front or top load machine- best value

4  Cups – hot tap water
1  Fels-Naptha soap bar
1 Cup – Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda*
½ Cup Borax

– Grate bar of soap and add to saucepan with water. Stir continually over medium-low heat until soap dissolves and is melted.

-Fill a 5 gallon bucket half full of hot tap water. Add melted soap, washing soda and Borax. Stir well until all powder is dissolved. Fill bucket to top with more hot water. Stir, cover and let sit overnight to thicken.

-Stir and fill a used, clean, laundry soap dispenser half full with soap and then fill rest of way with water. Shake before each use. (will gel)

-Optional: You can add 10-15 drops of essential oil per 2 gallons. Add once soap has cooled. Ideas: lavender, rosemary, tea tree oil.

-Yield: Liquid soap recipe makes 10 gallons.

-Top Load Machine- 5/8 Cup per load (Approx. 180 loads)

-Front Load Machines- ¼ Cup per load (Approx. 640 loads)

*Arm & Hammer “Super Washing Soda” – in some stores or may be purchased online here (at Meijer.com). Baking Soda will not work, nor will Arm & Hammer Detergent – It must be sodium carbonate!!

Powdered Laundry Detergent – Top load machine

1   Fels-Naptha soap bar
1  Cup – Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda*
½  Cup Borax

-Grate soap or break into pieces and process in a food processor until powdered. Mix all ingredients. For light load, use 1 Tablespoon. For heavy or heavily soiled load, use 2 Tablespoons. Yields: 3 Cups detergent. (Approx. 40 loads)

*Arm & Hammer “Super Washing Soda” – in some stores or may be purchased online here (at Meijer.com). Baking Soda will not work, nor will Arm & Hammer Detergent – It must be sodium carbonate!!

TIPS FOR LAUNDRY SOAP: We use Fels-Naptha  bar soap in the homemade soap recipes, but you can use Ivory, Sunlight, Kirk’s Hardwater Castile or Zote bars. Don’t use heavily perfumed soaps. We buy Fels-Naptha by the case from our local grocer or online. Washing Soda and Borax can often be found on the laundry or cleaning aisle. Recipe cost approx. $2 per batch.

Inexpensive Fabric Softener Recipes

Recipe #1
1  Cup White Vinegar
Add vinegar to rinse cycle. Works great. Removes residue and odors. Also helps to keep washing machine and hoses fresh and clean too.

Recipe #2

1  Container of Name Brand Fabric Softener
4  Inexpensive sponges, cut in half

Pour entire container of softener into a 5 gallon bucket. Fill empty softener container with water twice. (2 parts water to 1 part softener) Add sponges to softener/water mixture. When ready to use wring out extra mixture from one sponge and add to the dryer as you would a dryer sheet.

Thanks, Duggars! Yay for inexpensive chores!

~Meghan

16 thoughts on “Laundry. Oooooh, laundry.”

  1. Yeah I pretty much just throw the whole weeks laundry into one big massive load. I honestly don’t have the patience you have for laundry. Also nothing is folder. Everything is hung up on hangers or tossed in baskets in my closet. I have no drawers in my bedroom. 😀

    Lazy ftw?

  2. Sylvia tried the homemade laundry detergent experiment. It worked fine, but the thing she really missed was the smell of the Gain detergent she used and had to go back to it.

    1. They make suggestions about that: “Optional: You can add 10-15 drops of essential oil per 2 gallons. Add once soap has cooled. Ideas: lavender, rosemary, tea tree oil.”

      But I’m going to try doing the recipe exactly as it is the first time around and just let the dryer sheets I use give the fragrance to the clothes in the dryer. I don’t even have the ingredients yet, so I guess I’ll have to wait to see what I think. =)

    1. Laughing over here because I completely am with you on that. After all the laundry is done, to know you have ironing ahead too..ugh. That’s why I wait until I have a BIG pile of clothes that need laundry and set up to do it in front of the tv. It makes it less boring. But that also means that we only get to wear our “ironing” clothes about once a month. ha

  3. I’ve always found it interesting how different people do their laundry. I commend you for taking the time to sort out your stuff so well. I’ve limited our piles to 3: whites, darks, specials (like lay-flat-to-dry sweaters and dry clean stuff).

    Keep us posted on how the homemade detergent recipe works. I’m curious if it cleans as well, but like Jay’s wife, I fear I would miss my Gain smell 🙂

    1. I’ll do an update when I make it and when I’ve been using it for a while. Also, like I mentioned to Jay, you can add essential oils to make it scented. I might try that out.

      As for 3 loads, that is sounding better and better. Do you just wash everything with cold water? And dry it with low heat?

  4. I’d like to try making my own detergent, too, but I’m afraid that it might harm my clothes. The Duggars wear some pretty sturdy clothes, so it would be disappointing for me to have my more delicate ones ruined. Let me know how it works for those things.

  5. Oh, and I do about 1.5 loads of laundry per day now that Ella is around. I’ve been really pleased with how well Tide and Spray and Wash will get out poop stains, even after they’re a day or two old. Her clothes are still in great shape!

  6. Meghan!! I don’t know why I’m yelling your name 🙂 Just got excited to catch up with you via phone and blog, I suppose.

    WOW, your laundry routine is very intense. Five loads a week!? How on earth?? Considering it’s just our 3rd week as husband and wife, I can’t say I know our load pattern. We’ve only done one so far! 🙂 Though one is coming this weekend. So maybe one every other week..?

    Can’t wait to see how it works out!

    1. I do these five loads (based on recommended water temp in wash and heat in dryer) : 1) Warm Water/ High Heat, 2) Warm Water/Low Heat, 3) Cold Water/Low Heat (Lights), 4) Cold Water/Low Heat (Darks), and 5) Cold Water/High Heat.

      I used to do Darks, Lights, and Reds/Pinks. But I found that when I actually sorted the clothes the way the tags told me to, my clothes lasted longer and looked better. But it does take a long time.

  7. No, I can use Tide for Ella’s clothes. I do have a big thing of Dreft, and I need to use it up, but Tide works so well that I just haven’t been using anything else.

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