Monday, December 14, 2009

Now for the homemade laundry detergent, dishwasher powder, and hand soap....

**Disclaimer: The laundry detergent recipe I found was on the Duggar Family website, and while I hear they are very nice Christian people, I don't want to give the impression that I know anything about them (we don't have cable TV so I don't watch their show). I'm also going to give links in this post to other websites that I found while researching homemade cleaners. I always try not to give links that lead to sites with offensive language or advertisements. Because most of my time on the computer happens with my children around I assume most of you are the same way, so I wanted it to be clear that I only looked at the recipe links that came up in my Google search, I didn't comb these sites for kid friendly be careful! And sorry I'm such a freak-show for even writing this but I just wanted to remind everyone that you have to be careful everywhere you go online...I'm done now. LOL!

If you are trying to squeeze every last penny, like us, you are going to love this post! A couple of months ago I came upon THIS laundry soap recipe online and I decided to try it. I mentioned that I was planning to try it out at church the following Wednesday night and all of the other mamas got excited and wanted to do it too. So the next Wednesday night we brought all of the supplies we needed, and when we left church we were each carrying a five gallon bucket full of detergent! It was a very good lesson for our Keepers at Home girl's class with a bonus for us mamas! After using this stuff for over two months I can honestly say that I can't tell the difference in my clothes at all from expensive $15 a box stuff. I've talked to some of the other mamas and they say the same thing. Since I have a HE washer I get over 600 loads of clothes out of only one $2 batch of detergent. I think that's about as cheap as it gets! At first I worried that the clothes would smell kinda funky, but they really have a nice, clean, but not overly perfumed smell. Edited to add: I did do one small thing different from the instructions after we mixed up the first batch of detergent, I added the grated soap just a little at a time to the hot water and it dissolved much easier than adding it all at once and I had no lumps in my finished product. I also give my bottle a good shake before I use it everyday.

For my fabric softener I just diluted my regular Downy 1 part downy with 3 parts water and use it the same way I always have and the clothes smell the same. I have seen an improvement too, they don't have that sticky film that they used to have with the full strength stuff. You know what I'm talking about? It's like the towels and napkins don't soak up water as well when you use regular strength Downy, but now they smell nice without the film, and that's really nice. I also use vinegar instead of fabric softener for any loads that may be stinky (like work clothes) because vinegar kills the germs that cause the stink and softens clothes.

So after that little experiment I tried the homemade dishwasher powder that I found HERE. I looked at a lot of other recipes, but decided on this one because I had almost everything on-hand. I did add 1/2 cup of salt to the mix because on a lot of sites I read that the salt helps to sort of scrub the dishes (and I'm pretty bad about not rinsing them off first, because I don't get the point of washing dishes before I put them in the dishwasher, so I need all of the scrubbing power I can get). It worked great!

My next project will be liquid hand soap and liquid shower soap. I found pretty easy instructions for it HERE. From what I have read most places it looks like you can get about a 1/2 gallon of liquid soap out of 1 bar of soap. Some people even use the slivers of leftover soap left in the shower to make hand soap, now that's awesome! Kinda makes you feel like your getting something for nothing. I thought if the body wash works out I will try to add some moisturizer to it too. I should add that I did try one of the hand soap recipes that included borax but that was a big mistake, my hands did not like that recipe at all! Soap and water is all you should need. Don't put borax in any soaps that will have to touch your skin, it's a pretty heavy duty cleaner and shouldn't be used on skin ever. Lesson learned.

So for the last few weeks I've been thinking about all of the expensive things that we think we have to buy that we could make for lots less, and wondering if there are more things that I could do to save money....It really adds up when you think about it all. We already do a lot of money saving things like making our own bread, using cloth napkins, using real cups and plates, we buy 1/2 of a cow once a year from a local farmer (it's cheaper and the meat is so much better), we grow our own food in the Summer and put away for Winter, we have fresh eggs from our chickens, and we heat our home with our wood burning stove...Please share your ideas! What are some ways that you have cut the cost of living? And if you have a recipe to add please share it in the comments section! We would love to give it a try! I also found THIS SITE in my research, I'm going to try a few of these things too. Hope you have learned something today!


Jacki said...

Really, it's not good for your clothes, or any fabrics, to use commercial fabric softeners on them, because, well, they soften the fabric!! They weaken the fibers and shorten their life spans. Fabric softener shouldn't be used AT all on things like towels or rags or diapers b/c it reduces not only their lifespans, but their absorbency. A good way to soften fabric is to use a bit of white vinegar in your dispenser for the rinse cycle. It doesn't have a perfume, or reduce static, but it does keep your clothes from getting stiff from lime deposits in your water, and it takes the soap/detergent residues away, too.
You can check how much residue from laundry additives are on your fabrics by running a load w/ soap. You'll be amazed at the bubbles and cloudy water that happens!!
If you need a scent to your clothes, use a bit of an essential oil. JUST a bit.
happy laundering!!

Anonymous said...


I'm very interesting in a moisturing body wash recipe too. Winter dry skin is driving us crazy right now and I just can't stand the scent of any of the body washes.

Renata said...

Thanks for the links. I also have made my own laundry detergents. I tried the liquid one, but found a powder one is easier to make, however occasionally I've had a problem that the soap hasn't dissolved properly & ended up on my hubby's work pants :(.
I would love to try the hand wash & will follow your links!

Oh & if you want to watch the Duggars show - there is a lot on You-tube. We obviously don't have their show over here, but my kids & I enjoy watching it over net!
Have a nice day!
Renata :)

Samantha Caffee said...



Thanks for the Duggar info! I'll have to check them out sometime!

A tip that may help you with the liquid laundy soap is to add the grated bar of soap just a little at a time and very slowly. This made a world of difference in our batches. Hope that helps!



6blessings said...

I have found that my "Salad Shooter" works "grate" for shredding the Fels Naptha.

Sorry-couldn't resist the pun :)

Hayes said...

I use the Duggars recipe too. However, I don't have a 5 gallon bucket, or room to store one. I make the soap and add MUCH less water. Then I pour each batch into as many 9x13 pans as I can find. The liquid gels and turns into a soft solid, like mozzerella cheese. I cut it into squares. Then I use my trusty Vitamix to make a batch at a time to put in an old detergent bottle. Works GREAT and Ic an share with my friends!

Cathy said...

Do you have any issues with sensitive skin at your house? We do, and we use the ALL Free and Clear because of it. Do you know if this soap is okay for sensitive skin? I've been wanting to try the recipe, but have been leary because of our sensitive skin issues. Thanks for a great blog!

Mama Lusco said...

Thanks so much for sharing these recipes and ideas! I'm excited to try the laundry soap. We save money the same as your family: baking bread, chickens for eggs, raise our beef, cloth linens. I've also started giving handmade gifts. With 3 active kids, they get invited to lots of parties and I like to keep kid-friendly gifts on hand so we don't have to buy presents for parties. Almost all of the Christmas gifts are handmade this year. I recently quit my job as a nurse to stay home with the kids, so we're adjusting to life on one income - I can use all the money-saving tips I can find:) Merry Christmas and thanks for the great blog!

Anonymous said...

Your note at the beginning of this post made me smile. What a sweet person you are to be so concerned!

pfarmwife said...

FYI...I researched the ingredients of Fels Naptha because we really MUST have all natural ingredients. It has mineral spirits (Stoddard solvent), a petroleum product and known irritant. So, use with caution.

Jenae said...

How did you find the ingredients (and so cheaply!)? I can't find the washing soda or the fels-naptha soap and the Borax alone was $2.99.

I can't wait to try this. I too have an HE machine, so I'm glad to hear of it working well for someone else! Thanks!