When I started my blog I was figuring out direction. I thought I wanted to share my frugal living ways with others... and I do, but clearly I've digressed. I am hoping to still share these items with you. So I'm back at it today. Today I shall share with you, laundry. As you can imagine with 7 and almost 8 people in our house we have an over abundance of laundry! So, how can we afford all of this laundry, especially on one income at this point... (yes being laid off SHOULD mean that my husband is receiving unemployment, however there have been complications and we have yet to see a check. God willing we will make it through this!)
First off I should tell you, we have a minimum of 3 loads of laundry each day, this is on the low end, between towels and clothes and sheets and blankets there can be as many as 8 loads, it just depends. I can tell you that if we fall off the 3 load per day schedule, boy do we end up with a mess!!!
I am the first person to admit that when it comes to laundry there are no rules... No seperating, no fuss! Just throw it in and go!
Secondly I make my own laundry detergent. For about $10 I can make 10 gallons of detergent. Lets see... 1/2 gallon of detergent gets you about 30 loads, so theorhettically we get close to 600 loads for $10 rather than 30 for $8. Now I have to be honest, since I am able to make so much so cheap there are often times true measuring need not apply. If I know that there are some tough stains or smells I may add a little more to compensate for not pre treating.
Here is the recipe and the breakdown of pricing...
4 1/2 C Water + additional later = $0.00
1 C Arm and Hammer Washing Soda= $0.25 per 10 gal ($2.93 per box)
1/2 C Borax = $0.25 per 10 gal ($2.50 per box)
1 bar of Fels Naptha Soap, shredded = $1.29
***here is where I devieate from the traditional recipe. With children I have found that I need tougher stain fighters.***
1 small container of your favorite detergent. $6.00
1 bottle of liquid Tide Stain Remover= $1.50 ($3.00 at Family Dollar, but with a $1.50 off coupon)
1 Bottle of Dawn liquid dish soap= $1.59 (Family Dollar)
5 Gallon Bucket
Here is what you do:
Shred the bar soap (if you cannot find Fels Naptha, Ivory soap can be substituted) and melt in 4 1/2 C of water over heat on the stove. Once soap is melted add Washing soda and Borax and dissolve. Be careful not to let this boil over as it is a PAIN to clean off the stove. While these items are cooking on the stove fill a 5 gal bucket 1/2 full of hot water. Once all items are dissolved add to the bucket and stir. Slowly add detergent, stain remover, and dish soap to the bucket and stir. The next part is a little tricky as you don't want bubbles everywhere. Finish filling the bucket with hot water.
Utilize your empty detergent contatiners. Fill half full with your mixture and half full with warm water and shake, shake, shake. I know you are saying that it seems there is an awful lot of water... Well have you ever looked at your ingredients on your jug? Typically the first ingredient is water... meaning its made of mostly water. Repeat each time you need detergent.
Now as your bucket sits it will gel ... simply stir each time before you add to the detergent bottle and viola lots of detergent! (YES this recipe can be used in HE washers as well.)
NOW Dryer sheets... Have you ever been annoyed finding 100's of dryer sheets randomly around your house? Here is a solution that! It saves money and is much easier to manage.
1 Bottle of liquid Snuggle, Downy, or your favorite fabric softner
Bucket with lid
Simply add 1 part liquid softner to 2 parts water. Mix in bucket. Drop in sponges. When you are ready to dry your clothes toss clothes in the dryer and toss in 1 sponge and dry. Simply throw the sponge back in the bucket when you are done for the next use.
I hope this helps with your daily expenses as well as laundry in general. We also (on occassion) throw 1/2 C baking soda and 1/2 white vinegar in the wash to brighten our whites. :)