If you know me, you know I am frugal. Some may say cheap but I just hate wasting money. I’d been wanting to make this detergent for a long time. A few friends of mine have used this recipe for a while now and swear by it. I had a few days off this past October where I was stuck in the house, so it was the perfect time to mix up a batch.
Ingredients: You should be able to find all of these items at your grocery store
(1) 4 lb 12 oz box Borax found in the detergent aisle
(1) 4 lb box Arm & Hammer Baking Soda found in the cooking aisle
(1) box Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda 55 oz found in the detergent aisle
3 bars of Fels-Naptha soap, found in the detergent aisle (I used Zote bars instead and used 2 bars. I found my Zote at Kmart)
2 small containers of Oxy Clean or store brand Oxy Clean (try to get about 3.5 lbs total, found in the detergent aisle. This is optional but I added it into mine because I have a pretty messy, farmer husband)
Start out by grating your Fels-Naptha/Zote soap just like cheese. You can use a food processor or a hand-held grater, whatever you have. For those of you with a HE washer, you may want to run the mix through the grater again to get an even finer mix. I cut the bar of soap with a knife into slivers the short way and then used the food processor. I don’t know if this is necessarily better than a hand grater, as I didn’t have one to try out. Once the soap is grated, toss all the ingredients in a 5-gallon bucket lined with a garbage bag and mix them together with a paint-stick-stirrer thing (free anywhere that sells paint).
This recipe makes about 2 gallons of laundry detergent and is fairly mild smelling; it is not over powering. I added some lavender essential oils to this batch but it wasn’t very strong. I am going to try lemon essential oils for the next batch. Once everything is mixed, store the soap however you like. I left the bulk in the 5-gallon bucket and stored it under my sink. I bought a smaller glass jar with a lid (from Home Goods for around $8) for daily use and a cheap plastic tablespoon from the dollar store. **I use 1 Tablespoon per load. I know that does not seem like enough but this recipe does not have fillers like the store-bought detergent so you only need 1-2 Tablespoons.**
1. No more plastic 2. No more paper 3. Much less waste A few months back we decided to stop buying paper towels to see if we could go without them. I know it may sound silly but we would never think twice about ripping off a huge sheet to wipe up something the size of a quarter. And then we’d just toss it in the trash with no real concept of how wasteful we were being. I bought 5 or 6 more kitchen towels to compensate and stopped buying the paper. In the beginning I found myself using napkins for some things but overall the towels were enough. After a month or so I realized we really don’t need them. Yes, I do a little more towel laundry but not enough to send me back to paper. Then I though, why stop there?!
We made it part of our New Year’s Resolutions to stop with all the paper consumables and transition from plastic to glass.
Studies have shown that the chemicals in plastic break down and leach into the food or drink they are storing (especially when heated). Then we consume the food and drink, allowing the chemicals to enter our bodies. Glass containers also don’t absorb food colors or smells. You can really taste the difference when eating from plastic vs. glass. The initial cost of glass may be higher, but glass lasts longer and doesn’t need to be replaced as often. Depending on the brand you buy, you may be able to find items that can go from the freezer to the fridge to the oven to the table.
So…I recycled all of our old plastic storage containers and bought a ton of glass.
I started at Target and bought a product similar to Pyrex, called Anchor. A 14-piece set was $19.99 vs. $34.99 for a 12-piece Pyrex. Costco also has a lot of great options and you get so much more for your money. The thing I loved most from Costco was the Quadro 4-piece jug set. Each jug came with a lid, ice tubes and infusing tubes. $19.99 was a bargain. They also sell Pyrex snapware (18-piece set for $29.99) and a 20-piece Luminarc glass drinkware set with lids for $19.99. All these things were on my birthday list this year. I’m old now, what I can I say.
I also transitioned all of our plastic mixing bowls, travel coffee mugs, water bottles, mixing spoons, etc. I started this part a few months ago because I knew it would take some time. I didn’t want the cost to become so overwhelming that I gave up. Once a week I would try to pick up one item and eventually I got it all.
The final piece was just completed today. I knew that I wanted to eliminate paper napkins completely but every time I would shop for fabric napkins, I’d walk out with nothing because I thought it was ridiculous that they charge $8 for two napkins. I am very frugal most of the time 😉 BUT TODAY!!!….I was wandering Bed Bath on my lunch hour and realized it was clearance time. Apparently after the holidays they have clearance tables all throughout the store. I found 18 napkins reduced from $4.99 ea to $0.25 ea. One for everyday of the week without doing any laundry plus a few extras. Yahtzee!