It’s Frugal Friday!

laundry ingredients

laundry ingredients

Handcrafting in the Laundry Room

Today’s handcrafted money-savers includes making homemade laundry soap and, a fast, cheap, natural, kid-safe fabric softener.

Laundry detergent

I was going to use the recipe floating around on the internet that uses Fels Naptha. I had never used it before, but it was a really popular recipe with loads of glowing reviews. So, I got some. But when I went shopping for Borax, (and a non-toxic way to kill white flies in a greenhouse) at my hardware store, the clerk told me some things I didn’t know  about Fels Naptha.

She told me some kind of sketchy things about the perfume oils and other ingredients in Fels Naptha, and I don’t need gallons of laundry soap that is going to make my husband itch. Study that for yourself, but the literature about it from their own company uses words to the effect of “contains skin-irritants” and that is enough for me to shy away. I understand people use it with great success and swear by it, even for babies. But I am just not that keen on the smell, and that is rather important to me.

She did say the same recipes can be made with Ivory soap, which is quite pure for a commercial product, and you grate it just like the bar of Fels Naptha.

But then she told me about liquid Dr Bronner’s lavender liquid soap, which is available in bulk at my local whole food grocery. It is kind of expensive, in the investment, but for nearly everything it should be diluted (as much as 10:1 for some things). AND it smells so good to me that I actually go out of my way to wash dishes and wipe counters. It’s crazy. I wouldn’t do a dish voluntarily, and cheerfully, but three times a year under some spell of inspiration. But this stuff makes me want to scrub.  I want every square inch of my house to smell like it.   …instead of dog and dust and forest fallout.

Castile soap is made of olive oil and coconut oil (in the case of Dr Bronner’s, and also the recipe I am going to use, myself, as soon as I can get my hands on some lye. As I said, it is expensive, and I am quite sure I can make it for less at home). It is gentle to the hands while using and in varying concentrations is an excellent cleaner. I am told it can be used as shampoo, as well. Dr Bronner’s actual name is Dr Bronner’s 18 in 1 Magic Soap. So, there is a whole dilution chart on their website, if you’re interested. It also comes in a bunch of other smells. I am just kind of a freak about lavender.

Fabric Softener

For use in the rinse cycle of the washer, Place 1 1/2 cups of epsom salts and 10 drops of lavender essential oil (or natural smell of your choice) in a pint jar and tighten down lid. Shake the daylights out of it for about 2 minutes.  Use 2-3 tablespoons during the rinse cycle. I store a scoop right in the jar.

*It should be noted that when using the Dr Bronner’s lavender and this fabric softener, the whole laundry room smells like Provence in Summer. Epic-ly glorious….

I am about to sketch out a timetable for the projects and begin. I also need to make a batch of vinegar-version cottage cheese. I’m fresh out!  Timing is everything in handcrafting. I will document both projects with pics and post a report on them, when I’m through.

Happy Handcrafting on Frugal Friday!!!


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