It's been years since I made and used "homemade" laundry soap, which is basically a concoction of dilute basic soap with laundry boosters. I was thrilled with the cost, but less thrilled with the fact that, over time, my whites got dingey. Besides, I really love Mrs. Meyer's Clean Day laundry detergent in the lavender scent. At $11.50 a bottle, it should come out to about 18 cents load, as a bottle is supposed to do 64 loads. But my family does not understand the meaning of "concentrate," and just won't use the capful per load that is suggested (and I don't want to complain, because I LIKE that the family helps with the laundry), so the price goes up to 40 or 50 cents a load really quickly.
Anyway, I was in Waukon today and stopped by Fareway Foods, which is a great little chain of groceries. Great service, good prices, an awesome meat department. And they had all the ingredients to make homemade laundry soap. So I decided to give it another try.
I had to do it my own way, of course. I grated up 4 bars of Fels Naphtha soap (99 cents each, plus tax, equals $4.24), melted it in a gallon of hot water, and meanwhile I filled 4 of my nifty tall rectangular 4-1/2-gallon buckets about 2/3 full of hot tap water. I divided one box of Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda ($2.59 plus tax = $2.77) between the 4 buckets, about 1-1/2 cups each. Then I added a cup of 20 Mule Team Borax powder (about $6 a box, only I used less than a quarter of the box, so let's say $1.50) to each bucket. And then here's the kicker: I divided one full bottle of Mrs. Meyer's detergent between the 4 buckets. And then once the fels naphtha was melted, I divided that solution between the four buckets. And topped each one off with more hot tap water. They are not completely full, so let's call it 4 gallons of laundry soap per bucket, times 4 buckets, equals 16 gallons. And they smell like lavender! Only not so strong and overwhelming. Just a gentle scent. And they have a little bit of the detergents in the Mrs. Meyer's, too, which I am hoping will help with the not-whitening-my-whites problem. A half cup should wash a load of laundry.
So, as a wrapup, I spent a total of $20.01 on all the ingredients. At half a cup per load, or 512 total loads, that's a year's worth of laundry for about twenty bucks. My per load cost is about 4 cents. And, as I said, it smells like lavender!
I'll let you know how I feel about it in a few weeks, after I get a chance to see how it handles my whites.