“Wash on Monday, Iron on Tuesday, Mend on Wednesday, Churn on Thursday, Clean on Friday, Bake on Saturday, Rest on Sunday.” Okay, ladies? Who said that? Caroline (Ma) Ingalls! Remember reading the Little House series? For Ma and other pioneer women, each day had its own proper chores.
Choosing specific chores to complete on certain days isn’t a bad idea. In fact, it tends to make things a bit more manageable as a homemaker. But I must admit that the thought of doing laundry for seven people just once a week does NOT sound ‘manageable’ – it sounds exhausting! A few years ago, after finding the item “laundry soap” on my grocery list far too often, I stopped buying it and began making it. I found it rather easy to do and a real savings financially. Here are two recipes for laundry detergent that I have used. One is for a liquid soap and one is powdered. The ingredients for both recipes can be found at Meijer and other big box stores. Even our local Spartan stores carry many of them.
Liquid Laundry Soap
This recipe makes 6 gallons. You’ll need a large container!
1 bar FelsNaptha soap (grated)
1 ½ c. Arm and Hammer Washing Soda
1 c. (heaping) Borax
1 oz. essential oil (optional)
Instructions: Grate the bar of soap. (I purchased an old cheese grater from a second hand store and use it solely for my laundry soap. You could use the one you have in your kitchen, just wash it really well before using it on your food!!!) In a large pot, put 12 cups of water in with the grated bar soap. Set it on the stove over medium/low heat and stir occasionally until the soap is melted. Add the Washing Soda and Borax. Stir again. Add 8 cups more of water. Stir. Put this mixture into your large tub/bucket. Now add 2 gallons plus 12 cups more of water and (if you want) some essential oil. Mix well. Put the cover on it and let it sit for 24 hours. Stir one more time. You’ll see that it’s gel-like in consistency. Now it’s ready to use… ½ c. per load.
Powdered Laundry Detergent
1 bar Castile Bar Soap (grated)
1 c. Arm and Hammer Washing Soda
1 c. Borax
Instructions: Grate the bar of soap. (I purchased an old cheese grater from a second hand store and use it solely for my laundry soap. You could use the one you have in your kitchen, just wash it really well before using it on your food!!!) Add the soap and Washing Soda and Borax together. Mix well (in a blender if desired). Use 2 T. per full load for washing. (I like to wash with hot water – to quickly dissolve the powder – and rinse in cold.)
FYI – The powdered version is quicker and easier to make… my kids can do it on their own. And the powdered version is easy to take with you when traveling, etc. On the other hand, the liquid version doesn’t need to be made nearly as often and is the more economical of the two. (Just remember to make it ahead of time… it needs to sit 24 hours after making it.)
I usually tackle the overflowing baskets of dirty clothes in our home a couple of times each week (not just on Mondays!), and I’m thankful that I have the luxury of using a washing machine rather than a wash board when it comes to keeping them clean. I’m also thankful that I can make the detergent we use and save $$$$ in the process.