And amidst all that, there's always laundry to be done. Lots and lots of laundry. Because when you have little ones, not only do they get dirty (meaning lots of clothing changes during the day), but you get dirty too (sticky finger smudges, puke, and all that fun stuff).
So, I'm going to share with you my secret weapon: my homemade laundry soap.
I initially started to make my own soap because, if you don't know me well, I'm incredibly cheap. And that stuff is expensive.
Then I realized the added benefits - not only is it waaaaay cheaper, I don't have to contend with all those chemicals, perfumes, and other yucky stuff hiding in there.
And because the ingredients are almost entirely natural, it's environmentally friendly to boot.
AND - it's surprisingly easy!!
You only need four ingredients to get started.
1. Borax - You should be able to get this at any grocery or big box store in the laundry or household cleaning section. My 2kg box ran around $5.29
2. Washing Soda - This one was trickier... I managed to find it at my tiny grocery store no problem, but when I kept my eye out for it at bigger stores, I couldn't spot it. Unless I was just looking in the wrong place. Look for it in the laundry section. Ran around $5.99.
3. Baking Soda - Easy enough. Around $.99 /box.
4. Ivory Soap - At any grocery, pharmacy, or big box store. I picked up a pack of 10 at Walmart for $3.49. You can use Ivory soap because it is so pure... you can also use special laundry soap bars (Zote, Linda, etc.) but I use the Ivory because (a) it's easier to find and alot cheaper, and (b) I find it grates down nicely, and therefore blends well into the soap mixture.
10 cups grated soap
2 boxes (500g) baking soda
5 cups Borax
5 cups Washing Soda
(You can always half - or even quarter - this recipe if you just want to try it out first).
Grate your soap on a regular kitchen grater, using the smallest size grating surface. This is probably the most time-consuming part of the process... and even then, I grated up 5 bars in the time it took to watch less than one full episode of How I Met Your Mother.
For me, a 90g bar grates into 2 cups of flakes. Your flakes will probably look like this:
Don't worry - when you mix it up, those little curlies will break up and your soap will look pretty much like the stuff you'd buy at the store.
Using a LARGE bowl or bucket, measure out all your goods and throw together. Your Borax may be clumpy (mine always is), just use a large mixing spoon to crush those clumps and mix everything together evenly. Don't worry about getting every teeny tiny lump - itty bitty ones are ok :)
When everything's nicely mixed, pour into an air-tight container.
I use 1/4 cup per load, and I have a large capacity washer. You may want to use more or less depending on your washer and personal taste. I have no problem with keeping my whites white, but if it is something that concerns you, you can always add 1/2 cup vinegar or some Oxy-clean to your laundry too.
One thing I find about using this, is that my laundry comes out super soft. I never liked to use fabric softener anyway, just because of the chemicals/perfume issue. Now I only use the occasional dryer sheet when I'm running a load of something I know will get really static-y.
If you want some scent, you can add a few drops of your favourite essential oil while you're mixing it up. To me, the soap flakes add just enough scent, and the clothes end up coming out smelling clean, rather than perfumey (which is something my hubby hates!).
I haven't taken the time to calculate out how much I'm spending per load versus using store detergent... but I will say that one batch of this lasted me well over one month (with an average of one load per day), and didn't even use up 1/2 of my Borax or Washing Soda.
Score one for the wallet!
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