Big family + farm=loads, I mean tons, of laundry. The sheer economics of keeping my family in clean clothes are staggering. It ranks up there with toilet paper costs. And we are not just a standard everyday family when it comes to dirt and grime. We got your standard everyday dirty clothes, but then the farm raises me some diesel, some hydraulic tractor oil, good ole fashioned grease and my personal favorite – livestock poo. Laundry is a battle of volume, effectiveness and expense. But we are winning. This simple and effective concentrate gives me the edge that I need to prevent us (most of the time) from looking like dirty backwoods hillbillies. Or so I think. But that is a matter of opinion.
A combination of borax, washing soda and Fels Naptha laundry bar soap beats the toughest of grime. A scant couple tablespoons will suffice for most loads of laundry, leaving it fresh smelling, bright and best of all clean — cleaner than most popular laundry soap brands at a FRACTION of the price. I will add that just about any bar soap is effective against your standard everyday family filth, but FN does the trick for our farm tough grime. That said, during “low-filth” times of the year I am inclined to use a gentler soap like Dr. Bonner’s or Ivory. I also recommend that you use a more natural soap when the delicate skin of a baby’s or other sensitivities are involved (I used Dr. Bonner’s during my littlest one’s infant-hood and cloth diaper stage).
Want to know the cost breakdown? This is astounding. This recipe makes one gallon of concentrate. Our favorite all purpose store (NOT Walmart), had the Borax for $3.79 ($.30/cup), washing soda for $3.99 ($.71/cup) and the Fels Naptha for $.99/bar. In the amounts required for this recipe, my concentrate cost me $2.00 for one gallon. If I keep to using 2 tablesppons per load, that’s 128 loads. Now $2.00 divided by 128 loads equals approximately $.015625/per load. That is LESS THAN TWO CENTS PER LOAD. Pretty thrifty in my book. Furthermore, the washing soda and borax have many other home uses, some of which we will explore in the future. So here’s to helping you win your laundry war!
- 1 bar Fels Naptha laundry soap (or bar soap of your preference)
- 1 cup Borax
- 1 cup washing soda
- 1 gallon water
- Using a cheese grater, grate your bar soap onto a paper towel or a sheet of wax/parchment paper for ease of transfer. Over medium high heat in a large stock pot add the grated soap to a gallon of water. Stir and heat until dissolved. Add Borax and washing soda and lower heat to medium. Taking care not to boil, continue to heat and stir until the mixture is thoroughly dissolved (if you reach a boil you will have a sudsy, frothy mess on your hands). Remove from heat. Allow the concentrate to cool. When the mixture has cooled it will have separated. To create the proper emulsion blend with an immersion blender until creamy and smooth (you can use a blender if added in batches). Transfer to a gallon sized container with a large enough opening to be able to scoop out. Designate yourself a tablespoon and your are in business!